There is exciting news, and then there is EXCITING NEWS! This is the latter. Today, Ultimate Ears announced the arrival of the new UE 18+ PRO.
For more than 20 years, Ultimate Ears PRO has been the trusted custom in-ear monitor brand for musicians and professionals around the world. Music lovers have also been drawn to the full product lineup for its precise sound, and now, UE PRO's best-in-class flagship product is even better.
The UE 18 PRO was already the pinnacle of sound and design. Now UE has upped it’s game by adding the new True Tone Technology drivers and it’s proprietary precision tuned sound engine, which were originally introduced to rave reviews last year with the UE PRO Reference Remastered.
During this incredibly busy and exciting time we got a chance to sit down briefly with Philippe Depallens (General Manager), Mike Dias (Sales & Marketing Director), Vincent Liu (Product Development) and Joe Saggio (Engineer) from the Ultimate Ears team and ask some questions about the new Ultimate Ears flagship IEM.
Q: What is the UE 18+ PRO?
Philippe: The UE 18+ PRO is the brand’s new flagship model and the culmination of UE PRO’s 20 years of experience. This new monitor gives you the best of the previous flagship model, the UE 18 PRO, but adds UE PRO’s proprietary True Tone drivers to a redesigned acoustic system. This means you get more detail, air and spacing in your music, leaving a silky, smooth and clear sound.
Q: Why did Ultimate Ears Pro decide to create this product?
Vincent: The UE 18 PROs have been our flagship model for many years. However, in the past few years, UE PRO has pioneered great technical innovations, such as True Tone Drivers and our precision tuned sound engine. We wanted to apply our pioneering technology to our flagship model. Therefore, we created the UE 18+ PRO, our latest flagship model – a reimagined version of the UE 18 PRO.
Q: What are True Tone drivers?
Joe: True Tone drivers are proprietary balanced armatures that focus on the overtones and harmonics, so that you can hear and feel the emotional qualities of the music.
Q: Who was the UE 18+ PRO created for?
Vincent: The UE 18+ PRO was created for musicians of all kinds. Below are a few ways this flagship model can be experienced depending on musician type. Vocalists will notice a warmer and less “spikey” sound, guitarists will get a more natural, less crispy sound, bass players will experience a strong warm bass response, and Music lovers will experience more detail to their music than ever.
Q: How is the UE 18+ PRO different from the UE 18 PRO?
Mike: Thanks to UE's proprietary True Tone drivers and optimized sound engine in the UE 18+ PRO, the sound is more alive and open, working even better as a live tool. The new flagship continues to use a 4-way crossover, but adds a newly designed bandpass filter on midrange drivers and highly customized, extended frequency response tweeters.
Q: How did you test the UE 18+ PRO? Did you test it with any professional or touring musicians?
Philippe: The UE team tested with professional touring musicians and performers using drums, bass and guitar. It was then tested in the lab by listening to prerecorded music. However, we are unable, due to confidentiality, to share musician names.
Joe: For this product development, we also chose 25 key songs from various genres and time periods which we used as benchmarks. We’d A/B test each song against the full product line up and against the classic UE 18 to make sure that we were hearing what we were trying to achieve across all types of music and recordings.
Q: When will it be available and how much does the UE 18+ PRO cost?
Mike: The UE 18+ PRO will be available worldwide on December 15th through Ultimate Ears and authorized dealers, for a starting price of $1,499 USD.
Q: Why should I get the UE 18+ PRO if I already have the original?*
Philippe: It’s the next generation. If your interest is to have the best tool to perform at your best, then the UE 18+ PRO is for you.
Q: Will I still be able to buy the original UE 18 PRO?*
Mike: No, the product will no longer be available to purchase. However, Ultimate Ears will still service existing units and remake them for current owners.
To highlight some of the UE 18+ PRO’s next generation sonic clarity, Ultimate Ears has provided us with Joe’s reference cheat sheet. Check out these songs and listen for the sonic cues. Let your ears be the judge!
Do You Read Me
Kick drum punch (low), snare, natural hats and guitar
On The Floor
My Cherie Amour
Perfect female vocal
Mais Que Nada
Sergio Mendes / Brazil 66
Translation of old recordings
Translation or remastered recordings
My Favorite Things
Warm vocal/clear brass/stand-up bass
Blah Blah Blah
Sub lows, chaotic but clear upper mids
Back In Black
Accurate distorted guitar
Cross stick snare, clear percussion, ample bass
Price You Pay
Translation of maxed fader, modern mix
Natural strings; instrument isolation
Natural warm acoustic guitars
Drum clarity and punch
Male and female vocal in bass heavy mix
Translation of "flat" master
Natural brass section and lead brass
Electric bass guitar; vocal "kitchen sink"
Somebody I used to Know
Intimate vocal, vocal range and depth
Crisp hats / ride, electric organ, rubbery low end
Johnny Strikes Up The Band
Vocal warmth, cowbell and pedal steel guitar
Past The Point Of Rescue
Set Fire To The Rain
Piano, sub low, vocal
Drum pans, horns