3. UHP 306
The UHP 306 is also an Ultimate Ears/Altec Lansing collaboration. This time, it is the newest member of the Ultimate Ears family - the Metro.fi that has been adapted and branded by Altec Lansing. The UHP 306 is at a sweeter price point that the 336 and it takes a different design approach as well.
Here is the "Official Line" from Altec Lansing:
- SnugFit design delivers passive noise reduction and high fidelity at lower listening levels.
- Soft-fitting silicone ear caps rest comfortably In-ear for all-day comfort.
- 6-pieceFit Kit (includes S, M, and L foam tips for the perfect fit) provides the choice of personalized user comfort.
- Cable-control clip
- Neoprene carrying case
- Gold plated plug increases conductivity of audio signal, assuring the purest sound.
Featuring the same secure and comfortable fit as the UHP336 model, but with traditional, high-fidelity diaphragm speakers that let you hear every nuance and musical layer.
The UHP 306 is more of a "traditional" Ear Bud design. There is no need to put these in upside down and wind the cord behind the ear - just plug them in your ears and you are good to go. The size is perhaps a drop bigger than comparable models from Sennheiser and V-Moda. The UHP 306 uses a high fidelity diaphragm instead of the armature driver used in the UHP 336. The cord comes out at an angle and the tips sit deeper in the ear canal than the 336's.
One very nice feature is the cable. The UHP 306 uses a very durable feeling "fabric" cable. I found this not only reduced on "cable noise" found on other Ear Buds - but is felt great.
Ear Buds are designed to go inside the ear canal - so if you don't like things in your ears, these take some getting used to. That being said, I found these to be very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The fabric cables were great when exercising or just walking around. The housing was very sturdy and fit nice and snug in my ears once I found the correct sized tip to put on the end.
The UHP 306 offer that unmistakable Ultimate Ears Sound Stage. Instruments just seem to be coming from inside your head - and can be placed right on the stage before you. These ear buds seem to have a definite "bump" in both the low and high end. There was actually more bass on these than on the more expensive armature based UHP 336's. The highs were also very lively and crisp. This was much more of a "fun" kind of sound that was great on Pop, Rock and other Up-Beat music. Lows were pronounced and the bass was quite deep with not a lot of "boominess."
Compared to the Shure SE 110's - which were warmer and more natural sounding - these felt like they were "enhanced" to sound more lively. That is certainly a matter of taste - but I really like the sound of these. The one area that was not quite as stunning as the UHP 336's were instrumentals - these are probably not for those who like a flat, balanced sound for Classical music.
I really like these Ear buds. There was enough of the "Ultimate Ears" technology to remind me that these sounded like higher end earphones. Yet, these were also fun with a definite emphasis on the lower end for a nice punch to the music.
They were comfortable to wear for long periods of time and offered really nice isolation from the outside world.
- Great price point
- very nice and lively sound
- good bass
- great build quality
- The midrange was de-emphasized a bit
The Altec Lansing UHP 336's and the UHP 306's can be found at www.alteclansing.com for $129.99 and $89.99 respectively. I was able to find them for less at other on line retailers. Both offer Ultimate Ears Technology and Sound Stage. One final point to mention is that these are both very efficient earphones. That means that you will want to turn your volume down lower than your normal listening level when using these earphones - and that is a good thing for your ears!