MEGATech Reviews: Ultimate Ears MetroFi 220 Noise Isolation Earphones Stephen Fung July 7, 2009 MEGATech Reviews 4 Comments 1 Flares 1 Flares × We often get inundated with the options available to use when purchasing a suitable set of replacement earphones. Some cost a lot while some are a pretty decent all around deal. Today, we'll be checking out something from one of the top names in custom earphones, Ultimate Ears. These guys make some pretty astronomically priced custom earphones for top musicians, but they have also started to make more reasonably priced earphones like the MetroFi 220 Noise Isolation Earphones. Let's see how the trickle-down effect benefits mere mortals with smaller budgets. Construction and Design Probably one of the things that set cheap and chintzy headphones apart from good ones is the build quality. From the gold plated 3.5mm headphone connector, chrome coloured buds with perfectly silkscreened logos, to the white silicon earpieces, they seem almost crafted. Even little details like the red coloring of the right earpiece allows you to fumble less to get them into your ears. Red = Right as they say on the features list. Even the earphone cord was employed for the particular purpose of resisting the knotting and tangling that destroys a good set of earphones. The cord is thicker and resists tangling in such a way that it's nearly impossible to keep them coiled, as illustrated above. This is why the hardshell case is so handy as it not only offers protection, but it serves to keep the lively cord under control. Comfort and Fit With the assistance of three sizes in soft silicon earpieces, the MetroFi 220s can be made to feel quite comfortable for most people. Once placed in your ears, they provide up to 16 dB's of passive noise isolation that is effecive in blocking out a fair bit of noise. More than enough to make outside noise nearly inaudible when listening at a reasonable volume, but not enough to drown out your neighbour directly next to you. The MetroFi 220s are secure even during spirited headbanging sessions. The documentation does suggest an over the ear style of wearing them for a more secure fit, but I only found orienting them in this fashion inconvenient. They do give that "pro musician" look however when worn that way. Sound Quality All would be for naught if the MetroFi 220s didn't sound good. Loaded with a set of titanium coated drivers, the MetroFi 220s give a very clear representation of the highs without sounding too shrill or harsh. As you head into the mid-range, you'll notice a flat, yet smooth and detailed sound that really makes you listen with good seperation of instruments and vocals. Heading into the low end, you'll be greeted by punchy and accurate bass. What this means is if you want sloppy helpings of the deep stuff, you won't find it here. Given Ultimate Ear's background in constructing high end studio monitoring earphones for musicians, I wasn't the slightest bit surprised by what I heard from the MetroFi 220s. Like any good monitor, they present what is there and try their best not to exaggerate anything in the mix. MEGATechie Good or MEGATechie Awful? If you're someone that enjoys lots of sloppy bass for rap or pop, then the MetroFi 220s may not be to your liking (I can recommend the Radius Atomic Bass earphones for you). The MetroFi 220s lend themselves to being more enjoyable with acoustic rock, jazz and other instrumental music where good separation, detail and accurate bass are needed. In other words, they simply hold true to their studio monitor roots. Despite their pedigree, the MetroFi 220s didn't murder any poorly ripped MP3s which some high resolution earphones tend to do. This shows that Ultimate Ears did tune these to work with sources that people are using today like iPods and other MP3 players. The Ultimate Ears MetroFi 220s retail for $79.99 US and come with a 1 year hardware warranty. http://www.stephenfung.net Stephen Fung @joan - Thanks for the comment. I did say that these are comfortable for "most people". That means that there will be people out there that may not fit into one of the three sizes of earpieces that they come with. Ultimate Ears themselves offer a foam earpiece option which is said to be more comfortable ($14.99 US). Custom molds however are an exact fit for your own ear and have no excuse but to be comfortable for you. However at $100 US, they dwarf the price of these headphones at $79.99 US. A little more now became a LOT more. Joan I own a pair of Ultimate Ears head phones and another brand. The UE head phones are far superior. Sure they cost a bit more but well worth it. The only thing that I would disagree with from this review is the "comfortable fit." After some research I found earsound.com which made me a custom fit attachment made from molds of my ears.