Over the years, if there is one thing that Ultimate Ears Pro has realized about their custom in-ear products is that the doorway to entry is blocked by a significant barrier. Getting ear molds done and locking in a proper fit for the user is tedious at best, and downright intrusive at worst.
Many strides have been made by UE specifically over the years to remedy this. From partnering with 3D scanning tech, electronic storage of ear molds, and 3D printing to speed up delivery times, the OC-based company has always kept forward progress firmly planted in the products they release.
A New Way To Take Impressions
Hot on the tail of the new custom flagship UE Live ($2.2k) the big update coming out of the booth at NAMM this year was a at-home process for taking ear molds. Not only is the impression system deliverable via a shippable kit, but it is also less intrusive than your typical goo-and-cotton-dam operation that is still somewhat pervasive in the market. In order to pull off the feat successfully, UE had to introduce an entire new line of IEMs they are calling CSX. The series includes most of the same driver arrangements as the usual Pro gear, with a few notable exceptions (no UERR & Live just yet). There is a new flexible internal structure to help fit all the drivers in proper working order. The “biggest” difference is that the CSX line is overall a smaller working size than PRO, and the stem of the custom doesn’t move much past the 1st bend of the ear canal. This many not allow for a similar locking fit, but some will undoubtably find the final results more comfortable.
App & Mold
The actual in-home process is closely tied to a downloadable app, which provides direction, wireless connectivity to the molding device and submits images back to HQ for the final fit. The bluetooth dongle that comes in the kit includes two attachable molds, and when applied, heat up and harden to the shape of the user’s ear. Impressionists have just to rest the molds in their ears and apply a small amount of pressure to capture the shape. Overall it’s a pretty clever solution to the hurdle of impression taking – less travel time, less mess, less discomfort.