In-ear headphones: choosing the right earbuds

    In-ear headphones: choosing the right earbuds

    We have known it for a long time: no two human ears are perfectly identical. This is why the manufacturers of in-ear headphones offer several sizes and types of tips with their products. Some tips for finding your way around.

    A priori, nothing looks more like a silicone tip than another. In fact, this is not entirely true. Some are made from a single piece of silicone, others have a hard plastic conduit to provide a better fit on the earpiece. Do not forget either those that are not exactly circular - Sony offers more elliptical than circular tips - or two that have a thin membrane to protect the earpiece from any external intrusion.

    The quality of the sound depends of course on the quality of the drivers and the on-board electronics, but also on the quality of the insertion of the tips into the ear canal. When putting new headphones into service for the first time, it is essential to test all of the sizes of ear tips provided to find the one that best suits your body type. It is above all necessary that the mouthpiece penetrates without forcing too much into the ear canal in order to avoid any excessive friction that could irritate it.


    Some models, like those produced by Bose or Sony, are accompanied by silicone cannulas which are housed in the convolution of the pavilion to ensure better support. Here too, several sizes are provided and it will be necessary to carry out a few tests to find the best ones. It will be noted in passing that the products equipped with these famous cannulas tend to be less intrusive, the tips not having to penetrate too deeply to ensure good support. Usually designed for sports activities, tips with cannulas are also suitable for users who do not like "to have something in the ears". Finally, do not hesitate to mix two sizes of eartips if you do not feel comfortable: it is not uncommon for the left and right ear canals of the same person to have different diameters!

    Besides the feeling of comfort, the correct adjustment of the tips has two remarkable virtues. The first is to seal the ear canal so that it can be used as a sound box to improve bass reproduction. Doesn't that seem obvious to you? So, listen to the same piece of music with too small earpieces and then with the model that suits you: in the first case you will perceive a reduced sound, especially at the bass level. Second advantage, you no longer have to push the sound fully which saves the quality of your hearing by not tiring the ears. As a collateral benefit, you consume less energy which increases the autonomy of the headphones.

    The memory foam tips provide unmatched comfort.

    Some manufacturers provide memory foam tips: we thank them warmly! These are made of a foam that perfectly matches the dimensions of the ear canal without exerting unpleasant pressure. In addition to increased sound insulation, they offer a feeling of comfort that we consider unmatched: if they are supplied with your headphones, do not hesitate to try them!

    In very rare cases, it is possible to find yourself facing the ultimate disaster scenario: none of the tips provided are suitable for you. This happened to us with two of the 16 models tested in this dossier (the TicPods Free and the Funcl IA). In this case you have two possibilities. The first is to return the product for a refund. Be careful, however: for reasons of hygiene, some sellers and manufacturers refuse the return of this type of product. Second option: the purchase of third-party tips. This route, much more hazardous, requires some precautions. The first is to note in the user manual the diameter of the end of the headset where the earpiece will be attached, sellers of third-party models categorizing their products according to this criterion. You must then check that once equipped with their new tips, the headphones will always fit in the charging case ... and this is often where the shoe pinches! In our case, for a few euros we found beautiful red tips that matched perfectly with the TicPods Free.

    Once received, we were able to adjust them without problems to our ears, but not to the charging case. To fit them, we had to cut 2mm of the tube attaching the tip to the earpiece in order to reduce the overall length and be able to fit them back into the charging case. Things were made easier with Funcl's AI, with eartips purchased online fitting the earphones perfectly. Getting third-party bits is therefore not complicated. Before resorting to it, we advise you to consult the audio forums: other users may have already encountered the same problem and have made a solution to it.



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