Flip Tips (or FlipTips) - Prepare to have your mind blown
May 8, 2019 at 6:47 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 82

Slater

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I've never seen this mod anywhere, so I apologize if someone has thought of it before.

We've all flipped the outside of our tips up to make it easier to put on an IEM nozzle, and then popped it back down once it's securely on the nozzle, right?

Well, that got me thinking: what happens if a tip is turned inside out? I'm talking 100% inside out.

Is it even possible? How easy is it to do? What will it look like? Are there any advantages?

Well, let's take a look and see.

Let's start with a KZ Starline. Why? Because I have a billion of them and if I destroy one in the process it's no big deal.

BTW, excuse the focus. I only had my macro lens with me, with has a razor thin FoV. So some of the pics are slightly out of focus.

Totally stock, unmodified KZ Starline tip (fresh out of the baggie):
Starline 1.jpg

I tried to turn it inside out a few different ways, and the best (and only way) I found was to hold the outside portion of the tip with 1 hand, and take the index finger of the other hand and push upwards a little at a time. It's not easy though. It's incredibly difficult. You must be patient. If you push too hard, you will tear the core away from the edge of the tip. Eventually, the core will begin to turn inside out:

Starline 2.jpg

Now you'll want to alternate between pushing the core from the bottom like in the previous step, and picking at the top edge of the core with your fingernail (ie where that little folded over/pinched looking part is at the top of the photo).

Update: User @hakuzen found the best, fastest, and most fool-proof way to turn the core inside out. It literally takes 5 seconds. His method is here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/flip-tips-prepare-to-have-your-mind-blown.906357/page-2#post-14947444

Eventually you will succeed in turning the whole core inside out!
Starline 3.jpg

Now just turn the tip over and flip the outside 'mushroom' part of the eartip back down around the core, like this:
Starline 4.jpg

Viola, mind blown!
mind blown 3.gif


So let's see what it looks like compared to a stock tip...
Starline 5.jpg

Well, for one the core is longer (ie the part sticking out of the bottom of the tip). This will be extremely useful on IEMs with short stubby nozzles. Normally, you'd need a tip with a long core like a SpinFit to work with those IEMs. Not any more!

OK, what else? Well, the shape is obviously different. The tip is actually wider by about 1mm now (believe it or not). What happened was the shape changed, with the mushroom part becoming wider and shorter very much like a wide bore tip. And speaking of the shape, see how there's a bulge in the center? This will be good for giving a tighter seal.

And finally, going back to the change in tip shape, the top edge doesn't come to a sharp angle anymore, but more of a rounded flange (like the bell of a brass horned instrument). You can really see the difference in this side by side photo here:
Starline 6.jpg

Be aware that not all eartips will change their shape the same ad the Starline did above. It depends on the design, shape, material, and structure of each individual tip. You'll just have to try it with a tip and see for yourself.

The last thing I noticed was that the material was very grippy and 'sticky'. This is true of most silicone tips. If you flip the mushroom part of most eartips up, you'll see that the underside (or inside) of the eartip has a totally different feeling than the outside. Why that is I don't know. Maybe to make the silicone tip easier to release from the mold, that surface of the mold has a high polished finish on it? The point is that in our 'flip tips', the surface of the tip that used to be on the outside (ie the surface against the skin of your ear canal) is now on the inside, and the surface of the tip that used to be on the inside (ie the surface NOT against the skin of your ear canal) is now on the outside. The tip (at least the Starline) feels exactly like the Sony Hybrid material (ie it has that grippy/sticky feel).

So we turned a tip totally inside out, but will it work on an IEM? After all, the core of a tip has an extra ring of material on the inside, that helps lock into the groove of IEM nozzles that have a nozzle lip. And now that the core is turned totally inside out, that extra ring is no longer there. You can see the ring I'm talking about here:
Starline 3 - Edited.jpg

Because of this, you may want to only use them in IEMs where they fit very tightly and securely over the nozzle, otherwise they could slide off.

OK, so now that we have it flipped inside out, let's try it on an actual IEM (in this case a KZ ZS10 Pro). Yup, looks like it fits just fine:
Starline 8.jpg

And in comparison, the stock Starline tips:
Starline 7.jpg

Here you can see the radius (like the bell of a horn) I was talking about earlier:
Starline 9.jpg

Thanks to @neo_styles for this great comparison photo of a Medium Flip Tip Starline next to a stock Large Starline. It's a completely different tip now:
compare.jpg

The end reminds me of how the end of Comply foam tips are.

