Music From The Outer Space – UFO EAR 112 IEMs Review
UFO Ear is a new company from China, with good experience, creating IEMs that are in the midrange price range, with a unique design, almost like they’re from another planet. The 112 from UFO Ear should be tested against other IEMs from this planet, and we’ll see how it stands its ground.
UFO Ear is a pretty new company from China, and the main person behind them, David, is quite a fine gentleman, who will take care of things for you, if anything bad is to happen. So far, the build quality on my sample of 112 has been pretty much excellent, so I don’t expect there to be issues, but if there will be, you know you have your back covered with UFO Ear.
It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with UFO EAR, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by UFO EAR or anyone else. I’d like to thank David and UFO Ear for providing the sample for this review. The sample was provided along with UFO EAR’s request for an honest and unbiased review. This review reflects my personal experience with UFO EAR 112. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in UFO EAR 112 find their next music companion.
First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:
For the first time in a long while I can talk a bit about the package, because 112 comes in a rather unique and excellent package.
Beneath the larger cardboard packaging, you will find what I can basically describe as a spaceship. I’m not even joking, it is a real spaceship! For all I can tell, this is one of the most ingenious packages a company has ever created so far.
It even serves a useful purpose, it acts as a tip holder. If this isn’t one of the most fancy things one has ever seen, I’m not sure what is.
The center part is a rounded metallic case that screws in, and it is the main transport solution for 112.
They come with a cable, high quality, 2-Pin, Single Ended, and with a large selection of tips. There are also manuals included in the package.
Overall, UFO Ear 112 has a really excellent package and goes beyond my typical limit for reaching a golden level for packaging.
What to look in when purchasing a high-end In-Ear Monitor
Starting with the build quality, UFO EAR 112 is a plastic IEM, with a plastic shell, hiding two Balanced Armatures and one Dynamic Driver beneath. The cable is a Silver Plated Copper cable. The IEMs themselves are very round, very ergonomic, basically being two little spherical surfaces with nothing else but the bore and their connection to the ear, and on the other hand, the connection to the cable.
They have two sonic tubes inside the bore.
The very ergonomic overall design brings a smile to my face, because I could wear them for long periods of time without fatigue, they simply sit well in my ears. The large selection of tips also helps with this.
One thing I do not fully understand though, is why they’d 3D print them, when it would probably be less expensive to acquire them mass produced, but either way, the plastic on the outside feels nice, feels pretty high-quality.
UFO 112 isolates fairly well from the outside noise, but they don’t have any driver flex, indicating a good amount of venting. I like this, and feel happy that a new company managed to get no driver flex on a newly released IEM. There is some hiss with hissy sources, and since they have BA drivers and an extremely low impedance, of just 14 OHMs, there will be some changes in sound with high output impedance sources.
The comfort in practice is very good, they are a good walking and even running IEM, the cable has springy rubbery parts that go around the ear. The fact that those aren’t hard wired means that they will adapt to your ear’s shape without worries, and that they won’t get uncomfortable.
The aesthetic that reminds of a spaceship stays true to the original design of 112, and I feel like on an overall level, they are a pretty cool-looking, comfortable, well built IEMs that do reach the golden levels of comfort and build quality.
The sound of UFO 112 is one of a kind, almost like it didn’t come from this planet at all. They are an extremely bright, slightly sibilant IEM, with a high affinity for detail and clarity, and with a really awoken presentation of micro details and textures. UFO 112 was tuned for an Asian public, and more especially for Anime-related music, Gaming, Soundtracks, and as such, it should present music pretty wide, with a good amount of brightness, a sweet voicing, and with a more neutral bass.
The bass is pretty neutral, and while it can be felt where it should be felt, it tends to favor Metal music over electronic or rap music, especially when you consider that a bass guitar should sound like this, while electronic music bass, or that found in EDM is more favored by higher quantity. The bass texture is clean, and although it isn’t quite the most textured bass to ever exist, the detail is good for the price range of 350 USD, being about as detailed as its competitors.
The midrange is slightly pushed back compared to the bass, and very recessed when compared to the treble. The midrange is very clear, has a great amount of detail to it, and is very well separated, with the soundstage width being really really huge, and with the instrument separation being quite excellent. There isn’t a lot of depth, but the wide and well separated sound comes through as very holographic, and very pleasing for progressive rock, rock in general, metal, and symphonic metal. Orchestral music as well as lively classical is also presented wide, and although it doesn’t have a lot of warmth or body, given the more neutral bass, it has a nice separation, detail and refinement, thanks to the pretty excellent soundstage and detail.
