Monitoring - Extremely Impressed

I suppose it’s the same for everyone …
Of all the purchases I have done over the years, most of them lived up to my expectations, sometimes I was dissapointed, and every now and then it turned out to be better than expected.
And very rarely … a new piece of equipment exceeds your expectations so much, that you are actually shocked about the results.
I am running my own company for nearly 25 years, and I can count the times that I was floored by a piece of equipment on my two hands.

To cut a long story short, a few weeks ago, I decided that I had struggled long enough with all kinds of earphones/earplugs. (We have a wireless in-ear headphone system in the studio, because when recording Foley, the headphone wires are extremely annoying) I also wanted to have a good set of in-ears for my mp3 player, for when I am on the road, editing on my laptop, etc …
So I finaly decided to spend a fair amount of money on something I could use “for life”, that was comfortable and -soud-quality-wise- good enough so it can be -more or less- trusted.
I took the plunge and ordered the custom Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitors.

Holy Cow … in all honestly, even if they would have costed twice as much, I would still want a set of those.
This is as close to high-end monitors as you can expect. Really, I think I have more confidence in these In-Ears than in some studio’s I have been. The sound quality is superb, excellent, beyound all expectations.
This is some of the best money I have ever spend. Even if you use them for pleasure only; if you are an audiophile, you need a set of these.

(Disclaimer - these are not the ones displayed in my Avatar)


The reference monitors, as provided in the link.


Interesting… Fredo, Would you trust these to place microphones in a live room or mix in a remote unit?

Yes, most certainly.
The only discussion one can have is the need of “air” inbetween the source and the ears.
So, I am staying away from the discussion if mixing through headphones is better or worse than through monitors.

When I first heard my Meyer HD1’s, it was like homecoming. The “yes” feeling. The feeling that you never have to doubt or question your monitoring system ever again. The “rest” that it brings, the confidence.
I had and have the same feeling with these In Ears.


Hi Fredo,

thanks a lot for this recommendation! I got my UE RM last weekend, and I’m also extremely impressed. This is the first time ever that my headphone mixes need no (or just very little) fine tuning when switching from the headphones to the 1038A full range monitors in the main room.

Before the UE, it was always a mess to judge the level balances over headphones unless listening extremely quiet. More often than not it was a big sad surprise when turning the main monitors on, rendering most mixing work almost useless.

Another cool effect is that the noise isolation is (of course) awesome. It goes far beyond closed headphone systems like HD25II. And with the fantastic resolution, I can hear even the slightest phasing issues even after hours, and even INSIDE the recording room. A funny side-effect: You can immediately tell if the sound source is an mp3 or not instead of just guessing.

This is just amazing. The only price to pay is the lack of comfort, coz in-ears still are in-ears.


Oh … wait until you have used them for a couple of months.
Then you will be able to write a pages long post about the quality (or lack of) of the headphone amps in your gear.

Glad you like them. I would have felt pretty bad making you spend that kind of money fro something that didn’t live up to your expectations.


Had a very strange day,

I needed to use my Beyer DT880Pros today, since the Lehmann BlackCube is unable to handle extreme impedance differences, and the other guy who gave me assistance today (and who has no UltimateEars, yet) wanted to hear something :slight_smile:

I worked about 5 hours over the Beyerdynamics. When the assistant left, I immediately plugged in the UERMs. This was funny: They sounded like shi*t. All high freqs were missing, and so was the power of around 80Hz…

I thought something was wrong… but continued working with the UERMS. After half an hour they sounded much better to me, and after 3 additional hours of mixing, I just did the hard test:

  1. Render the last mix with 880Pros (the one that sounded like sh***t when I plugged the UERMs in, remember)
  2. Render the last, admittedly newer mix with UERMs.
  3. Play it over the calibrated (and perfect) Genelec 1038As.

Guess what ?

The 880 mix is pure ear raping. It goes far over the top at any frequency that one can imagine. If I could tell where the problem is, I would do that, but in my analyser this mix still looks fine. It just sounds like a typical headphone mix.

The UERM mix is (once more) veeery close to perfectly balanced. I did a little mistake in the vocal range (okay, this may also be 400Hz, but here I’m talking about the ears perception range between 1,2-1,8kHz), but it was just a few dB.

