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[REVIEW] - Comply Foam Tips

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I’d like to thank the folks at Comply for sending me samples to review.

 

When Comply posted that they were looking for reviewers of their foam tips, I jumped at the opportunity to review them. A short while later, I received a package containing two sets of Comply’s foam tips, the Tx-400 and Tx-500 to try on my IEMs, both sets coming in various sizes and including a wax guard filter.

 

Now, this is, by no means, my first experience with Comply foam tips. By chance one day, I was in RadioShack looking for an adapter for my wired cellphone headset; I came across a three pack of Comply T-400 tips and decided to try them out. Comply foam tips are lauded almost universally around Head-Fi for their comfort so I was eager to try them out for myself and I wasn’t disappointed.

 

Now, I have a set of Tx series Comply foam tips, which feature an integrated “wax-guard”, a small foam filter designed to protect IEM sound bores (like the open tubes of the Triple.Fi 10) from ear wax. So, with that in mind, read on for my thoughts on the Comply foam Tx series IEM tips.



Comfort and Fit

In my testing, I used the small and medium tips, which were both a good fit for my smallish ear canals.

 

Made of very soft, open-cell foam, Comply foam tips are lauded for their comfort and great fit and my experience is no exception. The tips compress easily for insertion and expand slowly, matching the contours of your inner ear. The resulting fit is very comfortable for long stretches and is highly secure, making them a good choice for use at the gym or during other particularly active moments. The fit of the Comply foam tips is about as close as you’ll get to the unmatched comfort of custom IEMs without the steep asking price.

Long Tx-400 on HiFiMan RE0


 

I really, really like this pairing. Not only do the RE0s more or less disappear inside my ear canals, but the Tx-400 seems to be improving the sound quality in its own way, thanks in no small part to the wax guard. The wax guard acts as an acoustic filter and tones down the treble slightly but appears to boost the mids and bass a bit as well, which I found to be really enjoyable. The RE0s take on a bit of a lush and sweet sound signature, rather than the strictly analytical and “thin” signature I’ve come to associate with them. The RE0 gives up a tiny bit of the stellar transparency that it’s known for but still retains very good balance.

 

As mentioned earlier, the tips themselves are extremely comfortable and are almost unnoticeable in my ears. Even with the deeper insertion levels than I’m used to, I didn’t feel any discomfort whatsoever.

Small and Medium Tx-500 on Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10


 

The Tx-500 tips were a good deal more comfortable in my testing than most silicone based tips, including Sony Hybrids on the Triple.Fi 10s, a pair of earphones that is notorious for being uncomfortable. Even though I can get a better fit than many who have complained about the Triple.Fi 10s, they’ve never been what I’d call “comfortable”. With the Tx-500s, that didn’t change but they were a big step in the right direction.

 

This pairing was good but not as good as the pairing between the RE0 and Tx-400 and not as good as I’d hoped. While I do enjoy the Comply’s ability to tone down the treble a bit, the wax filter does these IEMs a bit of a disservice in that it makes the Triple.Fi 10s come off as a bit veiled. This is a common complaint of the Triple.Fi 10s as well as the midrange being recessed based solely on their own merits and the Tx-500 seems to exacerbate those problems. It’s not significant enough that I honestly didn’t want to listen to them with the Tx-500s in place but felt it was worth mentioning, all the same.

 

Using the original T-500 tips that shipped with the Triple.Fi 10s was a more enjoyable experience for me, as they lack the distinguishing wax filter of the Tx-500s and sound less veiled as a result.

Medium Tx-400 on MEElectronics M11P+


 

This combination was in line with my expectations in that it accentuated the already massive bass slightly but did seem to bring other frequencies into better balance. The bass was still massive but it was relatively well controlled and the midrange seemed to step forward a bit. Treble performance was expectantly even due to the acoustic filter but the earphones come across a tiny bit veiled overall because of that. Comfort was quite good, as expected, helped by the slender housings of the M11P+. Surprisingly though, I didn’t find the fit to be quite as effortless with the M11P+ as with the RE0.

Final Test Notes

When buying the Tx series Comply foam tips, you have to be mindful of two things. One, the aforementioned wax guard is in place and second, that this filter will alter the sound of whatever earphones you put the tips on. The significance of these differences differs between different earphones and, most importantly, will be more or less desirable than the sound of the earphones with standard silicone tips. Whether or not the acoustic differences in the sound your earphones produce is desirable will ultimately come down to personal preference. I loved the sound of the RE0 and Tx-400 enough to choose them over my RE-262 and Triple.Fi 10 in some instances, two earphones that are both more technically capable and more appealing, sound signature wise but the changes to the RE0’s sound signature might not be appealing to others.

