Ultimate Ears Offers New Vocal Reference Monitors – Pink or Blue for you?

Ultimate Ears is a name you’ve heard here several times before, and I’m certain you’ll hear more in the future. Why? Well, it’s easy really; this well respected and extremely popular company produces some of the best personal audio solutions in the business. From near entry level earphones to highly customized in-ear-monitors (IEM) Ultimate Ears is sure to have something that meets your demands and budget.  You can check their website for the many touring artists that that proudly use this solution as well. For more information be sure to read our previous review of the Reference Series IEM. The solution we are talking about here is in the same family.

Men's (black) version of the Ultimate Ears Vocal Reference In-Ear-Monitor (IEM). This specialized IEM is available in both men's and women's optimized versions.

Men’s (black) version of the Ultimate Ears Vocal Reference In-Ear-Monitor (IEM). This specialized IEM is available in both men’s and women’s optimized versions.

One of the more recent introductions from UE is the first of it’s kind Vocal Reference In-Ear-Monitor, or IEM as I’ll refer to it from here on. This specialized IEM has been optimized for vocalists and tuned even further to match the different frequencies men and women hear. thats right…men and women have different ranges of hearing. It might be subtle to some but as you understand more about this offering you understand why it matters. I have always known that men and women are different in more than just the obvious physical difference. This difference has been explored in countless books like Love and Respect and Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus but up until the folks at UE let me know, I had no idea there were additional physiological differences in hearing. Well, that is unless you ask my wife who has been convinced of this for years!

I must also admit that when I heard about this concept I was a bit skeptical. In this day and age where even the slighted change is heralded as the next greatest thing my tendency is to look much closer. After having a change to chat with the great folks at UE about this I came back with a much better understanding of where and why it mattered; ear fatigue and potentially long term damage. Ultimate Ears General Manager Philippe Depallens let me know that in their studies, vocalists tended to turn up the volume on their in-ears to overcome the other sounds on the stage. The VRM (vocal reference monitor) has been optimized to cut out frequencies outside the typical range of vocals for both men and women. Makes sense to me; isolate the sound a vocalist needs to hear and they have an opportunity to decrease the volumes and filter out other potentially damaging frequencies.  When a vocalist combines the filtered frequency range of the VRM with the great isolating properties of a custom fit solution results should be noticeable. And speaking of custom fit solutions, this VRM is a very good reason to make that jump from off the shelf generics.

Women's (pink) version of the Ultimate Ears Vocal Reference In-Ear-Monitor (IEM). This specialized IEM is available in both men's and women's optimized versions.

Women’s (pink) version of the Ultimate Ears Vocal Reference In-Ear-Monitor (IEM). This specialized IEM is available in both men’s and women’s optimized versions.

So who is this for? Obviously this is positioned towards those needing clear isolated monitoring of vocal ranges. I think it also fits very well for the traveling musician/vocalist who is playing different locations with a different setup on a regular basis. Let me explain a bit more. If you are working out of a fixed location and have the ability to get a custom feed to your IEM from the front of house engineer you may not need this. You can easily feed just the vocal track and other feeds adjusted to taste. That’s not so easy when on the go. This makes your in-ear setup almost a plug and play during sound check. Set the overall volume and forget the rest…its filtered out anyway.

One other things worth bringing up is the fantastic support you’ll get from Ultimate Ears. If your custom IEM ever need servicing, you will receive a loaner of the top of the line universal fit Logitech UE 900 earphones. You will also have the protection of UE’s fantastic RewardTag program. Through RewardTag, if your Ultimate Ears Personal Reference Monitors are lost or stolen, whoever finds your device can return it through RewardTag and Ultimate Ears will give the individual a reward for their safe return – providing you with extra peace of mind as you travel with your earphones. There is no additional cost for this protection and if you ever lose your customs you will be thankful its there! By the way we are working on a full review of the Logitech UE 900 earphones and a couple other items. Watch for that soon.

In summary, if you are a vocalist looking for a great solution designed to meet your individual needs, look no further than the Ultimate Ears PRM.  Check below for the Ultimate Ears Press release text with specifications.

From the release:

The Ultimate Ears™ Vocal Reference Monitors are the first custom in-ear monitor tuned specifically for singers. This new custom monitor filters out sound frequencies that fall outside the vocal spectrum, leaving the singer with a perfectly equalized mix that allows them to sing comfortably and reduce strain on their vocal chords during live performances and recording sessions. The Ultimate Ears Vocal Reference Monitors attenuate the lows and highs not crucial for vocal monitoring, so sound engineers no longer have to spend hours tuning and filtering out unwanted sounds and unnecessary frequencies.

Key Features

  • Plug and play: Frequencies are already carefully tuned and ready to use, with no tuning required, which means sound engineers no longer have to spend valuable pre-show and studio time tuning monitors.
  • His and hers: The Ultimate Ears Vocal Reference Monitors are offered in male and female versions, since vocal frequencies vary between the two.
  • Passive noise cancellation: The custom monitor acts as an earplug and reduces overall stage volume by 26 decibels. By lowering the sound pressure levels to a safer zone, vocalists can hear their own voice more clearly.
  • Customized frequency delivery: Three balanced armatures are utilized in each ear; each of the three armatures focuses all its energy on a narrow frequency band and together they cleanly produce the spectrum of speech, which falls into the frequency range of 90Hz – 8kHz 
  • Compatible with devices that support a standard 1/8 inch (3.5mm) headphone jack
  • Frequency response: 90Hz – 8kHz
  • Noise isolation: -26 dB
  • Input Connection: 3.5mm (1/8 inch)
  • Input sensitivity: 98 dB @ 1 kHz
  • 1-year warranty on the performance of the monitors, cable, housing and internal speakers
  • 30-day warranty on fit for all custom in-ear monitors

Compatibility

Product Specifications

·         Speaker Type: three proprietary precision balanced armatures

·         Impedance: 21.6 ohms @ 1 kHz

·         Standard cable length: 48 inches

o   Extended cable length (64 inches) available

·         Custom Artwork: costs vary.

Warranty

  • 1-year warranty on the performance of the monitors, cable, housing and internal speakers
  • 30-day warranty on fit for all custom in-ear monitors

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