Is it really the case that Customs = Better?
Jul 29, 2008 at 9:52 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 36

DavidMahler

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From my experience Custom molds do not equal better at all. First off, hard acrylic custom molds which are used by UE and Westone (as well as some other companies) can be very, and i mean VERY uncomfortable at times. That is not to say you can't be lucky and get a great fit, but in truth, I find it unlikely that sticking a hard piece of acrylic into your ear could ever be as comfortable as sticking soft foam material into your ear.

I own the UE10s. I believe they are the greatest ear monitor ever made, but I have not heard the UE11s. When I purchased the UE10s, I went through 9 refits! And eventually I just settled with a lousy uncomfortable right ear fit. I don't regret the purchase as the monitors do occasionally get use. But I can not use them for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Other issues when dealing with customs is..........when you walk with hard material customs the sound can change with each foot step. Anyone ever notice that? Another issue is that they are a drag to lie down and go to sleep with. Because the ear canal changes shape slightly when horizontal.

BUT DON'T CUSTOMS SOUND BETTER?

My official answer is......having something custom molded does not automatically make it a better sounding ear phone and anyone who believes that the additive custom mold is equivalent to better sound is wrong. For one.....I had custom molds made for SE530. I feel they sound better with the olive foams. I chose to do this because the sensaphonics soft material was more appealing to me than the hard acrylic shell of other companies.

However, the Sensaphonic 2XS are a sonic disaster. I own these and would never recommend buying them to either a friend nor an enemy.

The Ultimate Ears Triple Fi's sound nearly as good, and in some ways equivalent to my UE10s, and they are far more comfortable.

I believe the concept of custom molds was invented for the touring musician who didn't want to look like he / she had cumbersome ear equipment. But I will leave the benefit of custom molds at that......its more asthetically pleasing, when it is clear, and in the ear. But there are, in my opinion.....no advantages to seal, comfort, nor sound quality, simply because something is custom molded.

I wanted to put this thread up because I spent a lot of money on customs which I may have rethought had someone mentioned this. Not everyone is going to agree with me..........some people truly believe customs = better in every regard.......and some people simply wont be able to convince themselves that the grand they spent on customs is not as good overall as a 300 dollar universal......

and again some will simply despise my opinions here......but this is how I perceive it from my experience.

-Dave
 
Jul 29, 2008 at 10:21 PM Post #2 of 36

alitomr

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Good post. It's an interesting experience...at least a different one from what most people keep saying.

Even without having tested any customs, I agree with the part that they are ore suited to musicians who dont want to look weird with IEMs hanging off their ears. On the other hand, the sound changes dramatically from tip to tip when using universals, and that means that having the perfect seal, which is mor elikely to be obtained through customs, must have a huge impact on sound quality.

I would like to hear the UE11's owners opinions on this. LOL.
 
Jul 29, 2008 at 10:22 PM Post #3 of 36

Spyro

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I never had customs but what you say seems to make total sense to me. Some of the make-shift customs I've seen for sale seem to double the length of the sound bore which can't be a good thing soundwise let alone how much farther out they protrude.

I am not a big fan of foam tips from a cleanliness/sanitary aspect but the Shure olives are an engineering marvel in my opinion. It is a virtual perfect fit every time, they last months and have a magical coating on them that makes them almost resistant to moisture and dirt. What more do you want? Spending an additional $500-600 on a custom IEM that is not re-sellable seems insane. If you keep your ears clean (which you'd have to do with customs anyway), the foam olives last a very long time.

Having said that, if I won the lottery one of the first things I would do is buy a couple pairs of UE11's
smile.gif
 
Jul 29, 2008 at 10:27 PM Post #4 of 36

Elluzion

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i think that molds are soo hard to get right. and they constantly change. your ears will always grow and change. I don't think they are truly worth it because they are a hassle to get right fit. Even in hot and cold weather things completely change. its tough...

also another problem is customs lose re-sale value, you can't sell customs...

for a personal fit they are awesome, but worth it? worth the hassle? i don't know.

i owned the livewires (customs) for about a month and they just didn't workout, fit was uncomfortable and wasn't good. did refit and remold still not good. it is a tedious process.
 
