Ultrasone Signature Natural

Wired, closed over-ear headphones to meet high demands

Ultrasone’s Signature Natural are coherent-sounding and pleasingly airy closed headphones that are aimed first and foremost at musicians and producers with high demands for quality. They are a robust and precise tool that aims to provide honest sound reproduction as the basis for sound evaluation. Their closed construction makes it possible to work in noisy environments and to use the headphones as a monitor in the recording room. In terms of fit, however, the Signature Natural is not necessarily “everyone’s darling”.

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The headphone manufacturer Ultrasone from Wielenbach in Bavaria has long been known for high-quality products. Over time they have developed their own drivers and technologies such as S-Logic and ULE, which of course are used in the Signature Natural.

Features

These are classic wired over-ear headphones aimed at music producers. Their features alone make you sit up and take notice: The headphones come in a high-quality transport case, which contains three connection cables and even a spare pair of ear pads in addition to the headphones themselves. That’s what I call generous.

The closed dynamic design relies on a plastic housing with a ratcheted length-adjustable, generously padded headband and earcups that can each be folded in, swivelled and slightly rotated, and are also padded with vegan leather.

The combination of matt black and silver on the outside gives the finish an elegant, neutral but above all robust look so that nothing stands in the way of everyday audio use. The embossing on the outside of the earcup underlines their superior quality. After all, the Signature Natural has a list price of 649 euros, but having said that, they are handmade in Germany. However, I have to say that the moving parts should have been made of metal on headphones in this price range.

The securely locked cable routing is on one side and you have the choice between a long 6.3 mm and a shorter 3.5 mm jack cable. The third cable also has a mini-jack but is additionally equipped with an integrated microphone and a one-button remote control for mobile use.

The Signature Natural weighs in at 310 grams, making them light enough for long listening sessions. At the heart of the design are the 40 mm diameter dynamic drivers. They feature tough, lightweight Mylar titanium diaphragms driven by NdFeB magnets. These drivers are covered on the inside by a thin layer of fabric. The distance to the ear is quite small, but more on that later …

As expected, the special features that have been developed by Ultrasone are made use of here. First of all, there is S-Logic 3 (visit the manufacturer’s website). This is based on a specially developed earpiece geometry in which the drivers are installed at a slight angle and offset, they are thus supposed to be adapted to the ear in order to achieve a more natural “free” listening experience similar to that familiar from loudspeakers. Furthermore, the device we tested featured effective shielding from the self-generated electromagnetic radiation of the built-in drivers, christened “Ultra Low Emission” (visit the manufacturer’s website).

In practice

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The functionality is straightforward. These headphones fit quite tightly, but this makes them fit securely and quite comfortably on the ear – this is ensured by their multi-dimensional mobility. The folding mechanism is quite practical for quick transport in a case and even enables one side of the headphones to be folded away as a DJ might. I have no objections to the synthetic leather, as it did not cause sweating, at least in my case.

Nevertheless, there were two problems: The ear pads are comparatively small, so that particularly large ears might not be covered. Due to the specific driver design, the drivers are also close to the ear and even touch it at certain points. This only bothered me a little but it meant that my partner was excluded from using these headphones – so it obviously depends on the shape of your ears.

If you use the cable with the remote control, you can make and receive phone calls, control music playback including track jumps and call up a voice assistant (Android and iOS) with single and multiple clicks.

Sound

Our listening test took place on both a RME ADI-2 Pro FS R ,a Violectric DHA V226 and a Shanling M3X. Basically, the Signature Natural was suitable for use with smart phones due to its low impedance of 32 ohms. These headphones always played powerfully and were well-balanced, they have no problem with high playback levels.

The exemplary production of “Celestial Echos” (Malia, Boris Blank) illustrated a direct example of the Signature Natural’s qualities: The broad, warm and transparent mix delivers countless details, fine dynamic gradations, deep basses, panorama and room effects. It was also impressive how the rough and brittle elements in Malia’s close-miked voice were detectable.

The bass was generally rather lean and tight to boot. In “Katsching” by Adel Tawil, many characteristics in this frequency range could be verified to good effect. The TR-808 bass drum delivered real low bass, which was audible but not overemphasised. In addition, there was an easily comprehensible tonality and a wide variety of gradations in decay.

Compared to the older Ultrasone Pro 900, which was a third cheaper at the time, the entire spectrum is more balanced. Above all, however, the Signature Natural is not too loud in the bass but, as mentioned, behaves rather neutrally.

At the other end of the spectrum, the device we tested demonstrated high transparency and airiness. Considering the price range and closed design, there was an enormous resolution of detail, which went hand in hand with a fast sound image and a finely resolved, precise stereo panorama. The edge of harshness was reached a little too quickly for my liking (Britney Spears “Toxic”). However, I would not call these headphones harsh. By the same token, the Signature Natural were not too soft.

What I could not detect as much was the sought-after detached localisation of the sound image like you would get with a loudspeaker or an obvious depth in the reproduction. In other words: The Signature Natural does a good job for its price but does not particularly stand out in terms of these qualities.

In the midrange, pianos, jazz and classical orchestral music convinced me with their dynamics and a pleasingly fine resolution. Voices were perfectly understandable due to the airy reproduction and did not lack body. The duet “Can’t Let Go” by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, for example, was great. Rock music like AC/DC’s “Can’t Stand Still” was equally punchy and balanced, but also had the necessary bite without overshooting the mark. Similarly, heavily distorted guitars in the metal genre usually sounded good. In general, the differences between mixes were always clearly recognisable. The fact that the Signature Natural clearly reveals level differences, as well as sound differences, makes it all the more a proper professional tool. Nevertheless, I thought these headphones could do with a little more warmth in the mid-range.

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Ulf Kaiser
8 months ago by Ulf Kaiser
  • Rating: 4.13
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

With the closed over-ear model Signature Natural, Ultrasone places a serious headphone in the price range between 600 and 700 euros. Good features, appealing workmanship and, above all, good sound performance justify the price.

As with studio monitors, a period of familiarisation is necessary to get to know the specific imaging characteristics in order to be able to transfer mixes to other speakers. The Signature Natural is also a reliable tool for editing, and its good external isolation means it can be used in noisy environments and on the move, but also in the recording room. The explicitly open upper treble range is quite remarkable for a closed system. The wearing comfort depends on the fit, which should be individually checked due to the specific design of these headphones.

Measurement Results

Frequency response:

Exterior noise damping:
More measurement results

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOver-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)8 Hz - 40.000 Hz
  • Impedance33,6 ohms
  • Sound pressure level (SPL)99,41 dB
  • Pressure averaged from big and small head722 g
  • Weight with cable355 g
  • Weight without cable328 g
  • Cable length120 cm

What's in the box

  • Coiled cable, 3m
  • Straight cable, 1.2 m
  • Straight cable, 1.2 m (with remote control)
  • Replacement ear pads
  • Travel case

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