Foam tips for the Altec iM716 phones
Mar 4, 2006 at 12:40 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

jSatch

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From what I have read, there appears to be a problem locating foam tips for the iM716 phones. From these posts I would assume that Altec has not stocked these tips yet.

From another (generic foam tip) thread, Gino says that the Shure yellow tips are too narrow for the iM716s, and Monkey A** Sucka notes that the foam tips for the Ety ER6 fit only part way and fall off. (I assume this is the ER6, not ER6i? According to the Ety web site, ER6 and ER6i tips are not interchangeable.)

The tips that come with the iM176 look identical to those used for the ER4s (ER4-14F; http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er4-acc.aspx ). However, in a picture by kwkarth of both the naked (un-tipped) iM716 and ER4, the iM716 has clearly a more robust tube (http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...ighlight=im716 ). If someone has tried these Ety ER4 foam tips, please let us know if they are compatible or not.


Anyway, it was confirmed by nonepoor (http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...ighlight=im716 ) that the tri-flange tips are identical to those of the Ety ER6i. So, until Altec stocks the foamies, at least we don’t have to resort to bubble gum.


BTW- If Altec doesn’t have foamies stocked yet, do they have the filters? We might find a solution for the tips, but those filters look like they are unique to the iM716.

Cheers!
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 6:18 AM Post #3 of 21

Gino

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If you look at the IM716's foam tips, its core is made of stretchable silicone. The base gets pretty wide while the tip appears to be as narrow as other IEMs.

Good candidates should, by my reckoning, make it past the 4mm tip flare and snuggly fit over the 3.5mm main tube.

The Shure Yellow tips I used had about 2-2.5mm inside diameter stiff clear plastics. No way can these fit. Dunno for which models they are.

I did remove the Shure foam itself and got them over the naked Altec grey foam core (foam removed). But they were a bit short and some Altec tip protruded. This resulted in a poor seal with the IEM dragged down at an uneasy angle.

For now I just wash the Altec foams in water and dishwashing fluid when they become crusty.

Altec or Ety has not replied as to the sourcing of replacement foams.

Recalling my rc days when we were truing tires, I am thinking of mounting the Altec rubber core on a 3mm blank shaft, mount a suitable foam block on it, and true the thing on the dremel against a sanding block. But I do understand that the IEM foams are pretty unique and will be difficult to come by for DIY.

Let's just nag Altec for replacements.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 6:30 AM Post #4 of 21

Gino

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Forgive me for not reading thoroughly. That is great news Nonepoor.

Can you post pics. I noticed the ER6i has short stubby raw tips. While the Altec has a longer raw tip. Does it snuggle up nicely? So no raw tips protruding? Just making sure before I place my order at Ety.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 5:31 PM Post #5 of 21

jSatch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nonepoor
I just tried the large (yellow) foamies for the Ety ER 6i on the IM716 and they do indeed fit.


Great news nonepoor!!

Thank you.

Also, the Ety ER6 web page makes note that the ER6 tips are not interchangeable with ER6i or ER4 tips. Conversely, on both the ER6i and ER4 pages they mention that they are not interchangeable with the ER6. But on neither the ER6i nor the ER4 pages does it mention that ER4 and ER6i are not interchangeable. Thus, it is still possible that the ER4 foamies may fit the ER6i (and visa versa) and also the iM716.

The ER4 foamies are less expensive than the ER6i foamies ($14 for 14 or 6, respectively), but the ER6i foamies look like they might be more resilient. Dunno. Anyone have any further info on these tips?
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 5:36 PM Post #6 of 21

nonepoor

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Gino
Forgive me for not reading thoroughly. That is great news Nonepoor.

Can you post pics
. I noticed the ER6i has short stubby raw tips. While the Altec has a longer raw tip. Does it snuggle up nicely? So no raw tips protruding? Just making sure before I place my order at Ety.




Here are my IM 716's wearing Ety ER 6i Foamies and Flanges. You can see that the foamies can be slid all the way up the shaft.


OOOPS -- Just discovered there's a 25KB limit on attachements
confused.gif
so here is a link you can use to see the photos.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLan...fromshare&Ux=0
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 10:53 PM Post #7 of 21

jSatch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nonepoor
Here are my IM 716's wearing Ety ER 6i Foamies and Flanges. You can see that the foamies can be slid all the way up the shaft.