I keep talking about the detail and the micro detail, but basically, there is a nice bump in the upper midrange, and another one in the 7-9kHz in the treble, which gives extra air and detail to the music, pushes forward female vocals to be sweet, but also very emotional and dramatic, everything having a good amount of emotion and impact.
Now, the treble is the best part, UFO 112 is very well extended in the upper treble, they have a very airy and clean sound, and you can feel the textures of stringed instruments through and through. There are traces of sibilance, and especially music that was recorded with a touch of sibilance or which was recorded very bright, will be sibilant, so I could say that they reveal sibilance quite well. Due to their revealing nature, they pair poorly with older and poorly mastered recordings, but do favor to music that is mastered really well.
Paired with the right music, and maybe with a warmer and smoother source, like Shanling M0, they shine like a true diamond, especially with their really cool aesthetic and actually interesting package.
Overall, UFO 112 is one of the bright, happy, open-sounding IEMs that you should totally check out if you’re into this type of signature, and if you’re not afraid of them revealing the mistakes in the songs you like, like sibilance.
Portably speaking, UFO 112 is quite excellent. They are a comfortable pair of IEMs that will sit in your ears, even if you’re running. UFO Ears also claim that they’re protected from water and sweat, so you don’t have to sweat it if you’re sweating a bit.
Furthermore, they have a very low impedance, but a very high sensitivity, so they are quite easy to drive from a smartphone, sounding quite good actually, from my rather poor xiaomi mi max 3.
Other things to keep in mind, are that they isolate very well, so you may want to not wear them if you’ll be away in a rather dangerous environment, I always advice people to not wear fully closed back or very isolating IEMs if they’re walking on the street and are a bit careless of their surroundings.
In all honesty, with the rounded and fully metallic carrying case, good comfort, and easy to drive nature, UFO 112 is a very portable IEM.
UFO 112 is priced around 350 USD at the moment of writing this review. This means that the direct competitors are FLC 8N, Periodic Audio Be and Final E5000.
UFO 112 vs Final Audio E5000 – Now, here’s an interesting one, because E5000 is pretty much at the direct opposite end of the spectrum, with a really thick, really lush and really laid back sound, that rolls off the treble quite early, and instead of brightness can be characterized by fullness, although they are fairly crisp, and E5000 is a really really really thick-sounding IEM. Both IEMs come with good cables, good ergonomics, and good carrying cases, although the case of 112 is made of metal, while the case of E5000 is made of rubber. The build quality is excellent on both, both are vented and both are very comfortable, although they are worn differently, e5000 straight down, while 112 is over-the-ear, and E5000 requires to be listened very loud to truly shine, and leaks a lot, while 112 sounds best and low and moderate volumes, and doesn’t leak one bit, but also isolates quite well, although E5000 also isolates fairly well. Overall, if you’re looking for a thick, lush, full and deep IEM, E5000 is the clear choice here, while if you prefer a more bright, analytical, clear, clean, and revealing sound, UFO 112 is the one for you.
UFO 112 vs FLC 8N – FLC8N is also a IEM that can seem gimmicky before you spent a while with it, since a single IEM with over 36 signatures surely sounds pretty amazing, but a bit iffy at the same time. All in all, both are comfortable IEMs, with FLC8N being quite a bit more generic sounding, and UFO 112 having a better fit overall, with better comfort, but one thing to notice is that FLC 8N does actually have a large number of tunings, but none isn’t quite as bright and as revealing as UFO 112, although FLC8N sounds extremely wide and clear as well. Overall, UFO 112 brings a bit more detail forward, but is more prone to sibilance, is more comfortable, and is easier to use, while 8N is more complicated to use, but still an amazing IEM easy to recommend if you’re not one to like a very bright sound.
UFO 112 vs Periodic Audio BE – This one is interesting, because the two are actually quite different in both tuning and principle, being a IEM that is supposed to look as minimalistic as possible, without a detachable cable, and with a very simple aesthetic. This being said, the metallic carrying case of Be is very flashy. On the other hand, both are really comfortable IEMs, but 112 is more comfortable, and is built to last more, with its detachable cables. The sound is very different, with 112 being much brighter, with much more focus on the treble, a less warm bass, a more wide soundstage and with more emphasis on detail and its revealing ability, than Periodic Audio Be, which is focused on romance, musicality, euphonics, and a more mellow, more gentle, more acoustic and more warm sound, making older music much easier to listen to than UFO 112, which reveals maybe a touch too much detail for older music, or for poorly mastered music.
