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Ultimate Ears Begins Affordable Custom Moulds

Gordon Kelly


Ultimate Ears Begins Affordable Custom Moulds

I suspected the Etymotic custom earphones range would signal the start of a - highly welcome - trend...

This month sees Logitech purchase Ultimate Ears also go down the more affordable bespoke route as it has launched a custom store offering moulded earplugs on its ue 4, 5, 7, 10 and 11 lines. Interestingly, a choice of three different plugs will be available with -9dB (ambient noise removal), -15dB (best in balanced environments) and -25bB (for very loud environments) filters all available.

"Custom Earplugs with acoustically tuned filters were developed so that you can be in loud environments yet still listen at a safer, more comfortable level," said the company. "The changeable filters lower the sound levels equally across all frequencies — a sonic equivalent of turning down the total volume level. And since Custom Earplugs reduce all of the frequencies evenly, they avoid the skewed, muffled sound effects common to over the counter earplugs."

Ultimate Ears has long been at the forefront of high end professional monitor moulds but this move does attempt to bring the service to a more mainstream audience. That said, pricing remains comparatively expensive with Ultimate Ears charging $170 (circa £106) a pair which makes it £16 more than the cost charged by Etymotic. Furthermore, Etymotic partner and fellow high end monitor and custom mould specialist ACS charges £90 to produce moulds for any model of earphones you care to name - including Ultimate Ears.

As yet Ultimate Ears hasn't confirmed its mainstream custom service in the UK, but given the pricing - and alternatives - we're not exactly wiping away the tears just yet...


UE Custom Earplugs

Oliver Levett

May 26, 2009, 3:16 am

Umm... Why bother with the filters? Since it says it has an effect similar to turning down the volume, why not just turn down the volume?


May 26, 2009, 7:35 am

@Oliver - you're missing the point. The better fit the filter the more of the outside world that is blocked out and the quieter (and therefore better for yours ears) you can have the music. Not to mention the enhancement of sound quality.

You cannot "just turn down the volume" with low quality or generic earbuds because the environmental noise means you won't be able to hear anything. For example, on a tube it is common for commuters to say their iPods are too quiet. This isn't the case, they are blasting their poor ears but all the background noise is getting in. Hugo and I both use custom moulded earphones and can enjoy music at HALF volume on the tube - anything more would be almost too loud!

Ultimately, spending money on any form of decent earphone - let alone custom earbud - seems a hard sell to the public at large currently. Then again, I think hearing is far too important a thing to mess with and I suspect public attitude may change as cases of tinnitus and hearing impairment are on the rise.

I know these things cost a lot, but considering the way money is often flittered away on frivolity I'd rather have a weekend or two at home and put what I save towards something genuinely important. In the long term you'll be glad you did.


May 26, 2009, 7:39 am

@Oliver - if you didn't follow the link from the story (linked from 'highly welcome') you may find this article an interesting read:


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