This is a story of my noobish stumblings through the world of better sound, fitment and headphones in general.
Once upon a time, I bought a Creative Zen MicroPhoto 8GB and realized my stock buds sucked. I read review upon review and decided I should buy the Sennheiser PX-100 headphones (white, of course, since everything was copying iPod, which were all white back then).
Boy of boy did that open up my ears! Addicted to this new feeling of premium sound, I became a try-it-and-return-it junkie. But nothing made me feel as comfy happy as my PX-100s.
Then one day I saw Shure E2Cs on the shelf. They cost an OUTRAGEOUS sum (in my experience) but I figured I could always return them... I was blown away by the clarity and visceral joy of hearing details I'd never known could be heard without a room-filling speaker system. I went through every tip that they came with, rubber, silicone and foam. Eventually I settled on the smallest foam, since I couldn't get a seal with any of the silicone and the rubber hurt.
Several happy years ensued. Me and my Shures have been to Hawaii, Florida, Vermont, London and all the territory between. But I always had this nagging feeling that there was MORE out there, especially in the bass department. I also hated that it was awkward to pop them out when someone at my office rudely tried to TALK to me (Can't they all just IM me instead? *smirk*) I also had this dark fear that one day the cables would break on me eventually *shudders*...
So, after tons of research, I ended up meeting all you fine folks here at Head-Fi... And here is where the newest chapter begins. I researched and researched, lurked these forums and stared for hours at the selection at my local retailers (which these days essentially leaves me with Best Buy, the others having gone under).
I finally decided the Klipsch S4 was the set for me. I bought a pair and tried each of the silicon tips. Despite the "innovative" oval shape, the larges were to big and the smalls refused to seal. The Mediums would seal if I stuffed them so far into my canals that the plastic edge of the body actually scraped my ear. That being said, they sounded GREAT! (after burn-in) That warm Klipsch sound is exactly what I'd hoped for considering how much I love my 5.1 system on my PC at home.
Determined to make them work, I tried the Shure foams that have served me so well. Even wearing them monitor style, I was never really comfortable with them. Despair ensued. I went out and bought the sampler pack of Monster SuperTips. None of them really worked, in fact, their lack of a "stopper" like the Shures have meant they had to be forced even farther into my canal, that sharp plastic really irritating my ear. I also arrived at the opinion that Monster made horrible tips.
However, I was quite wrong about that last bit. To be thorough, I put the SuperTips Foams on my Shures and, waddya know, they fit even BETTER! In fact, I can even use the small or medium Gels (though I prefer the small). So, much to my surprise, the problem wasn't the tips, but the shape of the buds themselves that prevented the foams from getting where they needed to be in my ears.
So after all this, I am back in love with my E2Cs, and can now pop them out easily when someone needs to speak with me. That being said, the search is still on for IEMs with better base that actually fit...
- Tips make a lot of difference, but they won't always solved a fitment problem.
- I have smallish canals, but not as small as I thought.
- Shure foams prove the best fit, being soft, expanding foam, but leak more than the SuperTips.
- Great sound can't make up for an "awkward feeling" around your ears.
- Reviews can't help you much with respect to fit.
- I really prefer phones that are made to route the cable over the ear. The Klipsch really didn't work well this way due to the angle of the attachment point and also the lightness of the cable itself.
PS: I still love my PX-100s, even though the covers are yellow with age. They are still what I wear when I need a break from my E2Cs.