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Making Earbuds That Fit (Video)

Roblimo posted about 2 years ago | from the heat-them-and-squish-them-and-scrunch-them-over-and-over dept.

Music 104

Decibullz creator Kyle Kirkpatrick talks as fast as an old-time carnival barker and is as enthusiastic about his product as Dr. Ironbeard was about his potions. A lot of people are probably satisfied with $10 earbuds, but it's kind of a cool (more accurately a warm) idea to have earbuds you can heat in your microwave, then shape and reshape as often as you like to fit perfectly in your ears.They're just one of many interesting items on display this year at CES (annoying sound if you click the "CES" link).

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Getting worse and worse (-1, Flamebait)

g051051 (71145) | about 2 years ago | (#42557873)

Again with a lame video on the front page. Are you just determined to ignore all the negative comments and feedback on your slashvertisement video junk? You sem totally oblivious to the flags people are putting on the firehose entries. Why are you so persistently ignoring the readers?

Just *stop* with the videos. If you really want to do this, put it on youtube like all the other lame vieo makers. Stop screwing up slashdot. I mean, stop screwing it up more than you already have over the past two years.

After the last blowup over videos, you even made a big post about how you had made missteps, and you'd listened to the feedback, etc. And yet here you are, wit hmore incredibly lame CES junk. If something is notable out of CES, you should be posting articles referring to a real news source that discusses the story. You're not even posting stories about notable things! You're wasting your time, money, and the front page on such incredibly lame things as earbuds and lamps!

This is a vanity project, plain and simple, and needs to stop.

Re:Getting worse and worse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558067)

You little pissant. Do you think that your whining and complaining matters to us? Becoming a multimedia site is the next natural step in Slashdot's evolution, and naturally there will be crybabies like you who will need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the next iteration.

Who do you think you are to boss us around? You will continue to read and post on this site, and that's the way it's gonna be. Slashdot is and has always been a vanity project, and the editors have full control over the subject matter, moderation, and posting. We could literally shit in a shovel and thrust it toward your mouth, and you will willingly open your mouth and gobble down whatever we choose to shove in it.

Such arrogance, coming from a little man such as yourself. Don't get all uppity with your 5-digit ID, you know there are plenty out there with 3, 2, even -digit IDs still posting on this site without complaint. You are not special. You are merely a product helping us sell products. You have been monetized and in return you may be given a few mod points if we are feeling charitable. However, we will no longer tolerate such nonsense from little people. Your moderation and posting privileges have been revoked permanently. If you recant and play nice, however, we may let you post once every 24 hours. You will come crawling back, your kind always do.

-- Roblimo

Re:Getting worse and worse (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558153)

Rob-lame-o. The next step in Slashdot's evolution is to become a parked domain with links to NewEgg and Digg. You're just being a cry baby because you want video because you're too lazy to read like a real human does. So shut your gob.

Re:Getting worse and worse (1)

g051051 (71145) | about 2 years ago | (#42559695)

Man, I almost wish it would have really been Roblimo posting this.

Re:Getting worse and worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558281)

You should always have flashblock or noscript installed, or even better, remove flash from your computer, if it isn't for this then at least that will leave less security holes.

Re:Getting worse and worse (2)

sackbut (1922510) | about 2 years ago | (#42558609)

Very true. I can read a lot faster than any video can present 'information'. I just skip any video like this one (thank you Adblock/NoScript). I wonder weather the proliferation of video is to keep eyeballs on the site for longer or due to the regurgitated pap that passes for video journalism. But likely due to the horrible reading comprehension and laziness of some people (read key demographic that sells advertising).

Re:Getting worse and worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42560283)

The time it would take for me to type out your post, at an above average typing speed, would be about the time it takes for me to skip over at least 100 slashdot videos, as it takes only a fraction of a second to go on to the next story, or to scroll past it to the start of the comments. Is it really that big of a deal to you?*

*I apologize if you have some sort of disability that makes you compulsively watch any video, in its entirety, when presented to you.

