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Forget the audiologist! Audiophile Holy Grail Heaven for just 1$. Blu Tack and In-ears: BEST. HACK. EVER. - Page 3

post #31 of 41
Seems like a good idea. Seems like an inexpensive alternative to customs but personally, I'd never use Blu-tack on my IEM's. Consider this...

From Wikipedia; It is based on a formulation consisting of synthetic rubber, polymers, oil, and inorganic fillers... A major drawback is that long exposure to Blu Tack leaves an oily stain on paper or paper-like material...

The audiophile community has been using blu-tack for years to couple small speakers to speakerstands, as an alternative to using spikes. As a reusable putty, blu-tack has a lot of applications. Although the OP has "discovered" another interesting use for this stuff, Blu-tack does break down over time. I don't know how long it takes for this "breakdown" to occur or if the time factor is accelerrated by heat (body temperature?). I can tell you from personal experience, that after a while the oil component leeches to the surface. The outer surface of Blu-tack becomes very sticky. Believe me, when the stuff gets this way, it's really tough to clean this oily sticky residue off of your hands, let alone your IEM's. So I have to say, No thank you. FWIW, I guess that for short term use it might be OK, and besides... It's always nice to have a reason to buy new IEM's. Good Luck!
post #32 of 41
A while ago a friend complained to me that his UE Super-fi 3's were sounding a little dull and asked me to take a listen to see what I thought. My ears said they sounded drastic but I couldn't work out why they should sound that way... until that was I took a closer look and reached in my desk draw for Mr Magnifying Glass and asked him whereabouts and on which beach the pale blue sand had come from. Right down at the bottom of the sound bore, where the bore and main body of the earphones met, was a little pale blue smudge of what at first looked like sand that had got into the bore and stopped just before the acoustic damper.

Seeing has he hadn't been near a beach in ages he hadn't got a clue what I meant, but he soon realised what it was I could see once he took a look at what I saw magnified... oh thats blue tack he said - I tried it out to get a good seal, but I was real careful trying it out. Apparently not careful enough and no amount of hours fiddling with the UE cleaning tool or the super thin fuse wire he resorted to could get all the damned stuff out.

Sadly his Super-fi 3's ended up in the junk bin, but he upgraded to Super-fi 5's so if anything his experiment actually resulted in improved sound. My advise to anyone who wants to try this stupid idea is make sure your willing to loose your earphones before you try it, because if even one little bit gets to far down the bore that the ear tips attach to then they are history and the blue tack muffles the sound so much they sound awful.

Quick note - Blue tack, or Ear putty as we call it, has been used in engineering and other high volume sound situations for just about as long as I can recall and I've never heard of anyone falling ill because of its use, or having any trapped in their ear canal - you just roll a 20mm diameter ball of it and then stuff that on the outside of you ears and it blocks sound far better than any sound control headphone and then when you don't need it you just peel it off and throw it away or roll it up in a ball and use it again later... oh and its far far cheaper than using any industrial ear plug or noise control headphone.
post #33 of 41
I have been wondering if I might be able to get Custom molds to fit my Super.fi 5 Pro's, but without luck. I'm not too keen on the idea of Blu Tac, but I've discovered this:

Ear Plugs for Effective Hearing Protection, Prevent Hearing Loss, Noise Reduction

Seems to me that one might make the molds, then drill/bore out the centre to fit the IEM sound tube... The was an earlier discussion on producing 'foamies' from generic ear plugs by drilling them after putting 'em in the freezer. Seems to me that you could do the same with DIY Ear Plug to produce instant Customs... For the price of this kit (approx $25), I'm inclined to give it a go
post #34 of 41
Instead of Blu Tack, I'm wondering if maybe its possible to make a custom mould out of silicon/acrylic yourself. I did a search, but there doesnt seem to be anyone daring enough.

I would be hesitant to use Blu Tack though. It would work ok the first time, but the more you use it, the more your ear wax and other oily, dirty stuff will be embedded into the Blu Tack.
post #35 of 41
Originally Posted by deafmutelame View Post
I checked the net and found that Blu Tack [b]is actually recommended by NHS doctors
Sounds like a good reason to avoid it then. I'd probably be more inclined to take ear care advice from my pet cat. Thnik about, for example, how many prescriptions for ototoxic drugs such as aminoglycoside antibiotics are written by doctors every year, even when they are aware the patient already has hearing problems...
post #36 of 41
Originally Posted by nobb View Post
Instead of Blu Tack, I'm wondering if maybe its possible to make a custom mould out of silicon/acrylic yourself. I did a search, but there doesnt seem to be anyone daring enough.
You didn't search hard or well enough. I made a thread a while back about custom DIY ear molds and actually had some success. However, I've given a crack at it a second time and my new stuff looks a LOT more promising. I just need to do a bit of drilling and get the time to finish up the project. I'll probably be posting a thread or add on posts to my old one so other people can see/get a feel for the project's difficulty and assess whether or not they want to do it themselves. Pics, of course.

