Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitors 13

Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitors Review

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The Package

Ultimate Ears ship their high-end in-ears in a snug little cardboard box. For those unfamiliar with the use of custom in-ears there is a little guide book which describes how to insert and remove them, it also includes tips on how to clean them properly.

The flight case these in-ears ship in is of a very high quality. It fits the in-ears along with a cleaning scoop. It is awfully big, which means that you end up missing the little aluminum box that Ultimate Ears used to ship with their earphones. The big case is brilliant for storage between gigs, but it would be nice to have something that could fit in a pocket, for when you are using them on/off through the day.

Beside the cleaning tool and the flight case you get two adapters. One 1/4 - mini-jack and one micro to mini-jack adapter.

Closer Examination

Ultimate Ears and Capitol Studios teamed up for the tuning of the IERMs. The sample we received came in the standard livery with black face plates and clear backs. The first thing that hits you when you pull them out of their case is the new type of cable connector that Ultimate Ears have introduced with the IERMs.

Instead of molding the terminals on the inside of the in-ears the IERMs feature a small protrusion with a guide path which makes cable installation and removal much easier. As an added bonus the new assembly is much more durable than the usual connectors due to the overlap, which means that forces from the cable and plug are transferred by the plastic rather than through the two thin gold plated copper leads. It also means that it is much less prone to damage from insertion and removal.

When looking at the earphones from the ear you can clearly see how large the angular offset for the canal piece is. Since no two ears are alike the arrangement of sound tubes will vary along with the length and driver placement inside the ear pieces.

The two protrusions that the connector slides on could do with a touch of sand paper.

The driver arrangement for the IERMs is somewhat like that of the Westone ES5s. There is one big bass driver and then a double armature for the mids and highs. The cross over is a true three way design so each driver has a dedicated frequency band that they are tuned for. Compared to the JH 16|Pros with quad low driver and dual mids and highs this particular driver arrangement looks very uncomplicated. The lesser amount of drivers allows for an easier packaging of both cross over and drivers inside the ear pieces.

The IERMs' special driver configuration apparently needs acoustic filters to sound its best.
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