Jul 29, 2008 at 10:33 PM Post #6 of 36

GreatDane

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A brave post DavidMahler. I liked it. I would also like to experience the UE11 but there's no way that I'd ever spend that much money.

I've never seriously considered customs because I'm very happy with my ER4. I use foam tips and they remain comfortable for many hours and seem to disappear. I use ER6 with foam to sleep every night and rarely experience discomfort.
 
Jul 29, 2008 at 10:55 PM Post #7 of 36

PixelSquish

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a worthy post and im glad to have read it.

i think for most of us without customs we get the idea that it is the holy grail of IEM's. id like to hear more people with customs chime in.
 
Jul 29, 2008 at 11:51 PM Post #8 of 36

bigizzy75

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David,

I salute you and thank you for such an honest post and its people like you who make this forum a great place to come and find useful information. I hope this post will influence other not be afraid to be honest and go against the current.


Cheers,

Izzy
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 12:52 AM Post #9 of 36

Ross

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Thank you for this post from me also. I have often wondered about the real benefits and detriments of customs, and your post confirms some things I have often suspected.

Personally, I am so ecstatic with my ER4s with APS cable and Comply foam tips, that I feel no need to experiment with customs.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 1:26 AM Post #10 of 36

Usagi

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DavidMahler,

During your nine refittings, did the audiologists give you a rough idea on how common this was? To make matters worse, did each of your refittings require an additional 2-3 week waiting period?
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 1:51 AM Post #11 of 36

DavidMahler

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Usagi /img/forum/go_quote.gif
DavidMahler,

During your nine refittings, did the audiologists give you a rough idea on how common this was? To make matters worse, did each of your refittings require an additional 2-3 week waiting period?



Let's just say that my custom fit experienced involved 4 (YES 4) audiologists.......and a final visit to the factory....a visit which was not planned, but I happened to be in the area....

Yes there was a wait with each refit......eventually I began correcting the fit myself with an acrylic chisel and extra acrylic varnish....

no matter what was done, the right ear could not get a comfortable fit.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 2:17 AM Post #13 of 36

trickywombat

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Thanks, OP
Customs are not the final word in comfort. Comfort is a very personal thing, and hard acrylic in your ear is not the most comfortable thing there is for a lot of people.

Customs may work out for those with small ear canals that can't get a good fit with any existing universal IEM and have to use an IEM in certain applications. Customs may fit better, but may not necessarily be more comfortable.

Despite having a collection of Yuin earbuds and Livewires for about the same length of time, I use a Yuin when I don't need isolation precisely because they are way more comfortable for prolonged listening.

However, after trying the UE 11 universal fit demo, I found the leap in performance worth the slight discomfort, and ordered a UE 11 instead of another IEM or full-sized headphone.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 4:45 AM Post #14 of 36

mrdeadfolx

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Hi David,
although I disagree with certain parts of your post, I certainly admire your willingness to speak on the weaknesses of a big purchase, as opposed to singing its praises to justify it to yourself. I love my UE11's, and the comfort for me is great. The one thing I will say about them is the price tag is ridiculous. People who do not own customs, but own high end univerals, are not missing out on some kind of magical audio experience that absolutely crushes their universals. With their UM2/SE530/Triple .fi, they already have a pretty good idea of the SQ customs can offer, and dollar for dollar customs get outperformed by univerals almost all the time. Im glad you brought this up, all too often people mentally convince themselves that their expensive gear is worthy of nothing but high praise, and refuse to see flaws or be critical, even when justified.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 4:48 AM Post #15 of 36

DavidMahler

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mrdeadfolx /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hi David,
although I disagree with certain parts of your post, I certainly admire your willingness to speak on the weaknesses of a big purchase, as opposed to singing its praises to justify it to yourself. I love my UE11's, and the comfort for me is great. The one thing I will say about them is the price tag is ridiculous. People who do not own customs, but own high end univerals, are not missing out on some kind of magical audio experience that absolutely crushes their universals. With their UM2/SE530/Triple .fi, they already have a pretty good idea of the SQ customs can offer, and dollar for dollar customs get outperformed by univerals almost all the time. Im glad you brought this up, all too often people mentally convince themselves that their expensive gear is worthy of nothing but high praise, and refuse to see flaws or be critical, even when justified.



I am really glad to hear that you succeeded in getting a comfortable fit!
 

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