The Gleam of a Razor

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The Ultrasone Edition M Plus is tuned for clarity above all else. Light, air, and articulation are all at the fore. However, its highly transparent and detail-focused sound is balanced with subtle, liquidy warmth, which rounds off the edges and keeps things from becoming uncomfortable.

Edition M’s treble pierces of the stratosphere, where it sparkles like a diamond. This awesome extension infuses the atmosphere with such air, you feel as if you can breathe it. Sunrays pour in, highlighting each nuance on the stage, making every detail pop. Fortunately, Ultrasone didn’t overdo it. They warmed the treble up ever so slightly, as to avoid a cold or brittle quality. It’s not a terribly bright headphone, nor is it painful to the ears.

Vocals are naked and utterly clear. There’s no coloration to speak of, no lushness, and very little warmth. As I said, clarity is key. The singer’s voice is highly resolved, with all the grit and imperfection exposed. This is a very lifelike render, if lacking in the romance some of us enjoy.

Likewise, the instruments are all business as well. Notes flow crisp and precise. Drums snap and pop with vivid energy, and electric guitars possess all the aggression and crunch you could want. Acoustic instruments, however, suffer a little under this philosophy, lacking some of those musical overtones found in warmer profiles.

The M+ is not exactly bass light. It comes off more or less neutral. Still, it may not be everything a basshead is hoping for. For me personally, I don’t find myself wishing for too much more, beyond warming up the lower mids a bit. That is, until I throw on a bass-heavy track, like Xanny from Billie Eilish, and Ultrasone completely fails to blow my hair back. For most music, the M+ comes across perfectly adequate. But when you’re supposed to be wowed by the bass, these headphones cannot deliver. Is that a deal breaker? You’ll have to decide.

The soundstage is big and open, extending beyond the head in a cube shape. The resolution is extremely sharp and clear, competing against the best the industry has to offer. Layering and instrument separation are very well defined, making it a joy to close your eyes and mentally move between the sounds. The wonderfully accurate imaging further aids in this, coalescing with the Edition M’s other strengths to elevate these headphones to a high level of technical greatness.

The Kennerton Magni ($817, Review HERE) makes a good point of comparison. Magni is Kennerton’s portable-esque offering, and the price is in the ballpark. The first thing which becomes apparent, is Edition M is clearly the smaller, lighter, more mobile-friendly headphone. While Magni is trimmed down for this purpose, and plenty comfortable, it’s still a decent size headphone you’ll be unlikely to forget you’re wearing. As for sound, Magni is the more musical, euphonic monitor. Slightly elevated bass and mid-range warmth gives the mix a more organic and coherent quality. Yet it lacks nothing in clarity or detail. There is a sweet, richness to Kennerton you do not find in Ultrasone. It is very much to my liking. The M+ in comparison sounds bright and thin.

Meze’s 99 Classic ($309, Review HERE) is still, to me, the baseline for what affordable portable headphones should be. While the 99C is significantly cheaper than the others, it gives them a run for their money. Is it as resolving? No, both Magni and M+ have superior micro dynamics, texturing, and detail. Yet Meze puts a smile on my face, every time. They are so musical, so lively, balancing richness with air and energy. The treble sparkles and the bass knows how to impress. All while delivering gorgeous vocals. It’s the complete package, and not a hard one to recommend.

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About Author

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.

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