I love the smell of ear wax on a warm, sunny day. But that’s neither here nor there. When it comes to IEMs, the right fit is essential to hearing the intended sound profile. But you can also use eartips to change aspects of the sound signature that you don’t like. So, besides providing a snug seal, eartips should ideally give you some creative control over your sound. With that in mind, here are some tips on tips for IEMs.
Tips on Tips for IEMs
Avoid these tips and see below…
Aren’t silicone tips just rubber? Not so fast, say scientists with college degrees. Yes, silicone is a type of rubber. But unlike most other rubbers, silicone is more resistant to heat, chemical attacks, fungus attacks, UV and Ozone attacks. In addition, they are less likely to cause allergic reactions. So if you prefer fungus free ear canals, or you fear Russian nerve agents ruining your eardrums, consider silicone. In terms of sound, silicone also offers the most honest representation of your headphone’s signature.
My favorite silicone tips made by Final Audio…
Silicone Ear Tips Variations
Double and Triple Flange Silicone Tips
These types of tips are an acquired taste, in that they go so far down your ear canal that you can taste them. The advantages to this are great sound isolation and intimacy with the music. The disadvantages are that they can push wax further into your ears. And if you don’t have them fitted properly, you won’t hear any bass frequencies. So, if your Etymotic buds, let’s say, have no low-end, you probably need to adjust or change your tips.
“Filtery” Silicone Eartips
A lot of IEM brands are now including a variety of tips that accentuate certain aspect of your track’s mix. FiiO, for example, includes tips that highlight vocals or emphasize the bass. So, even if your earphones don’t come with these kind of tip varieties, you can experiment on your own.
Many audiophiles prefer foam tips for a couple of reasons. First, because foam tips mold to the shape of your ears, it can feel more comfortable and provide better sound isolation than silicone. The other advantage is sound. Foam tips attenuate some of the highest frequencies, reducing peakiness on headphones that have sparkly high-ends. As a result, the low frequencies sound amped up, bringing a warmer feel to the sound overall. Campfire Audio, for example, uses foam tips as their choice out of the box to optimize the IEM’s sound signature. The only problem with foam tips is hygiene and longevity. They’re hard to clean, and when you use alcohol, it deteriorates the foam. So, what is a foam lover to do? Keep reading…
There’s a new eartip in town; for those who want the best of both worlds, Symbio Eartips by Mandarines have developed hybrid tips that combine silicone and foam. The foam is covered with silicone. So, you get the great seal and sound isolation of the foam with the durability of the silicone. And you can wipe the tips down with alcohol without melting them into a sesame seed.
Finally, here are some used eartips to gross you out…