Snugs x Flare: custom-moulded in-ear headphones

The Audio R2Pro Titaniums equalise in-flight air-pressure changes

Image: Hugh Threlfall

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.

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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.

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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.

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