The Complete Guide to Ultimate Ears In-Ear Monitors

In the past, musicians and singers relied on bulky stage speakers to hear themselves and their bandmates during performances. These speakers took up a lot of space and could have serious limitations for sound clarity. Now, musicians can experience improved sound quality and the ability to move freely on stage by using in-ear monitors.

In-ear monitors for musicians and singers offer improved performance and clear sound across a variety of ranges. When performers can hear their music, they can put on the best show for their fans. In-ear monitors also offer benefits to music producers who want to create perfect tracks and hear their albums clearly during editing.

What Are In-Ear Monitors Used For?

In-ear monitors are a relatively simple piece of technology that can work wonders on the stage or in the recording booth. In-ear monitors have an earpiece that rests in the musician's or producer's ear and a small receiver that you wear as a belt pack. This receiver picks up a message from a transmitter and allows you to hear your instrument or voice clearly through the earpiece.

what are in ear monitors

One of the most common uses of in-ear monitors is during performances, so musicians can hear their instruments or voice over the other music and the crowd. Instead of using traditional stage monitoring, performers can hear themselves and their bandmates clearly to stay in tune and on tempo. When you can hear yourself without straining your ears, you can focus on performing at your best. Wireless in-ear monitors also let you move freely around the stage without worrying about drifting too far from your speakers. In-ear monitors allow more space for jamming out instead of dodging bulky speakers.

When your band uses in-ear monitors while performing, you can also enjoy the benefits of lower stage volume. Instead of competing with your bandmate's instruments and the roar of the crowd to hear yourself play, in-ear monitors for bands let you comfortably hear your instrument when playing at lower volumes. Your ears will enjoy the benefit of lower decibels, and your vocal cords will thank you for the break. Lower stage volume also helps your sound engineer have better control over what your audience is hearing while allowing every member of your band to play at their preferred volume. When your house engineer has more flexibility for mixing, your fans will hear your band's best sound.

The other most common use of in-ear monitors is in the recording studio. When you're recording your part for a track or album, you can listen to the rest of the instruments through your in-ear monitors to stay on beat. Producers can also use in-ear monitors to produce higher-quality recordings and perform better editing and mastering. Providing crisp, clear sound, in-ear monitors can be just the tool you need to make your best music.

Custom-Molded In-Ear Monitors: The Ultimate Ears Difference

Custom Molds

In-ear monitors are available in standard models designed to fit anyone, and custom in-ear monitors are specifically designed for your ears. Standard in-ear monitors can offer high-quality sound, but they're prone to slip out of your ears during energetic performances and may not offer complete sound isolation. Their universal shape and size might also be uncomfortable in your ears. Custom in-ear monitors, on the other hand, provide superior sound isolation and fit your ears perfectly. This means they won't fall out — even during the most enthusiastic headbanging — and they'll feel comfortable even throughout your longest sets or recording sessions.

Traditionally, custom in-ear monitors are created by taking a mold of the inside of your ear and producing a monitor to fit that mold. These molds use a fast-drying silicone that is injected into the ear cavity. After the mold dries, you can remove it and create a negative, which then becomes the mold for the final product. Typically, only an audiologist can take these silicone molds. If something goes wrong during the process, the molds may not be accurate enough to produce perfectly-fitted custom monitors.

However, recent cutting edge technology from Ultimate Ears now allows us to take molds for Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors using digital ear scanning. Their UE 3D Ear Scanner is the only digital scanner on the market that offers the necessary precision to create custom in-ear monitors. The UE 3D Ear Scanner was developed from technology used in military and aerospace applications that has since been applied to the hearing aid industry, and now to custom in-ear devices for the music industry.

Using the non-invasive UE 3D Ear Scanner, authorized Ultimate Ears dealers can take digital molds in a matter of minutes, so customers never have to go to an audiologist. These accurate impressions capture both the interior and exterior of the ear to produce comfortable, form-fitting in-ear monitors. After a customer completes their ear scan at an Ultimate Ears retailer, the scan is sent to the Ultimate Ears production site, where 3D printing is used to quickly and accurately manufacture their custom in-ear device.

In just five to seven business days, we'll ship out brand new custom in-ear monitors. This innovative system makes ordering Ultimate Ears effortless for the customer and allows you to receive your custom in-ear monitors more quickly.

Ultimate Ears Models

The Ultimate Ears line-up includes models designed for every musician, from the lead guitarist to the drummer carrying the beat. Ultimate Ears offers in-ear monitors specifically for live performance, as well as models that are best for music producers and DJs. All Ultimate Ears models are designed to match a specific sound signature while providing exceptional balance across ranges. Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors work in harmony, so your whole band can stay in tune and on tempo.

Ultimate ear line up

Perfect for live performances, Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors have a failsafe cable and connection system that is waterproof and sweatproof to withstand energetic shows or rainy concerts. The UE SuperBax cables are also easily replaceable, so you can trust your in-ear device to work no matter what. Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors are compatible with all popular IEM systems and portable audio devices, as well as the Ultimate Ears Bluetooth Cable and app.

Explore the seven Ultimate Ears models available to find the perfect pair for you and your music.

1. UE 18+ Pro

Like its award-winning predecessor the UE 18 Pro, the UE 18+ Pro offers the same exceptional sound quality across tones and ranges. Hear high registers with crisp clarity while enjoying sharp distinction in the mid and lower ranges. UE 18+ Pro Ultimate Ears offer improved presence and a clear sound, so you can perform better solo or with your band. This premium model is perfect for musicians and artists whose aim is perfection.

