Most of us stick with the silicone ear tips that come in the box with our earbuds; usually one of the small / medium / large sizes makes for a good enough seal to enhance bass and increase noise isolation. Stepping up from that, you get foam tips like those from Comply that expand to fill your ear canal for top-notch sound. But the pinnacle of earbud listening comes when you have a completely custom, personalized ear tip that’s perfectly fitted to the contours of your ear.
Ultimate Ears wants to offer that option to more people — without making them go to their local audiologist for a ear mold. The company’s new $249 UE Fits have gel-filled tips that, through a 60-second process initiated on your smartphone, will permanently harden in the shape of your ears.
“This personalized fit provides wearable comfort free of pressure, pain or irritation, even after extended use,” the company said in today’s press release for the earbuds. “UE Fits also offer superior passive noise isolation as the fitted tips create a natural seal that blocks ambient noise.”
Here’s how it all works: you use the UE Fits app for either Android or iPhone to start the process, which uses “Lightform technology” that, when combined with embedded LEDs in the earbuds, will mold the tips to your unique ear contours in under a minute. Once the tips are hardened, they stay that way.
The UE Fits have up to eight hours of continuous battery life (with “over 20” when you factor in the charging case). Color options will include gray, lilac purple, and navy when the earbuds start shipping sometime this fall — and only in the US, unfortunately. Ultimate Ears says customers have a 30-day “perfect fit” satisfaction guarantee. The buds are sweat-proof and water resistant, and support SBC, AAC, and Apt-X Bluetooth codecs. Aside from creating your personalized fit, the UE Fits app can also be used to customize the earbud controls.
I’m deeply curious about this whole concept and how the mold process actually feels, so I can’t wait to give the UE Fits a try. As for how they actually sound, the company says the earbuds have 10mm drivers and will deliver “a sound that is full, warm, and detailed, with deep, tight punchy bass.” Combine that with a personalized fit that Ultimate Ears claims makes for all-day comfort, and the UE Fits might prove to be something special.