Have you ever dated someone who possessed all your usual desirables and who seemed to genuinely like you, but the relationship ultimately failed to generate sparks? Ultimate Ears’ MetroFi 220vi are the earbud equivalent of that dating experience.
The Ultimate Ears are the headphone equivalent of “lite rock” radio.
The MetroFi’s felt big, bright, and warm as we ran through all the genres and artists on our testing playlist: Classic rock guitar strokes delivered appropriate punch without piercing our ears, while acoustic and classical numbers sounded clean, with each instrument’s establishing its presence with natural grace. But as with any dating experience gone awry, that one critical flaw surfaced and all hope of a long-term relationship was lost. In this potential lover’s case, ‘twas bass response that snuffed the romance.
As we tested this collection of in-ear monitors, bass response manifested itself in one of three ways: overly boosted, properly rendered, or nearly absent. On that scale, the MetroFi’s bass performance was better than absent, but far short of properly rendered. Listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, we could pick out Flea’s parts and pump up the volume without his lines blowing out the experience; but they failed to deliver a groove we could feel in our bones.
The MetroFi’s deliver good range and separation in an attractive, well-built package, and they have an in-line mic with a push-to-talk button that’s compatible with both iPhone and Blackberry models. But if you’re searching for a quasi-religious audiophile experience, there are plenty of better choices in this price range.