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.