Cnet's Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg unequivocally thinks the Ultimate Ears 18 Pro earbuds, with their six driver setup, are worth $1350. So, uh, what do earbuds that cost more than most computers sound like?
The UE 18 Pro strips away layers of fuzz from the sound; the difference in clarity is pretty astounding. Drums kick harder, a lot harder than you've heard over headphones. You'll feel, literally, a more direct connection to the music; great recordings sound like a live mic feed. Bass is powerful, deep, and extremely detailed, you'll hear superior bass clarity to any headphone (or speaker) you've ever heard.
Backing down to sane levels I sampled Jonny Greenwood's (Radiohead's guitarist) orchestral score for the film "There Will Be Blood." It's pretty intense, soul-stirring music, and the UE 18 Pro lets you feel the bows scraping the strings, but the sound is never unduly harsh. Treble detail is outstanding, though I wouldn't characterize the sound as bright.