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T3 reviews the T3
ImageFinally, a pair of comfortable in-ear headphones that really deliver. Well, as long as you don't mind having silicone pumped into your ear…

The dilemma with using portable audio - CDs, MiniDiscs, Mp3s or ahem, cassettes - has always been how to listen. While full-size hi-fi headphones easily produce the best sound quality, they defeat the object of having something so small. On the other hand, in-ear headphones tend to be fiddly, produce unsatisfying bass, and are often extremely painful. Throw in the added distraction of background noise such as traffic, road diggers, people talking loudly (some people are just so rude), and listening to your Walkman can become something of a trial.

Well, ACS recons its T3 in-ear monitors solve all these problems in one hit. Instead of being a generic round or elliptical shape, they are custom-moulded to sit perfectly in your own ear and create a tight seal that cuts out almost all external noise. Or at least, that's the theory. But are they really effective?

At first sight, they are at once disappointing and intriguing. Considering that these are probably the most expensive pair of headphones you'll ever buy for your Walkman or otherwise-you might be forgiven for wondering where your money's gone. Apart from a 3.5mm headphone jack, one-metre cable and two tiny lumps of silicone, there's not much to see. On the other hand, it is reassuring to know that no expense has been wasted on unnecessary styling or gimmicks. The makers obviously recognize that these headphones will live or die not on what they look like, but how they sound.

The earpieces themselves are soft to the touch and slightly malleable. Everyone's ears are different, so a cast has to be taken before they can be made - this involves soft silicone being pumped into your ear until you can hear almost nothing (which is a slightly odd experience). It sets in a couple of minutes and the cast is then sent to the ACS lab, ready for a technician to make up the headphones. It's a relatively labour-intensive process, but is also very precise. And while you have to expend a little more effort than would be involved in simply popping into your local Dixons store, casts can be taken at any one of ACS's 120 agents around the UK, or in almost any European country.

The advantage of using silicone is that it creates an extremely tight seal, through which sound can travel neither in nor out. It means that these headphones don't need any special 'noise-canceling' technology, because there's nothing to cancel out (F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve uses them to hear his pit crew during a Grand Prix). Once inserted into the ear, and quite deep into the ear canal, the only sound you'll hear is the music. What's more, these headphones make your music sound extraordinarily good, with the kind of bass and clarity that's normally the preserve of full-size cans. In fact, it's not far off having a pair of floor-standing speakers buried inside your head.

The even better news is that while you hear more volume, the headphones aren't actually pumping out more sound than a normal pair of in-ear cans - its just that you can hear them better. Which is why top DJ Dave Seaman is working on a pair to use instead of headphones inside a club, and ACS is taking a lot of orders from motorcyclists who use them on the road. There is however, a downside.

Wearing what is effectively a pair of tight-fitting earplugs takes a bit of getting used to. Then there's the price: at £230.00 you've got to be mad about your music to want 'em. But hey, if you want superb sound while you're on the go, and you've got the cash, then why not?

Summary

Pros: Excellent sound quality and comfort, with almost complete obliteration of all external noise. Cons: Price. Nigh on £200 for a pair of personal stereo headphones will make anyone think twice.

The verdict

Pricey, but there's little doubt that the ACS T3 in ear monitors are the only way to listen."
 

Product Downloads

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We'll keep your ears on file...

ACS is pleased to announce the introduction of a new state of the art scanning technology that means ALL customers that order custom made hearing protection and in-ear monitoring products from ACS will have their ear shape on file at ACS for up to 4 years. The device will scan the impressions and save as a file on the database so customers can order new products or replacements instantly without the need to have new impressions taken. What's more, this service will not cost customers anything extra on top of the standard product charge, it is just a little something we want to do to make your experience with us even more enjoyable!

Please be aware that the scanning service began on May 1st 2010 so will only apply to customers that ordered thereafter. 

 

Reviewed in the Financial TImes

ACS T2 custom in-ear monitors and the custom-fit sleeves for Etymotic ER-6i featured in the Financial Times 'How to spend it' section in March 2008.

Read the review in full....

The ER15 gives Alex Tearse a whole new experience

...the drummer was obviously uncomfortable and very interested to see that my hearing was fine and the ER15s had done a great job.

