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It seems my ears are not made for IEMs, as I have sealing issues with every single IEM I've tried - any advice?

Batenxx

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Preface: I've been using in ear headphones, mostly from established companies like Sony, Philips, Creative and whatnot for about 15 years, long before the term IEM was used. Never had any sealing issues. Recently the final pair of my trusty Philips SHE8500 broke and I decided to try out some Chinese IEMs.

So I've ordered the 7Hz Zero:2, the Truthear Zero Red and Moondrop's Chu IIs. On all of them I seem to have sealing issues with every single one of the stock tips. It's the worst with the Chu II, which sound like some old radio from the 50s. lol Interestingly enough, when I slightly angled the Chu IIs upwards and pressed them really deep in (using the largest tip pair), the sound drastically changed, became much deeper and warmer with SIGNIFICANT bass increase. But the moment I stopped pressing them in, the sound returned being cheap and flat. So it's definitely the seal which I have an issue with. The only one I achieve slightly better sealing with its stock tips (only with the largest pair) is with the Zero Reds, probably thanks to the large nozzle. But even then it, subjectively speaking, only 80% at best, using the largest piece of its stock tips. Only when I use my old L-sized tips from my old Philips SHE8500 I achieve a decent seal compared to the stock tips, however they are rather short and I feel like this is still not the intended sound.

Am I the only one with these issues? As I said in the preface, I used many different in ear headphones in the last 15 years, and I never had such seal issues. I feel like this might be partially to the lack of truly L-sized tips that come with the Chinese ones. It's like the largest option is always about M-sized compared to the largest option of tips when it comes to non-Chinese IEMs.

Am I the only one with such issues? Should I just get some larger tips? Or is it also an issue with the shape of my ear canal? As I said, with the Chu IIs I had to aim them upwards in an angle and press them in to get a proper seal and sound.
 

InfiniteJester

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The Zero:2s are known for having these issues and are, in fact, useless to me for that reason.

I have never tried the rest.
 
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LearningToSmile

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It's unfortunately a common problem with some IEMs. I have heard about it with Zero:2, I'm actually picking a pair up today so I will see if I have the same issue. Personally I experienced it the worst with Kiwi Ears Cadenza.
Large tips might actually make the problems worse - they might make IEMs sit on the outside of your ear canal where there is too much space for good seal. By using the smallest tips instead, it might allow the IEM to sit deeper, if the nozzle is long enough. If none of yours work, I'll try seeking out specifically an IEM with a longer nozzle.
The alternative is foam tips - foam tips are a way to get seal on even the most ill-fitting IEMs but for me they're usually just plain uncomfortable(I need to try different ones though, as I've recently found perfectly comfortable foam earplugs)
 
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Batenxx

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By using the smallest tips instead, it might allow the IEM to sit deeper, if the nozzle is long enough. If none of yours work, I'll try seeking out specifically an IEM with a longer nozzle.
Sadly that makes the issue worse for me. Anything below the largest ones doesn't seal at all and they fall out. Which is also why I've always used the largest tips in the last 15 years using them. But with Chinese IEMs all tips are so tiny. Maybe I have elephant ear canals. lol
 

InfiniteJester

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Sadly that makes the issue worse for me. Anything below the largest ones doesn't seal at all and they fall out. Which is also why I've always used the largest tips in the last 15 years using them. But with Chinese IEMs all tips are so tiny. Maybe I have elephant ear canals. lol

Same, I think that I'm too big for what the Chinese engineers are expecting.

The MP145s came with fantastic large tips that actually are large and not medium at best.
 

CT Man

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Either custom tips or deep-insert IEMs like those by Etymotic. I use the latter. Everything else presents issues.
Same problem with me. I've wasted way too much moolah on ill-fitting IEMs. Etymotic IEMs with their barrel-shaped foam tips work best for me. You can try Comply foam tips compatible with your IEMs, but sound isolation is equally important for me as a regular commuter train rider. Comply is OK for isolation, but nothing I've tried matches Etymotic for that.
 

asrUser

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So I've ordered the 7Hz Zero:2, the Truthear Zero Red and Moondrop's Chu IIs.
These are far too few to conclude your ears aren't made for IEMs. Try other IEMs as well such as Truthear NOVA as they have even better shape and grip than Zero. Also do tip rolling and not just using stock tips. Dunu S&S are pretty good tips for starters or some big ass Penon Liqueur tips.
 

