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Awesome Mod: Use Shure Black Olive Foamies on Ultimate Ears Super.fi and/or Triple.fi

post #1 of 139
Thread Starter 
For any of you out there who have had the pleasure of using shures new olive foamies, you know that they are the bomb. Nuff said. They are, in my opinion and the opinion of many others on these forums, the best tips out there. They provide excellent isolation, they're super comfortable, they're foamies so they mold to your ears, and they're washable to boot!

While the shure also fit etymotics and westones, they do not fit ultimate ears universal IEMs . However, fear not friends, for tonight I discovered a 2 minute solution to this problem and am currently listening to my triple.fis with the shure foamies. There is NO need to remove the inner tubing. NO need to go out and buy and awl. If you have a leatherman multitool or a needlenose pliers, you have the solution!!

Simply place the bottom of the leatherman pliers (needlenose) and push the tip down about 1/3 of the way down the pliers. You can probably use any brand multitool (or any needlenose pliers you have around the house) as long as they are small enough at the tip to fit the foamies on. I used my thumbnails, pressing on both sides of the top of the tip's inner plastic tube (not on the foam b/c this just shrinks away from the tube and the tube is the stronger part of the tip). Once you've pushed it down so the bottom of the tip is about 1/2 way down the plyers (the middle of the tip being about a third of the way down), just leave it there to sit for about a minute. Although the shape of the pliers more oblong than round like the tips of the IEM's, they serve the purpose of stretching out the inner plastic tubes and don't damage the tips in any way.

Then, take the tip off the plyer and you should be able to just slip it on your UE's. I pushed them on until the end of the inner plastic tube was flush with the end of the IEM. Thus when the tips are fully expanded, the foam expands to about a millimeter beyond the tip of the monitors.

What is the result? The best isolation of any tips I have tried with the UE's, and definitely the most comfort! The sound is improved with the added isolation, making the triple.fi's sound even more amazing.

If you can get your hands on some of the olive foamies I highly recommend this mod. I bought a 10 pack of tips for $9 at a store in National Airport in D.C. on my way back down to Peru. I previously used the medium silicon tips on the triple.fi's so I bought the medium olive foamies. They were a little snug at first but perfect after the two minutes it took for my ears to get used to the new tips.

Hopefully this helps any of you out there who have been trying to figure out a way to adapt these great tips their UE's!
post #2 of 139
Thread Starter 
The other nice thing about this mod is that he plasic tubing shrinks back down a bit after you put them on the UE's so the tips are really on there good. You can still get them off, but no more worrying about tips coming off the iems when you remove them from your ears!
post #3 of 139
post #4 of 139

Cheers!

Thanks to both of you!

I got my Triple.Fi Pro's (#511) after a 2.5 month wait and was a little bit ticked off about the intermittent problems with the seal/ isolation.

Now I just need to get some olive foamies and a pair of needlenose pliers!j
post #5 of 139
How snug is the black olive tube on the UE stem? Does it pull off without too much effort, or does it require a lot of twisting? If it requires a lot of twisting I'd hesitate to do this mod since it would cause a good deal of stress on the ear stems.

-Ed
post #6 of 139
Since the plastic core shrinks back you will need quite a bit of force to take them back off, up to the point that it is hard not to destroy the foam part when you take them off.
That's why I just clean the tips while they are on the IEMs.

I just tried taking off the black olive from one of the earphones, I pulled back the foam part to reveal the core, and then slowly pried it off from the stem - no problems.
I would be wary not to exert too much pressure on the black part of the IEM though (where the cable enters), better to hold on to the part where the logo is.

For a lark, I tried putting on the normal UE tips on the right ear to see how they compare, now that I've had some time (between 2-3 months) to use the black olive.

Small - didn't try, these are just too small for me
Medium tip - this is the one I used the most, seal and isolation is not as good as the olive for me, by far
Large - seal is better compared to medium, but isolation is not as good, also much less comfortable
Foam - didn't have any of these left, but from what I remember the isolation/comfort/seal is about equal, just that I run through these like candy, and they also need to be compressed before insertion, opposed to olive where you can just push them in
Biflange - very uncomfortable, and less isolation

The isolation part was very easy for me to test because my PC fan is quite noisy, with the UE tips the noise is significantly more noticeable.


In concluding I'd say that the increased comfort and isolation and correlating SQ is worth the "risk" to me.
As long as you don't replace the black olive every few days or something and you are careful when you take them off, it should not damage your phones.
As you know, the stem is quite short and built very sturdily, it doesn't break easily.
Also, I like the way they appear on the UE phones, it's not visible that these tips normally don't fit on the UE phones, they accommodate very well to the look.
post #7 of 139
So those that have tried this don't find the narrower tube of the Shure olives diminishes the UE sound in any way? tk3, what are your sonic impressions with the Shure olive tips?
post #8 of 139

Not worth the risk

I used the medium sized foamies and I think they are in fact too tight.

