review: Ultrasone HFI-2400
April 13, 2010 by Beatweek
If the highest complement you can give a set of high-end earbuds is that they retain the intimacy of earbuds while providing the sonic landscape of cup style headphones, then the highest complement I can give Ultrasone’s high end HFI-2400 headphones is that they retain the intimacy of headphones while tricking your mind into believing that you’re a room with surround sound speakers. And for $329, they’d better do something magical. But based on my tests, the word “magic” definitely comes to mind.
In fact my tests included the desire to use the HFI-2400 to go back and re-listen to album in my library, because I’ve never heard my music sound quite like that. In fact the illusion here is not so much that you’re hearing this coming out of a great speaker system but that you’re in the studio with the artist while the music is being recorded (I’ve had that opportunity a few times over the years, and these headphones remind me of it vividly).
The catch, beyond the price tag, is that these cans are massive compared to typical headphones. Sure, they fold up to occupy half the space (the cups can also rotate to sit flat), but these are not portable in any real sense. They’ll work with your computer or iPod/iPhone, but only by use of the adapter included in the box, which results in the plug sticking a combined three inches out of your headphone jack. Just holding my iPhone in my hand felt top-heavy with the giant cable plugged into the top of it; I found myself much more likely to use the HFI-2400 with my computer instead. But man is it ever hard to go back to using any other headphones after this.