[Review] Polk Audio UltraFit 2000 Sport Headphones

gdpeckgdpeck Posts: 844
edited September 2012 in Headphones
Thanks to forum member dorokusai, I have had the opportunity to have a demo pair of the new Polk Audio headphones in my possession for way too long. I've enjoyed my time with them, and wrote down some of my impressions of the headphones. This is a long post. In case you lose interest halfway through it, my conclusion is that I think these are great headphones for their intended purpose, and for the money. If you like the behind-the-ear style and are looking for workout headphones, don't hesitate to purchase these.

Polk Audio?s UltraFit Sports Headphones are marketed as ideal headphones for sports and exercise. They are designed to fit well, and stay in place through strenuous physical activity. 3 of the 4 models are in-ear headphones with hooks on them and special ear inserts to hold them in place. The UltraFit 2000 Sports Headphone which I am reviewing is a behind-the-head style. It uses a band that rests behind the ears, like eyeglass temples. I?ve used other behind-the-ear headphones before, and find the UltraFit 2000 to be the most comfortable of this type that I have used, because they don?t put excessive pressure on my head either in front of or behind my ears. The band is a little thick, so it doesn?t work super well with glasses. The UltraFit 2000 comes with a nice complement of ear pads, including foam, silicone, and shearling ear pads for cold weather. A nice zippered carrying case, and a Nokia smart phone adapter are also included. I exclusively used the silicone ear pads, and they were very nice for exercising.

I also own the Polk UltraFit 1000s, which are an in-ear versions of the UltraFit headphones. These have varying lengths of cable included, so that the headphones can be used with music players in several locations, such as clipped to a shirt collar, on an armband, or attached to a waistband, or in a pants pocket. In contrast, the UltraFit 2000, has a single length 46? cable, which is attached only to the left-earpiece. This type of cable design is nice for a fitness headphone, as it is less cumbersome, than the typical y cable arrangement where the cable is attached to both earpieces. The cable is also flat. This is said to reduce microphonics (extra noise from the sound of the cable hitting you while you run). I wish that Polk would have included multiple cable lengths with the UltraFit 2000, like they did with the other UltraFit models. I feel that the UltraFit 2000 cable is too long to be used with a music player on an armband or clipped to a shirt collar. I typically use a player in an armband, but found that the UltraFit 2000, really only worked well with a player clipped to a waistband or in the pocket of my running shorts. One nice touch is that the a spring clip is included so that the cable can be clipped to a shirt to minimize cable movement while exercising.

The UltraFit 2000 has playback controls, and a microphone, and is designed to be used with smart phones. It specifically has the ?made for iPod, made for iPhone, made for iPad? designation. I used the headphones with my iPhone 4, and the controls worked well. The microphone is inline with the cable, and hangs very close to the mouth. I used the UltraFit 2000 for phone calls, and the microphone seemed to be good. It doesn?t do any noise cancellation, but also doesn?t pick up every last bit of background noise. The controls are on the right earpiece, which seems like a more durable location, than inline on the cable. However, when operating the controls, they do push the earpiece into the ear, which isn?t super comfortable.

I really enjoy the sound of the UltraFit 2000s. They have a pretty wide frequency response, which also seems very balanced. No area of the frequency range is emphasized, and they are very clean sounding. The bass is tight and well-controlled. It is a little lean for my taste, but it is definitely not boomy and sounds very nice. Music sounds very balanced, and even when there is a lot going on in a song, the clarity is good. and they don?t sound congested. Compared with the UltraFit 1000s, I prefer the sound of the UltraFit 2000s, as the UltraFit 1000s, seem to create a very pronounced mid-range, which is a little out of balance. However, The UltraFit 1000s, are fantastic running headphones, as they fit perfectly, and have a short cable so I can use my armband. They also work well with my sunglasses.

I also compared the sound of they UltraFit 2000s to some Koss KSC-35s, and liked the UltraFit 2000s a little better. The KSC-35s have a little fuller bass, but are not as balanced in the midrange and treble.

Finally, I compared the UltraFit 2000s to Alessandro MS-1s. The MS-1s are one of my favorite headphones, and sounded quite a bit better than the UltraFits. I especially noticed that there was a lot more ?space? between instruments and voices, in busy musical passages. The MS-1s also have more extension in the frequency range, and just sound more musical. However, they are not portable, and cost a bit more than the UltraFit 2000s.

In conclusion, the Polk Audio UltraFit 2000 Sport Headphones, are a very nice headphone for exercise and portable use, especially if you like the behind-the-head style of headphone. They are durable, comfortable, and sound really nice. They?re designed to be optimal exercise and sports headphones, and I believe that they succeed at that goal. They are a good value for the price, and I recommend them.
Post edited by gdpeck on

Comments

  • DrenisDrenis Posts: 2,870
    edited January 2012
    Great review!

    Props to doro and Polk for doing this demo. I submitted my review just before the holidays. The UF 3000's are my new all around headphone of choice now. :)
  • gdpeckgdpeck Posts: 844
    edited January 2012
    Drenis wrote: »
    Great review!