Re:Getting worse and worse (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#42560941)

It would help your argument profusely to actually state what you find wrong with videos on slashdot, till then it sounds like you're whining / can't deal with change / have a very low bandwidth connection.

Re:Getting worse and worse (2)

g051051 (71145) | about 2 years ago | (#42561569)

Sure. They're poorly produced. They reek of being advertisements. The content is terrible. They're a waste of time and money slashdot could be investing in fixing the performance problems of the site as well as the bugs that have been dragging the site down for years. Videos are strongly disliked by a lot of readers (you can go back to the comments from previous video debacles to see evidence of that claim). They refuse to give us a way to filter them from our feeds.

Re:Getting worse and worse (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#42561881)

Let's approach that from the other angle... most slashdot users aren't competent enough to figure out how to block the video: here's one of a thousand methods: NoScript. I do agree though, most of the videos aren't worth watching, so another option is rather than stop publishing videos, stop publishing shitty videos, I can sympathize with that. []

Re:Getting worse and worse (2)

g051051 (71145) | about 2 years ago | (#42564607)

I disagree with your assessment that "most slashdot users aren't competent enough to figure out how to block the video", if anything they're more likely to know how.

Tinnitus Sufferer Here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42557877)

I know this is off-topic, but as someone who suffers from 24 hour shrieking in my ears, please be careful with these in-ear buds. If I can prevent just one person from my fate, my work is done.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42557937)

Take the gay dick out of you ear.

I know it's gay and fun, but that means you are a faggot.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558283)

You're thinking of "tinitus"

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559549)

Misspelled and goes to a bad page on wikipedia. But hey, it goes to wikipedia, so he must be smart. Yup, let's give him a mod point up.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

Chatsubo (807023) | about 2 years ago | (#42558087)

Was it the buds or the volume, what gave you the Tinnitus?

I ask because my mother has been no fan of earphones her entire life and has Tinnitus, so just wondering which variable here caused the problem so I can prevent it for myself. At home I sometimes use buds at a reasonable volume, at work I use ear-covering earphones to block out sound, but it gets too hot and I'm actually planning on using buds there too.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (5, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 2 years ago | (#42558141)

If anything, buds may help prevent tinnitus. If listening to music in a loud environment (like an airplane), the isolation provided by in-ear buds allows you to listen at MUCH lower volume levels than you might with non-isolating headphones.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558605)

If anything, buds may help prevent tinnitus. If listening to music in a loud environment (like an airplane), the isolation provided by in-ear buds allows you to listen at MUCH lower volume levels than you might with non-isolating headphones.

I believe he is referring to the fact that at a given volume level, more energy is directed at the inner ear with buds than with over-the-ear headphones. At a high volume, the risk is likely greater with these buds.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (2)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#42558635)

If anything, buds may help prevent tinnitus. If listening to music in a loud environment (like an airplane), the isolation provided by in-ear buds allows you to listen at MUCH lower volume levels than you might with non-isolating headphones.

This is true. However, I can often hear the music from other peoples' earphones when I get off a train, and that means it's probably too loud.

It's important in a variably-noisy environment (e.g. underground train) to set the volume appropriately in a quiet place and not increase it.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#42560545)

While that is true, the reason why you may be able to hear them so easily is simply that the person is using open headphones. Many of the headphones designed for use in a studio environment are not isolated from surrounding sound, since closing the back of the headphones can create various acoustical issues. Unfortunately, they're also exceptionally noisy to those around the listener and are entirely inappropriate for uses outside of an enclosed office or studio space, yet most laypeople are entirely unaware of that, despite the fact that they would likely be better served by a closed-back set of headphones.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42562201)

I can often hear the music of people wearing earbuds. I assume they can no longer hear anything.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#42562393)

If by earbuds you mean this horrible iPod headphones, those are NOT isolating in the slightest. Silicone inner-ear headphones will isolate quite a bit (from outside noises getting in AND headphone noises from getting out).

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (2, Insightful)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 2 years ago | (#42558145)

It's unlikely earbuds give tinnitus as they're just dead plastic bits and don't make any noise. It's the sound volume that does it. Keep the decibels down and save your hearing.


Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about 2 years ago | (#42560137)

Not all tinnitus is related to the kind of hearing damage under discussion, but for the purpose of this discussion, it's the volume, or, more specifically, the distribution of energy entering your ear. The tricky bit is that that will change for the same song and listener depending on the headphones and external noise. tl;dr = keep the volume down, but I think hanging buds are probably the worst, while well-fitted buds probably aren't so bad.

Mostly, I believe, due to the different frequency response of the headphones (e.g. treble / bass balance, but it gets more complicated that that). Generally, lack of a fit / seal means much less bass, but larger speakers are better at delivering bass that small buds. So if bass is missing but is important to the song, you might turn up the volume. But now the highs are louder than they would have been with fitted buds or larger earphones, and this might cause relatively more damage. As I see it, this is why different headphones make a difference, because they cause you to turn overall volume up or down and that can result in some parts of the spectrum being presented at damaging levels. Ultimately, for any frequency, it's the level and amount of time at that level that does the damage, so if you can be aware of what you're putting into your ears you're already better off.

But, of course, none of that is a guarantee against either hearing loss or tinnitus. It might help your chances though.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#42558097)

As someone who uses in-ear monitors on a daily basis, was it just the use of those headphones or a higher volume level that caused your tinnitus?

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

issicus (2031176) | about 2 years ago | (#42558671)

I am also wondering this. I have those moldable foam ear buds and gotten minor ear infections from not cleaning enough.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (2)

pionzypher (886253) | about 2 years ago | (#42560887)

Anecdotal - Daily ear bud user here who has been wearing them for 6-10 hours a day at work. My company has mandatory annual hearing tests. In the ten years I've been with the company, my hearing has not changed significantly*.

A few provisos though..
1. I do not have the volume very high. I can hear and understand people with the music on and could carry a conversation if I had to.
2. I'm a sample size of 1 giving my personal experience without providing supporting evidence.

My belief is that they are safe for extended use if the volume is controlled to normal levels. Of course they can more readily do damage since you're essentially funneling sound directly to your ear drums, just don't crank it.

* - My levels usually fluctuate slightly. Some values go up, some go down and vice-versa the next test.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 2 years ago | (#42558125)

Yea, keep the volume down if you must use earbuds.


Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#42558151)

It is sad fact that when I am at the gym I can hear other people's music over my music when we are both wearing ear buds. That can't be good for the other person.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

CrazyDoode (843836) | about 2 years ago | (#42558333)

the sound that you hear is sound that is not going into that other persons ears, so it really isn't doing much if any damage at all - except for bugging you of course ahahahahaha.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#42558867)

So if there is that much leaking out then how much is staying in, or are some ear buds just that shitty. I have heard others' music from a few feet away but if I take my ear buds out and put them a few feet I can barely hear them at the volume I listen to music at.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

cduffy (652) | about 2 years ago | (#42559715)

Some earbuds are definitely awful at isolation.

Used a splitter on a recent airplane trip to try to listen to music with my fiancee -- me with good earbuds, her with the ones that came with her iDevice.

She couldn't hear anything at all at the maximum volume I was comfortable with -- and her hearing is far, far better than mine.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

ozydingo (922211) | about 2 years ago | (#42560317)

That's not directly related to the earbud quality though. Using a splitter, you're just putting two (well, four) resistors in parallel. The current will go mostly through the one with lowest resistance (lowest headphone impedance; it's listed on the packaging of some headphones). That's entirely relative between headphones and doesn't tell you much about how the devices perform on their own.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

cduffy (652) | about 2 years ago | (#42560493)

Thanks for the explanation -- it's good to know. That said -- to determine the extent to which the splitter was contributing to the issue, I tried using hers standalone, and could only barely make out sound (had to cup my hands around my ears to reduce the ambient airplane noise).