 

Conclusion

The Comply Tx-400 and Tx-500 tips are an excellent buy for users looking for the maximum amount of comfort for their IEMs. These are disposable tips and will eventually need to be replaced, unlike Sony Hybrids or standard silicone tips but depending on how clean your ears are, you can look forward to getting between 2 weeks to a month of nonstop use out of them or even longer if you use them sparingly.

 

Now, I fully understand that $20 for three pairs of tips that will eventually end up thrown away and replaced is a bit much to some people but I see it differently. If you listen to IEMs for hours at a time on a daily basis, like I do, you’re going to want them to be comfortable and comfort is something the Comply foam tips excel in. I paid $15 for a three pack of T-400 tips months ago that I still haven’t gone through and I’m pleased that they have offered me a comfortable alternative to Sony Hybrids and the other silicone tips I typically use and I imagine others will be plenty pleased with them as well. That said, if you are wary of the effect the acoustic filter will have on your earphones, go for the standard T series, which lacks the filter and will affect the sound of IEMs less.

 

Either way, Comply’s lineup of foam tips are a great investment for most folks looking for the maximum comfort from their universal fit IEMs.

This review can also be read on my site, Musical Musings.

post #2 of 21

Great review, TheGame21x!

I appreciate how thoughtful and honest you were while writing it. I especially like that parts where you say how much you like us ksc75smile.gif

Happy listening!

post #3 of 21

I use the Comply Foam tips since I started this hobby, a couple years ago. To my IEM's, these tips are of mandatory use. I love them.

Further, the service staff from Comply is very thoughtful and kind, even in the appearance of a problem. And the shipment of the product is always fast, even sending to Brazil, a country where I live.

I would like to take this opportunity to make a suggestion: Why not Comply staff develops a tip with a thicker foam, something close to the Shure "olives"? I believe this would bring a thick sound for some headphones, something very welcome.

Long live to the Comply Foam!

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

post #4 of 21

i use t400 on my denon c710, hippo VB and FA Eterna, comfort is good but comply kills the highs.. im back to silicon.

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cardozo View Post

I use the Comply Foam tips since I started this hobby, a couple years ago. To my IEM's, these tips are of mandatory use. I love them.

Further, the service staff from Comply is very thoughtful and kind, even in the appearance of a problem. And the shipment of the product is always fast, even sending to Brazil, a country where I live.

I would like to take this opportunity to make a suggestion: Why not Comply staff develops a tip with a thicker foam, something close to the Shure "olives"? I believe this would bring a thick sound for some headphones, something very welcome.

Long live to the Comply Foam!

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

Thanks for the shout out. Our team of engineers & chemists are perpetually working on developing new products. It's an enormous process, but we're always looking for suggestions and ideas. So, thanks for sharing your thoughts. They actually made the whole company tryout 6 new styles of foam for a project they're working on. A few of the tips were more firm, but in my opinion, they just weren't the same and hurt my ears after about an hour or two. I'm not sure what other people gave for feedback, but I gave the firm tips low marks.
 

 

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by heishiro View Post

i use t400 on my denon c710, hippo VB and FA Eterna, comfort is good but comply kills the highs.. im back to silicon.



Thanks for giving us a shot at the very least. While our tips do seem to cut back on the highs, the average comments are very supportive of this idea. To each his own, though. No hard feeling :-)

post #7 of 21

Hello Comply!

 

I agree with you, in the sense that the Shure "olives" are less comfortable than those Comply. But the use of each should be taken into account.

For example, I have the habit of using my headphones (Westone 3 and Westone UM3X) a maximum for a continuos hour. Thus, a little less comfort will not cause major problems.

I am an inveterate buyer of your products and like them very much. And I have absolute certainty that you will be able to find a balance between comfort, isolation and a more dense material for the tips.

I have a feeling that you will sell a lot of these new tips... :o)

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comply View Post



Thanks for the shout out. Our team of engineers & chemists are perpetually working on developing new products. It's an enormous process, but we're always looking for suggestions and ideas. So, thanks for sharing your thoughts. They actually made the whole company tryout 6 new styles of foam for a project they're working on. A few of the tips were more firm, but in my opinion, they just weren't the same and hurt my ears after about an hour or two. I'm not sure what other people gave for feedback, but I gave the firm tips low marks.
 

 



 

post #8 of 21

Oh, I'm sure the marketing team and I could run with a more firm foam tip, but the actual creation of the tips and decision-making is in the hands of the Higher-Ups.

I'll definitely pass your comments on to those folks though. Whenever I see/hear feedback like this, I pass it on. For example, we've been hearing a lot of people ask for X-Small and X-Large size tips. There is a long list of processes for new product ideas that include dozens of versions and TONS of testing hours for each version.

 

That's a little peak into our world.

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cardozo View Post

I use the Comply Foam tips since I started this hobby, a couple years ago. To my IEM's, these tips are of mandatory use. I love them.

