It goes without saying that everyone's tastes are different. With that in mind I want to share the general rules of thumb when it comes to choosing between custom fit and universal fit in-ear monitors. Our in-ear monitors, or IEMs/earphones, are top of the line tools purpose built to provide our customers with the best quality sound imaginable. For most people, there is an extra edge to be gained when considering the custom-fit options.
What's the difference?
The entire experience is subtly changed when moving from a universal fit to a custom fit in-ear monitor. Instead of a bead of foam or silicone being the single point of seal against your ear canal, that pressure is distributed across a much broader area in the form of the custom fit shell. The seal is more thorough, and some say more comfortable given the extra surface area involved.
The sound profile even changes ever so slightly. The bass is a touch fuller and there is the barest hint more headroom. These subtle changes are important in the professional arena where detail, clarity and accuracy are king. There is a slight learning curve when using custom fit in-ear monitors, putting them in can be a big strange. Once you've sorted it out, however, it will fit more securely.
The universal shells provide a degree of modularity not available with custom fit shells, and are quite popular with audiophiles. If you need to tailor your sound exactly the way you want it and intend to swap tips and cables around frequently, than the universal shell is the way to go.
Extremely ergonomic and organic in its design, our universal shell is designed to fit comfortably in anyone's ear. If this is a tool meant to be shared (by a rotating staff of musicians or speakers at a school or church, for example) then universal shells are the better choice.
When is Custom Fit the Right Choice?
- If you're an energetic performer on stage you need the secure fit of a custom shell.
- If you want to express yourself with your design, get a custom shell.
- If the best possible isolation is imperative, a custom in-ear monitor would provide.
When is Universal Fit the Right Choice
- If the IEMs will be shared among multiple users, or if kept as a backup for a group's custom fit models, the universal models will sort you out.
- If you want to take advantage of different tips, a universal shell is a must.
- If you can't wait the 3 to 5 weeks it takes us to hand craft a custom built in-ear monitor for you, the universal models usually ship within 24 hours when in stock. Instant gratification!
Either way you'll be getting yourself the best sounding piece of personal audio equipment available on the market. If you want to give yourself an edge in your performances or if you want to take your critical listening to a whole new universe, a custom or universal Empire Ears in-ear monitor will blow your mind.