Not sure which Ultimate Ears model is right for you? Learn about the differences between our UE FITS, Customs and DROPS earbuds to find the perfect pair.
Between our newest UE DROPS earbuds, game-changing UE FITS earbuds and legendary UE Custom in-ear monitors, it can be difficult to choose just one. While it makes sense for some people to have multiple pairs for different uses, many of us only need a single pair to start out.
In this blog, we’ll break down the differences between our Customs, UE DROPS and UE FITS lineups to help you choose the right model for you.
Custom fit vs. instant fit
The biggest difference between our Customs, UE DROPS and UE FITS models is the fit. UE Custom in-ear monitors and UE DROPS are handcrafted to your unique ear shape for unparalleled comfort and noise isolation. Whether you use our custom FitKit to capture a comfortable mold of your ears from home or visit a trained audiologist for a professional fitting, you can rest assured that your in-ear monitors or earbuds will fit like a glove. Our team handcrafts each pair of Custom IEMs and UE DROPS based on your ear molds.
UE FITS ear tips are made of a soft photopolymer gel and use patented Lightform Technology to instantly adjust to the shape of your ears for a quick, convenient and comfortable fit. Once you put the soft gel tips into your ears and adjust for comfort, the UE FITS app activates tiny LED lights inside the earbuds which harden the gel in 60 seconds. The result? Earbuds that are instantly custom-fitted for your ears only.
UE FITS: Custom fit to your ears in 60 Seconds
In 2020 we released UE FITS, the world’s first true wireless custom-fitted earbuds. Unlike traditional earbuds, which become uncomfortable after a couple of hours or less because they apply more pressure to certain parts of the ear than others, UE FITS are custom-molded to your unique ear shape so you can wear them all day in total comfort. Plus, the secure fit will stay in place no matter what activity you’re doing.
UE FITS uses cutting-edge Lightform Technology to mold to your ears in just 60 seconds. UE FITS ear tips are made of a soft gel called a photopolymer—a plastic that reacts to light. Once you put the soft gel tips into your ears and adjust for comfort and a good seal, the UE FITS smartphone app activates tiny LED lights inside the earbuds which harden the gel ear tips.
It may seem like magical technology from the future, but UE FITS creates the perfect fit in less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee. We’re so confident in our technology that each pair of UE FITS is backed by the Custom Fit Guarantee. The UE FITS app features a fit test that will help you determine if your fit is perfect. And if it’s not, we’ll send you a new pair of moldable tips free of charge. Plus, our team is available to walk you through the process if you need any additional help.
But UE FITS aren’t just the most comfortable earbuds you’ve ever worn, they’re also some of the best-sounding. Equipped with premium 10mm dynamic audio drivers that have been fine-tuned to faithfully reproduce music as it was meant to be heard, UE FITS deliver full, warm and detailed sound, with deep and punchy bass. If you’re looking for a specific sound, you can also adjust the tone of your UE FITS via the EQ tuner in the UE FITS app.
UE FITS is also a stellar choice for music fans who want to block ambient noise without sacrificing audio quality. Thanks to their secure fit and seal, UE FITS block out distracting noise so you can hear every note or phone conversation at safer volumes. Unlike the active noise cancellation (ANC) found in other earbuds that use sound-degrading frequencies to neutralize outside noise, UE FITS uses advanced tech to keep the audio pure so you can enjoy the highest-quality sound.
UE DROPS: Bespoke, hand-shaped luxury earbuds
Handcrafted for exceptional comfort and a precise fit, UE DROPS earbuds deliver premium sound quality and passive noise cancellation for a powerful listening experience that brings out the energy and emotion of the music you love. Each pair of UE DROPS earbuds are custom-tailored for your ears.
It starts with our universal FitKit, which uses cutting-edge technology to make an impression of your ears in minutes, right from the comfort of your own home. After you order your UE DROPS earbuds, you’ll receive a FitKit via mail. Follow the simple instructions on our UE FitKit smartphone app to create a highly accurate impression of your ears. Then, mail back the FitKit with the included prepaid shipping label and we’ll build your bespoke earbuds from scratch.
Our universal FitKit provides a tighter seal than Lightform technology (used for UE FITS), but not quite as deep as a mold from an audiologist (used for UE Customs). That’s why UE DROPS earbuds provide an ideal experience for everyday listening.
Above all else, UE DROPS earbuds need to sound great—and they absolutely do. Modeled after our famous and perfectly balanced UE 5 sound signature, you’ll enjoy your favorite music in stunning quality. Hear details in your favorite songs that you’ve never noticed before thanks to our top-of-the-line 9.2mm dynamic driver and the immersive experience of passive noise isolation achieved with the custom fit of UE DROPS. Plus, the UE DROPS app gives you control over the sound of your music, so every song feels like it’s been mixed just for you.
UE DROPS are also a great choice for music lovers who also have an active lifestyle. UE DROPS earbuds are water and sweat resistant.
UE Customs: Unparalleled performance for the stage, studio and beyond
Whether you’re performing on stage, recording in the studio or simply enjoying your go-to playlist, Ultimate Ears Custom in-ear monitors provide exceptionally detailed, full-range sound with neutral frequency response and an ergonomic custom fit for all-day comfort.
UE Custom in-ear monitors are professionally fitted to each ear by trained audiologists using highly detailed impressions that reach the second bend of the ear canal, providing superior sound and isolation. Each pair of UE Custom in-ear monitors provides 26 dB of gain reduction, protecting your hearing in noisy environments.
The more detailed fit of UE Customs also prevents an annoying issue common in commercial earbuds. When you move your jaw—such as while you’re singing—the shape of your inner ear changes. Most commercial earbuds are unable to compensate for this, causing the sound to change as you sing. This is known as “occlusion.” At best it’s annoying and at worst it can be disorienting enough to throw off your entire performance. Because UE Custom IEMs go to the second bend of your ear canal, they reduce the occlusion effect, retaining the same sound even when you’re reaching for that high note.
UE Custom in-ear monitors are available in seven different models, each with its own unique sound signature. All of our UE Custom in-ear monitors utilize top-quality balanced armature drivers to deliver clear, detailed sound across the entire frequency spectrum. Each driver is fine-tuned to a different frequency range to create a neutral, balanced frequency response, unlike the common dynamic drivers found in most popular headphones and earphones.
Designed for professionals, UE Custom in-ear monitors are crafted to meet the needs of the most demanding shows and sessions. With a small, lightweight form factor that’s easy to take anywhere, UE Customs are ready to go on the road, into the studio or wherever inspiration strikes. The award-winning IPX Connection System and SuperBAX cable are custom-built to withstand daily use, minimizing the need for service and maintenance. This durable, waterproof connection system is designed to last a lifetime.
If you’re ready to take your performance to the next level, check out our lineup of UE Custom in-ear monitors, custom-tuned to deliver professional sound quality for performing, creating and more:
You may be wondering, “What’s the difference between seeing an audiologist, getting a scan and using a FitKit?” All offer the same sound quality, utilize the same incredible technology and are handcrafted by the same team. The only difference is the depth of the fit.
Using a mold or scan enables a deeper fit, reaching the second bend in your ear canal for the most secure fit possible — even if you’re doing backflips on stage. We only use molds and scans for UE Custom IEMs.
The FitKit offers a fit that’s more appropriate for everyday listening and doesn’t require a doctor’s visit. Since they only reach the first bend of your ear canal, they're easier to take in and out of your ears without sacrificing a snug and secure fit. We can use FitKit impressions for UE Customs and UE DROPS.
Still can’t decide? Just send us an email, give us a call, or head to our website and take a brief quiz to help you find the right model for you!