Ultimate Ears Crams Six Speakers Into New $1350 Earbuds

Headphones just aren't what they used to be. Back in the day, whatever earbuds came bundled with whatever MP3 player you purchased were considered "good enough," but these days, any self-respecting audio player owner doesn't even unwrap the factory headphones. Instead, they head straight for the accessory department, where more and more high-end alternatives are finding themselves parked.

Monster had a set of $300 in-ear headphones hit the market late last year, and now Ultimate Ears has a resounding pair of its own ready to wow those with enough cash to plunk down on them. If you'll recall, UE is now actually a part of Logitech, which knows a thing or two about marketing PC peripherals. The Ultimate Ears 18 Pro Custom Monitors could very well be used on stage as part of a live gig, but these can also go off-stage in order to amp up your personal listening experience.

These feature the company's first six-speaker design, which enables them to offer up "one-of-a-kind sound definition and clarity." We haven't had the opportunity to have a listen, but with a half-dozen drivers, we can safely say that we're interested to give them a try. They can also reduce ambient noise by 26 dBs, and the six drivers are individually tuned to deliver loud music without distortion. They're also compatible with wireless transmission systems and portable media devices, and they're engineered to "withstand the rigors of any tour." Of course, they won't ship until next month, and they'll demand $1350, but if you ever wanted to shove a grand total of 12 speakers into your pair of ears, this is actually one of the cheaper ways to accomplish that goal.

“Ultimate Ears is synonymous with live stage performance, and the Ultimate Ears 18 Pro monitors are an extension of this lineage,” said Philippe Depallens, Logitech vice president and general manager of the Ultimate Ears product unit. “These new in-ear monitors are our next-generation, top-of-the-line professional monitors that build on decades of music and technology expertise. With the Ultimate Ears 18 Pro monitors, you get the distinctive Ultimate Ears sound signature you expect and deserve.”

In addition to the six-speaker design, Ultimate Ears’ newest monitors combine four-way crossovers with acoustic and electrical tuning, patent-pending triple-sound channels and a new low-distortion cable to create the Ultimate Ears sound signature. Each sound channel includes an acoustically tuned in-line filter that keeps the frequencies separate and balanced until they blend naturally in your ear – not inside the monitors.

Professional artists and sound engineers who have tested the Ultimate Ears 18 Pro monitors on stage had this to say:

“The new Ultimate Ears UE 18 Pro custom monitors are simply the best I've used on stage - a new benchmark has been set,” said Jon Lewis, professional sound engineer for AC/DC. “The low end and levels that can be achieved are outstanding. It's like wearing a pair of reference studio headphones on stage.”

“These Ultimate Ears 18 Pros are unbelievable - very crisp, detailed and more pronounced,” exclaimed a very excited Natalie Cole. “I have more control over what I hear and therefore more control of my vocals through my microphone.”

The Ultimate Ears 18 Pro Custom Monitors are compatible with wireless transmission systems and portable media devices. Packaged in a rugged, personalized aluminum roadie box, the Ultimate Ears 18 Pro monitors are designed to withstand the rigors of any tour.

Pricing and Availability

The Ultimate Ears 18 Pro Custom Monitors are expected to be available beginning in February for a suggested retail price of $1350 (U.S.). (The price of the Ultimate Ears 18 Pro Custom Monitors does not include the initial cost to have a qualified audiologist create your ear impressions.) The optional ambient noise feature can be added to your custom monitors for an additional $50 (U.S.).

Ultimate Ears monitors are made specifically for each of our customers and you will need to have ear impressions made by an audiologist. Please contact us or check on our website to locate a Ultimate Ears qualified audiologist. Once Ultimate Ears has received your ear impressions, we will create your personal set of in-ear monitors. For additional information, visit www.ultimateears.com.