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Pinpointing custom IEM "fit" issues

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I've read with interest over the past several months about various Sensa and UE owners who have sent their custom molded IEM's back in to be "refit", but have always wondered:

1) How do you know that your custom IEM's don't fit properly?

2) How do you pinpoint why they don't fit properly?

3) How do you know where, precisely, on the IEM the fit issues reside?

4) How do you know how much to instruct Sensa or UE to add or subtract from the molds to make them fit right?

Basically, I'm interested in how some of you initiated the communication process with Sensa or UE about your fit issues. I'd like to do it in such a way that I don't become a pain in their backside because, as described below, I don't seem to have any major fit issues as perhaps others have had. So please share your fit and refit communication experiences!


My UE "fit" for your reference:

My experience with IEM's is limited to the Ety ER-4S and UE10-Pro.

With the Ety's, I used to wedge those puppies into my ear canals such that there was no question about the "seal" and they isolated like crazy. People could stand right behind me and talk in a normal voice and I wouldn't know they were there, nor would I hear the phone ring from 2 feet away with music playing. They were awesome on airplanes since they blocked out the engine noise entirely.

With the UE's, I've never had this sense of extreme isolation, yet they're a heck of a lot more comfortable, and (of course) better sounding. I can now hear the phone ring with the UE's in while playing music at a normal volume, and if I mute the volume, I can carry on a phone conversation with the UE's in my ears!

The UE's are extremely comfortable so there are no particular places within my inner ear that seem to be taking undue stress, nor are there any obvious loose fitting areas as I wiggle them gently to feel where they are grabbing. They pop in and out with extreme ease, in just a fraction of a second. The stems don't exert undue pressure on my ear canal (i.e., there is no pain as there was with the Etys when they were pressed in tightly). When I open my mouth to a "normal wide" position or move my jaw rapidly from side to side this does break the seal but only slightly, unless I exaggerate either of these movements (or yawn heavily) in which case the seal is broken much more obviously, but then returns to the normal seal once I start "behaving" again.

I've also noticed that if I grab the UE's and gently pull them in an outward direction (i.e., pull them away from my head on each side without twisting them in any way) the seal is noticably broken and the sound becomes ultra "thin" which indicates to me that they are well sealed in their natural position. Yet, if I press them in slightly on both sides using my palms such that the stems lie more directly on my ear drums, the bass tightens, and I suspect the isolation increases slightly as well.

So I'm thinking that maybe the "problem" such that there is one with my UE fit is that the stems may be a slight little bit too short. Either that, or I used to wear the Etys improperly by really wedging them in too far.

In sum, I'm happy with the overall sound and comfort, but think they should provide more isolation and a better bass response.
post #2 of 28
Quote:
In sum, I'm happy with the overall sound and comfort, but think they should provide more isolation and a better bass response.
They should provide a better bass response? When I first got mine I thought the bass on mine needed to be tamed down about six decibels or so.

I've yet to get my UE 10 Pros back from UE, but when I do I will post some fit impressions on this thread.
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus
When I open my mouth to a "normal wide" position or move my jaw rapidly from side to side this does break the seal but only slightly, unless I exaggerate either of these movements (or yawn heavily) in which case the seal is broken much more obviously, but then returns to the normal seal once I start "behaving" again.

Yet, if I press them in slightly on both sides using my palms such that the stems lie more directly on my ear drums, the bass tightens, and I suspect the isolation increases slightly as well.
The two paragraphs I have quoted suggest that you don't have a perfect fit. The usual way to correct this appears to be thickening the stem, rather than making it longer.
post #4 of 28
I agree with Gorman....they can add a coat of acrylic on the stems and thicken them up slightly, which should yield an improvement.

My UE fit experiences were so tedious, I don't know if I could even write it all out again. I had to go through 6 or 7 refits to get me where I am now....great sound but so-so isolation. Luckily, UE was helpful through the entire process.

I have very narrow and out-of-round ear canals which complicated everything. I never knew this until UE told me. Now I know why I can never properly fit a regular ear plug in my ear...they're all too big!

I would recommend people speak with the original audiologist during the mold making process and see if you have any morphology issues that sets you apart from the average ear. Once you get your first set...and you feel they may not be perfect, put a little smear of dental wax (I think that's what it's called) to see if your isolation and sound performance increases. This will disqualify all the non-comfort related refit issues...if it still sounds the same...you're hearing the real IEM.

I don't have money to throw around, but I have convinced myself that the next time I get IEM's....I'm going to Vegas to have UE do it directly.....an additional $500 expense for traveling expenses....but avoiding six months of back and forth for someone with tough ears to fit.
post #5 of 28
Quote:
I'm going to Vegas to have UE do it directly.....
They're moving to California this Wednesday, so maybe the trip won't be so expensive after all.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by doobooloo
They're moving to California this Wednesday, so maybe the trip won't be so expensive after all.
As in... moving their company forever? Where in California?
post #7 of 28
Where in California?
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitzula
Where in California?
http://ultimateears.com/contact_us.htm

Contact Us
800-589-6531 Fax (949) 502-8379

Ultimate Ears Inc.
5 Jenner Street, Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92618

They also have this comment on their site:

Ultimate Ears™
are manufactured
exclusively by
Ultimate Ears, Inc. in
Irvine, CA.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitzula
Where in California?
Ultimate Ears Inc.
5 Jenner Street, Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92618

I guess this is the new address...

Edit: iamdone was quicker than me...
post #10 of 28
Where the hell is Irvine?
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by random person
Where the hell is Irvine?
I believe it's in the LA area. Looks to be south of LA.
post #12 of 28
Irvine is in Orange County (yes, as in the TV show "OC" and the movie Orange County). It is between LA and San Diego...slightly more than an hour away from each city. Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach (yes, as in the MTV show), are all located in Orange County...but not Orange County Chopper of American Chopper fame (that's Orange County New York).

Irvine is a very nicely city with beautifully manicured lawns and residential communities.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfen68
I have very narrow and out-of-round ear canals which complicated everything. I never knew this until UE told me. Now I know why I can never properly fit a regular ear plug in my ear...they're all too big!
I had impressions taken this morning and the audiologist commented on how small my ear canals are. In looking at the the molds, they also appear to be out-of-round (to my untrained eyes) Maybe this is why my E5 triflange sleeves were difficult until I cut the stem way down, and why the ultrasoft sleeves were like heaven to my ears.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get it right the first time.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamdone
http://ultimateears.com/contact_us.htm

Contact Us
800-589-6531 Fax (949) 502-8379

Ultimate Ears Inc.
5 Jenner Street, Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92618

They also have this comment on their site:

Ultimate Ears™
are manufactured
exclusively by
Ultimate Ears, Inc. in
Irvine, CA.

WOW. That is only a few minutes from me!! I was really hoping to not have to spend $900 though......
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianknewbie
WOW. That is only a few minutes from me!! I was really hoping to not have to spend $900 though......
Then you're very fortunate. Have UE do your impressions and you should be good to go.
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