What can you have in common with musicians such as Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Foo Fighters, Godsmack, Metallica, No Doubt, The Rolling Stones, Steve Vai and Van Halen? If you give the folks over at Ultimate Ears a call, you’ll be using the same personal, in ear monitors that the super stars use.
Ultimate Ears has been making custom fitted, in-ear personal monitors for years, and their reputation in the music world is almost legendary. How does the thought of a tiny, custom-fit, comfortable ear piece, complete with multiple drivers that deliver full, rich, accurate, and life-like sound while canceling out background and ambient noise hit you?
One of the most common complaints with today’s mp3 players (think iPod, Zen, Rio, Jukebox and so on) is that the headphones that ship with them aren’t worth the nickel it cost to include them. I heartily agree with this sentiment – the ear buds that shipped with my iPod don’t fit my ears properly and the sound is almost abysmal. I have a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort headphones that I usually use with my iPod, but they’re big and bulky, and after a while, they make my ears sweat.
A call to Ultimate Ears solves the problems associated with ordinary headphones and ear buds. Good-bye uncomfortable, ill-fitting ear buds. Good-bye bulky, uncomfortable, hot headphones. But what’s with all of this “custom fit” talk? How does that work, you ask?
It’s rather simple. Pick up your yellow pages directory and turn to the “hearing aids” section. Find an audiologist or hearing aid center near you and make an appointment to have an ear impression made. This $75 procedure takes less than ten minutes, and requires the audiologist to inject silicone into your ear, so that he or she can get a “full shell earpiece” mold. When it’s all done, you’ll walk out with your ear molds, which you’ll then send to Ultimate Ears.
Ultimate Ears will utilize the impressions to make an ear piece that’s designed specifically for each of your ears. And, depending on the model you select (Ultimate Ears offers six different models of personal monitors), Ultimate Ears will fit your monitors with either two or three drivers, box them up and send them back to you in a nifty little miniature metal “flight case.” You’ll be enjoying your custom fit personal monitors in no time.
Why custom fit? A custom fit ear piece is comfortable – it’s designed to fit snugly, yet comfortably in your ear. The proper fit also provides outside noise cancellation of up to -26db (perfect for when you’re trying to listen to your iPod or DVD player on an airplane), and better yet, the snug fits creates what is essentially a resonance chamber in your ear, and that means bigger, better bass without having to increase volume. It also means that people sitting next to you won’t hear what you’re listening too, and that’s a feature that I wish every person on the Metro while listening to an iPod would take advantage of.
The entry level Ultimate Ears UE-5c feature dual drivers (high and low frequencies), a frequency response of 20Hz to 16kHz, 119db of sensitivity at 1 milliwatt, and come with your choice of clear, black, beige or brown replaceable cables in lengths of 46-inches or 64-inches. The UE-5c’s are ideal for iPod owners. The suggested retail for the UE-5c is $550.
The top of the line UE-10 PRO feature triple drivers (single high, dual low drivers), a frequency response of 20Hz to 16kHz, 119db sensitivity at 1 milliwatt, and can be molded in your choice of skin tone, custom color, or two-color swirl (at no charge). Like the UE-5c, the cables are available in a variety of colors and lengths, and are replaceable. The suggested retail for the UE-10 PRO is $900.
Sure, the Ultimate Ears are a bit pricey, but once you try them, you’ll never want to leave home without them. And besides, you spent several hundred dollars on your mp3 player, and you’ve spent more than a few hundred bucks customizing your car, so why not indulge yourself with the most comfortable, best sounding set of ear phones you’ll ever experience? Ultimate Ears are designed to last a lifetime (if cared for properly), and are sure to earn you major cool points with your bench racing buddies. Give them a try, and you’ll wonder why you ever fooled around with any of those other ear bud-type headphones.