2. UE 11 Pro

The extended low frequencies of the UE 11 Pro make this model ideal for bassists, drummers and DJs. As the heartbeat of the band, you want to produce tight rhythms and clean beats. These in-ear monitors feature a dedicated subwoofer for a punchy and accurate bass, so you can keep the tempo easily.

Ultimate Ears for drummers also allow you to use a click track or any other support tracks you want while performing on stage or in the studio. When you have complete freedom to personalize your mix, you can play confidently and perform at your best. With the exceptional sound isolation of the UE 11 Pro, you can clearly hear your instrument and your band clearly and at a comfortable volume. For DJs, the UE 11 Pro lets you hear your mix at a comfortable level with the precision you need to keep the party going.


Designed for live performances at large venues, UE LIVE in-ear monitors are perfect for arenas, stadiums and festivals. As the most powerful model in the Ultimate Ears line-up, these monitors are ideal for bands that want to wow their fans with a fantastic show.

UE LIVE monitors produce a full, rich sound so you can hear every bold note you play while tuning out ambient noise. When you're giving your all on the stage, you'll appreciate that your Ultimate Ears SuperBax cables are sweatproof and easy to replace in seconds if necessary. With Ultimate Ears for live performances, you'll never have to worry about an equipment failure in the middle of a performance and can rely on crisp, clean sound that lasts for the entire show.

4. UE Reference Remastered

UE Reference Remastered in-ear monitors are the solution for music producers and studio engineers who want to hear greater auditory detail in the studio. With True Tone technology for expanded tonal range, you can hear harmonic structures and overtones you wouldn't get with regular headphones. The high-resolution listening experience allows you to craft each track and album perfectly. All Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors are compatible with popular IEM systems and portable audio devices, so you can connect easily no matter what studio equipment you use.

5. UE 7 Pro

Designed for singers and guitarists, the UE 7 Pro boasts a bold sound signature with a defined midrange. The depth and clarity of the UE 7 Pro will help you stay in tune while commanding the stage with your voice or instrument.

Over the last 10 years, musicians have used the UE 7 Pro on stages around the world, and Ultimate Ears has refined the model for improved sound quality. As a monitor from Ultimate Ears for singers, the UE 7 Pro also reduces vocal strain since you can hear yourself without pushing your vocal cords too far. Meanwhile, Ultimate Ears for guitarists allow you to hear notes clearly in any range, whether you're strumming a low rhythm or screaming out a solo.

The lower stage volume Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors allow benefits the whole band, letting each member focus on quality while the sound engineer ensures the audience hears you loud and clear.

6. UE 6 Pro

Another excellent option for drummers, the UE 6 Pro isolates low tones for a tight, accurate beat. The rich and enveloping sound of the UE 6 Pro produces natural sounds for drums and other percussion instruments. Capture deep beats and high cymbal sizzles with Ultimate Ears' dynamic drivers and True Tone technology.

7. UE 5 Pro

The UE 5 Pro is a great choice for musicians performing local gigs or just getting their start in the industry. This affordable model offers a wide tonal range to support any instrument in your band with excellent sound quality. The dual drivers of the UE 5 Pro are designed for powerful sound during stage performances and keep your sound balanced across ranges.

How to Choose the Right In-Ear Monitors for You

Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors are designed to perform best with specific instruments, while still accommodating a wide range of tones. This provides flexibility when choosing the perfect model for you. When comparing Ultimate Ears models, here are a few factors to consider: 

  • Choose the right monitorsYour Instrument: You may want to pick an Ultimate Ears model designed specifically for your instrument. If you play more than one instrument, consider choosing the UE 18+ Pro or UE 5 Pro, which offer great sound in any range.
  • Your Performances: Are you always on the road, or do you only play shows every once in a while? If you play at a lot of large venues, UE LIVE may be your best choice. If you perform at mostly small places, the UE 5 Pro might be a better choice.
  • Your Recordings: If you find yourself primarily behind the soundboard in the studio, the UE Reference Remastered, specifically designed for producers, may be right for you. If you're a performer, any Ultimate Ears will be a great choice, as they are all designed to perform well both in the studio and on stage.
  • Your Professionalism: If you are a serious musician, investing in a top model like the UE 18+ Pro will be worth the exceptional sound quality you get. For performers who enjoy music as more of a hobby, the earlier UE 5 Pro may be a better fit.
  • Your Style: Once you have chosen the right model for you, you may want to customize it by selecting a color or pattern that expresses your musical style. Ultimate Ears in-ears monitors are available in a wide variety of colors, so you can choose a subtle beige, clear or white, or be bold with a bright color or pattern. 

No matter what model you choose, you can't go wrong with a pair of Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors. Designed to fit your ears and equipped with high-performance technology, Ultimate Ears are a perfect choice for headlining performers and up-and-coming bands.

Choose Ultimate Ears In-Ear Monitors From Bananas at Large

Whether you strum electric bass, sing lead vocals or mix tracks in the studio, there is an Ultimate Ears model for you. At Bananas at Large, we are proud to offer the complete line of Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors, so you can order the exact pair you want from any of our convenient San Francisco area locations.

When you purchase your Ultimate Ears in-ears monitors from Bananas at Large, you can enjoy a free digital ear scan — a $150 value. After we send out your 3D Digital Imaging impressions, you can expect us to ship your brand new custom in-ear monitors within five to seven business days.

Experience the perfect fit and exceptional sound quality of Ultimate Ears from Bananas at Large.

Book your appointment today to get started!

Ultimate Ears at Bananas at Large

Previous article When to Start Guitar Lessons
Next article Analog Mixer Vs. Digital Mixer