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DIY: Improvement of IEM molding for Comfort

LIΟN

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Has anyone tried this?
The IEM was fixed to fit the inner ear using a Sugru product.
Apple's Earpods are originally comfortable. But it was very loose in my ears and showed bass loss and imbalance in response. It's not a big deal in normal listening, but I listen to all IEMs in hrir (brir), so uniformity in response was important to me.
So I made it to fit my ears like this. The open IEM keeps you comfortable, but it's perfectly tight to your ears. It doesn't feel like it's been worn at all.

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I also tried this on a Zero:2 at 7hz.
Zero:2 satisfies me with excellent performance at an affordable price, but it doesn't have the same soft curve as Seeaudio's IEMs.
So by filling in the empty areas, I was able to have a very tight fit in my ear.
But there's a problem.
I handle things very carelessly, so I also handle them roughly when I take them out of my case. I think I hit a wall or a desk while taking out Zero:2.
So the right unit doesn't work. I tried to save it by spraying contact improvement, but I think it died. It's unfortunate.

But it was still a pretty good attempt.
I haven't had any skin allergy-like anomalies with this, and I'm fully satisfied with the experience of getting a consistent response and a perfect fit in my ear at a very low price.

Of course, you can also make custom eartipes or customiemes.
But both of them have to model my ears and that's pretty annoying.
And the cost isn't small either. In the case of custom iem, the response varies by brand and product, but I haven't found anything yet that satisfies the response and thd that I want, at least among the products that have been released or already measured.
But it was the right way for me that I tried customizing this cheap because I can make certain products that I want fit my ears, so I have trust in the performance, sound, and reproducibility of brir.

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I have multiple iems and I like the mp145 the best. Its performance is very good, but the structure of the curved surface and the shape of the shell are the problem.
I'm going to grind or sharpen this later and customize it and try it on in the same way as today.
 

Keith_W

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That is genius! What is a "Sugru product"? Is it the equivalent of Blu-Tack? (In case you don't have Blu-Tack in Korea, it is a kind of sticky gum used in offices to stick pieces of paper to walls).
 
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LIΟN

LIΟN

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That is genius! What is a "Sugru product"? Is it the equivalent of Blu-Tack? (In case you don't have Blu-Tack in Korea, it is a kind of sticky gum used in offices to stick pieces of paper to walls).
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I bought this. (I didn't sell it in Korea, so I made overseas direct purchases.) It's probably similar to what you're saying. It's like using it to fix things or fix things.!
 

MCH

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That is genius! What is a "Sugru product"? Is it the equivalent of Blu-Tack? (In case you don't have Blu-Tack in Korea, it is a kind of sticky gum used in offices to stick pieces of paper to walls).
Sugru cures after a few hours and while it remains soft, the final shape is permanent. It is a quite good product, but I personally would like to know a bit more about it's components before sticking it to my ears for hours.
 
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LIΟN

LIΟN

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Sugru cures after a few hours and while it remains soft, the final shape is permanent. It is a quite good product, but I personally would like to know a bit more about it's components before sticking it to my ears for hours.
Are you talking about side effects, such as allergies, tickling, stinging, etc.
If you're referring to that, I think it varies from person to person.
My skin isn't super sensitive, but it's not dull either.
And I've been wearing the IEMs with sugru all morning (to get them in shape) and I've had no negative reactions at all.
However, this can vary from person to person, so you need to be careful.
I've also seen these finished with resin or nail polish, but I'm not that handy, so this is what I used.
As long as you finish the outside with something that is harmless to the human body, you should be fine.
 
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MCH

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Are you talking about side effects, such as allergies, tickling, stinging, etc.
If you're referring to that, I think it varies from person to person.
My skin isn't super sensitive, but it's not dull either.
And I've been wearing the IEMs with sugru all morning (to get them in shape) and I've had no negative reactions at all.
However, this can vary from person to person, so you need to be careful.
I've also seen these finished with resin or nail polish, but I'm not that handy, so this is what I used.
As long as you finish the outside with something that is harmless to the human body, you should be fine.
Yes exactly, i am probably exaggerating though. I used it to shape the cables of my Chu and so far so good, and this was months ago, but I wear it on the outside of the ears.
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LIΟN

LIΟN

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Yes exactly, i am probably exaggerating though. I used it to shape the cables of my Chu and so far so good, and this was months ago, but I wear it on the outside of the ears.
View attachment 349884

What? Are you MacGyve? I think your diy ability is excellent.... :D
I haven't used Chu1, I had Chu2. I remember that sounded excellent as well.
 
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somebodyelse

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When I saw the thread title I worried about how far you'd be inserting materials into your ears, but I see the tips will prevent that.
Decibullz do something similar: https://www.decibullz.co.uk/product-page/custom-moldable-airpods-and-earpods-ear-hooks - their earplugs with replaceable filters may be usable with some IEM varieties too. Based on the hot water to bring it to moulding temperature I suspect they're using polycaprolactone, available for DIY under the Polymorph trade name. It's hard at room temperature, unlike the Sugru.
Edit: They now have IEMs to fit their earplugs - no idea how good they are.
 