OOOPS -- Just discovered there's a 25KB limit on attachements
confused.gif
so here is a link you can use to see the photos.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLan...fromshare&Ux=0




Thanks for the pictures nonepoor!!!

Very helpful.

BTW- The 2-flange tips on the right- are those large 2-flanges, or 3-flanges that you cut down? I'm asking because I cut my 3-flanges to get a better fit. Was wondering how the 2-flange (large) compared with that mod.
Also- the iM716 stock (black) foamies are very comfortable, but my larger left ear canal could probably use something a wee bit bigger to be really snug. The yellow foamies look gigantic. Are they really so much bigger, or are they less dense (compact more readily) than the black ones?

Thanks!
 
Mar 9, 2006 at 12:26 AM Post #8 of 21

jSatch

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I've posted this on another site, but thought to also include it here.

There is a thread for DIY foamies. Please see thread-

http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...hure+foam+tips

I suggest you read this thread if you decide to go in this direction.

That said, you can purchase foam blanks (ie, ear plugs) at the Ear Plug Store (a sponser of head-fi, see sponsers at top of page next to Head-fi logo) for $14 per 50 pairs, or 14 cents per foamie. For the Shures (and probably the ER6is) each foam earplug is cut in half bringing this to 7 cents per foamie. Ety ER4s and iM716s would probably use most or all of the earplug. The foam of choice thus far appears to be the E-A-R Classic (yellow). These are available in different sizes. I don't know about a nice black foam (ER4 and iM716). Perhaps Ety makes this themselves.

Tubing at less than 1/2 an inch per foamie should also be dirt-cheap. One suggestion on this from the DIY thread (see above link) said that it is available from pet stores as aquarium tubing. Another suggestion is a laboratory supply store.

The cost per foamie would be significantly less than purchasing pre-made. I would guesstimate less than 20 cents per foamie (if not cut in half). Of course sound quality is essential, and some that experimented with size claim that they were able to get better sound quality than with their original eartips. Obstacles include getting the hole down the middle of the plug. Suggestions for doing this, and gluing, are offered by a representative from Shure. How cool is that!

So, if you appreciate a little DIY project, and might want to make some extra ‘disposable’ tips so you can WOW your friends at how good your phones really sound (rather than them having to take your word for it, ho-hum, again), you might consider this little experiment. You'll also support a sponser of Head-fi. Of course, if DIY is not your thing, $1 a pop per pre-made foamie is really not so bad.

My earplugs from the Ear Plug Store are on their way.

etysmile.gif


PS- You could also order 200 pair at a little over $20 for even greater savings, but this may not be practical for the lifetime of the phones.
 
Mar 9, 2006 at 1:49 AM Post #9 of 21

Gino

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Well, I am back to the triflanges. My foamies somehow has hardened on the outer side. It has a hard feel of crusting but there is no crust. As such when I compared the two, the triflanges sealed better and as such had more bass.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 2:25 AM Post #10 of 21

nonepoor

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jSatch
Thanks for the pictures nonepoor!!!

Very helpful.

BTW- The 2-flange tips on the right- are those large 2-flanges, or 3-flanges that you cut down? I'm asking because I cut my 3-flanges to get a better fit. Was wondering how the 2-flange (large) compared with that mod.
Also- the iM716 stock (black) foamies are very comfortable, but my larger left ear canal could probably use something a wee bit bigger to be really snug. The yellow foamies look gigantic. Are they really so much bigger, or are they less dense (compact more readily) than the black ones?

Thanks!




The double flange on the right is the "small flange" for the ER6i, this is the same size as the im716 triflange with the biggest flange removed. That's the setup I'm using on my right ear. For my left ear, the "large flange" works best. This is the size of the triflange with the smallest flange removed.

The yellow foam is huge and has the same density as the im716 grey foamies. I can just squeeze it to fit into my left, but not right ear canal. I get poor seals from all the foamies, so I will stick to the 2 sizes of "bi-flange" above.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 7:08 AM Post #11 of 21

jSatch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nonepoor
The double flange on the right is the "small flange" for the ER6i, this is the same size as the im716 triflange with the biggest flange removed. That's the setup I'm using on my right ear. For my left ear, the "large flange" works best. This is the size of the triflange with the smallest flange removed.

