There’s nothing better than a tailor-made earbud. Sennheiser’s AMBEO division, which specializes in “immersive” audio, is partnering with the Formlabs 3D printing company to make custom-fitted earbuds more accessible. The idea is simple—scan your ear with a smartphone, send the data to AMBEO and Formlabs, and get a pair of eartips specially designed for your ear canals.
Custom eartips are super comfortable, and they provide greater sound quality and more sound isolation than generic eartips. That’s why custom-fitted hearing aids, monitors, and earplugs are so common, and why companies like Formlabs want to revolutionize the bespoke audiowear scene with 3D printing and cost-effective scanning technology.
Traditional fitting methods for custom audiowear are cumbersome and expensive. You have to visit an audiologist, get an impression of your ear canals, and pay out the nose for a company to manufacture your eartips. Formlabs’ methodology, on the other hand, makes bespoke audiowear a lot more accessible to the regular person. Companies like Snug are already using similar scanning and printing methods to develop low-cost bespoke earwear, so it’s no wonder that Sennheiser reached out to work with Formlabs.
Details on the Sennheiser and Formlabs collaboration are slim. We don’t know when (or if) the companies will launch a 3D-printed eartip program, how much these custom eartips will cost, or which earbuds the eartips would work with. Still, it’s an exciting development that could make high-end audio more accessible, which is a win for everybody.