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UberBuds Sound Quality and Conclusion

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Before we get into how the UberBuds sound, first a bit about the battery. MuseMini went with the Bluetooth 4.0 solution because of the low-power aspect. This makes a lot of sense. The UberBuds have a Li-Ion battery that takes about two hours to charge from empty and lasts for up to eight hours. The UberBuds are supposed to beep to let you know that the battery is dying though I never heard it during my tests (and I did kill the battery a few times). It is possible that I just missed it as I didn't always keep the UberBuds in the whole time.

UberBuds_charge1

Charging points on the headphone labeled in case you have to jump it with a car battery

The eight hour battery life seemed about right to me though I would guess that with heavy (loud) use you'll be closer to six or seven hours. The problem with Bluetooth headphones in general, and earphone solutions like the UberBuds in particular, is loudness. Playing loud uses more battery and with weight and size at a premium, loudness generally suffers. My "comfortable" loud setting (loud enough to block out the kids but not so loud as to cause damage/pain) was about one step below the max volume of the UberBuds. I could see myself maxing out the volume in a loud environment and probably wanting more. If you are one that likes really loud music, these are not the headphones for you. Frankly, you shouldn't be using in-ear monitors anyhow as you'll be compounding the damage you're doing to your hearing.

UberBuds_charge2

UberBuds charger

UberBuds_charge3

Charging

I've long ago decided that Bluetooth has matured to the point where it can stream quality audio. If the sound quality of a set of headphones is bad, blaming it on Bluetooth is no excuse. Even if the manufacturer implemented the Bluetooth poorly (something I doubt happens), that's still the manufacturer's fault and not Bluetooth as a solution.

Fortunately, the UberBuds live up to their name and sound UberGood.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

The trend in headphones these days is bloated bass. This is something I actively oppose as it limits the types of music you can really enjoy. Sure it makes your Dubstep (confession - I had to go to Spotify to find out what Dubstep was) sound great but it ruins music where bass isn't measured by how many car windows you can break. My laptop is also Bluetooth (but not 4.0 of course) so I connected to it where I keep all my lossless audio files. The first thing I did was run a few sweeps and listen to some test tones. The MuseMini doesn't list any frequency response data for their headphones but I found that they played very flat down to around 40Hz. The next test tone, 31.5Hz was quite a bit quieter and much more distorted. The high end was well extended and the entire midrange sounded very clear and distortion free. A low frequency sweep confirmed my test tone listening as the UberBuds started to flutter and drop out as it approached 20Hz.

UberBuds_stay

Insert Jaws music here

UberBuds_caseIn actual listening, if you didn't know there was supposed to be really low bass, you'd never know the UberBuds weren't playing it. Perhaps because of the battery limitation or perhaps by design, the UberBuds present one of the flatter musical presentations I've heard in recent years. The standard bass hump wan non-existent. On the top end, the response was clear, musical, and dropped out around 16kHz according to my tests. This is about standard for headphones.

I took a listen to all my normal test tracks including Crazy by Seal for low bass and male vocals, One by Tina Dickow for female vocals and bass guitar, All in One Day by Lorna Hunt for guitar and more female vocals, and much more. While some consider flatter frequency responses to be unengaging and lifeless, I felt the opposite with the UberBuds. With Bluetooth headsets, you are usually thinking more about the features and using them during calls - musical performance is often secondary. Here, while the UberBuds wouldn't necessarily be considered reference quality - they certainly are reference quality in the realm of Bluetooth headphones. The high end was well extended without being fatiguing, the bass wasn't down in the cellar but it was probably half way down the stairs. The midrange wasn't as crystal clear as I'd like but it did sound full and very rich.

It was very easy to get lost in the music with the UberBuds. The lack of wires was a real treat - especially when sitting at my desk. Not having wires pulling on your ears or tugging when you moved your head was a real joy. Add to that very good audio quality and you've got a pair of headphones you won't mind spending a few hours each day in.

Conclusion

The MuseMini UberBuds had their issues but, in the end, they sounded very good. If you are simply looking to cut the cord and need something that will both give you excellent musical representation and all the features that Bluetooth promise, the UberBuds are a great choice. If you want something to exercise with, these might work for you - they are water resistant and have a lifetime warranty against sweat. The cord is a little noisy, they stick out of your ears pretty far, and they don't get very loud but, in the end, it is how they sound. And they sound Uber good. If you are looking for Bluetooth in-ear monitors, these definitely rate a listen. Now, I'm off to hack my phone so I can get the Bluetooth 4.0 to work.

MuseMini UberBuds

MSRP $129.99

UberBuds_back

www.musemini.com

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStar
Ease of Setup/Programming/IntegrationStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStar
ImagingStarStarStar
SoundstageStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarhalf-star
About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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