The yellow foam is huge and has the same density as the im716 grey foamies. I can just squeeze it to fit into my left, but not right ear canal. I get poor seals from all the foamies, so I will stick to the 2 sizes of "bi-flange" above.



Dear nonepoor,

Thank you for the info.

As per my post above, I'm experimenting with some DIY foamies. The yellow E-A-R Classic earplug is similar to the iM716 foam tip in density, texture, and diameter, but longer in length. These are made of PVC foam. Also trying one by 3M, orange and tapered (looks similar to the Ety ER6i foam tip). These are made of urethane foam. They are smoother, softer and less dense. They may fit your smaller canal without pain, yet still fill the larger one. Dunno. Also tried the very soft urethanes by Hearos. These are supposedly similar to the Westone (UM1/UM2) comply tips that are so comfortable. Unfortunately, they never fully recovered after compressing and drilling. Looks like a piece of gum on a tube.
rolleyes.gif


Just tried the first sets today. Still working out some technical issues in drilling the hole, etc, more professionally. Gets you to appreciate the ~$1 per tip of the commercial products. Fun project though. Very positive in the sound department thus far. Initial opinion (with 3Ms)- better than the silicon flanges, and possibly also the stock foamies. Still need to compare them back to back.
etysmile.gif


Will get back with this soon, I hope.

Later-
 
Mar 27, 2006 at 11:29 PM Post #12 of 21

jSatch

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As it is appropriate here too, and I mentioned I would post a follow-up, this is a slightly modified version of what I posted on the thread:
"Make Your Own Shure and UM2 Foamies!"

I’ve been experimenting in a DIY project using 3 different earplugs and converting them into foam ear tips: (1) E-A-R Classics, the yellow ones that look similar to the Large Ety ER4 tips; (2) Hearos super soft, supposively similar to the Westone Comply tips; and (3) the 3m 1100s, which to me appear similar to the picture of the ETY ER6i medium size foam tips.

Construction: I found that compressing the earplugs like a coin and then drilling did not give the best results. In fact, the very soft Hearos plugs never retained their original shape and ended up looking like a piece of Juicy Fruit gum on a tube.
biggrin.gif


I then tried the (excellent) advice of Sugarfried (from the Shure company- way cool!) and froze the plugs. Pretty simple- squeeze the plugs, throw them in water until they expand, then toss them into the freezer. Even the contoured tips of the Hearos and the 3M 1100s were easy to work with like this. In a rigid, frozen state they are also easier to cut shorter, if you wish. Thank you Sugarfried!!! But please wear gloves, in case you slip.

To insert the ‘audio’ tubes into the plugs, just fit them over a jeweler’s screwdriver and twist them into the hole in the plug. After the plugs dried I tried crazy gluing the tubes into the E-A-R Classics. The glue ruined the foam as well as the elasticity of the tube. I would recommend cutting a smaller, tighter hole and nixing the glue. Unless someone can recommend another glue that works well.

Sound: The E-A-R Classics sound remarkably similar to the supplied, stock foamies of my Altec iM716s (Etymotic clones). Except for color (the iM716s are black; E-A-R Classics yellow and longer), they also look and feel alike.

Very different from the coarse, open cell PVC foam of the E-A-R Classics are the smoother, less stiff urethane derivatives. The Hearos are very soft and comfy. These are purportedly similar to the Westone Comply tips. I see why they are so loved. But these were just too small for me. Note: my left ear requires a large size tip (foam or flange), whereas my right a medium. The 3M 1100s are denser than the Hearos. Importantly, the bass and fundamentals really came out with these. Vocals and mids had more dimension, a fuller, rounder sound. They were noticeably (to my ears) better than the other foamies, or the silicon flange tips. I think this difference may not be entirely due to fit as the stock foamies, E-A-R classics, the flange tips and the 3M 1100s all fit equally well. I think the urethane is the difference. Maybe this is part of the nice, warm frequency balance the Westone UMs are noted for. I did have to maneuver these around a bit to get the sweet spot. Kind of like Play-Dough though. I just needed to push the edges of these in against my ear canal, even after they expanded (which takes awhile with these), a little more for a better seal. Maybe this was due to my large ear canal. I would think, from what I've said, that the Hearos would yield the same beneficial effects, assuming you don't have a large ear canal.

