In addition to offering popular brands of IEM including Shure, Ultimate Ears, 64 Audio and JH Audio, the Hertfordshire-based Custom IEM Company also delivers a lesser known ‘re-shelling’ service.
Not only could this present a potential saviour for damaged monitors, but also represents an affordable way of giving your existing generics a serious upgrade.
Working with American firm InEarz, The Custom IEM Company details a list of compatible monitors on which we find our triple-driver Shure SE 535s. Like ordering any custom in-ear monitors, the first step is to have ear impressions taken by a qualified audiologist - this usually costs around £40, which is not included in the re-shell price.
The completed moulds are then sent off with your existing ear-pieces, which are dismantled and the components rehoused in custom-moulded acrylic casings. The ear impressions are also 3D scanned and kept on file for up to five years.
The base price of the re-shell is £199, which includes a choice of 26 standard colour options - we went for the Midnight Blue. Optional upgrades include premium finishes like sparkle and pearl, custom faceplates including various woods, pearl finishes, swirls and carbon fibre look (as review), coloured canals, custom artwork, recessed sockets and a replacement industry-standard two-pin braided cable. With our chosen upgrades included, the total price of our monitors came to £340.
The re-shelled monitors are supplied in a basic InEarz branded zip-pouch with a wax cleaning tool and there is also a personalised hard-case option for just £20. The turnaround time for the re-shells is between two to four weeks.
On inspection, the ear pieces are incredibly well put together and with the addition of the carbon faceplate and custom artwork, aesthetically they could easily hold their own next to top-of-the-line models - certainly unrecognisable as the off-the-shelf Shure 535s.
When put to the test, they sound every bit as good as they did in their former incarnation but now with the added benefit of a much higher level of isolation due to the custom shape. This not only makes it possible to listen comfortably at lower volumes in a stage environment but also subtly increases the low-end response.