Tony Cottrill - BlackBird Academy integrates Ultimate Ears into their Programs

How did you settle on Ultimate Ears?

After months of research, pricing and although there are plenty of great choices I ended up purchasing UE’s, UE has become one of the most respected audio companies in the USA.


Do you use your UE’s exclusively in a live environment or have you tried them out in the studio?

For me audio quality is a must, I’ve been tracking/mixing in studios and concert stages since the 70’s and recognize great audio. Although UE products are generally tuned for stage use I’ve found my UE Custom In-Ear “Reference Monitors” invaluable in a studio setting, whether I’m using them as my headphone mix when tracking drums or using them to reference mixdown sessions, without a doubt one of the finest IEMs I have ever tried, and the cable is possibly the best on the market.

As a performer and drummer for my band, since we use Pro Tools sequences and I play live to a click it’s important to me that I have total isolation; with my UE molds it’s nearly complete separation. In the studio and for live performances I prefer not to hear any ambience coming from the live acoustic kit or stage, the idea is that my stick hits get to my ear at the speed of light, no acoustic in-air delay, I also hear the other instruments, especially the direct bass guitar and click track instantly…no time smears.

My UE’s in the studio:

I recently had the incredible opportunity to track my band with John McBride engineering at Blackbird Studio A which was the main room of the original studio, John gets exceptional drums sounds. Studio A is a 72 input Neve 8078 console, Hidley designed acoustic chamber and he miked my kit using his extensive collection of vintage microphones, it was pure audio bliss…I used my UE Custom In-Ear “Reference Monitors” and it sounded amazing.

While The Blackbird Academy is teaching on a wide range of Wireless In-Ear Monitor Systems and in-ear audio products, we’re looking forward to integrating the UE’s into our program to give students a well-rounded view of options available for the performance arena. I have good fun evaluating and testing audio gear in an attempt to give my best assessment based on my experiences in the trenches…and don’t get me started on my opinion with the latest trend of $2k digital live consoles made in China – for the love of…

Tony Cottrill - BlackBird Academy integrates Ultimate Ears into their Programs

You can read the full interview here.

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