I received my triple fi's today from the amazon deal. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this. To put it bluntly, the sound quality is atrocious. The triple fi sound substantially worse than the 20 dollar pair of v-modas I also ordered. The bass response is impressive, but not great. The mids and highs sound about as recessed as my stock iphone earbuds. I'm starting to wonder if the shape of my ears is literally impossible to seal with the provided foamies. Even so, I would think that holding them in with constant pressure would be enough to make a seal (either it wasn't, or the sound is simply that bad). When I got home from work, I was able to compare them to my shure se210s. The 210 has slightly less bass response, but the clarity in all tonal ranges blows the triple fi's out of the water. I was expecting an upgrade, out of something that retails for 3 times the price.
So what am I looking at here?
1. It's possible they might be defective. All of the reviews I've read said nothing negative aside from build quality and design (both are piss poor), but it seems unlikely that both sides would be equally or similarly affected. I could try to send them back to UE if there is any chance of a defect.
2. These are either a batch of seconds, built from parts that didn't make the cut for normal retail, or are knockoffs (seems a lot less likely). Some sketchy quality problem that resulted in the discount.
3. They simply do not fit in my ears, and I won't be able to hear them properly until I get them remolded (which I have now read also diminishes sound quality). This seems possible, though I really do think I was able to get a seal. If it matters that the end of the tube actually go inside your ear canal, these may never fit me due to the borderline comically large diameter of the bud tip.
4. They require some kind of significant burn in. I'm not sure if this is true for any IEMs, or for the triple fi's in particular. I would be relieved to hear that I should check back after 48 hours of pink noise.
TL;DR My roommates and I have some earbuds. After some comparison testing, this is how I would rank them in overall sound quality:
1. Shure se530
2. Shure se210
3. V-moda vibe
4. Triple Fi 10
5. iPhone earbuds
Well, I finally figured it out. I was under the impression that I'd gotten the fit situation resolved, but I could not have been more wrong. Tonight I tried pushing the phones into my ears and wiggling them slowly. I found that in one exact position, the seal completed and the SQ increased astronomically. I still like the sound better with the treble boost EQ, but it was a matter of night and day. Comparative listening, or even analytical listening is quite difficult when constant pressure and precise positioning are required to produce excellent SQ. None the less, it is clearly there.
The conclusion I've come to is that I have tiny ear canals, and these massive monitors just don't fit. I tried 9 different styles of tips (5 that came with the triple fi and 4 that came with the vmoda). I found that all but the smallest vmoda tip worked its way out of my ear the instant I stopped holding it in. The smallest size simply wouldn't seal. I went ahead and ordered some of the alternative tips people recommend in this thread. I have my doubts, but I'm hoping one of them will get me rolling here. If not, its time to put in a serious listening session and decide if these are worth custom shelling.
Thanks for the input everyone, I KNEW something just wasn't right here.
Edited by morph2k4 - 12/3/10 at 12:04pm