So is the tip comfortable to wear? Absolutely. It has a great seal and just like Sony Hybrid tips, the material grips the ear and stays in place. In fact, it doesn't need to be inserted as deeply as a regular Starline to get the same tight seal. Because of this, the flip tips should increase the max time you can comfortably wear your IEM.

What about the flip tip's effect on the sound?

Well, I haven't really had a lot of time to do critical listening on numerous IEMs to be able to confidently say it changes this or that. As I have time to do some comparisons, I will update this thread with my findings though.

Any sound change is going to vary from IEM to IEM, so I will leave that up to you to try for yourself. I will say that I liked them so much, I'm keeping them like this on the ZS10 Pro (for now). I also made a few extra sets of flip tips to keep with my normal tip rolling inventory.

Finally, let's see if this flip tip process works with an eartip other than Starlines. Well, I found some random generic tips I had laying around in my tip rolling box, and did the same inside-out process. This tip had a smaller core (3mm instead of the 4mm core of the Starline), so it took a little bit more persuasion to get the core inside out. But it eventually worked.

Here's the results:
Orange 1.jpg

And the orange flip tips on the ZS10 Pro:
Orange 2.jpg

And in comparison, the normal tips (ie not flipped inside out):
Orange 3.jpg

That's about it. Good luck, be patient, and let me know if this 'flip tip' process works for you, how you like it, what eartips tips you used, etc.

Also, I don't know the answer to "will this work for tip XYZ?" I don't know. You'll have to try it and let me know. I do know for a fact it works on KZ Starline tips and the generic orange tips I show above. So if it worked with 100% success rate on those 2 tips, I don't see why it won't work on other tips! I can say it will NOT work on KZ or Tennmak Turbo/Whirlwind tips, due to the little 'turbo blades' underneath the eartip. But other than that, I don't see why the Flip Tip process won't work on many other tips.

Current Update!!

A fellow HeadFier made a nice YouTube video showing the easiest technique to flip the tip inside out (ie using the head of a screw or nail). Thanks to hakuzen for the idea of using a screw/nail, and to KopiOKaya for the awesome video showing the technique!!


 
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May 8, 2019 at 7:14 PM Post #3 of 82

neo_styles

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And the flip tips on the ZS10 Pro:


And in comparison, the normal tips (ie not flipped inside out):
Just gave it a shot myself. Took about 10 minutes for two tips? Seems to be a little easier if you start to twist the nozzle once you perform the first flip. I'll give them a shot on the T2 Pro since that's all I have on hand for this afternoon's commute. They do seem to seal a hell of a lot easier when flipped.

IMG_20190508_160832.jpg
For reference, I flipped a pair of M Starlines; those are size L in stock form sitting next to them.
 
May 8, 2019 at 8:07 PM Post #5 of 82

Slater

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Update:

I tired it on small Starlines, and it didn’t really work all that well. YMMV.

I tried it on about 6-8 other tips and it worked fine on about half of them (so I’d say I’m getting a 50% success rate right now).

It definitely works awesome on M and L Starline tips though!

I also determined that it doesn’t really seem to work on too many wide bore tips, because once it’s flipped inside out, it makes the core waaaay too short. At least not the wide bore tips I have to chose from. This is because most wide bore tips already have a fairly short core.

One word of caution. Resist the urge to use any sharp object to help pull the core inside out. Tweezers, pliers, a screwdriver, toothpick, etc. You WILL tear a hole in the tip, ruining it.

Use your fingers and fingernails only. Be patient. They will turn inside out eventually.

I found that as I turned the core inside out in very small sections at a time, if I pinched the bottom of the core (ie the part that still needs to be turned inside out), it will prevent the core from popping back to its original state. In other words, the whole time you’re trying to turn the core inside out, it resists and wants to pop back the way it originally was. Like taking 1 step forward and then 1 step back.

Pinching the bottom as you work the core inside out will prevent you from taking 1 step back. You’ll go 1 step forward, pinch. Then another step forward, pinch. And before you know it, the whole core will be inside out!
 
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May 8, 2019 at 9:51 PM Post #6 of 82

pbui44

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I just tried this out with M-sized KZ starline ear tips and I still have many ear tips that are better...but the flip tips mod is definitely a great way of giving some penny-value ear tips a new life in your ear tip rotation! They take a few tries to insert the flip tips for complete sealing and comfort, but they fit perfect and without need to insert so deeply in your ear canal!

