https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-plus-universal-iems New Massdrop IEMs from.... Massdrop? Yup. Massdrop introduces their first audiophile product under their own brand name: the PLUS universal in-ear monitors. Since everyone is off at RMAF, I figured I’d go ahead and start a thread on these myself, as I’ve been one of the fortunate product testers. While you’re checking out the link above, allow me to give you the usual sort of introduction for these things. And hopefully do a decent enough job explaining why I think they’re so much more than the “usual sort of thing.” So yeah, the obligatory part. I’ve been in this hobby for a while now. Met a lot of amazing folks. Heard a lot of enchanting gear. Heard some, uh, not so enchanting gear. These days it takes a lot to really elevate my heart rate. So much hyperbole, so much market speak: at a certain point you find yourself becoming desensitized. Maybe even a bit jaded. That being said, these IEMs are like a smack in the face. They’re dreamy. An ice cold soda on a hot summer day. They’re Christmas Day. And rainbows. And puppies, all rolled into one. And frankly they shouldn’t exist. It all started innocently enough one day, when my long-time friend and fellow head-fi nutcase CEE TEE casually asked me if I’d like a UERM with sub-bass. Well sure. The UERM has long since been a high water mark for reference sound in the earphone arena thanks to its neutral but lifelike sound. It’s one of those legends spoken about in hushed reverence; I’m pretty sure there’s some ritual involved whenever you invoke its name aloud. Point is, there are quite a few fans of Ultimate Ears’ original Reference Monitor here I’m sure. They know what I mean. Ask them to tell you why the UERM is so special sometime. Now check out that price tag. If I said the Massdrop PLUS was an UERM for that price, I’m pretty sure I could just stop embarrassing myself at this point with my awkward enthusiasm and call it a day. But then the “plus” part comes into the equation: there’s honest to goodness rumble with these little monsters. They are—for lack of a better phrase—fun as hell when you’re listening to Kendrick Lamar or Four Tet. Yet all the while I never felt myself wanting more midrange presence or clarity. Somehow the PLUS retains a reference tuning throughout all my test tracks and comparisons. Oh, and they’re extraordinarily comfortable. That’s a thing. I was actually quite skeptical when I heard that the shells had been created through averaging a bunch of ear impressions that had been taken over the years, but they fit my ears like a glove. They are without a doubt one of the most custom feeling universal I’ve worn yet. So.... yeah! This is that rare bird: the ever elusive “fun” sounding reference monitor. Neutral in mind but fun at heart. Over the next few days you’ll read about the experiences of others, see plenty of comparisons. I’ll do my best to offer a bunch myself, since I have a pretty healthy collection of earphones on hand. Funny thing is, I can honestly say: I’d take these over most of them. That includes some with four digit price tags. In fact, throw the whole price equals performance schema out the window. It’s just not happening here. Punches above their weight? Try knocking out. I sincerely think these raise the bar on what you get for your hard earned dosh.