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RR Racing use DriverCom

Dan Clarke and Bruno Senna have extensively tested the Driver Comm systems and comment highly on their performance


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Stephen Fry bathes in the delights of his T2s

In his Dork Talk column for the Guardian, Stephen Fry confesses that his T2s turn him to the 'happiest puddle of butterscotch Angel Delight in Britain'.

Read more... 

A Very Complete Review of the T2

One of the most detailed reviews of the T2 IEM.

Read it all here... 

Andy Cutter says about the Duocom

..Now I have your Duocom kit I am really please with the result, it has made my Autocom what I believe it alwys should have been...
Read more...  

The Works review the ER-20

Music clear as day. Ears not ringing. Job Done.

Read more... 

London Luton Airport use custom-fitted protection

..I truly believe ACS has offered the staff of London Luton Airport Operations Ltd a unique solution to a very broad challenge.

Read the letter in full.... 

Cost Calculator

Find out how much you could save with upto a 4 year forecast on custom hearing protection here

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How to Buy

Image Find your nearest ACS dealer from hundreds across the UK.

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Or redeem a CUSTOM VOUCHER at your nearest impression taker using our postcode store locator >> 

Please note - ACS products require good deep impressions in order to create a seal in the ear so it is important there is no wax block in the canal that will stop the audiologist from taking an impression. If you think you may have a wax build up, please visit your local GP for a consultation before booking an appointment with a dealer. You may be charged a fee if the audiologist is unable to take an impression. 

Pendulum use ACS monitoring and protection

 

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Pendulum use ER series hearing protection, our T1 and our T2 monitors for their live performances.
Visit pendulum.com for more band info.

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'Detox for the ears'

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Mark Mondesir writes :
'For the past few months I have been using the T2s as earphones for my iPod/CD player/Powerbook etc.
I call the experience "Detox For The Ears".'
Read his letter in full...

iDJ test drives the ER15 and loves them!

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The likes of LTJ Bukem, Tom Middleton, John Digweed and Gilles Peterson – not to mention numerous leading rock musicians and several Formula One teams – swear by their ER15’s, and now I know why.

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Mrs M Fuller writes about Sleepfit

ImageI had almost forgotten what it felt like to enjoy a sound, solid undisturbed sleep and to wake up feeling calm and refreshed.  I am so impressed with how effective and comfortable they are, I cannot thank you enough again for making me 'ear moulds from heaven'.

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In-Depth T2 Review on Head-Fi

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The detail, precision, extension (for an IEM), transparency/clarity, smoothness, everything is simply incredible! Think SR-404 highs, but with more smoothness and substance! No harshness, sibilance, graininess, nothing! I'd really be clutching at straws if I said there was something not right about the highs .
Read the review in full on Head-Fi...

John Wheatcroft writes

ImageI’m hugely indebted to Andy and the guys at ACS for their fantastic products and wonderful customer services...

Read more... 

Postcard from Neil Falkener

A postcard from Neil Falkener after ACS supplied him with Biopact hearing protectors

(click to zoom) 

Where can I buy ACS products?

ACS products are available from a nationwide network of Audiologists as well as directly from us at our offices in Banbury. You'll need to make an appointment to have impressions taken which will then be sent on to us to allow us to manufacture your custom-fit products. To find your nearest Audiologist see the complete list on our Find A Dealer page. Please note that production time is always dependent upon orders received.  The skills and experience involved in making our hand-crafted products are not acquired overnight so employing more staff, whilst increasing our labour force, does not bring an immediate reduction in production time - please bear with us in times of increased demand for our products

Deafness Research UK

ACS believes that everyone deserves to enjoy good hearing and great music, so we have chosen to support Deafness Research UK.
This remarkable charity works to find better treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus, bringing the public vital hearing health messages and supporting people with a wide range of hearing impairments. To continue the good work, this charity really needs your support too.
As a music lover you can appreciate just how precious your hearing is and how terrible it would be to lose it, so please help us to support Deafness Research UK in finding the life-changing treatments needed to help millions of people with hearing conditions.
To find out more or donate to Deafness Research UK, please click here .