For those following the instructions, don’t forget that you (probably) have two index fingers and to just rotate with your holding hand after each nozzle push, as the nozzle will eventually push up completely by itself. Happy listening!
 
May 8, 2019 at 9:59 PM Post #8 of 82

Slater

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I also wanted to add that the flip tips become lint and dust magnets! Sony hybrids are the same way though. But this shows just how grippy the flip tip eartip silicone is.

It’s easy to clean though. Just like Sony hybrids, removing the tips and giving them an occasional wipe down with rubbing alcohol and a lint free cloth, or just running the under soapy water and drying with a lint free cloth will keep them in tip top condition.
 
May 8, 2019 at 11:02 PM Post #9 of 82

crtninja

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I just tried this with my M Starlines I have around, and I'm actually getting a seal in my left ear, which has been giving me issues this week.
Now my MH755s seal, when I couldn't get S, M, or L SpinFits to do so.
I used a 3.5mm to 4.4mm adapter to hold the tip in place and pulled real hard downwards fast to drive the core up and out.
 
May 8, 2019 at 11:12 PM Post #10 of 82

Slater

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I just tried this with my M Starlines I have around, and I'm actually getting a seal in my left ear, which has been giving me issues this week.
Now my MH755s seal, when I couldn't get S, M, or L SpinFits to do so.
I used a 3.5mm to 4.4mm adapter to hold the tip in place and pulled real hard downwards fast to drive the core up and out.

Great idea on the adapter!

I just tried it and that works very easily.

Another thing I found that works is a golf tee. You just stick a golf tee down through the top of the tip all the way until it reaches the top (wide part) of the tee. Then you pull up real fast and it pulls the core through the tip, turning the core inside out as you pull the golf tee out.

The golf tee is basically the same idea as your 4.4mm adapter; just using a different item to pull the core inside out.
 
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May 8, 2019 at 11:15 PM Post #11 of 82

XERO1

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0mKXcg1.gif
 
May 9, 2019 at 1:08 AM Post #12 of 82

CoiL

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Update:

I tired it on small Starlines, and it didn’t really work all that well. YMMV.

I tried it on about 6-8 other tips and it worked fine on about half of them (so I’d say I’m getting a 50% success rate right now).

It definitely works awesome on M and L Starline tips though!

I also determined that it doesn’t really seem to work on too many wide bore tips, because once it’s flipped inside out, it makes the core waaaay too short. At least not the wide bore tips I have to chose from. This is because most wide bore tips already have a fairly short core.

One word of caution. Resist the urge to use any sharp object to help pull the core inside out. Tweezers, pliers, a screwdriver, toothpick, etc. You WILL tear a hole in the tip, ruining it.

Use your fingers and fingernails only. Be patient. They will turn inside out eventually.

I found that as I turned the core inside out in very small sections at a time, if I pinched the bottom of the core (ie the part that still needs to be turned inside out), it will prevent the core from popping back to its original state. In other words, the whole time you’re trying to turn the core inside out, it resists and wants to pop back the way it originally was. Like taking 1 step forward and then 1 step back.

Pinching the bottom as you work the core inside out will prevent you from taking 1 step back. You’ll go 1 step forward, pinch. Then another step forward, pinch. And before you know it, the whole core will be inside out!

Tip - apply some heat and silicone will "flexen up" :wink:

Btw, those starlines turned around leave little ridge on inner tip edge which could be improvement to bright/shrill sounding IEMs.
 
May 9, 2019 at 1:55 AM Post #13 of 82

DynamicEars

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I believe it will have a good seal and fit, if you ever use japan imported Radius deep mount tips (which is my fave one beside spiral dots), this mod made the standard tips looks like them. Good job slater, will try this later. Thanks for sharing
 
May 9, 2019 at 12:25 PM Post #14 of 82

hakuzen

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the shape you get with this mod reminds me the tips which came with flc8s. that shape uses to fit better my ear channels.
more grip in the inside (now outside) also helps to better seal. silicone from spiral dots has more grip than average. maybe starlines stay inside the measurement coupler now, without push help.
i'll have to measure fr using regular and modded starlines..
 
May 9, 2019 at 1:42 PM Post #15 of 82

Slater

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i'll have to measure fr using regular and modded starlines..

I'd love to see this whenever you get around to it!

I'm planning on measuring the difference myself. I have to first make a larger coupler though, as the measurement coupler I use now is too small for the increase in OD the flip tip mod causes.

One thing is for sure though - I'm definitely loving these tips!
 

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