Originally Posted by jeremiah
ccfoodog, that looks like an awesome rig
How much improvement for the Shures in terms of SQ and isolation with the custom sleeves? Are the sleeves removable, comfortable, expensive?
P.S: Nice photos!
I think the sleeves cost about $100 + $40 fitting. They are removable and made of a soft silicon or silicon-like material.
While I suppose I'm an audiophile of sorts, I don't really claim to have a golden ear, so in terms of SQ, YMMV.
My feeling is that they don't effect SQ that much vs. a *well fitting* alternate solution.
With my previous IEMs (Ety 6i), I had a heck of a time getting a good seal and I had difficulties keeping them secure and when they met with a freak gardening accident, I was determined to have the replacements fit well, be secure and sound good.
This started me off looking at customs, primarily the UE 5 Pro and Sensaphonics 2X-S (keep in mind, this was a while ago). I liked the idea of the soft material that Sensaphonics used, but was worried about dropping big bucks on a earphone with a non-serviceable cable.
Then the Shure E500PTH came out and got great reviews. I noticed that Sensaphonics indicated they would make a sleeve for it. It seemed like a reasonable compromise. Good sound, but if the cable died I could get another pair without re-doing the custom stuff (and I did end up returning my E500s for cable issues). I didn't want the PTH thingy, but it was removable, so hey.
As expected, the sleeves provide the most long term comfort I have been able to obtain in a IEM. They are very secure and provide excellent seal.
Are they perfect? No. The way the IEMs sit in the sleeves causes the cable to jut out at a goofy angle. The 500s sit nice and tight in your ears, with the sleeves, they become big things sticking out of your ears. They seem to be a magnet for cat and dog fur.
Would I do it again? Maybe. My issue isn't so much an issue with the sleeves, but more not being in love with the Shures. They are good, but for $500 I guess I was hoping for more.
I guess if push came to shove, I'd be inclined to try the UE customs. I really like the removable cable and while I think soft custom material is nice, the hard mold of the UEs doesn't worry me after wearing a custom sleeve for a while.
If I already had some nice Etys or something that the sleeves were available for I'd say it can't hurt. Just don't be in a hurry. Due to random problems (some possibly with the audiologist) it took three tries to get mine and about three months, although one month is supposed to be typical.
Good luck and I'd be interested in hearing from anyone else who tries these.