Somafunk

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There are any amount of ear tips in different widths/depths/materials, unfortunately it takes a bit of experimenting to find something that works. Sounds like you need to try Dunu S&S ear tips in large/extra large if you cannot get a good deal with these then I figure you’ll need to hollow out a turnip
 
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I've wondered about this. Some people have dry ear holes. Lotion can smooth the skin in the ears and make the seal better. I've tried it myself and it seems to work, using Curel Ultra Healing lotion and silicone tips. The danger is if the lotion uses any chemical that degrades the tip material. So far no problems.

I'd be curious if anyone had success with particular lotions. Or other methods to smooth the ear skin.

The foam tip idea also works but for various reasons I prefer the silicone. I got some expensive tips (forget the brand) that were both comfortable and isolated, but I found them too spendy in the end.
 

phoenixdogfan

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You need bigger tips and you need tips which can slide more deeply into the ear canal. I recommend the Devinus Velvets. Get the assortment (they come in six sizes in it), try them all. You want the one which feel like your ears are all stopped up with a cold and or earwax. When you get that feeling play away. The IEM will sound completely different in the best way. Amazon sells them, btw.

BTW, no issue with chapped ear canals. They don't call them "Velvets" for nothing.
 

David James

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I had a hearing test last year and the clinic was using etymotics with the yellow foam cylindrical tips. The duct that runs through the foam is smaller than most IEMs, so when you squeeze the foam to put them in your ears they compress like ear plugs and the foam remains condensed until they are in your ear and so they can insert deeper and create a better seal. It was quite uncanny. Very isolating from your surroundings. I liked them but I don't have an appetite for the price at present so I don't own them.
 

Keith_W

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You're not the only one with these issues. Everybody who uses IEM's needs to choose an ideal tip to ensure a proper seal. As you have discovered, an improperly sealed IEM WILL affect the frequency response. More specifically it will remove the bass, reduce the efficiency, and make the IEM sound tinny and top endy.

IEM tip choice is personal. As mentioned, not only is your ear canal different to everyone else's, but you may have different preferences for foam, flange, gel, etc. I find that Etymotic flanges provide an excellent seal with excellent insulation, but I also find them uncomfortable. I prefer Comply foam tips. To insert them, you squeeze them until they compress down, then insert into your ear canal. They slowly expand back to shape providing a perfect seal. However, they don't isolate as well as the Etymotics, but they are much more comfortable for me.
 
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try ellipse/oval ear-tips. I have absolutely no idea why most IEM tips are circle. Apple & Bose got it perfect but the rest of IEM manufacturers are yet to have a look at an actual human ear

deep insertion tips & custom tips are your other options
 

boswell

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People with hearing loss use aids which are similar to IEMs, my 98 y.o. mother in law had aids which kept falling out and the audiologist was no help(just a lazy SOB), recently when at a checkup a new person dealt with her and said that these don't seem to fit well do you have problems ...?, we can get custom ones(insertion tips) made (at no charge)
they don't fall out anymore, and her hearing is great until the battery is used up ... another problem
maybe using this existing technology could be applied to IEMs, the audiologist had the ability to measure the dimensions required and the tips must have been made at a reasonable cost
possible business opportunity, what would you pay for perfectly fitting tips...?
 

IAtaman

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You are not the only one. Some of the widely liked IEMs had been torture devices for me. I can not listen to fan favourites like 7Hz Zero and Zero:2 - they are unusable for me. I tried tens of different tips, nothing works. I think they are hitting a resonance somewhere that is very uncomfortable. The only option I am aware of to find something that works is trial and error.
 
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Jimbob54

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I have all the IEM you mention and more and do not use the stock tips with any as I either cant get a comfortable stable fit or simply cant get a seal full stop with stock.

I have, however, managed to get comfy and stable fit with (different for each) aftermarket tips

Truthear Zero- Spinfit CP155 Large
7hz Zero- Azla Sednafit XL
Chu 2 - oddly I prefer to wear these upside down bud style and with Spinfit CP145 XL or similar large wide silicone tips I get good seal and very comfy. I get a similar result if I use the largest white tips from the TE Zero but again this only works upside down- cant get a seal with any tips if I wear hooked over the ear.

Common theme is large tips of a different shape than the stock. So no you are not alone and the problem you have is you will spend more money on aftermarket tips than the IEMs you will be using them on.
 
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