The Ultrafocus 8000's
The Cadillac of the Polk headphone series and priced to compete as an upper tier headphone. These sound pretty darn good. They were very comfortable and easy to wear for long periods of time. I found the various buttons to be very tactile and easy to use. The mic feature was a nice touch so that you can hear someone when they come up and talk to you. I couldn't be sure of the battery life, but I did replace the batteries mid way through the testing. The Kevlar no tangle cables were comfortable
If I was to choose 1 word to describe the sound signature it would be ?Beats?. This is a very bass forward headphone. This shouldn't be interpreted as a slur against the headphone. From a marketing stand point this makes sense. The Beats are one of, if not the best selling headphones right now. From this it's obvious that a large amount of people prefer this coloring in their music.
The mids are lush and the highs are relatively crisp and clear. The bass was very pronounced but only boomed when playing a bass heavy track. It even boomed a few times when the EQ was set to neutral and off. This isn't to say that I disliked the sound signature of the phone. Overall it was a very pleasing listening experience. The beat out everything I threw at it for listening except for one phone. I would also say for the price, it is a good value.
For the noise canceling portion of the headphones, it was OK. If your sitting in a quite room or a library, they will make the background noise totally disappear. Assuming that any thing noise canceling is meant to be portable, real world sounds were used to check this. Unfortunately, the phones fell short in this aspect. The Ultrafocus 6000's were better at noise canceling than the 8000's. (This might be due to better isolation from the ear pieces than an over the ear phone.) The Audio-Technica 7b's were the best in the comparison for this, but for music they are lack luster.
In conclusion, these sound really good but might not be your best choice if noise canceling is something your buying these phones for. For the quality sound they offer, I think you get a good value for the dollars spent for these phones. They just aren't for me.
Please see the attached .pdf file for more information and my review of the Ultrafocus 6000's that were compared at the same time. Headphone_Tests.pdf
The Ultrafocus 6000's
These are priced at less than half the cost of the 8000's. During the un-boxing, I noticed the rather large nozzles of the IEM. It took a fair bit of time to find the ear pieces that could be inserted for a good seal that were also comfortable. They came with a generous supply of ear pieces for different preferences and ear canal size. Take your time choosing your ear pieces and it will pay dividends when you listen.
These also have the Kevlar no tangle cables. I found them more comfortable on the 8000's than on the 6000's. Perhaps that is just because I'm used to the smaller and lighter cables that come with most IEM's. That being said, since your always coiling the cables on IEM's, these are truly tangle free and easy to manage.
The battery pack has a fair bit of weight to it. You'll need to use the shirt clip to keep the pack from swaying and yanking the phones out of your ear. The one design feature missing that would be useful is a slider on the cables. The slider lets people lock the cables in place on the back of the neck or chin and would help with the issue of a swinging battery pack.
The sound signature is very similar to the 8000's which I have described as bass forward. Musically, they aren't as good the 8000's but at this price point they can't really be expected to be. The mids weren't as full and the highs weren't as crisp. They still had a tendency to boom on heavy bass passages. During my comparison testing, this phone was far harder to place as I rotated headphones, listening to the same passages with each phone. For some music they were the best performer in the other selections they didn't fair as well (in the mid price range).
On noise canceling, these were better than the 8000's. This might be due to the better isolation achieved with a good seal from the ear pieces. They still didn't do as well as the Audio-Technica 7b's but considering the 7b's performance for music, I would say that these won the category when you look at noise canceling with music.
In conclusion, I'll probably be getting a pair of these. For music with noise canceling they were far better than my Audio-Technica 7b's. They are at the right price point too. I don't mind paying $150 for a pair of headphones for occasional use when I travel. The sound of my Westone 4r's is far superior but I find the background noise too distracting to really enjoy the music from them when flying or sitting in the airport.
For more information please see the attached .pdf file for comparison ratings and notes while listening.