Jerry shares with us his experience with using Comply Foam Tips.
Comply foam tips are pretty well known in audiophile circles. If you have misplaced or ruined the tips that come with your in-ear headphones, or you simply want to try a different sound without digging too deep into your pockets, these foam tips are the way to go.
The Comply Foam Variety Pack comes with three pairs - sport, isolation and comfort. Each of them have their own purpose and unique sound style. Since I use my Klipsch S4 while travelling on the bus or rickshaw in the morning Mumbai traffic complete with blaring horns, road-rage induced drivers and vehicles that do not seem to follow any particular sound pollution norms, the first pair I tried was the Isolation.
The Klipsch S4s I use came with a multitude of tips. These are pretty good in themselves. They isolate the sound quite functionally, and settle fairly comfortably into the canals. The Comply isolation foam tips improved on all the qualities of the stock ones in a significant manner. BEWARE! The sound isolation borders on dangerous. Even on moderate SPL, the outside noise is almost completely blocked. Crossing streets just became a lot more risky.
Moreover, the bass now pops out because of this. I found the rumble of mid bass frequencies to have enhanced considerably, and the punch hits just a little bit harder. I cannot honestly say that the treble or mid-range frequencies have benefited from these at all. But the enhanced bass extracts a much more neutral response from the S4s, which are known to be a little sparkly up there.
These are the only pair to have a completely different finish. The foam used here is on the matte side of things. These tips are meant to dig the deepest into your ears. Unfortunately, I am not very comfortable with the idea of the sound being that close to my drums, but that's just me. I did try these tips, although for not more than a couple of songs, after which it was fatiguing. These are the only tips which made a difference to the treble. The bass, on the other hand felt a bit thinner (for lack of a better word). The punch was still there, but it did not have the same effect as with the other tips. Also, these tips are not very good at isolating the outside sound. These tips are meant to be used while jogging or exercising, because the matted nature of the foam sits very tightly in your ears. Maybe they work well in that scenario, but it's not something I will try in the recent future.
On a side note, for those who are not aware, these tips are not long term investments. They will get spoiled eventually. You have to pinch and roll them between your thumb and finger, insert them into your ear, and hold it there for a few seconds to let the memory foam expand and fit your canal. So, it is very important to have clean fingers and cleaner ears! Also, they can't just be tossed roughly into your bag. They have to be stored carefully, as they WILL attract a lot of dust, which will be impossible to clean. This is probably the only gripe I have with this product.
In conclusion, this product is a fun, cheap (when compared to buying a new pair of headphones) way to try out different sound signatures on your current in-ears. I can imagine a lot of people might want to repeatedly invest in these as they are very easy to get used to. Just check which series is compatible with your headphones before purchasing.
- by Jerry
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