They might have an icky name worthy of a nappy brand, and an eccentric provenance – having started life on a farm in the West Country – but Snugs custom-moulded in-ear headphones have done well since I reviewed them here nearly three years ago.
The in-ear measuring service, soft, comfortable inserts and well-chosen headphones explain the little company’s success. Indeed, a pair of Snugs attached to a fine in-ear model seals you off from the world better than any noise-cancelling headphones and provides a fantastic musical experience.
Snugs has now introduced an electronic scanning method for ear measurement, which is quicker and less medical than before, and partnered with another British maker, Flare Audio of Sussex – and its new R2Pro Titanium headphones are sensational. Most significantly, however, it has addressed a slight drawback in the design. Whereas the Snugs of old sealed your ear so efficiently that changing pressure levels in-flight messed with your listening, this new version has a built-in mechanical valve to equalise air pressure and improve comfort. This feature also has the effect of enhancing the sound when not on a plane. Evening up the pressure inside and outside the ear canal seems to allow the earphone driver to move more precisely, resulting in a fluid, even 3D sound.