The Ultimate Ears custom in-ear lineup has remained fairly unchanged for the past few years. The flagship is still the 6 driver-per-ear, triple-bore 18 Pro ($1,350) with a full cascade of proportionality price customs landing somewhere below that. Some of the products work very well with the audiophile crowd while others are more performance-specific pieces are intended for singers or other pro applications. One of the most intriguing pieces in the line up has always been the UE Reference Monitor. Designed in partnership with Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and intended for studio engineers and producers, the CIEM offers up a more flat frequency response than the majority of earphones in this category, foregoing the abundance of bass boosting for a more even-handed, accurate point of reference.
Last week UE was gracious enough to invite me and a few other media outlets to Capital Studios to check out an updated, reboot of the UERM called the Reference Remaster. Combined with an outstanding high resolution demo from the staff at the studio, the event highlighted the new architecture and design of the CIEM that will replace the current model.
The new Reference Remastered will utilize a similar arrangement of three proprietary balance armature drivers per ear for low, high and mids, but swaps out the old high BA for a new specialty one.
From the press release:
“Through UE Pro’s proprietary True Tone Drivers, which extend the frequency range, and deliver a flat response to 18KHz, you can now hear the harmonic structures and overtones that are usually missing from most headphones. As a result, the notes from hi-res audio recordings can be heard just the way it was captured in the studio.”
The way the drivers are housed will also be updated with a new suspension system designed to push the limits even further in terms of resolution and overall tonality.
“The UE Pro Reference Remastered features an internal mechanical structure that makes sure frequencies are faithfully presented. And, with the natural ambient sound occlusion of custom in-ear monitors, using the UE Pro Reference Remastered is similar to the experience of working in an acoustically controlled studio. The UE Pro Reference Remastered provides 26 decibel attenuation of environment noise. The monitors offer portability with the ability to be plugged into any audio interface with the 1/8” headphone jack or included 1/4” adaptor.”
There were no working prototypes at the event to listen to, but given the unique vision (and output) of the original I expect good things from the update. Stay tuned for a full rundown and sonic impressions in the next few months.
The new Reference Remastered will start shipping as soon as December and the pricing will remain the same as the current UERM ($999).