Ok, so here’s my story (slightly long). I bought the HF5s this summer and have loved how they sound. However, I could not get a good seal in the right ear unless I moved it every 10 minutes or so no matter what tips I used (stock tips, Klipsch, foams). I stopped using them frequently because it got annoying. I then remembered that ACS offered custom sleeves for the HF5s so I did a bit of research and decided to give them a shot.
I first used the Etymotic audiologist locator and called them to see the price range. It turns out that all of the ones listed from the store locator were tied with Microsonic. I personally wanted to go with ACS because I found many more positive reviews on them than Microsonic, and also wanted their Smoke (transparent black) color option, which Microsonic did not offer. So, I went ahead and searched all local audiologists through google and called them up one by one to see if they could do impressions that I can send to ACS. I got a huge range of price ranges, highest one being $75 per ear (yes, I said I only needed impressions that I would send to a 3rd party company, not hearing molds).
I finally settled on an audiologist that knew what I was talking about (they apparently make Westone molds) and the price was $15 per ear. I made an appointment, went in to get the impressions done (painless, actually quite interesting/fun), and sent them in to ACS with the box I was given the impressions in. Along with the impressions, I included the Etymotic voucher (where I wrote that I would like the Smoke color option) and $85 cash.
Here are the important dates/how long the entire process took. I should mention that the US ACS is based in NY and I live in MA, so shipping time was relatively short.
Impressions + Send them to ACS: Thursday, September 12
Receipt emailed to me from ACS: Monday, September 16
Arrival of custom sleeves: Wednesday, October 2
Now on to my opinions on the sleeves. First of all, I am very impressed at how much these isolate and how comfortable they are. I have no problem getting a good seal in both ears, so that covers the problem I had with my right ear. They are also comfortable for long term use (only tested for ~2 hours so far). The smaller triple flange started to hurt my ears after one hour or so (even my left ear that had a good fit). Overall, definitely worth the $85 ($65 for the sleeves, $10 for color, $10 for shipping).
One thing that I was sort of disappointed about was that it did not come with the comfort cream or wax cleaner tool (the pouch was included). I called ACS and asked them why they weren’t included and they explained that they were currently out of stock of the comfort cream and wax cleaner because they are shipped from the UK. They decided to ship my custom sleeves to me without them because they didn’t want me to wait any longer for my sleeves. At this point, I was very surprised at their decision, in a good way: they really did care about their customers. Because of this, I am not angry at all, just thought I would mention it if anyone else receives their sleeves without the cream or cleaner.
Another thing I noticed was how far these stick out of your ears compared to the stock triple flanges. Considering they are larger than the flanges, I suppose this wouldn’t be a surprise, but I still think they could have embedded the HF5s deeper into the sleeve so it hides in your ear when inserted. I emailed them about it with pictures and am currently waiting for their reply.
All in all, I’m very happy with my purchase. Although it took a bit of getting used to inserting these in, they definitely isolate outside noise and are more comfortable than any universal tips I’ve tried. Let me know if you have any questions~