That being said, my Lehmann Audio BlackCube LinearPro is humming with the UERMs. I got no other equipment that is humming with the UERMs (synths, iPhone (haha), Mackie console, not even the cheap Presonus HP60 headphone amp). I wrote them an E-mail last Monday. Well, no response. Any other suggestion for headphone amps ? The Lehmann sounds grrrreat, but the hum is very very present.

Isn’t there a switch to set the correct impedance? (47 kOhm, 1k Ohm and 100 Ohm)
Try setting the impedance to 100 Ohm, so it matches (more or less) the UERM’s 35 Ohms impedance.


Hm … for me the most difficult thing on mixing music are the lows/lowMids. Deep frequencies need a big room to spread out. Therefore (for our last CD) I mix drums and bassguitar in our band rehearsal space and the other instruments (guit/vocs/fx) at home in my office (I’m hobbyist only). How mix I such deep frquencies on a In-Ear Monitor??? I can’t imagine this … :unamused:

Without wanting to be rude, or going defensive, I don’t think I feel like going in discussion with someone who hasn’t heard these UERM’s -how can you know? I can only repeat that I would prefer my UERM’s over many of the rooms/monitoring systems out there.

Speaking of which, a set of speakers can only -and only then- benefit from a room, when the room is acoustically tuned and top notch. And in all honesty, there aren’t many mid-sized or small studio’s (and by extention rehearsal rooms) these days which deserve the label “studio” when it comes to being acoustically correct.

I also never said that they could serve as a replacement for decent studio monitors, I only said that the UERM’s are better than any headphone/In Ears I have ever heard, and that they are as close as can be to a good monitoring system.


My question was only in technical aspect, I have no doubt in the quality. I have no chance to test this 900$ phones, so my interest was only: How do this work, if low frequencies need such a big room normally …
Sorry for my bad english Fredo, no offence in your discernment :wink:

My apologies.
I know what a language barrier means and how it can be misunderstood. :astonished:)

The bass response of the UERM’s is very-very good. As accurate as can be; and most certainly a zillion times better than “normal” headphones. I wished that there would be a way for trying the UERM’s, but they are custom made, molded to your own ears, which makes it impossible to try them. For the record, they make a special type for Bass Players; though for on-stage monitoring. AFAIK, Ultimate Ears has pretty much the monopoly of In Ear monitoring, maily due to their build and sound quality, so they can’t be that bad.

All I can do is repeat what I wrote in my initial post; these things sound way beyound expectations and as close to studio monitoring as can be. And that comes from someone who is the proud owner of Meyer HD1’s and a Tom Hidley designed control room.


Hmmm ,… those HD-1s you still haven’t sent me for my 50th birthday???

If it wasn’t you, Fredo, who is telling us about the qualities of the UERM’s I would probably ignore the whole thread…
So, I can only hate your guts for pushing me into another hardware purchase… LOL …

X-Mas is still so far away… :stuck_out_tongue: BUT namesday is close !!! Yeahh!
You wouldn’t happen do have some 1000 Euro hanging about in your petty cash?
OK, …just asking…

Big K ( soon with plugs in his ears …)

@ bassman: Low frequencies need big rooms to spread more evenly through the spectrum and to have room modes occuring later (=lower in the spectrum) than in smaller rooms. In your ears, there is no room and no modes will be present. So, the bass reprodruction with in-ears is as linear as it could only be. No reverb will exist at any frequency when using in-ears (unlike usual open headphones where it may happen, but isn’t a big issue).

@ Fredo: I talked to Mr. Lehmann a few days ago, and they do a research about what can be done here. It’s an incompatibility somehow, but it should be possible to fix that, since no othe HP amp which I’ve tested with the UERMs shows this problem yet. The BlackCube LinearPro is designed for 600Ohms-HDs in mind, and not really able to handle in-ears that offer 112dB SPL@ 1mW.

@ all: Using the UERMs for two weeks now on a daily basis I still prefer my Genelecs a lot, coz they are (1.) not headphones :slight_smile: and (2.) have a slightly better resolution in the tweeters. But guys, we are comparing 1k headphones to 6k monitors plus 12k room treatment expenses !!!

@ BigK: Yes, I knew you’d never believe me anything :wink:

Bassman, deep frequencies needing a big room to spread out or develop is a myth. You can get decent bass in small spaces too, like in cars. What ever it is that you associate deep frequencies sounds to big rooms has a lot to do with the acoustics of the room, as Mathias explained.
Anyway, regardless of the size of the room, the sound you hear will still need to travel through your tiny ear canal, so might as forget the room and generate it in there.