I received the Tributes early Monday afternoon and spent the rest of the day testing all of the tips they came with as well as the 10 sets of tips from MEElectronics, as recommended by Anaxilus above. Based on the position of their speaker grills, these (purchased from Crutchfield) appear to be the real McCoy:
Out of 17 or 18 pairs of tips, only two pair (from the MEE set) actually fit my ears and provide a useable seal. One pair (at left, below) will seal, intermittently, after a bit of coaxing; and the other pair (at right, below) fits perfectly, providing a perfect seal every time and without any effort at all! In fact, this latter pair are so comfortable that I'd easily forget I'm wearing them were it not for the BOOMING....and I mean BOOMING sound they produce no matter what I send through them. Remember how the loudspeaker sounded in the on-the-air orgasm scene in the Howard Stern movie? That's pretty much what I'm getting outta the Tributes....well, minus the orgasm...
As it is, for the first time, I'm having to boost the treble EQ in the iPod just to balance out the sound; and it's still not really balanced. So there's gotta be something amiss here somewhere. Defective Tributes, perhaps???
With the first pair of tips standing between me and the 'Tributes, they sound a bit less boomy, but only a bit. And I'm guessing that slight improvement is really only due to the less-than-perfect seal the tips on the left provide. Is it the treble end of the frequency spectrum that opens up (to a great degree!) with burning-in? Because I can't believe this's the way these things're supposed to sound?!
I also compared the Tributes (via my 2nd-gen iPod's mostly 320khz .mp3 recordings of jazz, pop, classics and some original recordings, whose sound I'm intimately familiar with) to two other in-ear 'phones (Klipsch Image s4is, Skullcandy Titans) as well as two old, over-the-ear Koss 'phones (Koss Pro/4AAs, Koss KSC35 Sportclips). While each of these other 'phones have their own unique signature, their overall sound, at least relative to the BOOMING Tributes, is balanced. So the problem isn't the iPod or recordings.
But, just to be sure, I've been swapping tips back-and-forth all night, going through the entire assortment again and again, but I can't get any of the other tips to even seal in my ears. And the tips that don't seal, leave everything sounding, not surprisingly, like a transistor radio (for those of you who're old enough to know what that sounds like).
As I mentioned previously, I've been through this entire thread, as well as through a number of others here and I haven't found much about these 'phones being bass-heavy. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?
Edited by dynhm6 - 5/18/11 at 3:37pm