Ultimate Ears Live custom-fit in-ear monitor

Equipment+
Categories:
Earphones and in-ear monitors
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Products:
Logitech/Ultimate Ears Live
Ultimate Ears Live custom-fit in-ear monitor

Ultimate Ears has a new top-of the-line custom-fit in-ear monitor dubbed Ultimate Ears Live, which was created for both serious personal listening and live on-stage performances. UE Live delivers several technical and ergonomic improvements over the UE 18+ PRO, UE’s previous flagship, which remains in the UE line-up. UE Live employs six balanced armature drivers combined with a 6mm neodymium dynamic driver and one of UEs proprietary 'True tone' drivers. These eight drivers are arrayed so one BA driver serves for the high frequencies, four drivers handle the midrange, and three drivers cover the low frequencies. Each driver is specifically tuned to minimize crossover components and reduce phase issues at each driver’s frequency extremes. Although there is only one large hole or bore at the UE Live’s tips, inside there are four precision-tooled channels that join near the tip opening.

The cabling options for connecting the UE Live have also been reimagined. This is the first time Ultimate Ears has used an IPX cable connection method, which is now being offered as the standard across all of the new UE series line and can be retrofitted into other models for a fee. This small, but robust connection scheme offers a sweat-proof option that delivers an IP67 moisture-proof certification. UE also redesigned the cable itself. Dubbed the SuperBax cable, when compared to the cable on the UE 18+ PRO, the new SuperBax cable is more flexible, slides more easily, and hangs more comfortably. According to UE the new IPX connection point is rated for 3000 disconnect cycles. Unlike some flagship CIEMS which are burdened with heavy and impressive gold-plated hardware, the UE Live cabling opts for strength and minimum added weight rather than bling. At the time of purchase buyers have four cable options available. They can choose the 50” SuperBax cable, 64” SuperBax cable, IPX Bluetooth cable, or combination of BT and 50” cable (for an additional charge of $100). I recommend the last option.

Unlike other CIEM manufacturers, most of whom only employ silicone ear-mold impressions, UE also uses a laser impression methodology, in addition to the traditional ear molds made by audiologists. While I often have had to return CIEMs to manufacturers to make minor adjustments to the fit made from silicone impressions, so far none of the four CIEMs UE has created from the laser impressions made four years ago at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest have needed any adjustments whatsoever. They have all fit perfectly from the beginning—no additional tweaking needed.

And what does the new UE Live CIEM sound like? It sounds like music, with little in the way between you and your tunes. Like other well-engineered multi-driver in-ears the UE Live has an effortless quality to its presentation. Also, like other multi-driver in-ears the UE Live generates a large soundstage. But the UE Live’s precise and almost pointillism-like imaging reminds me of simpler, more monitoring-oriented CIEMs such as the UE PRO Reference Remastered. Listening to the very well engineered single track on Tidal, 'Sweet but Psycho', by Ava Max [Atlantic] each instrument sits comfortably in the mix, with its own unique spot in space. The bass has the weight and growl that almost reaches out to pound your chest for you. No, not really. But the UE Live’s bass extension and control are excellent. Black Foxxes’ cover of 'Lovesong' [Spinefarm Records] has a bass line that kicks convincingly through the UE Lives.

I wish that I could be as effusive about the UE Live’s Bluetooth cable. The first problem with the UE Live’s Bluetooth cable is that it has a low-level hiss whenever it is on. This prevents the music from emerging from silence. The second issue with the Bluetooth cable is the sound is not as open, dynamic, or detailed as when the UE Live is fed via the SuperBax cable from a high-quality source. But as a convenience the Bluetooth cable is fine—it passed all my ergonomic tests easily; it connected, and its receiving range was easily exceeded 20 feet from a source.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Ultimate Ears Live custom-fit in-ear monitors

Type: Custom-fit in-ear monitor

Driver complement: Hybrid array comprised of balanced armature and dynamic drivers

