Review: Ultimate Ears LIVE In-Ear Monitors

We’ve tested California-based Ultimate Ears (UE) in-ear-monitors (or IEMs) before and have always been impressed with the sound quality, build and comfort of their designs.

Yet, in such a competitive market, UE know that they can’t stand still, which is why this year saw them launch two new ranges, introducing the LIVE and the 6 Pro series.

The latter are aimed at drummers, bassists and DJs as high-quality entry-level IEMs (RRP $699), that offer warm tonality, big bass tone, featuring two ‘drivers’ (micro-speaker armatures) for mid and bass – alongside UE’s patented True Tone drivers to provide crystal clarity on top.

The LIVE IEMs (RRP $2,199) are UE’s new flagship monitors and, according to UE, feature “the most complex and powerful acoustic systems Ultimate Ears has ever developed”, which translates as seven balanced armatures, plus a dynamic 6mm neodymium driver, aka UE’s True Tone Plus driver, which in their words forms UE’s “purest signal path ever created”.

Jazzwise tested a pair of LIVEs and we concur that they sound truly huge. The width of frequency separation is simply jaw-dropping and produces an immense and immersive listening experience. By comparison to the bass-biased UE11s, or the recently revamped and upgraded Reference Remastered IEMs, the LIVEs feel like the perfect balance between state-of-the-art studio monitors and tour-ready IEMs.

Delicate nuances in a mix shine through with exceptional transparency, but when you want to feel the deep bass kick and the highs sing, the LIVE’s massive headroom capacity brings the entire frequency range to life with that particular UE sparkle and depth.

Our test pair came with the newly-developed lightweight, but extra-strong, SuperBax cable, which is attached via the new IPX Connection System that allows easy switching of cords via two metallic lugs that pop snuggly into the underside of the monitor shells.

Available in a wide range of custom finishes, the LIVEs take bespoke in-ear monitoring to a vast-sounding new level. Mike Flynn

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