Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ultimate Ears visit!

Earlier this week, the graduate sound designers took a field trip (our third and final this quarter - I think) to Ultimate Ears. UE makes high-quality in-ear monitor modules, some models of which are custom-molded to the listener’s ears. They have their main office/studio facilities here in Irvine. Josh Fehrmann, one of our MFA students, owns a pair of their modules, and he was the one to suggest that we see if we could visit their facility. I got in touch with Ryan Sandoval at UE, and he made it happen.

Upon arriving at UE, we were ushered into the demo room, where we were able to try out all of the custom in-ear models. Soon after, Philippe DePallens, GM of UE, came out to talk to us. He explained the history of UE (starting out as a mom & pop company out of Vegas), how Logitech came to acquire UE, and how UE works to build market share and brand loyalty.

Beth listens. Philippe talks.

Then, we took a walk into the labratory studio, where the devices are actually built. Philippe took us through the entire construction process, starting with ear molds and moving all the way to tuning the electronics. We were blown away at the precision with which the artisans in the studio were able to assemble the tiny electronics to such consistant performance!

All through the visit, Philippe also talked about the marketting and branding side of UE, from a perspective of crafting the customer experience. This is a side of business that our students don’t get a lot of exposure to, and it was a real treat to hear how UE combines a high-quality product with a high-quality customer experience.

The visit marked a significant change in perspective for our students. Walking into the office, more than one of them scoffed at the idea of high-quality IEMs, but on the way out, they were thinking seriously about investing in a pair. I can’t say for sure that they will (the nicer models are pretty pricey for a grad student), but even if they don’t right now, who’s to say that they won’t in the future?

Thanks, Philippe and Ryan for a great visit!

Manager: Philippe
Producer: Vinnie
Bass: Matt
Guitar: Josh
Keyboards: Beth
Drums: Kyle
Lead Vocals: Jeff
Backing Vocals: Patricia & Stephen
Band Photographer: Ryan

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