UFO 112 is easy to pair with many portables, but it loves a better Player or DAC/AMP, and will sound better with a better source. This being said, their really easy to drive nature means that they are really easy to pair with ultraportables, and given that UFO EARs were planning on including a bluetooth cable at some point, it is quite clear that this is part of the reason they have such low impedance and high efficiency.
UFO 112 + Shanling M0 – Shanling M0 is actually a really good pair for 112 because it mellows them out, calms down the treble and thickens the bass a bit, making them more versatile and more universal. If there’s any really small ultraportable that I could easily recommend with 112, M0 would be it. Count in the excellent Hiby software magic and support and you’re in for a lot of fun with M0.
UFO 112 + FiiO M3K – M3K is a colder, more neutral, brighter device compared to M0 and most devices, making it one of the best reference ultraportables. This means that you’ll hear the 112’s signature untainted by any colored source, basically their huge might of treble brightness, linear bass, and their entire huge soundstage, M3K being larger sounding compared to typical warmer ultraportables.
UFO 112 + iBasso DX120 – DX120 is like a dream companion with 112, and I’ve been using this pairing quite a bit, due to DX120’s excellent sonic characteristics, two microSD slots, and the multiple music modes. You can make DX120 and UFO 112 sound as you like to, DX120 has an excellent EQ implementation as well, and with 1 TB of music at your fingertips, or even more, you’re set for fun.
Value and Conclusion
UFO 112 has been a true delight to review, and one from another planet at that.
It is quite clear that if you’re looking for a IEM that simply sounds out of this world, you should consider UFO 112, but for its 350 USD price point, it has a lot to answer to, before you can make a decision, but it seems to hold its ground quite well.
Starting with the build quality, it is made quite well, it has ventilation, so it isn’t prone to driver flex, and it didn’t get a single scratch during my tests and usage, which means that it will last well for most people. The cables are also based on the 2-Pin connector standard, so you can easily exchange them if they’d be to get broken.
The isolation is very good, and so is the comfort, but you’ll have to take care of your surroundings if you’ll be walking while wearing them, as otherwise I’d be quite concerned about your well-being, and so should you.
The sound of UFO 112 is also quite unique, very bright, yet finely detailed, the emphasis in the treble surely makes them sound very wide and well expanded in width, and although they don’t have a lot of depth, they surely know how to sound pretty holographic. The dynamics are also pretty nice, and so is the impact, although for such a bright IEM, you should make sure you’re looking for this type of sound before getting one, it surely is an acquired taste.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a fairly comfortable, well made IEM, with an interesting presentation, that comes with a high-quality cable, and with a nice carrying case, and with a bright, energetic, lively, forward, detailed and clean sound, you should totally consider UFO 112, and let them take you to the outer space.
Full Playlist used for this review
While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.
Bats – Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
Eskimo Callboy – Frances
Incubus – Summer Romance
Electric Six – Dager! High Voltage
Kishida Cult – High School Of The Dead
Dimmu Borgir – Dimmu Borgir
Breaking Benjamin – I Will Not Bow
Thousand Foot Krutch – The Flame In All Of Us
Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom – Song Pong
Attack Attack – Kissed A Girl
Doctor P – Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone – Rock n Roll Chainsaw
Rob Zombie – Werewolf, Baby!
Escape The Fate – Gorgeous Nightmare
SOAD – Chop Suey
Ken Ashcorp – Absolute Territory
Machinae Supremacy – Need For Steve
Ozzy Osbourne – I Don’t Wanna Stop
Crow’sclaw – Loudness War
Eminem – Rap God
Stromae – Humain À L’eau
Sonata Arctica – My Selene
Justin Timberlake – Sexy Back
Metallica – Fuel
Veil Of Maya – Unbreakable
Masa Works – Golden Japang
REOL – Luvoratorrrrry
Korn – Word Up!
Papa Roach – … To be Loved
Fever The Ghost – Source
Fall Out Boy – Immortals
Green Day – Know The Enemy
Mindless Self Indulgence – London Bridge
A static Lullaby – Toxic
Royal Republic – Addictive
Astronautalis – The River, The Woods
We Came As Romans – My Love
Skillet – What I Believe
Man With A Mission – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Yasuda Rei – Mirror
Mojo Juju – Must Be Desire
Falling Up – Falling In Love
Manafest – Retro Love
Rodrigo Y Grabriela – Paris
Zomboy – Lights Out
Muse – Resistance
T.A.T.U & Rammstein – Mosaku
Grey Daze – Anything, Anything
Katy Perry – Who Am I Living For
Maroon 5 – Lucky Strike
Machinae Supremacy – Killer Instinct
Pendulum – Propane Nightmares