Greetings, it’s been quite a long time since I’ve been active in this community, and a lot has changed with me, and my setup. I hope you are all doing well at the moment. I’m now working, and I’ve finally delved into the world of custom molded tips. I’ve been eyeing a particular company, ADV, for well over a year now, to get custom tips from. Right before the new year, I decided to bite the bullet and ordered a pair of their Eartune Fidelity tips. I had my impressions done in town by a local audiologist, and sent them over to ADV’s California-based lab.
Five weeks later, I now have a pair of custom, platinum-cured silicone tips to put on my Etymotic ER2XR. My first thoughts on these, were how tacky they felt, though it’s far less tacky than other silicone products I’ve purchased before. It took me a minute to figure out how to orient these on my IEMs, and properly insert them, but once it was done, the fit was incredible. I should mention that it’s my first time with custom-molded products like this, and I thought I would have been sore from using these. No soreness to speak of after wearing these for long sessions.
I should also mention that I’m not an engineer in any right, just simply a passionate consumer, so there could be engineering challenges of how to fit a thin, bullet-style IEM into someone with odd ear canals. Due to the length, and angle of the IEMs vs my ears, I found them to be incredibly uncomfortable stock, painful, even, especially when inserting and removing them with triple-flange eartips. My ears have a very oval opening, where it can be as little as 7mm wide at the long edges, and close to 10mm wide at the top. They straighten out into 11mm canals after this, though. Due to this small opening, I had no choice but to give up on using the ER2XR and kept them stashed away until I could find a use for them.
The red lines show the approximate locations of my bends, and the blue upside down T is where the edge of the nozzle sits.
Now to move onto the audio quality of these, and any changes they made to the sound signature of my ER2XR. It’s, changed quite a fair bit. The staging is wider than before, but not as wide as the likes of my DUNU Titan S, or Spartan-IV, and the bass response has turned a tad more visceral and pronounced. The treble has changed slightly, but the tonality stays intact, for the most part. I assume the treble and upper midrange change is due to how far the nozzle sits from the ear canal, where it was practically millimetres from the second bend, it’s now around the first bend, hardly inside of the ear canal itself. It seems like ADV has alleviated some of this by having the cast go all the way to the second bend, however, situating a driver that far away does not come without it’s downsides; the main being, the changes in the frequency response, especially with an IEM so sensitive to insertion depth like the ER2 and ER3/ER4 series. In the above picture, you can see where the nozzle sits, versus the approximate locations of the first and second bends.
I’m not really sure where to start this paragraph, but I’ll move onto the build quality, the price, and if I think these are worth it for anyone else to buy. The ADV Eartune Fidelity eartips are 150 USD, and are reportedly made out of medical-grade, platinum (Pt) cured silicone. Wiether or not this is implant-grade or just general medical-grade silicone, I’m not certain, but it seems to be of quite high quality. As previously mentioned, these are a bit less tacky than other silicone products I’ve used in the past, but may pose a problem with insertion. ADV includes Tech-care ear-gel, from Warner Tech-Care Products in the box, but I haven’t tried this, as my units go in with little difficulty. You may use it if you wish, but be aware if you have allergies to organomercury compounds, as the anti-fungal/anti-microbial agent used in the lubricant is phenylmercuric nitrate. I personally don’t feel comfortable with anything containing Hg, so I left it alone.
I believe these are worth the price you pay for them, but be aware that they carry a few caveats that you’ll have to account for. Insertion depth is definitely one of those, as ADV likes to encase the entire IEM in silicone, but my own ears may not be compatible with deep-inserting IEMs, unless they’re full CIEMs. I haven’t tried a CIEM yet, but, perhaps this dive into custom tips could be the start of something great (or me burning my wallet to a crisp).