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558363)

> as someone who suffers from 24 hour shrieking in my ears

Yeh - I'm married as well.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (4, Interesting)

Zaatxe (939368) | about 2 years ago | (#42558897)

Tinnitus has a lot of causes. I had my ears tested for the constant hiss I hear in my left ear. After having my ears tested, we discarded the usual suspects (like a tumor in the auditory nerve or lesions in the internal ear), the doctor said that there are over 200 possible causes for tinnitus. The most common apart the ones I already told are: insuline peaks (caused by not eating for too long and then eating a lot of carbs), and teeth grinding. In my case is a combination of these two last ones. Besides grinding teeth while sleeping, I feel the urge of being biting something all the time (stress-related). When you bite with too much strenght, you press the auditory nerve, causing the hiss.

Earbuds are not always your enemies.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559899)

Do you sleep with a mouth guard? That helps me "prevent" grinding. I still wake up with my mouth locked but the guard helps to distribute the pressure across many teeth rather that at a specific point.

My dentist had it made for me after doing a mold and such.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#42562467)

I've experienced the hight pitch hiss from time to time (not very often, but I do get it) and got a hearing test done at a previous workplace. The test showed that I had VERY good hearing except for 1 specific frequency range (basically 1 column on the test paper). Apparently that frequency is commonly lost among concert band performers (I played trumpet in highschool). So yes, there are LOTS of ways of developing hearing loss, and not all hearing loss is the same.

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559333)

as someone who suffers from 24 hour shrieking in my ears

How old are your kids?

Re:Tinnitus Sufferer Here (-1, Offtopic)

nuhasifa (2813723) | about 2 years ago | (#42561831) [] until I saw the draft of $7993, I be certain that my neighbours mother was like actually receiving money in their spare time from there new laptop.. there neighbour haz done this 4 only twenty one months and at present cleard the dept on their cottage and purchased themselves a Lexus LS400. read more at,

satisfied with $10 earbuds? (2)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 2 years ago | (#42557895)

I must have freak ears. Any ear buds I've tried either fell out after 5 seconds or hurt because they had to be jammed in so as to not fall out after 5 seconds.

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#42557993)

These mold to your outer ear (conch), so there's no "jamming in" to the ear canal.

Saying that, why the fuck is this on the front page? It's a fucking advert. Fuck you Dice Holdings.

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#42558029)

I find that any of the 'marshmallow' type buds already do this in a few minutes. Pull the earlobe down and forward a bit and poke the earbud in. In a matter if minutes it's softened up a bit and sealed quite nicely. I can wear them all day. The big advantage with the in-ear is that they block ambiant noise, so you can keep the volume quite low.

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 2 years ago | (#42558185)

It's hard to find good in-ear buds with foam tips instead of the annoying rubber ones.

I have hated EVERY bud I've ever used with rubber tips - however Comply ( [] ) sells replacement tips that fit on a wide variety of buds. When used with Comply tips, buds are a TOTALLY different experience.

I have a pair of Skullcandy Titans with Comply tips - they deliver amazing bang for the buck. (I know some people have very negative opinions of Skullcandy, but you have to admit, they do offer a good price/performance ratio, especially when you retrofit Complys onto them.)

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#42558321)

I like these [] ). They actually have a higher end one on clearance [] (being replaced with something with a ridiculous name). The ones on clearance include both foam and silicone tips, but as I mentioned, the foam ones mold nicely. I'd recommend the clearance ones if you can still get them, but I haven't tried the ones that replace them. I already picked up a supply of them when the price dropped frop $40 to $10.

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (1)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | about 2 years ago | (#42565963)

Thanks for the tip, I just grabbed a couple of the HA-FX67 (and some Comply [] tips thanks to another poster). They, and their predecessors the HA-FX66 have pretty good reviews. I want something decent, but more portable and less precious than my headphones. This fits the bill :)

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 2 years ago | (#42558703)

That may just be what I'm looking for. How long does a pair of those tips last?

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 2 years ago | (#42558905)

Officially I think they say something like 3 months... I think I've been getting 6-9 months per pair. Depends on how clean your ears are. ;)

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about 2 years ago | (#42558883)

Skullcandy is more about image than sound quality. I stay away from them as much as possible. I use UE 3 way ear buds with custom ear molds and Allen & Heath monitor headphones at home... But I do a lot of music production, so I need $200 headphones. For my cheap pair I use at the gym, I got a pair of $20 sony buds that sound better than $50 Skullcandy, but they are a but too heavy on the lows for my taste.