Frequency Response: 5 Hz to 22 kHz

Impedance: 10 ohms @ 1kHz

Sensitivity: 105 dB @ 1kHz/ 1 mW

Connector: 1/8” headphone jack; compatible with all systems

Weight: Not specified

Price: from £1,978

MANUFACTURER INFORMATION

Ultimate Ears

3 Jenner, Suite 180, Irvine, CA 92618 USA

URL: pro.ultimateears.com Ultimate Ears has a new top-of the-line custom-fit in-ear monitor dubbed Ultimate Ears Live, which was created for both serious personal listening and live on-stage performances. UE Live delivers several technical and ergonomic improvements over the UE 18+ PRO, UE’s previous flagship, which remains in the UE line-up. UE Live employs six balanced armature drivers combined with a 6mm neodymium dynamic driver and one of UEs proprietary 'True tone' drivers. These eight drivers are arrayed so one BA driver serves for the high frequencies, four drivers handle the midrange, and three drivers cover the low frequencies. Each driver is specifically tuned to minimize crossover components and reduce phase issues at each driver’s frequency extremes. Although there is only one large hole or bore at the UE Live’s tips, inside there are four precision-tooled channels that join near the tip opening.

The cabling options for connecting the UE Live have also been reimagined. This is the first time Ultimate Ears has used an IPX cable connection method, which is now being offered as the standard across all of the new UE series line and can be retrofitted into other models for a fee. This small, but robust connection scheme offers a sweat-proof option that delivers an IP67 moisture-proof certification. UE also redesigned the cable itself. Dubbed the SuperBax cable, when compared to the cable on the UE 18+ PRO, the new SuperBax cable is more flexible, slides more easily, and hangs more comfortably. According to UE the new IPX connection point is rated for 3000 disconnect cycles. Unlike some flagship CIEMS which are burdened with heavy and impressive gold-plated hardware, the UE Live cabling opts for strength and minimum added weight rather than bling. At the time of purchase buyers have four cable options available. They can choose the 50” SuperBax cable, 64” SuperBax cable, IPX Bluetooth cable, or combination of BT and 50” cable (for an additional charge of $100). I recommend the last option.

Unlike other CIEM manufacturers, most of whom only employ silicone ear-mold impressions, UE also uses a laser impression methodology, in addition to the traditional ear molds made by audiologists. While I often have had to return CIEMs to manufacturers to make minor adjustments to the fit made from silicone impressions, so far none of the four CIEMs UE has created from the laser impressions made four years ago at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest have needed any adjustments whatsoever. They have all fit perfectly from the beginning—no additional tweaking needed.

And what does the new UE Live CIEM sound like? It sounds like music, with little in the way between you and your tunes. Like other well-engineered multi-driver in-ears the UE Live has an effortless quality to its presentation. Also, like other multi-driver in-ears the UE Live generates a large soundstage. But the UE Live’s precise and almost pointillism-like imaging reminds me of simpler, more monitoring-oriented CIEMs such as the UE PRO Reference Remastered. Listening to the very well engineered single track on Tidal, 'Sweet but Psycho', by Ava Max [Atlantic] each instrument sits comfortably in the mix, with its own unique spot in space. The bass has the weight and growl that almost reaches out to pound your chest for you. No, not really. But the UE Live’s bass extension and control are excellent. Black Foxxes’ cover of 'Lovesong' [Spinefarm Records] has a bass line that kicks convincingly through the UE Lives.

I wish that I could be as effusive about the UE Live’s Bluetooth cable. The first problem with the UE Live’s Bluetooth cable is that it has a low-level hiss whenever it is on. This prevents the music from emerging from silence. The second issue with the Bluetooth cable is the sound is not as open, dynamic, or detailed as when the UE Live is fed via the SuperBax cable from a high-quality source. But as a convenience the Bluetooth cable is fine—it passed all my ergonomic tests easily; it connected, and its receiving range was easily exceeded 20 feet from a source.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Ultimate Ears Live custom-fit in-ear monitors

Type: Custom-fit in-ear monitor

Driver complement: Hybrid array comprised of balanced armature and dynamic drivers

Frequency Response: 5 Hz to 22 kHz

Impedance: 10 ohms @ 1kHz

Sensitivity: 105 dB @ 1kHz/ 1 mW

Connector: 1/8” headphone jack; compatible with all systems

Weight: Not specified

Price: from £1,978

MANUFACTURER INFORMATION

Ultimate Ears

3 Jenner, Suite 180, Irvine, CA 92618 USA

URL: http://pro.ultimateears.com pro.ultimateears.com

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