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acoustic properties of different kinds of IEM tips

Poll Results: What kind of tips do you use most often when listening to IEM's?

  • 37% (6)
    single flange
  • 6% (1)
  • 12% (2)
  • 31% (5)
    foam hybrid
  • 12% (2)
16 Total Votes  
post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Lately I've been wondering what the general effects are of using different kinds of tips on my IEM's.  I've done a little bit of experimentation with single flanges vs. bi-flanges, and the impressions I've garnered so far are:


- bi-flanges: increased treble, decreased bass, slightly lower volume

- single flanges:  decreased treble, increased bass, higher volume


The odd thing is that I seem to get more isolation, generally, with single flanges than with bi-flanges.  (And yes, that's even true when I seem to have a proper seal.  That's not how it should be, is it?  What are the general acoustic differences between these, in peoples' experience? 


I also have been wondering about these foam tips that I've received with both my Soundmagic and Xears purchases.  I haven't tried them, figuring they're just foam and I'd have to throw them in out 2 weeks anyways, but then I read something about "foam hybrid"?  Are these durable enough to use for an extended time?  And what about their acoustic properties, generally?  What do these foam tips do to the sound, in others' experience? 


Assuming we could establish a consensus for this sort of thing, I would consider it maybe worth adding to a wiki somewhere for IEM's. 


And just for curiosity's sake, I'm adding a poll to see what kinds of tips most people use with their IEM's.  Feel free to add your vote! 

Edited by caimanjosh - 3/24/11 at 8:16am
post #2 of 8

I voted foam tips because that is what I use with my HF5 -- I get slightly better isolation with the 3-flange Ety tips, but I get a much more consistent and comfortable seal with foam. 


But over the years, I've found what other people raved over didn't work for me and vica versa.  The same tip fits different people differently ... the same tip works differently on different IEMs.  While it is interesting to see what works for a group of people, it pretty much comes down to your own experimentation with different tips on different earphones.  I have a large baggie with 30-40 pairs of tips!

post #3 of 8

I have weird ear canals - large single flange offers the best sound for me but they won't keep their seal if i move around. Bi and tri flange tips won't seal at all no matter how hard I try, for some reason.


Large foam Comply tips fit perfectly for me, but I can't listen to them side by side with silicone tips - it's too obvious that I'm sacrificing tons of clarity for the fit. Eventually my brain adjusts to the sound, but when compared directly they sound EXTREMELY muffled. I try not to compare so I won't know what I'm missing.


If someone manufactured extra large single flange silicone tips, I'd be all over it. Every one I've tried so far has been slightly too small in diameter to seal my massive freak ear canals.

Edited by moleface - 3/22/11 at 2:56pm
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

My ears have an odd characteristic too...apparently my left ear canal is bigger than my right.  So I end up using a large single flange in the left, and medium single flange in the right.  My right ear canal often works alright with a double flange...but not the left.  I've thought of using a double flange in the right and single in the left, but having a different sound signature for each ear just seems too weird, so I don't. 


So apparently using foam tips results in treble loss/bass increase?  That makes me think of my old Spark Plugs...

post #5 of 8

Maybe not the right thread to ask in, but for tri-flange tips, where would one find some that are slightly larger than the Ety small, but yet smaller than the large tri-flange that comes with the Etys? How do the Shures stack up? I guess the other thing to consider as well would be would the Shures (EA306) fit on the Ety iems?

Edited by BrianMB - 3/24/11 at 5:23pm
post #6 of 8

Ever considered a custom molded tip?  If you want the perfect tip that might be the only answer for you. 

post #7 of 8

No love for Comply in your poll? The tips you mentioned are more soft plastic than a hybrid foam.

post #8 of 8

I made my own hybrid foam/silicone. As much as i love foam for its isolation, they always absorb treble to some degree, some more than others. I removed the stem of some silicone tips are placed it onto shure olives, now isolation is even better with no loss in sq

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