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558059)

I'm the same way. My ear holes are not positioned so a regular earbuds would stay positioned in my ear. I would welcome trying out these kinds of ear buds to see if they would actually stay in my ears.

make your own silicone tips/caps (2)

madeye the younger (318275) | about 2 years ago | (#42558063)

for example:

Re:make your own silicone tips/caps (1)

BattleApple (956701) | about 2 years ago | (#42562139)

I was just thinking about trying something like this.. In the video he says hard plastic is more comfortable (hard to imagine, but I'm assuming it's true) You could try that Sculpey polymer clay that hardens when you bake it in the oven. They sell it in most arts and crafts type stores. It's harder to work with, but it won't set while you're working, and it can be drilled and sanded after it's cured. You'd also have to figure a way to hold the earbuds in, because you obviously don't want to bake them at 300F. I guess you could carve out a hole and make a silicone insert

Re:make your own silicone tips/caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42563637)

If you want to go to all that work. I bought a pair of these a couple weeks ago and can not believe how easy and quick they are to mold. They are extremely comfortable. I have never had apair of ear buds I could wear longer than an hour until now.

Re:satisfied with $10 earbuds? (1)

Gamer_2k4 (1030634) | about 2 years ago | (#42559903)

I've had incredible success with Klipsch ear buds [] . They have an oval, not circular shape, so they actually fit in your ear without discomfort. It's actually kind of shocking that most ear buds rely on the "cram them in and hope they stick" design.

DIY available now (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42557897)

You can roll your own custom fit ear buds for about $10 using moldable ear plugs: [] . Not perfect, but a lot cheaper than the professional versions. Makes for a much more comfortable in-flight experience.

Re:DIY available now (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#42558003)

I'm pretty certain that this is the same stuff that they make gum-shields out of. I wouldn't be surprised if you could do the same thing with some of that material an an awl.

Shilling Harder Than Nokia (0)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about 2 years ago | (#42558175)

How the holy hell is this news and NOT an advertisement?

Why not pony up for the real deal? (1)

zpapasmurf (761470) | about 2 years ago | (#42558229)

I never understood why people were content to drop ~$300 for a PMP every few years but then skimp on headphones which should, in theory, outlast any media player. Man up and get the real thing: [] [] []

Re:Why not pony up for the real deal? (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about 2 years ago | (#42558253)

Koss PortaPros are better than all of those.

Re:Why not pony up for the real deal? (1)

Onymous Hero (910664) | about 2 years ago | (#42558359)

Anything by Beyerdynamic is good IMO. Personally I use some DT-231s which are now about 10 years old and still sounding good. :)

Re:Why not pony up for the real deal? (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#42558723)

Even when I'm wearing headphones, I often want to hear what's going on around me, whether it's "the destination of this train has now changed", "excuse me, do you have the time", or "what you fucking looking at?!". Or, for that matter, "the captain has switched on the seat-belt sign".

Re:Why not pony up for the real deal? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#42562085)

Or, for that matter, "the captain has switched on the seat-belt sign".

I have no need to hear such annoyances during a flight. I keep my seatbelt fastened when seated because I know that not all turbulence can be predicted, and even a good ride report from an aircraft on the same route ahead of you doesn't mean it won't happen to you. Of course, being a pilot I tend to know such things.

I'm also probably listening on the aircraft audio system, and that announcement is fed into the headsets directly. This is why I find the sometimes-enforced policy of turning off noise cancelling headsets so counterproductive. With them on, I hear the cabin announcements more clearly than from any distorted, tiny speaker. With them off, I hear nothing.

And when I want to get up, I just look at the seatbelt sign itself to see if the "captain has switched on the seatbelt sign".

Re:Why not pony up for the real deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558907)

I'm happy with my Shure SCL2 IEMs. They are $100, professional quality, and come with a fit kit to more closely fit them to your ears.

