REVIEW: Ultimate Ears Pro LIVE in-ear stage monitors

OK, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, these new Ultimate Ears LIVE in-ears cost over two grand. There, I said it. They’ve hella expensive and probably are out of reach for most touring bands (hey, remember touring?) That said, there’s definitely an audience for the new flagship LIVE in-ears, otherwise UE Pro wouldn’t have bothered with all that R&D, right?

So, let’s dive in. Who are these things for, anyway? Really, these are best suited for bigger touring bands who want the absolute best of the best. But that doesn’t mean you’ve gotta be U2 playing mega stadiums to get the most of these IEM’s. In fact, a lot of bands we cover, even those on smaller labels, make a healthy living during the summer festival season (hey, remember festivals?). So, for stages like those, these would be ideal because you’re typically dealing with much larger and more involved sound systems that are ideal for IEM use and complex wireless systems. And if you’re going to be making the festival rounds in 2021, and have got the money to invest, you might be an ideal candidate yourself for these bad boys.

One of the nice things about Ultimate Ears’ ecosystem is that since I’m already a user, they’ve already got my custom ear mold on file from a previous scan they did, so getting these custom molded and fitted to my unique ear canal shape required no additional setup. And once they arrived, they delivered as promised. Sound clarity is exceptional (it damn well better be for two grand) and built quality is astounding. Taking a close look under a loupe, and it’s an engineering marvel how they are able to pack so much into a tiny little package. LIVE features a 5-way crossover, multiple drivers, a 6mm sub (yep, you read that right) and a subsonic filter all neatly wired and suspended in the 3D printed mold.

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The custom mold itself is great, but even better for festival performers is the fact the cables are sweatproof and waterproof, meaning you won’t have to worry about cable damage from long sets or the rain. Even if you do run into cable issues, the IPX connector system makes swaps dead-simple. They pop off and on in seconds, making even on-stage changes undetectable. The hard earpieces during long-term use could prove a bit uncomfortable, but your mileage may vary depending on the length of your typical set.

At the end of the day, we’ve tried a lot of IEM’s and Ultimate Ears never fails to exceed our expectations. It would be easy to recommend these, if money were no object. But we’re also realists, and we know that it is for a lot of acts, especially now. So, if you think you’ll be doing full-time touring again in 2021, check these out – they’re the best in class.

PROS:

excellent sound, amazing engineering, wonderful detailing.

CONS:

incredibly expensive, some may not find them comfortable for ultra-long sets.

STREET PRICE:

$2199

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