For years, Ultimate Ears has been offering personalized in-ear-canal headphones (or “canalphones”), which are custom-molded to perfectly fit a user’s ears. However, with prices starting at $550, the market for these products has been limited mainly to professional musicians and serious audio geeks.
Now the company has introduced the first two models of its new super.fi series of consumer canalphones. These models are universal-fit products: you choose the tips—from four rubber-tip sizes and one foam-tip size—that best fit your ears. The $249 super.fi 5Pro features two balanced armatures—one for high frequencies and one for low frequencies—that are identical to those found in the company’s $550 UE-5c. The $199 super.fi 5EB (EB stands for “Extended Bass”) consists of one balanced armature and a ported diaphragm for low frequencies. Although the overall sound of the 5EB isn’t as refined as that of the 5Pro, its additional bass response should appeal to people who enjoy certain types of music (hip-hop, rap, and rock, for example).
Each model is available in white or black and comes with two cases, and each includes a 1/8-to-1/4-inch adapter, a 1/8-inch attenuator for use with overly loud airline headphone jacks, and a cleaning tool (hey, you’re sticking these things deep in your ears—wax happens).— Dan Frakes