Re:Why not pony up for the real deal? (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about 2 years ago | (#42558939)

My UE 3 ways in ears are still going strong after 7 years. I've fine through 2 cords for them, but the headphones themselves are still going strong. Worth the $250 I spent on then.

Re:Why not pony up for the real deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559373)

I honestly can't believe how many people walk around with their iProducts with the stock earbuds popped right in their ears who are ready to talk YOUR ear off about how good the sound quality of what they're listening to is.

I personally recommend Shure IEMs to anyone looking for a decent pair of earbud-style headphones. I used my pair of E3's for six hard years before the plastic housing on one of them gave - the drivers still sounded as good as I remember them being on day 1. Replaced them with the (significantly uglier) SE315's a year ago and couldn't be happier.

If you're looking for full-size headphones do yourself a favor and check out the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro. Immensely comfortable with beautiful lows - they actually increase bass to the point that I have a separate EQ setting just for these. The Grado SR225i has a much flatter sound reproduction, but are like wearing binder clips on your ears compared to the Beyers. I forget I'm wearing the Beyer cans more often than I forget I'm wearing the Shure IEMs, they're absolutely incredible.

Re:Why not pony up for the real deal? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42559905)

Because if it's a portable player. No one cares about audio quality when they're jogging or doing the laundry. If I want to listen to Bach's Mass in B Minor I will do it at home.

Also, $300? Try $50, unless you're stupid enough to buy Apple.

Re:Why not pony up for the real deal? (1)

miroku000 (2791465) | about 2 years ago | (#42562475)

I never understood why people were content to drop ~$300 for a PMP every few years but then skimp on headphones which should, in theory, outlast any media player.

Headphones are like sunglasses. In theory, that $100+ purchase should last for years. But in practice, I manage to break them within a few months of purchasing them. I have yet had any headphones that were not lost/broken for more than a year. And who the heck still spends $300 on a PMP? Unless by PMP you mean a phone or a tablet. In that case, I imagine that most people don't spend all that much time listening to music through headphones on the device, and that the sound quality improvement from expensive headphones is not enough to justify spending a bunch of money on them.

Pros/Cons (2)

EdZ (755139) | about 2 years ago | (#42558327)

Compared to existing ear-bud moulding services, that require you to visit an audiologist to have moulds of your ear canal made, then send them to the company that produce earplugs with the correct fittings from your headphones:
- Cheaper
- No need to visit an Audiologist
- Self-fitted, so there's a possibility of Doing It Wrong (if you do not use sufficient caution is putting something you have just heated into your ear)
- Press-fit into your pinnae, so they will not fit as deeply and securely as headphones moulded to your ear canals
- Fitted to your pinnae, not your ear canals, so inferior sound isolation
- Will only function with their proprietary headphones, rather than you supplying your own

Re:Pros/Cons (1)

CrashNBrn (1143981) | about 2 years ago | (#42559477)

Yeah, unlike every other Foam/Rubber tip replacement that work with almost all earbuds out there this is for Decibullzshit headphones only. I'll stick with the foam tips ($15) that I picked up at Radio-Shack; still have 4 sets - they wear over time, but a single pair (pkg of 5) lasted a year or more.

Also appears to be primarily apple-only, as the "remote" is for the iphone. Awesome way to kill sales.

Re:Pros/Cons (1)

Trapezium Artist (919330) | about 2 years ago | (#42561885)

I have had custom silicone moulds for my earphones for almost 10 years and it was one of the best investments I've ever made. The earphones are Etymotic ER4P's and the moulds were made by the Dutch company, Elacin, following the traditional route, i.e. having deep canal impressions made by an audiologist. Elacin work closely with Etymotic, so made moulds to specifically fit their earphones: while I don't see this particular service offered on their website anymore, my experience with them was that they're happy to talk to customers and do what's necessary.

The fit is of these moulds is perfect, the external sound suppression impressive, and the internal sound spectacular, thanks of course to the ER4P's. Together, this means I can listen to and enjoy music at low volumes, and for people around me, they hear absolutely no spillover.

