Sennheiser's Ambeo division is the audio hardware makers division that's focused on what it calls "immersive audio," that is, audio that can seem to come from all directions, not merely two, five, or seven points. Ambeo already makes microphones, soundbars, and headphones, but now it's adding custom, 3D-printed earbud tips to its repertoire via a partnership with Massachusetts-based 3D printing company Formlabs.
Lend us your ears — Formlabs already makes custom-fit hearing aids, so entering the consumer market isn't a complete departure for it. But being able to bring bespoke ear tips to consumers cost-effectively is.
Part of the cost-effectiveness is thanks to advances in mobile phone cameras, which means consumers can now scan their ears at home, rather than needing to go to an audiologist or other specialist facility.
A better fit, a better experience — Sennheiser says custom tips don't just equate to a better fit, but that in turn leads to better isolation, sound quality, and immersion possibilities. And, frankly, I believe it.
A few years back, I had my ear canals scanned by a company called Snugs, which then mailed me custom tips for a set of Echobox Audio Finder Titanium earbuds... and the results continue to astound me to this day. Thanks to the precision of the fit, the earbuds consistently sound better than far more expensive buds and, despite having no active noise cancellation, they're great for planes or trains. If Sennheiser can get the price point right, and there are applications for studio use or regular music consumption, sign me up.
We're all ears — Sadly, details about how Sennheiser and Formlabs' new deal works are a little thin. There's no information on turnaround time, how the ordering process works, or whether there's any additional cost to consumers. We've reached out to Sennheiser for that information and will update this story accordingly.