On my first go, I didn't get the whole of the sleeve to fit flush on the stem. Trying to pull it off was a pain and I ended up destroying the foam. I really didn't want to twist it off and end up breaking my headphones, so I used a razor blade to get the sleeve off in the end.

The isolation is better than the normal UE foamies (without a doubt!), but I would kick myself if I broke my headphones for this mod... not worth the risk.

Ended up giving my foamies to my next door neighbour, who has a pair of E4C's. He was very happy indeed!

J
post #9 of 139
Can't someone find a better way to do this? it only stretches one end and is a pain. I've destroyed several of these now trying and only one got partially on.

Here are some tips at my expense. Start these from the top down on the pliers. see if you can get some tweezer like the ones that come in electrical kits ( really thin with no curves or grippy point, just long a thin. Use the tweezers to push the foam sleeve as far down as possible. Let stretch for more than a minute, hopefully about 10 minutes. Repeat on opposite end. Quickly compress and twist on to triple.fi stem. *HARD*

wow, comfort is definitely improved, sound is great, isolation is better. Thumbs way up, but it is a real pain in the butt mod.
post #10 of 139
I did not use any pliers, what I used were a pair of thin small scissors.
I put both blades inside the plastic core and pushed it down 1-1.5 cm (push at the plastic core not the foam part, and then I opened the blades a little, and put a pencil around the handles so it wouldn't close.
Left them like this for a minute or so, doesn't need to be longer, and they were sufficiently stretched out, that I could put them onto the TF stem without problems.

The outside rim of the stem was perfectly aligned with the foam, so the fit of the foam on the stem was pretty much flawless, you would not be able to tell at a glance that it's like you've put a really fat guy in a corset to make him fit in a suit, or something.

This is an easy mod to do this way, takes 5> minutes to get both sides done, but the harder part is to take the olives off for whatever reason.
It's hard to do so without destroying the foams, since they are wrapped around the stem so tightly.
But like I mentioned before, there should not be any danger of damaging the TF10 stems, since they are built like tanks, assuming you take the foams off in a sensible manner (twist and pull slowly, don't give it the "Bart Simpson strangle" if you know what I mean).
post #11 of 139
Best method I used was take pliers and tweezers and a metal tool (I used the long end of some clippers, but any metal handle would have done). I put the foam sleeve onto the pliers, used the flat tweezers to slip the sleeve farther down the pliers by pushing it down on the core. When it got as far down as I could get them, I used the metal tool to get in between the teeth on the inside of the pliers and pry them open to stretch it more. If you were using regular pliers and not a leather man's tool, you would need the metal tool, you could just pull out on the handle. This would do each tip in about two minutes. Actually managed to rip the core on one with this method, it can be stretched too much.
post #12 of 139
I've tried to get them on there every now and then but finally gave up.

Instead, I'm currently using the tubing from the TF10 foamies with the foam outer from the Ety ER4 foamies. I simply removed the tubing from the ER4 foamies and slipped the Ety foam over the TF10 tubing (after having removed the foam from the UE foamies of course). Works quite well but I'll try to glue them in place next time as overwise the foam occasionally compresses on insertion making the tubing protrude a bit. Still, it's clearly better than the original TF10 foamies in regards to isolation and sound.

(Actually I'd be surprised if there's any QC on the TF10 [foam] originals at all; one of them just slipped off the tube - no glue at all - while the other had just a hint of glue, enough to keep it in place for a minute or so... On top of that: horrible fit but that's of course individual.)
post #13 of 139
I've been trying this mod and really want it to work cause they get so comfortable, but it just won't work.

The thing is that since the olive foamies is longer than the UE stems, the extra part from the foamies tend to partially block the end of the stems where the sound exits. The result is greatly recessed highs and occasionally completely blocked sound.

I use the medium size olive foamies with super.fi 5 pro.

And everyone else here is talking about great sound, why won't it work for me? Are the triple.fi stems longer than the SF 5 pro's?
post #14 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matteman View Post
I've been trying this mod and really want it to work cause they get so comfortable, but it just won't work.

The thing is that since the olive foamies is longer than the UE stems, the extra part from the foamies tend to partially block the end of the stems where the sound exits. The result is greatly recessed highs and occasionally completely blocked sound.

I use the medium size olive foamies with super.fi 5 pro.

And everyone else here is talking about great sound, why won't it work for me? Are the triple.fi stems longer than the SF 5 pro's?
The triple.fi stems do not seem longer but do have a greater diameter. They are still slightly blocked by the inner core wrapping around, but not by as much.
post #15 of 139
is there some reason why an exacto knife couldn't be used to make 4 small (very small) slits in the inner core on the end so that it won't wrap around the triple.fi stems?
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Awesome Mod: Use Shure Black Olive Foamies on Ultimate Ears Super.fi and/or Triple.fi