Its been a long time coming, but Ultimate Ears has finally bought out a new big gun. We heard much improvement from the company’s proprietary True Tone Drivers in the [UE Pro Reference Remaster], so things are shaping up in a very positive direction for the new 6 driver-per-ear flagship that utilizes the same type of updated balanced armature technology.
Like the 18 before it, the new “plus” internals include a four-way crossover and triple-bore design. The website boasts: “6 proprietary balanced armature drivers divided into 4 frequency bands. Midrange band pass filter, staggered high pass filters. 4-way mixed crossover designed to separate electrical load on each individual balanced armature.”
The new drivers do come at a small increase however. The new piece will hit the street at $1.5k, a 10% bump over its predecessors starting price. Its is worth mentioning that in the context of flagship custom IEMs, this is really still a value forward cost with 64 Audio’s A18 at $3k and JH Audio’s Layla at $2,725.
The artist-friendly company has been holding their top tier product line in formation for quite some time in a market that sees updates annually (or even faster). Ultimate Ears appears to approach its launches with much thought, R&D and intent behind them. Their IEMs offer feature sets that cater closely to specific needs. With the Capital-Studio-backed UERR it was a more linear response, and for their efforts the achieved probably one of the most neural-sounding IEMs currently available on the market. If we see the same delta of improvement from that Remaster in the 18, then audiophiles are looking at a real contender at the $1-$2k level. Even if the final equation for the 18+ balances out as nothing more than the UERR + a small dash of EQ “fun”, the end result should be well received among audiophiles and performers alike. From the press release:
“At Ultimate Ears Pro, the guiding motto among our team is that getting better has no finish line,” said Philippe Depallens, vice president and general manager of Ultimate Ears Pro. “Our flagship model is a true testament to this principle. We’ve made incredible technological headways in the last few years, as the first to pioneer 3D printing and technology for custom in-ear monitors. Because of this innovation, we’re able to control the variability of the internal architecture for even greater sound control. No matter if you’re an audiophile in Japan, a DJ in New York City or a session guitarist in Nashville, you’re getting our very best with the UE 18+ Pro.” The UE 18+ Pro, which can be plugged into any audio interface with the ⅛” (3.5mm) headphone jack or included ¼” adaptor, was created for musicians of all kinds. For example, by pulling the mids slightly forward, vocalists will hear a warmer sound, guitarists can expect a more natural, less crispy sound, and drummers can hear more body from their the snare drum.