It’s not every day that you look in the mirror and see your ears glowing blue.
But here I am, in my bathroom, trying the latest technology from the audiophile headphone brand Ultimate Ears, which is owned by Logitech. The company is known for creating anatomically customized, form-fitting ear monitors that are worn by professional musicians on stage. Using methods like spray foam molding and 3D scanning, Ultimate Ears creates a model of a musician’s ear canal to produce a spelunking earbud that will go deeper than anything produced by Apple. This highly precise object is designed to plug your ear from external noise (from the blaring speakers on stage, to the periodic shouts of your family), while delivering fewer decibels to your inner ear than the average headphone.
The problem is, the process is expensive. And the final, custom-made product from UE can cost thousands of dollars. While most gadgets today are relatively inexpensive because they’re one-size-fits-all off a factory line, custom headphones more closely resemble bespoke artisan products, like the crowns of dentistry or a handmade piece of furniture.