UE 6 Pro In-Ear Monitors
The unmatched isolation and clarity of custom molds, but at a palatable price point.
Ultimate Ears Pro established the custom in-ear industry in 1995, after going to market with a design originally created for Alex Van Halen to help protect his hearing while providing high-quality monitoring audio. Since then, the company has shipped over 100,000 sets to musicians and general music consumers. Ultimate Ears is poised to redefine everyday earbuds with its new custom-fit CSX series wireless models, and we’ll be checking out a set of those in the coming months. But this month we look at the company’s UE 6 Pro custom molds, which were designed with gigging drummers in mind to provide high-quality, full-bodied sounds at a competitive price ($699).
Where They Fit In
The UE 6 Pro, the second-cheapest custom-mold in-ear in Ultimate Ears’ catalog, is designed to provide the enhanced lowend required for drums. (The other bass/ drummer-focused monitor is the top-of-the-line UE 11 Pro, which costs $1,199.) In order to get fitted for a set of UE 6 Pro monitors, you’ll need to visit an audiologist to get full impressions that include the second bend of the ear canal. UE uses those impressions to create super-accurate molds using the latest technology in digital modeling and 3D printing to provide a comfortable but airtight fit.
The SuperBax cables are water-and sweat-proof, and they can be swapped out for replacements in seconds. The monitors come with a personalized hard case, a cloth cinch sack, and a cleaning tool. The outer shells of the monitors are offered in twelve translucent colors, sixteen solid shades, thirteen sparkles, and twelve specialty designs. You can also add your own custom art for an additional $500.
How They Sound
In terms of isolation, the cheapest custom mold in-ear will likely beat out even the most expensive noncustom bud. However, there can be a massive difference in audio quality between entry-level IEMs and high-end options. The UE 6 Pro is the first “affordable” custom-mold monitor I’ve tried that provides a full, rich, and clear frequency spectrum that rivals that of higher-priced professional models.
The low end of the UE 6 Pro is big and beefy, the midrange is crisp and warm, and the high end is clean and clear. For drummers, the enhanced low end provides a lot of punch and beefiness from kicks and low toms, while the accurate high end makes cymbals sound articulate but not over-hyped. Full-band mixes were satisfyingly smooth and rich, similar to the rounder, saturated tones produced by analog tape. In some high-pressure playing/ recording situations that had a lot of low-end information in the mix, I felt the need to roll off some of the bass going into the UE 6 Pros to prevent the sub frequencies from overwhelming the mids and highs. But unless you play in those types of scenarios often, or you require ultimate precision and clarity (which is where the more expensive UE 11 Pro IEM excels), the UE 6 Pro will likely deliver—and exceed—your audio-quality and sound-isolation needs.