Further, the service staff from Comply is very thoughtful and kind, even in the appearance of a problem. And the shipment of the product is always fast, even sending to Brazil, a country where I live.

I would like to take this opportunity to make a suggestion: Why not Comply staff develops a tip with a thicker foam, something close to the Shure "olives"? I believe this would bring a thick sound for some headphones, something very welcome.

Long live to the Comply Foam!

 

Cheers,

 

Peter


I would echo Peter's suggestion and believe a good number of Head-Fi'ers share similar sentiments in that the Shure black foamies strike a good balance across isolation, durability, value, and sound signature preservation elements.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by heishiro View Post

i use t400 on my denon c710, hippo VB and FA Eterna, comfort is good but comply kills the highs.. im back to silicon.


x2 on killing the highs on the C710.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Comply View Post





Thanks for giving us a shot at the very least. While our tips do seem to cut back on the highs, the average comments are very supportive of this idea. To each his own, though. No hard feeling :-)


Glad to see Comply be receptive to user feedback and engage with the Head-Fi community.  That being said, while the 'audiophile' Head-Fi community may be a smaller segment of your overall business, we tend to be the advisers and influencers to the consumer masses of our friends and family.  Here are a few suggestions that I would love to see Comply implement:

 

1)  Produce a tip for the audio-technica ATH-CK10.  The nozzle diameter is about 4.9 mm and length approximately 5.4 mm.

2)  Denser foam like the Shures to improve isolation.

3)  Apply a coating to reduce dirt attraction like the Shures to improve shelf life.

4)  If certain IEMs are not available on the Comply Web site; at least post the diameter of the inner core so prospective customers can determine the closest size model.

5)  Explore a material change or coat the surface of the inner core to a silicone base to minimize sound degradation.

 

Hope that helps!

post #10 of 21

My experience with the Tx500s is not a positive one and I thought I'd share it here. When I ordered my IE80s I also ordered the medium Tx500s based on what I'd read on these forums. From the moment I put them on they never felt entirely comfortable. The worst problem was that they made the insides of my ears itch so that comfort was a serious issue. I then switched over to the medium foamies that Sennheiser provided with their iems and this was a big improvement in comfort. No more itching, more comfortable and far easier to insert. I didn't notice any difference in isolation or sound.

 

Now before it seems as if I'm bagging the Comply's I do have a query that might solve my issues. I noticed that the medium size Comply's were considerably larger than the Senns. In fact when I first saw them I wondered how I was going to fit these into my ears. I'm now using a medium foam tip from another company and these are the same size as the Senns. Is it possible that I was inadvertently sent a pair of L size Complys? The stick on label on the packaging says otherwise but it is a stick on label and could have been put on a pair of Ls by mistake. Rather than spend another $25 on tips that I may not be able to use can anyone here clear this up? 

 

At the moment the tips I am using are very comfortable and I survived a three hour listening session with no comfort issues so unless what I surmised about the tips size is correct I see no need to change with one caveat. The other company sent me one of each size which means I'll never use the other two as the mediums seem to be the best fit. They also produce clearer highs. At least Comply sent me three of the same size.

 

Finally, do I really need the wax guard as I'm using ie80s?
 

post #11 of 21

I would normally squeeze the tips so it shrink into a very small size, put it in my ear, then hold it for like 10 seconds so it would expand back to its original shape. This ensures proper seal and comfort. However, I did get the itch sometimes, though.

post #12 of 21

While I love the comfort and isolation of my TX-100s on my Klipsch S4s, the treble end suffers a little bit. Any one have experience with cutting the top rim off of them to bring back some of that upper end?

post #13 of 21

I'm using Mobeast foamies and they give a clearer treble response, more articulate bass and they don't hurt my ears. Then again. what would the smaller Comply's be like? At the moment, Mobeast have my vote.

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by holden4th View Post

I'm using Mobeast foamies and they give a clearer treble response, more articulate bass and they don't hurt my ears. Then again. what would the smaller Comply's be like? At the moment, Mobeast have my vote.

The Complys really limit the treble for me-where can I find a compatibility chart for the Mobeasts? I'd love to get a pair to try with my Klipsch S4s.

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ender323 View Post

The Complys really limit the treble for me-where can I find a compatibility chart for the Mobeasts? I'd love to get a pair to try with my Klipsch S4s.


I got mine from an ebay supplier (huggablez) and while they do have a compatibilty chart Klipsch is not listed. However they do say this:

 

To check your earphone compatibility please refer to the chart below. However, if your earphone is not listed below, and the speaker stem's diameter is between 4.5mm to 6.5mm, they will also fit.
 

I saw a very interesting video clip as to why the Complys possibly limit the treble and muffle the bass. You can view it here:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/comply-foam-tips-and-effects-tip-selection-page-2

 

It makes some very interesting points.

 

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