Replacement Earbud Tips Five Things You Should Know About

When you get a new pair of earbuds, the package includes a wide array of earbud tips (eartips), but it seems you could find only one pair that fit perfectly into your ears. Due to exposure to stretching, dust and earwax, your earbud tips are parts of earbuds that are most likely to break. It’s time to search for replacement earbud tips (earbuds covers) and if you’d rather try a new pair than original one, here are 5 things you should know about.

COMPATIBILITY

How to know earbud tips work correctly with your earbuds

FiiO EX1 Earbuds in ear headphones

Check out whether earbud tips are compatible with your earbuds, by measuring earbud nozzle length and diameter, the tips should fit precisely to the nozzle. If you don’t see the information about the inner diameter and length of tips, don’t worry, the sellers also may refer which models are compatible with their earbud tips.

DOES THE SIZE MATTER? 

Earbud tips shipped with your earbuds have multiple sizes. Choosing the right size of earbud tips will not only give you the comfort, but a better seal. Also, this makes the sound emitting from earbuds exactly match to the designer’s target. Wearing earbud tips that is too large will cause pain in ear canal, and if earbud tips are too small, it will result in loosen fit and sound leakage, loosing considerable amount of bass, and earbuds falling out. But remember whatever situation, first time users will always feel uncomfortable with the earbud tip insertion.

MATERIAL

Foam, silicon and rubber are commonly used for earbud tips.

Ear tips of in ear headphones

Ear tips come in different sizes, shapes and materials

By properties of foam material, foam tips tend to give a better seal to your ears, so you get a more dynamic, pleasant and often wider response frequencies than silicon or rubber tips. While foam earbuds tips are more comfortable and give better noise isolation than silicon and rubber, they are not durable that a pair would last for several weeks of daily use. They are also easy to catch the dust, particles or earwax, and most of them are not washable. The most comfortable foam earbud tips are manufactured by Comply, and a package of foam tips normally sells for $15 (T-500), which is more expensive than getting the best cheap earbuds like Panasonic Ergofit. However, Comply foam tips are only compatible with a number of models. Comply foam earbud cushions

Silicon or rubber tips can be washable. They are universal or varied in size. With universal earbud tips like Etymotic tri-flanges, how they fit depending largely on user’s ear canals.  If the tips are varied in size, it is up to their size, S, M or L to choose a suitable pair, which you feel comfort and snug fit. Due to their flexibility, silicon can be used to make bi or tri-flanges tips. Rubber earbud tips are commonly included with low-end earbuds like Xiaomi Piston 2.

Most single flanges enter slightly into the ear canal. Indeed, these earbud tips are comfortable, but they don’t isolate ambient noise well.

Earbud covers of CX300 in ear headphones

These multiple flanges (double or triple) earbud tips jam deeply in to the ear canal. These earbuds tip give users more tight seal, which will improve isolation, but truly they are less comfortable than single flanges. Earphones Plus assortment is among my most favorite tri-flange tips.

Multiple flanges replacement earbud tips

 Brand Comfort Noise Isolation Durability  Washable
Silicon Earphones Plus/Sony Hybrids  3.5  4  5  Yes
Rubber  3.5  4  4  Yes
Foam  Comply  5  5  3.5  No

EARHOOKS/WINGTIPS

These parts are optional. However, if you constantly have to fix earbud position while you workout, it may need additional parts to keep earbuds right in place. Sports earbuds like JayBird X2, aside from regular eartips, they offer wingtips or earhooks, which sit just outer ear canal for a more secure fit.

CUSTOM FITTING

High-end in ear monitors offers custom mold, which is designed for your ears. However, there is a product, Decibullz 200, which lets you make your own earbud tips at home without an appointment with audiologist like audiophiles who buy high-end monitors. The Decibullz 200 will be custom-molded to your ear canals. However, the designer’s sound target may not match with this custom fit. Once you ears are accommodating custom fitting, you will get best comfort and best possible sound quality from earbuds can deliver.

Best Replacement Earbud Tips

Bi or Tri flange, thickness of flange, material and earbud housing design are factors deciding the comfort of earbud tips

The Comply foam earbud tips offer super soft and flexible experience. When they are inserted into your ear, they will form a custom fit, which is extremely comfortable and provides maximum noise-isolating performance. You will get a warmer sound and more rumbling bass (The opening of eartip sometimes defines how bassy the earbuds are that you get more bass if the opening is smaller). Indeed, the frequency response is improved and you get a better sound quality.

Shure Olives is well-know eartips among audiophiles and head-fi communities, but they are only compatible with a number of models, mostly Etymotic Research earbuds and Shure. Sony Hybrids eartips are versatile, and they provide good sound isolation.

The design of earbud housings play an important roles for comfort and noise isolation. Generally lightweight and small size are supposed to be more comfortable. The FiiO EX1 is an example that how lightweight and angled nozzle as well as its size make it one of the most comfortable earbuds under 100. Larger and sturdy housing like Bass earbuds, sony MDR XB90EX is quite uncomfortable because it accommodates big drivers.

Note that you should clean earbud tips and your ear canals regularly.

Which aftermarket replacement tips have you experienced tell us by leaving your comment below.

Updated on 13/10/2016

Comments (6)

  1. rollinwiththaTide! February 18, 2016
  2. vntech March 10, 2016
  3. pete July 27, 2016
    • Eric August 9, 2016
      • Liz August 28, 2016
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