    Thanks!
    Drenis wrote: »
    Props to doro and Polk for doing this demo.

    +1000 for that! It was great to get a chance to try these out at no risk, and a lot of fun to write the review up as well.
    Drenis wrote: »
    I submitted my review just before the holidays. The UF 3000's are my new all around headphone of choice now. :)

    I may have to give the 3000s a try. I bought the 1000s, because I wanted something that didn't isolate for running, and they work really well for that purpose. They kind of disappear when I'm running, and I hardly notice that they are in my ears.

    I already use Westone 3s as my super isolating IEM of choice for travel, and when I just want to block everything else out. They are fantastic. Did you compare the UF 3000s to any other IEMs? What other headphones do they compare too?

    I'm looking forward to seeing your review. I submitted my review for inclusion on the product page as well, but thought I would post here too. Unfortunately, when I copied it in to the forum, some of the punctuation marks got messed up. Moderators, is there any possibility that I could edit and fix the punctuation?
  • DrenisDrenis Posts: 2,870
    edited January 2012
    gdpeck wrote: »
    Did you compare the UF 3000s to any other IEMs? What other headphones do they compare too?

    I compared them to what I was currently using, the famous Bose in-ears (I owned the 2nd series as the 3rd series just came out recently). They crushed the Bose in every way.

    I use the small foam tips and takes me a good solid minute to place them in my ears correctly and seal them. If there not sealed, you wont get nice sound. I find the silicone tips are great for exercise but I got the best audio response while using the foam tips. YMMV.

    Also note the 1000's are different then the 3000's. Just look at there design and you will see a difference (Hint - Look at the ports around the "polk" logo).
  • gdpeckgdpeck Posts: 844
    edited January 2012
    Drenis wrote: »
    I compared them to what I was currently using, the famous Bose in-ears (I owned the 2nd series as the 3rd series just came out recently). They crushed the Bose in every way.

    I use the small foam tips and takes me a good solid minute to place them in my ears correctly and seal them. If there not sealed, you wont get nice sound. I find the silicone tips are great for exercise but I got the best audio response while using the foam tips. YMMV.

    Also note the 1000's are different then the 3000's. Just look at there design and you will see a difference (Hint - Look at the ports around the "polk" logo).

    Did you have the Bose IEMs with the iPhone controls? Or without? Do you use the iPhone controls with your UFs? If so, how do they compare. I'm aware of the differences between the 1000s and 3000s. Just not sure I want to spend more money on another set of isolating earphones, because I'm super happy with what I already have. I am curious to hear the UF 3000s though.
  • DrenisDrenis Posts: 2,870
    edited January 2012
    No. I did not buy the Bose IEM with the controls. I don't use my phone as a source but a Zune HD instead or my Playbook. So controls are of no use to me. I did not use the 3000's controls. So I can't answer your question.

    The 3000's should be double in price when compared to the Bose. The 3000's do VERY well with isolation unless on a VERY windy day, you'll catch the occasional wind noise.
  • danger boydanger boy Posts: 15,888
    edited February 2012
    i bought a pair of the Ultrafit 2000 headphones to use with my Nano player.. and they sound great... except the over the ear plastic part keeps falling off.. i wish it was not a snap in piece of plastic.. and instead a permanent piece of the molded headphone band... other than that small flaw.. they sound great and feel very comfy..
    PolkFest 2012, who's going>?
    Vancouver, Canada Sept 30th, 2012 - Madonna concert :cheesygrin:
  • engtazengtaz Posts: 7,502
    edited February 2012
    Nice review. Thanks
    engtaz

    I love how music can brighten up a bad day.
  • mantismantis Posts: 14,624
    edited February 2012
    I'm looking for a better headphone , I'm gonna check these out. Right now I'm looking at the Klipsch all weather iPhone control head phones.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • VurothVuroth Posts: 16
    edited February 2012
    Yup, thanks for the review.
    Stereo:
    Sherwood ST-880 turntable
    Sherwood S-2620 receiver
    Tsi100 speakers <-- This is my starting point.

    HT:
    Dreaming about it
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,812
    edited February 2012
    Drenis wrote: »
    The 3000's do VERY well with isolation unless on a VERY windy day, you'll catch the occasional wind noise.

    My wife loves them with her iPhone 4. I won a pair of them from the survey Polk sent out. I tried to use them for work, but since I do IT and need to be answering the phone, in-ears just wont work for me. They did have a good fit and didnt feel out of place which is rare since I wear glasses.

    If I ever start working out/running again, I will definately be snagging them from her :eek:.

    The different lenghts of cord are quite nice and the microphone and volume controls work great as well (according to her :smile:)
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • gdpeckgdpeck Posts: 844
    edited February 2012
    My wife loves them with her iPhone 4. I won a pair of them from the survey Polk sent out. I tried to use them for work, but since I do IT and need to be answering the phone, in-ears just wont work for me. They did have a good fit and didnt feel out of place which is rare since I wear glasses.

