Open a box of any off-the-shelf earphones and you'll find a handful of replaceable ear fittings, in all manner of shapes, sizes, and materials. It seems ridiculous that the human ear can be so puzzling, but ears truly are as unique and varied as fingerprints. For those with hard-to-fit ears, getting custom-molded earphones would seem like a reasonable answer to this dilemma, but even a modest pair from Westone or UltimateEars will set you back about $400. Like a beacon of sanity, a California-based upstart called EarPeace Technologies is making high-end custom earphones an affordable proposition, pricing its LiveWires custom-fit earphones at a relatively astonishing $249.
LiveWires, like the majority of custom-molded earphones, are designed for the needs of touring musicians and live-sound engineers. For the rest of us, the appeal of "customs" lies with the earpieces' consistently comfortable fit and the improved sound quality obtained from an airtight seal. Beyond the price tag, LiveWires further distinguishes itself from the competition by using detachable (and replaceable) 4-foot braided cables. The cable attaches to the earpiece through a mini-BNC coaxial connection that's common with Wi-Fi equipment, but unique for audio. The result is a cable hinge that is both sturdy and capable of rotating 360 degrees. The far end of the cable terminates in a right-angled, stereo mini-jack plug.