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Slow rebound memory foam eartips for IEMs

Dekoni Bulletz

Rating:
4.5/5,
  • Dekoni Bulletz eartips are made of high quality slow-rebound, washable memory foam with a solid core to fit just about any type or size of universal IEM. They easily comply to the shape of your inner ear to provide maximum seal while preserving sound quality.

Recent Reviews

  1. gLer
    Dekoni Bulletz: foam doesn’t get better than this
    Written by gLer
    Published Mar 5, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Easy to fit, very comfortable.

    Great sound - what you hear is what you get.

    Reasonably priced compared to the competition.

    Better quality foam than the competition.
    Cons - Don't ship with a storage box.

    Still get warm, but that's foam for you.

    Still collect earwax like it's nobody's business.
    Disclaimer: @DekoniAudio provided me with samples of their Bulletz tips in different sizes in exchange for my honest and unbiased review, with no expectations or conditions as to the outcome of the review, good or bad. Thanks again to Tal Kocen and his team for being so responsive to my questions and supportive in their efforts to get their products in front of a broader audience.

    5D3B3311.jpg

    Introduction

    My first exposure to Dekoni products was almost as an accidental response to my shock at the poor quality of cough-crazy-cough-expensive pads that shipped with the Focal Elear. My experience and resulting review can be found here: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/de...sheepskin-earpads-for-focal-headphones.23227/

    So when I made the jump to higher-end mobile audio, Dekoni was one of the first companies I sought out, if only to see what solutions they discovered to problems I didn’t yet know I had.

    As a relative newcomer to the small, brave world of IEM audio, I quickly realized just how many more variables there are to contend with when it comes to finding the ‘sweet spot’ of comfort, looks and sound – at least compared to desktop or over ear headphones.

    Bar a pad swap or two, and switching between a finite number of sources, you can fairly quickly get a handle on the headphones that best suit your tastes and sensibilities. Not so with IEMs. For every full-size headphone I’ve auditioned over the years, at least a dozen or more IEMs can fill a very similar sonic niche.

    And just when you think you’ve finally got a handle on that ‘one’ IEM to rule them all, you decide to try different tips and everything you think you knew goes out the window!

    A quick IEM tip primer

    My first inkling to the power of ‘tip rolling’ in general – and Dekoni’s Bulletz in particular – came soon after the purchase of my first ‘proper’ IEM – the recently released @FiiO FH5 hybrid IEM. Since FiiO saw it fit to include a handful of different types of tips, I saw it fit to try them all. Imagine my surprise, then, when each different tip, without fail, presented the same music differently.

    As a basic rule, there are two broad types of IEM tips: silicone and foam. Silicone tips, at least the good ones, are made from smooth, pliable silicone that ideally sits cleanly in your ear and creates a relatively solid seal around your ear canal with the outer silicone flap. Foam tips, on the other hand, are usually made from memory foam that conforms to the unique shape of your ear, collapsing as it enters your ear canal and then slowly filling out to create a tight and hopefully comfortable seal.

    Most people tend prefer one over the other, and for different reasons. Some find silicone tips less intrusive and therefore more comfortable. Others find them hard to fit and therefore less ideal for long term use. Foam tips, on the other hand, can get warm over time, which could be a plus or a minus depending on how much you enjoy the sensation.

    Being porous, foam can also pick up more dirt (and wax) than silicone, and also tends to deteriorate much faster. That said, foam generally creates a better seal than silicone, and is therefore better at isolating outside noise and improving sound quality at lower volumes.

    Bring on the Bulletz

    Like me, Dekoni appears to be a relative newcomer to IEMs. When it comes to foam, Comply is the name more often than not associated with quality tips. In fact, my only previous experience with foam tips were the numerous sets of Complys I bought to use with my Chi-Fi IEMs, the surprisingly capable Rock Zircon.

    For all their isolating qualities, I mostly tended to switch back to silicone tips in place of the Complys. I found the memory foam to lose its ‘memory’ too soon, and the tips themselves to lose their shape too quickly for the asking price. Moreover, all the Comply tips I tried tended to warm up the sound of the IEMs – which could be a good thing, if that’s your thing, but too much of a good thing when your IEMs are already warm and fuzzy to begin with.

