Universal vs Custom IEMs

Universal vs Custom IEMs

In the world of in-ear monitors (IEMs), the debate between universal and custom options has long been a topic of discussion among musicians and audiophiles alike. Both options offering unique benefits and considerations.

However, with Plunge Audio's Unity Universal Fit In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) entering the scene, you can now have the best of both worlds: the convenience of a universal fit and the personalized comfort of a custom mold. Let's dive deeper into the key differences and advantages the three have to offer.

Universal IEMs

Universals offer an accessible and budget-friendly alternative to custom models, catering to a wide range of users with their off-the-shelf availability and affordable pricing. Despite their versatility and convenience, some users may encounter fit and comfort issues, as well as limitations in sound isolation compared to custom-fit options.


    • Accessibility: Universal IEMs are readily available and can be purchased off-the-shelf without the need for ear impressions or customization.
    • Affordability: Compared to Custom IEMs, universals are often more budget-friendly, making them a popular choice for entry-level users or those on a tight budget.
    • Versatility: Universal IEMs can be easily shared among multiple users or used with different devices without the need for additional customization.


    • Fit and Comfort: While Universal IEMs come with a variety of ear tips to accommodate different ear shapes, some users may experience fit issues or discomfort during prolonged use.
    • Sound Isolation: Due to variations in ear anatomy, Universal IEMs may not provide the same level of sound isolation as custom-fit models, resulting in reduced bass response and overall clarity.

Custom IEMs

Custom IEMs offer a tailored fit thanks to their individual molding process. While they can provide an enhanced listening experience compared to many Universal IEMs, Custom IEMs come at a higher cost and require a longer lead time for manufacturing and customization. Additionally, going through the process of getting Custom IEMs doesn’t always ensure a perfect fit.


    • Custom Fit: Custom IEMs are individually molded to fit the unique contours of each user's ears, and can provide a higher level of comfort, stability, and sound isolation if molds are accurate.
    • Customized Aesthetic: Design options allow users to personalize the appearance of their Custom IEMs, reflecting their individual style and preferences.
    • Long-Term Comfort: Custom IEMs are designed for extended wear when molds are accurate, making them a great option for professional musicians or audiophiles who spend hours on stage or in the studio.
    • Cost: Custom IEMs are typically more expensive than universal models, often requiring additional fees for ear impressions, customization, and professional fitting.
    • Fit Duration: The duration varies and can be compromised due to inaccurate impressions. Additionally, factors such as weight fluctuations, nasal congestion, and surgeries can affect the duration of the fit, making it inconsistent over time.
    • Lead Time: Unlike universal IEMs that can be purchased off-the-shelf, Custom IEMs require a longer lead time for manufacturing and customization, resulting in a longer wait time before delivery.

Unity Universal IEMs

Plunge Audio's Unity Universal IEMs offer the best of both worlds, seamlessly blending the accessibility of universal earphones with the personalized fit of custom molds. Thanks to their patent-pending shell design, meticulously crafted to mimic the shape, canal entrance, and angle common to the vast majority of human ears. Unity IEMs provide a superior fit, seal, and sound quality reminiscent of custom-made counterparts.


    • Custom-like Fit: As mentioned above, our Unity Universal IEMs boast a shape, canal entrance, and angle that closely mimic those of the vast majority of human ears. This design ensures a custom-like fit without the lengthy process and potential inaccuracies associated with custom molds.
    • Accessibility: Unity Universal IEMs are readily available and can be shipped within 2 business days.
    • Versatility: They offer versatile usage, allowing them to be easily shared among multiple users or utilized with various devices.
    • Fit Duration: Unity Universal IEMs will fit forever, just adjust the tips as needed for a comfortable and secure fit over time.
    • Enhanced Sound Quality: The organic nature of Unity Universal IEM shells, leads to the superior fit, seal, and sound consistent with custom molds. You will be immersed in the widest soundstage available. Hear exactly what you want to hear with an image so wide and natural that you'll forget you’re wearing IEMs at all.
    • Investment: Although not as costly as Custom IEMs, the price of Unity Universal IEMs falls between the average range of universal and custom models, which may still be prohibitive for some buyers.

Let's Compare

IEMs Unity Universal IEMs Custom IEMs
Investment $899 CAD $1,500 CAD +
Fit Patent Pending (No. 221187) shell design derived explicitly from the anatomy of the human ear. Derived from custom ear impressions with potential inaccuracies.
Fit Duration

Forever, adjust tips as necessary.

Duration is dependent on weight fluctuations, nasal congestion, surgeries, and more.
Isolation -28dB (with proper seal)


-28dB (with proper seal)

Durability Made from a revolutionary material, known for its toughness, tensile strength, impact strength, and ability to flex without fracture. Typically made from UV cure resin susceptible to cracking and shattering with light impact.
Turnaround Time 2 Business Days 4 Weeks +
Trial Period Try risk-free for 90 days; return for a full refund if you don't love them.

Not Possible

Return Policy 90 Days Final Sale


 “I’ve never had much luck with Custom Moulds and frankly I was ok with my Shure’s for years. But after today, there is a NEW standard.”

- Otis Williams


 Plunge Audio Unity universal grey in-ear monitor close up

Making the Right Choice

At the end of the day, the decision between universal and custom IEMs ultimately depends on your individual preferences, budget, and usage requirements. 

Ready to Make Your Choice?

Explore our Unity Universal In-Ear Monitors to find the perfect fit for your needs. Whether you're a professional musician, audiophile, or casual listener, we have the right solution to elevate your audio experience.

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