capsule review

Ultimate Ears UE-5c

At a Glance
  • Ultimate Ears UE-5c

From the Playlist book:

You're probably thinking, "What? $550 for headphones for my iPod???" Fair enough. But if you do a lot of traveling, trust us: It's worth it. The UE-5c are similar to other canalphones reviewed here on Playlist, but two things set them apart. The first is that they use a dual-driver design -- one driver for high frequencies, one for low -- for better overall sound. The second is that whereas most canalphones include a number of different-sized silicone and foam "tips," one of which hopefully fits your ear canals, the UE-5c's are custom-made for your ears, and your ears only. You go to an audiologist and get impressions of your ear canals made; a few weeks later, your new custom canalphones show up at your door. (You even get to choose the earpiece and cable color, and the cable length.) Do these custom-fit canalphones really sound better than the excellent Shure E4c, which sell for $250 less? A bit, yes. But the real advantage of the UE-5c is in comfort --- you can wear them for an entire cross-country flight without the "raw ear" feeling you sometimes get with standard canalphones. A few "test" trips to Hawaii and we were sold.

(Full review in progress.)
--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • Ultimate Ears UE-5c

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