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LIΟN

LIΟN

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When I saw the thread title I worried about how far you'd be inserting materials into your ears, but I see the tips will prevent that.
I was able to remove the eartip and make the nozzle part, or even bend, but intentionally left the eartip.
Because there were two reasons.
The first is that my body, my ears, are not exactly the same every day.
If you catch a cold or get tired, your ears can contract, and sometimes they get loose. If you get this right perfectly with a custom iem or custom iem tip, sometimes you'll feel pressure, sometimes you'll feel strange baggy.
But the iem tip that suits me has adapted to most of these conditions.
And secondly, I didn't want to make a change in response. The insertion depth and resonance involved are pretty important in normal iem use.
I also have an etymotic er2xr and I tested it. It's ideal by pushing the resonant band out as much as possible by iem's standards, but it wasn't the fit I'm after.
And in brir, it wasn't even more important because no matter how big the iem or headphones had a deep peak, no matter where the resonance was, they were all corrected to produce the same sound.

Decibullz do something similar: https://www.decibullz.co.uk/product-page/custom-moldable-airpods-and-earpods-ear-hooks - their earplugs with replaceable filters may be usable with some IEM varieties too. Based on the hot water to bring it to moulding temperature I suspect they're using polycaprolactone, available for DIY under the Polymorph trade name. It's hard at room temperature, unlike the Sugru.

I think I saw something like that, too.
That looks pretty good, too.!
 

isostasy

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Are you talking about side effects, such as allergies, tickling, stinging, etc.
If you're referring to that, I think it varies from person to person.
My skin isn't super sensitive, but it's not dull either.
And I've been wearing the IEMs with sugru all morning (to get them in shape) and I've had no negative reactions at all.
However, this can vary from person to person, so you need to be careful.
I've also seen these finished with resin or nail polish, but I'm not that handy, so this is what I used.
As long as you finish the outside with something that is harmless to the human body, you should be fine.
Had something like this on my mind for a while now as well as shallow fit IEMs (i.e. all IEMs other than Etymotic) fit me terribly. My concerns with Sugru are the same as @MCH - do they say anything about the product being skin safe / hypoallergenic / food safe etc.?

Other guides I found when researching were this which suggests using a purpose-made custom mould earplug kit, then using a craft knife to cut the space for your IEM. I'd guess you'd need to glue your IEM into the mould to get a proper seal however so would be very permanent / not leave room for re-moulding.

There's also a guide on head-fi for using moulds (either professionally made or otherwise) as a base for creating silicone shells, though these look worse than sugru imo.

This guy goes all the way taking ear impressions to make moulds (looks risky!!) for making resin IEM shells which he install Knowles drivers in. I'm sure same concept could be applied for our universal IEMs like Zero, etc. but might be difficult as resin is incredibly hard. Might need a sacrificial set of IEMs for pouring the resin. (source here)

r.e. Decibullz @somebodyelse I've had this thought too, but wondered if there is anything special about their mould or if it is just standard thermoplastic you could get in bigger quantities for much less $/gram e.g. Instamorph, all sorts on Amazon . I don't know about the suitability of these on the human body either.

One big caveat is that in comparison with deep-fit triple flange universal IEMs (Etymotic basically) custom fit isn't necessarily better - not for sound or isolation anyway, but maybe comfort. That's what this review says of Etymotic's custom service, and this is a great blog post from Rin Choi's blog (a go-to resource before we had ASR etc.) in which he concludes something similar or even that Etymotic's universal fit is so good as to make custom fit defunct because it compromises the deep fit (and therefore correct plane for pushing up the unwanted resonance).

I have polymer clay for craft projects (jewellery beads etc.) and wondered if it work well for this - it is soft and mouldable into whatever shape you want, then you heat it at low temp in the oven and it hardens. I'd have the same concerns as with Sugru r.e. skin safety however and it might be difficult to get exactly right due to the process of having to be placed into the oven. It would be hard to mould in your ear with the IEM in place then remove the IEM for baking without messing up the shape I think. Also it sets so hard you might need a drill to open the hole for the IEM nozzle.

btw @LIΟN it looks like your moulds extend right up to the nozzle - is this necessary, does it not cause problems for fitting the silicone eartip or does it keep it in place?
 
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LIΟN

LIΟN

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do they say anything about the product being skin safe / hypoallergenic / food safe etc.?
I don't know... I've never seen a phrase like that and I've seen examples of people who used it and I've only done it. And I've been wearing it all this time, but there's no response to my skin (in my ear).
btw @LIΟN it looks like your moulds extend right up to the nozzle - is this necessary, does it not cause problems for fitting the silicone eartip or does it keep it in place?
It's just before the nozzle and the little bit on the ear tip is because it's pushed out of my ear. It's hardened by me pressing it with my hands a little bit (not a very important part)

The safety part is really hard for me to say.....
 
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LIΟN

LIΟN

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A day has passed. :eek:

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It's now completely rigid. I adjusted the 7hz Zero:2 to fit my ears one more time before bed, so I'm letting it dry as is, thinking it might not be fully hardened yet.
So, I've been wearing apple's earpods to work since this morning (roughly 7+ hours), and I've been wearing them the whole time.
When you first put them on, just place the nozzle near your earlobe and pull on your ear to put them on automatically (just like the suit in the Avengers Iron Man movie).
It's a very strange and exciting experience.
When I put it on, it feels the same as yesterday. It's comfortable. It sounds the same.
 
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