Good headphones or great ones, it’s always best to get the most out of what you’ve got. That’s what the folks at Comply Foam are trying to do with their foam tips for earphones, earbuds and IEMs (in-ear monitors).
To make the most of your earphones, you want to have a secure fit inside your ear / ear canal. The better the fit, the most noise that will be blocked (huge score for travelers) and the better the bass response will be.
Unfortunately, that perfect fit can be tough to get. Not only that, but often it can become uncomfortable having earphones in your ears for long periods of time. Some manufacturers (such as Shure with their SE425 we reviewed) come with a host of ‘sleeves’ or ‘tips’ to try and make a perfect match.
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What makes the tips from Comply Foam different from what you get with your earphones is that they are made with a super soft memory foam. This lets the slightly larger sized plugs sit comfortably inside your ear for longer periods, and provide a better seal for best sound isolation and better sound. How do they stand up?
Finding the Perfect Match
With so many different brands and types of earphones, you’ll need to find the right set of Comply Foam tips to match what you have. Using their handy “Comply Tip Finder” to first enter the brand, then the model, it’s a snap. Over 100 popular brands such as Sennheiser, Shure, Klipsch, Etymotic Research, Monster and Logitech UE are all there, as well as mobile players Samsung, Blackberry and Apple. Just a note that although Apple’s older buds are covered, the new ones that come with the iPhone 5 are not (yet).
Though installation will vary depending on your earphones, I installed the Comply Foam tips in about a minute on my Shure SE425 IEMs.
First, remove your old sleeves, being careful not to break the stems. I find that gently moving the old tips up the stem a couple of millimeters at a time on each side tends to be the fastest and safest. Next grab your new tips and gently push them down the stems until they lock into place.
Fit and Sound
To use, gently roll the foam tips between your thumb and finger to compress the foam. Next, insert into your ear and hold them in place for a few seconds as the foam expands to fill your ear canal.
Compared to the Shure “olive” tips that were previously the best fit for me, the Comply Foam tips are softer and more comfortable. Not only that, but the fit in my left ear which was a little tricky before and is now more secure. Often I would need to reseat the earphones after an hour or of use or so.
The bass response is improved, and the noise isolation is even better than with other tips.
As a quick, cheap and easy accessory for your headphones, the memory foam tips from Comply Foam are an easy bet. Running from $14.99 to $19.99, they are the best way to get the most of your sound and while blocking out the noise from the rest of the world. Highly recommended if you can track them down, which seems far easier in North America than the rest of the world. (Check prices on Amazon)
Improved sound quality
Excellent noise reduction
Harder to find outside of North America