3DBaz– Since its founding in 1995, California-based speaker and earphone manufacturer Ultimate Ears has gained a reputation for making top-of-the-line sound equipment, most notably its in-ear monitors, which are used by most touring rockstars and musicians. More recently, the company introduced a line of custom monitors designed specifically for the stage, for the studio, and for audiophiles, which—as you probably surmised—are tailor made specifically for the user’s ear.
In the recent unveiling of their new UE Custom earphones, which took place Tuesday July 5th, the company demonstrated how exactly the products are made using 3D scanning technologies. To demonstrate, an Ultimate Ears employee was present with a 3D scanning device capable of capturing the structure and interior of the client’s ear. Specifically, the UE team scans the ear using a device made up of three 3D cameras. From there, you can actually visualize the 3D model of the ear coming together on a screen.
With the scanning process done—a step which only takes about ten minutes to complete—the 3D model of the client’s ear is then sent through a Cloud server to the Ultimate Ears factory in California, where the earphones are tailor made with the help of a 3D printer. The scanning itself can be done at an Ultimate Ears point of sale, where the product will then be shipped within 8 days for pickup. Before the 3D scanning process, Ultimate Ears did make custom earphones, but relied on clients to visit an audiologist to have a physical impression of their ear made. Now, the 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies integrated into the process will help to speed up manufacturing and delivery.
Not only are the earphones custom made based off of 3D scans, however, but the state-of-the-art listening devices are also wireless and Bluetooth compatible (equipped with Bluetooth 4.1). According to a French news source, the earphones are made from an hypoallergenic acrylic material and can be connected to a total of 8 audio devices, including 2 simultaneously. Though wireless, the earphones also come with a mini-jack cable which can be used when you’re low on battery. The wireless battery for its part can reportedly last up to four hours, and the earphones come with a second battery which can be easily inserted into the device.
According to Ultimate Ears, custom fitted earphones are imperative to experience music and sound in the best and most comfortable way possible. The tailor-made structure of the device effectively hugs the inside of the ear, blocking out outside noises, without putting any pressure on your ear’s structure. The products are available in either white or black.
Of course, custom made earphones are not the most affordable, and are often geared towards music professionals or sound experts. Ultimate Ears, however, is hoping to make their UE Custom products more accessible to the general public. While this doesn’t mean they will be cheap (they start in price at about 400 euros), the UE Custom monitors are among the cheapest on the market for high-quality custom fit earphones. We should note that the products are not recommended for children, whose ears may still be growing.
For now it seems that Ultimate Ears’ custom 3D printed earphones are available exclusively through FNAC Montparnasse in Paris.