The iM716 has a bass / high definition switch. I found the bass in HD with these tips to be about equal of that of the supplied tips, the E-A-R Classics, and the modified tri-flanges (I cut off the smallest flange) in Bass mode. If anything, the 3Ms appeared to exhibit a warmer overall sound than the others in the bass mode as it seemed to impact more of the frequency range. These phones have substantial bass now though. I’m having fun skipping around my whole catalog. Everything sounds nicer, fuller, less analytic, even though the transient speed of these drivers is still apparent.

Longevity: Another potential advantage may be, I’m not sure yet, longevity. The open cell structure of the PVC (eg., E-A-R Classics) tips may tend to have fewer cycles of compression and expansion than the denser celled urethane tips. There have been many complaints regarding the longevity of foam tips on this site. I don’t know if anyone ever compared longevity with material (eg, PVC vs. Urethane).

Later-
etysmile.gif


PS- From the DIY post mentioned above, dvallere also notes that the urethane tips of the Westones appear to have afforded her a much longer usable liftime than the coarse (PVC?) UE tips (~3 weeks vs 1 week). http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...ighlight=im716
 
Apr 5, 2006 at 5:09 PM Post #13 of 21

jSatch

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There is a thread entitled Homemade Foam Eartips for IEMs:

http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=171940

That thread is evolving with experiments in the construction of generic DIY foam eartips, or foamies, for all IEMs, including the iM716, iM616.

Please refer to that thread for more information if you are inrerested in this topic, and continue posting here any specific info regarding your experiences with iM716/616 DIY foamies.

Later-

etysmile.gif
 
Apr 5, 2006 at 5:23 PM Post #14 of 21

jSatch

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FYI- Here is a photo of the eartips that I constructed for the iM716s using the freezing method mentioned in the earlier post.

As you can see, all foamies retained the shape and size of the original earplugs using this method. Although the PVC E-A-R Classics are easy to work with using a hole puncher, this and other ‘compression’ techniques can permanently deform the urethane based plugs.

Photo is here:

P3300003.jpg


From left: (1) Hearos Super Soft (brown). The most comfortable, but they are too small for my large ear canal. I wasn’t able to get a very good seal, so I never trimmed them down. (2) Center front, E-A-R Classics (yellow). Full size is on the left and trimmed down version on right. You may be able to see what a little of the Super Glue did to the right tip- whitish area with foam hardening a little around the pore. (3) Right front, stock foamies for iM716 (black). Professionally constructed. Very nice. (4) Center back, 3M 1100s (orange). These have been slightly trimmed (originally they were the same length as the Hearos). As you can see, they are getting a little dirty from being carried around in my briefcase. I also bored the pore a little larger on the tapered, ear side to see if it made a difference. It didn't. (5) Back right, the original iM716 tri-flanges that I removed the smallest flange from, now essentially bi-flanges, for comparison. I recommend this mod on the tri-flanges for those with large ear canals that find the tri-flanges very uncomfortable and get a poor seal. Less work than making foamies.
biggrin.gif
 
May 2, 2006 at 5:49 PM Post #15 of 21

jSatch

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Howard Leight 'Max' plugs on Altec iM716. This is the bottom 2/3 of the ear plug, ie, the 'flanged' end. The top was trimmed off.

Here is a link to the Howard Leight site where you can better see the color and tapered shape of these plugs: http://howardleight.com/products/products2.asp?id=4#

As you can see from the Howard Leight picture, the 'tapered' top 1/2 - 2/3 would be ideal for small to medium ear canals, whereas the bottom 1/2 - 2/3 'flanged' end for larger ear canals (as pictured below). Also, the length of mine in the picture can be trimmed down further without loss of SQ.

I think the core, or midsection, of the plug is about the same size as most other plugs (E-A-R Classic, stock foamies, etc), if not smaller and softer, but the flange section at the end can really seal off the ear canal, even a large one. The tapered aspect, not unlike you ear canal, is probably similar to custom tips in that respect. Also because of the tapered size, it seals off without it feeling like you're jamming an ever expanding roll of tiolet paper into the smaller, deeper part of your ears. OK, OK. But I think those of us that use foamies understand that feeling.

These puppies are VERY comfy. I very much prefer the feel, isolation and SQ of urethane plugs to PVC. At least so far
very_evil_smiley.gif
.

Increased comfort, increased seal, much improved SQ, and 99 cents for 10 pair on eBay.

Life is good!


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