I just want to say my second trial/attempt was perfectly safe and cost me about $20-$30 after everything was said and done. This will cost you more if you're not a member at Costco.
post #37 of 41
Thread Starter 

Hey, I'm back :)


I think some other people might find it useful that I repost this ( http://www.head-fi.org/t/491040/diy-custom-eartips#post_7870434 ) here too. ksc75smile.gif



Originally Posted by Nightslayer View Post

I recently purchased a pair of Westone UM1s after I lost my Crossroads Quattros, took rather long to get used to the rather bass-deficient sound but I was quite happy with the overall sound signature. Switched from the comply tips to the Shure Olives, and found that that helped a bit. Then I was looking around and found this:


and this:


Well I thought it was rather interesting to try out, but I lacked the money to go to an audiologist to get a bunch of ear impressions (paying a third of the price of the earphones for an experiment? I'd rather not) and didn't have the balls to stuff epoxy in my ear like that madass in the second thread, due to me coming across forums which warned against stuffing anything into your ear whatsoever.


I decided to try to make my own ear impressions using blu tack (figuring it wouldn't be that bad), and after a bit of trial and error I actually got something approximating a pair of impressions. DSC05363.JPG

I coated them with nail polish and tried out the steps which the guy in the first link did, but then I discovered working with silicone and oil is a horribly messy process, not to mention not for someone impatient like me. Aside from getting almost uncured silicone in my right nozzle (which thankfully didn't impact the sound once I removed the waxguard, I was panicking like crap), removing half-cured silicone from a silicone mould turned out to be a lot harder and messier than I expected.


After a while I came across another thread in which the guy replaced his eartips with blu-tack and actually liked the sound:


so I decided heck-it-why-not and started trying to poke a hole through the impressions I had, and then dig out a bit of blu tack to form an outline of my UM1s and stuck it in. And the result would be:


Yeah green and pink don't really go, but I'm a guy and I couldn't get my hands on black nailpolish. ><


The earphones stick out a bit more now out of the ear though.


Sorry for the slightly blurry quality, phone cam with my left hand >< But it fits like actual customs.


Sound signature wise.. IT ACTUALLY WORKS. Or rather, I'm happier with the sound now. On the overall, the sound quality has lost a bit of its neutral quality for a more organic sound; the trebles are less well defined while the mids have lost a bit of their shine, imo. But on the other hand the trebles on the earphones were slightly too tinny for my liking in the first place, and the mids still have their strong bodied quality. The soundstage has also improved quite a bit, with instrument separation improving likewise. But the most significant impact would be on the bass response, which was previously quite inaudible but is now quite defined. And blu-tack eartips actually don't really look or feel like crap after being coated with a nice layer of nail polish (coat it with a clear layer first, then whatever you'd like to do with it). The isolation has actually improved, too. I thought the foamies were great at isolating sound, till I tried these on and went deaf to the outside world. (:



Hey, glad to see someone else tried this as well! beerchug.gif


After posting this thread, I'll add that the blu-tack mod worked solidly for me for another 2 years...! ksc75smile.gif


...until my UM2 cable broke (obviously, due to usage, not to the blu-tack mod, which doesn't affect the cable in any way).


During that time I enjoyed a wonderful listening experience. I used to replace the blu-tack covering every other week, for it's quite cheap. I never found any pieces of blu-tack entering the in-ear canal, though I used to pay close attention to it and clean the surroundings of the tip of the canal every other day.


I just wanted to say that I think I'm going to purchase the new UM2 with replaceable cable and definitely I'm going the blu-tack mod again! biggrin.gif


I wonder, Nightslayer, have you continued to use this mod? How's it been for you?



Edited by deafmutelame - 11/5/11 at 9:30am
post #38 of 41
Thread Starter 

p.s.: Incidentally, I just realized that I originally I posted this in the full-size headphones forum. Could any mod move this thread to the IEM forum at http://www.head-fi.org/f/103/portable-headphones-earphones-and-in-ear-monitors ? Thanks. redface.gif

post #39 of 41

Someone try this on a pair of IE8s NAO!!!



post #40 of 41

Ha, cool idea. I'm going to give this a go at some point this week.

post #41 of 41
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

Ha, cool idea. I'm going to give this a go at some point this week.



Please don't forget to take some pics for us please! etysmile.gif


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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Forget the audiologist! Audiophile Holy Grail Heaven for just 1$. Blu Tack and In-ears: BEST. HACK. EVER.