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    As soon as I opened and examined my first pair of Bulletz, I knew things were going to be different. For starters, the memory foam was far less compressible than the Complys, but also softer and smoother to the touch. Instead of squeezing them to a pulp and inserting them in my ears, I could just push them in, and let them find their shape on their own. This makes Bulletz both quicker to fit and more comfortable from the start.

    The other difference between the Bulletz and Complys was the relative change – or lack thereof – of warmth. No, not warmth as in sound, but warmth as in warmth. The Bulletz didn’t get as hot as quickly as the Complys, and while they did warm up over time, they never got uncomfortable as a result. On hotter days I didn’t even bother with the Complys, but the Bulletz were more than tolerable.

    All about the sound

    The most important quality of the Bulletz, regardless of how well they fit, was their impact on sound quality. Which is to say, they had little, if any, impact on the sound quality at all.

    Cast your eyes back a few paragraphs and you may recall my shock and horror at the degree of difference a tiny ear tip can make to the sound quality of a great IEM. When I first heard my IEMs with the Bulletz, I had to check that I put them on properly – which is not as easy as it sounds with the notoriously wide bores of the FH5.

    The sound was – well – as I’d expected it. No real twists and turns in the FR curve. Just straight up W-shaped and delightful as the FH5 is meant to be. Bass was there (and then some), mids were forward but not strident, and treble was as sparkly as the morning dew. Could these really be the first foam tips that didn’t cast their very own and very prominent veil of warmth – in more ways than one? Seems so.

    For me, the litmus test for IEMs has always been how good they sound in the noisiest environments, and they don't come much noisier than the back of a plane. I've been using active noise cancelling headphones for most of my adult life, but ever since discovering the isolating power of foam tips, I've ditched the ANC cans in favour of much more portable and less obtrusive in-ears.

    Prior to the Bulletz, Complys were the only real choice for ANC-like noise isolation, but that came with some compromises, as described above. I'm glad to report that not only do the Bulletz isolate every bit as well as Comply, they do so without any of their competitors' downsides. Just make sure you choose the right size tip. Too small and you'll hear every whine of the engine - and the baby in Aisle 32.

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    Closing shots

    Much like how their Elite Sheepskin pads ‘fixed’ the Elear, Dekoni’s Bulletz have now fixed my previously skewed perception of foam tips for IEMs. Not only are they made from a foam material unlike most that I’ve seen on the market – less destructive and much softer to the touch – they’re also (according to Dekoni) washable too. That means you can actually use them for longer periods without turning them into little oval earwax candles.

    If I have to be critical, the first pair of tips I tried were accidently squashed and distorted by the clamp of the IEM’s storage box, and for some reason didn’t regain their normal shape afterwards. None of the other Bulletz had this problem, so hopefully it was a once-off. And speaking of storage boxes, I was a little disappointed that the Bulletz didn’t ship with some sort of box or pouch. Even a plastic packet would have sufficed, but instead, once released from their blister pack, it’s up to you to find a place to keep the spares. Minus half a star for that.

    Minor quibbles aside, I’ll leave you with this: if you’re looking for foam tips that fit like a glove and don’t change the quality of the sound from your expensive IEMs, bite the bullet and get yourself some Dekoni Bulletz. They come in two bore sizes (Gemini – small, and Mercury – larger), and three fit sizes (S, M and L), so there’s always going to be a tip combination with your name on it.

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    Comply might be the bigger name, but Dekoni is quickly making a big name for themselves in the small, brave world of IEM audio.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. gLer
      Hi @k_j - I have a pair of the Symbio tips, and they’re excellent indeed. The Bulletz are far more comfortable though. I prefer the Symbio tips without the foam (more comfy and better bass response).
      gLer, Mar 7, 2019
      szore and k_j like this.
    3. szore
      I like the Symbio peeled over the foam as well. The Comply Ts-400 Audiophiles are good as well, don't be so fast to dismiss them!
      szore, Mar 7, 2019
    4. gLer
      I probably came across as too harsh on the Complys but they’re excellent as well. Just with the FH5 that I tested these with, the Bulletz were better.
      gLer, Mar 7, 2019
      szore likes this.

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