Father's Day Special - Give Dad 2 Years of Cigar Aficionado for the Price of 1!

Ultimate Ears

Spending two to four times the cost of an iPod on the ear phones it drives will seem kind of strange—at least until you stick 'em in your ears. Then you'll hear why professional musicians from the Dixie Chicks and Joss Stone to Metallica and Mötley Crüe go to the California-based Ultimate Ears to squeeze the best audio possible from the ear pods they wear during live performances.

The company brings an extraordinary level of craftsmanship and audio expertise to the task of making custom-fitted earbuds for a demanding clientele; and fit is a major factor in the Ultimate Ears appeal. Each set is constructed based on a silicone mold of your ear canal, created by an audiologist or hearing aid center. The fitting process is odd but not unpleasant, as goop (the technical term is viscous silicone, but goop is close enough) is pressed into your ear, allowed to dry for a few minutes, and gently popped out. The benefits of custom fitting are two: comfort and noise reduction. You're free from the irritation and frequent adjustments common with over-the-counter earbuds, and you'll never have to worry about your buds falling out, whether you're exercising furiously or just falling asleep on the train. Furthermore, because the fitted buds seal your ear canals, outside noise is effectively blocked out. Yes, you can enjoy a similar effect with noise-canceling headphones, but any decent noise-canceling system is bulky and inconvenient to carry, whereas the Ultimate Ears tuck away in a pocket-sized pouch.

The fitted earbud houses two separate drivers, one each for high and low frequencies. Together they provide remarkable clarity in vocal tracks and a profound bass response that is strong but still musically precise. I've been perfectly happy with the least expensive custom-fitted Ultimate Ears model, the UE-5c ($550)—it delivers beautiful sound quality for a wide range of musical genres and offers the same sound-blocking performance as higher-priced alternatives. If you have golden ears or just feel the need to own the ultimate Ultimates, additional versions with higher audio specs are available at prices up to $900. No matter which model you prefer, you get to choose from a wide range of colors and enjoy the sanitary satisfaction of knowing your Q-tip-phobic kids can't borrow your buds.

Visit www.ultimateears.com.

—Steve Morgenstern

Good Life Guide Electronics

More in The Good Life

See all
The Last Dance Review: The Final Episodes

The Last Dance Review: The Final Episodes

We all knew how this story would end, but no matter how well we thought we knew this team, surprises …

May 18, 2020
The Legend of Mr. Corvette

The Legend of Mr. Corvette

He’s wrestled Tom Cruise, played (and beaten) a man in ping-pong for a date with his daughter and …

May 15, 2020
The Last Dance Review: Episodes 7 and 8

The Last Dance Review: Episodes 7 and 8

The latest episodes of “The Last Dance” were the most emotional so far of the series, giving us a …

May 11, 2020
Cigars Take Center Stage When Cincinnati Bengals Announce 2020 Schedule

Cigars Take Center Stage When Cincinnati Bengals Announce 2020 Schedule

The Cincinnati Bengals rolled out a cigar-filled promo for their 2020 NFL schedule, most likely due …

May 8, 2020
The Last Dance Review: Episodes 5 and 6

The Last Dance Review: Episodes 5 and 6

Episode 5 of “The Last Dance” takes us back to the 1998 NBA All-Star game where Michael Jordan faced …

May 4, 2020
Michael Jordan: A Cigar Before Every Home Game

Michael Jordan: A Cigar Before Every Home Game

Michael Jordan dominated the NBA in a stellar career that saw him lead the Chicago Bulls to six …

Apr 29, 2020