    If I ever start working out/running again, I will definately be snagging them from her :eek:.

    The different lenghts of cord are quite nice and the microphone and volume controls work great as well (according to her :smile:)

    Try the 1000s for work. They don't isolate, but still fit really well. I don't love the microphone placement on them, as it isn't near my mouth and I think it picks up a little too much background noise. The volume controls are good though.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,812
    edited February 2012
    gdpeck wrote: »
    Try the 1000s for work. They don't isolate, but still fit really well. I don't love the microphone placement on them, as it isn't near my mouth and I think it picks up a little too much background noise. The volume controls are good though.

    Eh, I am not a fan of in ears. They end up hurting my ears after long listening sessions. I am picking up a set of AudioTechinca ATH-M50's or BeyerDynamic DT770's since I dont care how big they are as long as my ears dont throb after prolonged use. They also both come off real quick and allow me to just have one over my ear DJ style (so I can hear my phone going off). Also pairing them with a JDSLABS C421 headphone amp that will be connected to my iPhone 4 via a line out adaptor :smile:
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • DrenisDrenis Posts: 2,870
    edited February 2012
    Try the foam tips
  • RelicBertRelicBert Posts: 1
    edited September 2012
    Very nice review!

    Now available in Europe, Holland. At last. Used them fot a couple of days, riding my bike.
    gdpeck wrote: »
    If you like the behind-the-ear style and are looking for workout headphones, don't hesitate to purchase these.
    +1 Very nice fit, no trouble, no pain, stay in place very well. You don't notice them at all.
    gdpeck wrote: »
    The UltraFit 2000 comes with a nice complement of ear pads, including foam, silicone, and shearling ear pads for cold weather.
    A nice zippered carrying case, and a Nokia smart phone adapter are also included.
    The ear pads look nice, the zippered carrying case is a waist of money, the headphones don't fit. The Nokia adaptor was NOT in my box. (don't need them, so no big deal, but still)

    Polk.jpg

    gdpeck wrote: »
    In contrast, the UltraFit 2000, has a single length 46? cable, which is attached only to the left-earpiece.
    This type of cable design is nice for a fitness headphone, as it is less cumbersome, than the typical y cable arrangement where the cable is attached to both earpieces.
    The cable is also flat. This is said to reduce microphonics (extra noise from the sound of the cable hitting you while you run).
    I wish that Polk would have included multiple cable lengths with the UltraFit 2000, like they did with the other UltraFit models.
    I feel that the UltraFit 2000 cable is too long to be used with a music player on an armband or clipped to a shirt collar.
    The cable length for use on a bike with your iPhone or iPod in the back pocket is good, for running it might be to long.
    The good thing is that there is no cable pull, even after two hours of use. I never use my phone when biking so I don't know about the microphone.
    gdpeck wrote: »
    The controls are on the right earpiece, which seems like a more durable location, than inline on the cable.
    However, when operating the controls, they do push the earpiece into the ear, which isn?t super comfortable.
    Using the controls is easy and works well. Operating is very light, so I don't notice the pushing in the ear that much.
    gdpeck wrote: »
    I really enjoy the sound of the UltraFit 2000s.
    They have a pretty wide frequency response, which also seems very balanced.
    No area of the frequency range is emphasized, and they are very clean sounding.
    The bass is tight and well-controlled. It is a little lean for my taste, but it is definitely not boomy and sounds very nice.
    Music sounds very balanced, and even when there is a lot going on in a song, the clarity is good. and they don?t sound congested.
    There is a lot of wind noice when biking. The bass responce isn't that big. You can hear the sounds of the other traffic very well, good.
    gdpeck wrote: »
    In conclusion, the Polk Audio UltraFit 2000 Sport Headphones, are a very nice headphone for exercise and portable use,
    especially if you like the behind-the-head style of headphone.
    They are durable, comfortable, and sound really nice. They?re designed to be optimal exercise and sports headphones, and I believe that they succeed at that goal.
    They are a good value for the price, and I recommend them.
    +1!
  • ThortonThorton Posts: 981
    edited September 2012
    I purchased the 1000's. They're great for running or biking. They seem like they will never pop out and are comfortable. They do not isolate too much so they're good for on the road. Audio controls work good and the sound is pretty good for the price range. If the life span is decent from the normal sweating of the workout routine I may try the 3000's.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________
    AVR: Denon AVR-3805, AMP: Parasound Model 2250, Front: Polk RTIA7, Center: Polk CSIA6, Surrounds: Polk FXIA6, Sub: Polk DSW PRO660WI
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    Source: SONOS Music System, DAC: W4S DAC-2, Pre/Pro: Marantz AV8801, Amp1: W4S MC-5, AMP2: W4S MMC-7, Front: Salk SoundScape 8's, Center: Salk SoundScape C7, Surround: Polk FXIA6, Surround Back: Polk RTIA9, Subs: 2 - Polk DSW PRO660WI, IC & Speaker Cables: Signal Cable, Room Treatments: GIK Acoustics
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