UE Pro unveils a new flagship
Ultimate Ears Pro has announced the UE 18+ Pro, its second-generation flagship custom in-ear monitor. The company cites the UE 18+ Pro as the benefactor of two decades of experience, incorporating recently developed technologies such as its proprietary True Tone drivers in a redesigned acoustic system. The balanced armature True Tone drivers, introduced in 2015 with the release of the UE Pro Reference Remastered IEM, are spec’d by UE as extending the HF response by 3kHz.
Each UE 18+ Pro earpiece houses six drivers – two LF, two midrange and two HF. A four-way crossover splits the input signal into LF, lower MF, upper MF and HF bands, while triple bores channel the audio output to the end of the IEM within the ear canal. One bore is used for the HF and a dual concentric port routes the LF on the inner bore and the MF via the outer bore. The manufacturer stresses that compared to the original UE 18 Pro and to competing IEMs, the combination of increased precision in construction, bores and driver mounting together with refinements in the crossover and the True Tone drivers in the UE 18+ Pro offers users improvements in detail, separation, presence and coherence. The UE 18+ Pro is also voiced with an adjusted midrange gain said to improve presence. By way of example, UE Pro says that ‘by pulling the mids slightly forward, vocalists will hear a warmer sound, guitarists can expect a more natural, less crispy sound, and drummers can hear more body from their snare drum’.
Additionally, all of the manufacturer’s custom earpieces are now 3D printed. Further, the company also pioneered direct digital scanning of a customer’s inner ear. The steps are a 10 minute, ‘goop-free’ digital ear scan, followed by 3D CAD preparation of the scanned image, then by 3D printing of the earpiece shell, followed by assembly and testing. Customers’ digital ear ‘impressions’ remain on file for repeat orders or upgrades. The UE 18+ Pro, can be directly plugged into any headphone driver with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and a ¼-inch adaptor is provided along with a cleaning tool and case.
Recognising that some headphone drivers are ill-equipped to accommodate the impedance variations inherent in crossover and driver design, UE Pro also offers the companion Line Drive, a battery powered, inline buffer amp that mitigates amplifier impedance issues with a goal of flat acoustic frequency response and consistent performance.