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Seeking better isolation: buy ER-6is, or just some Shure EABKF1-10S 'black olive' tips?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I currently have some NuForce NE-7Ms, and am using the stock tips - usually the small silicone tips, although i'm now trying out the foam tips too.


The source is usually a BlackBerry 8900, without an external amp or anything, so the signal quality is not exactly stellar. Sometimes it's an EeePC 1001HA netbook instead. I listen to a variety of music - running through the music on the BB by artist alphabetically, the first screenful comprises 808 State, Alabama 3, Alizée, Annie, Ash, Autechre, Banco de Gaia, Benjamin Britten, Bloc Party, and Boards of Canada. I probably listen to electronic music and indie rock more than other things, though.


Most of the time, this hardware stack is absolutely fine.


But sometimes i travel on jet aeroplanes. There, i put in my phones, line up some relaxing music (mostly ambient, but also a bit of Massive Attack and some weird odds and ends - Ed Alleyne-Johnson, anyone?), and try to zone out or even go to sleep. But i can still hear the rumble of the engines, and the clattering of my fellow passengers moving around.


I would prefer not to hear these things. What can i do?


I've been reading around, and it seems like active noise-cancelling phones are not the way to go, being less effective than good IEMs, and also having much worse sound reproduction. Rather, it seems that i want an IEM with optimal isolation.


From my reading, it seems like the Etymotic ER-6i is the best option. I can get a pair for 75 USD online next time i go to the USA, which is 50 GBP in my native currency. That seems affordable.


But i could also invest in some better tips for my NE-7Ms. Shure 'black olives', aka black foam sleeves, aka EABKF1-10S, would cost me 15.50 GBP for a pack. That would leave me 34.50 GBP to spend on something else, would be something i could do *before* getting on my next flight (because it's only after that flight that i'd be in the USA, where i could get the ER-6is at a reasonable price!), and would mean i didn't have to take two pairs of phones on my travels (i still need the NE-7Ms for making phone calls, because they have a mic).


The only question, then, is which would give me better isolation?


The main thing i don't understand is how much of the isolation is to do with tips, and how much is to do with the driver. After all, it's the tips that seal the ear canal, right? How can the driver contribute to isolation? If i buy the ER-6is for the isolation, am i basically paying fifty quid for a very nice pair of triple-flange tips?

post #2 of 6

I will try to give an answer from the experience I have had with them.  The driver/housing contributes to the isolation by being so small, the triple flange tips fit deeper and isolate better due to this.  I have other tri-flange tips on other phones and they don't seal or fit as well.  (ME9 ME6)  I hope someone with more experience them me can give you more insight then I have.  I would like to add that for me the Shure olive tips on my ER6i don't isolate as well as the triple flanges, I wear the triples when I mow the yard, I wear the olives around the house trying to drown out kids or my wife for a bit while reading.  Sorry about your wallet.

Edited by dziendobry - 7/10/10 at 9:36am
post #3 of 6

The Etymotic headphones have (by far) the best isolation in any IEM (or headphone for that matter). They claim an astounding 42 dB (that is reaching earplug levels ... for construction workers). If you want isolation, go Etymotic.


Just to clarify, the driver does NOT contribute to isolation. However, the shape and ergonomics of the IEM do contribute. You may not get the same isolation if you put Etymotic Triple-Flanges on different headphones.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks, both of you.


I'm going to get some olives for my NE-7Ms, as a starter, and see how that goes. Even if they don't do the job, they'll be a good investment, and then i'll treat myself to some ER-6is!

post #5 of 6

Just make sure the olives will work on the NE-7M's the nozzle on my ER6i's are tiny are as the shures that the olives normally go on, I know some people de-core or stretch olives to make them fit, search around the forum for info.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Yup, i've come across this de-coring business for fitting olives to larger phones. Sounds like a lark. If it works, it works and everything is great, and if it doesn't work, well, then it doesn't work. And i buy myself the ER-6is.

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