Sure, the combined cost was daunting at the time: somewhere around €600. Ouch. But amortised out over 10 years already and potentially many years to come, it has been well worthwhile for the quality of the sound and the sealing off of the outside world when desired. Living in Holland with all its off-road, dedicated cycling paths, I can even make good use of them on my daily commute.

If I had one complaint about them, it'd be the way that the piezo drivers of the Ety's protrude, making it impossible to place your ear on a pillow with the earphones in. I fly a lot and would like to be able to sleep with the earphones in, suppressing sound and perhaps playing something ambient.Perhaps I should splash out again and get something like high-end Ultimate Ears earphones, where the custom moulds and electronics are integrated into a "flatter" package ... ;-)

Do it today for under $5 (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#42558367)

You can do this with a 50/50 mix of corn starch and clear silicone. There are several refinements of this idea around the internet, here is one [] . What works even better IMHO is to use the moulded material to make the plugs stay in your ear, then a foam material (cutoff foam earplugs) on the tips to maintain a tight seal.

Re:Do it today for under $5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558749)

That'd be a one shot molding with a softer/pliable result - to get what as this product is, you'd want polymorph plastic (available on eBay); difference being that you start out with granules that you'd have to melt and form into something like what this product starts out with (and add coloring if you don't like white...)

Re:Do it today for under $5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559371)

You can also do this with sugru [] . Following your Instructables link, you can see that corn starch and silicone (a.k.a. "Oogoo") is meant to be a DIY sugru substitute. What's nice about this tutorial is that the earbuds are molded to your ear canal (which I guess the oogoo can do too).

Re:Do it today for under $5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42565869)

Doesn't work if your ear canal is larger, doesn't form a particularly large seal as the other molding methods do, and they recommend you pull the thing "straight out" of your ear. If it was a good seal, pulling straight out would have a high risk of damaging your ear drum...

buttplug? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558529)

this is a good idea. Reminds me of boiling mouthguards to fit your teeth. But what about butt plugs? I would pay good money for a butt plug personalized for my poop chute. Does it exist? Should we kick start it?

Just drop $5 on some silicone putty (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#42558611)

It takes a couple of minutes to make ear plugs, or to custom-mould it around ear buds. It's really easy, you will get it right first time, and there's no need to dick around nuking it and trying again. This product fills a market that doesn't exist.

Cheap's not bad nowadays (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42558627)

My local library sells quite decent sounding earbuds for its computer users for a buck. Thats it, one buck. And you know what, they sound quite good to this 50+ neckbeard. I buy a couple at a time, have a drawer filled with backups. I treat them careful so as to not stress the connections, but when they eventually break or get lost, I'm not upset, I grab another pair. Life's too short to be worrying about expensive earbuds, just my 2 cents.

Re:Cheap's not bad nowadays (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42559041)

I mostly agree, but I've found on planes having a set of noise cancelling headphones to block out the drone of the engines and wailing of babies really helps.

Then again, I bought those for $10 from one of the airlines, so we're not talking overly expensive.

Warning Label (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42558705)

Do not insert head into microwave with earbuds already inserted.

On the advice of our legal staff who also consult on ladders.

Re:Warning Label (1)

karnal (22275) | about 2 years ago | (#42561797)

People have tried to stick ladders in microwaves?

Re:Warning Label (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42563223)

No, they mistook ladders for office chairs.

How about no (3, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 2 years ago | (#42558719)

This looks nice for people who can stand earbuds, but I'd just go for old-school headphones.

The other end (4, Funny)

ISoldat53 (977164) | about 2 years ago | (#42558737)

It's the other end I have problems with. Why is the ear bud connection to my iPod strong enough to pull the iPod out of my pocket when it gets hung up on something but not strong enough to keep the iPod from popping off and landing in the toilet?

Re:The other end (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42558999)

You might want to waterproof your phone with 'Hz0', shown off at the CES. I saw a demo, it's a coating any device, inside and out, supposedly warranteed for 2 years. []

Re:The other end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42561315)

Slow server, but eventually I read enough of the article. It's a coating that manufacturers can use as part of the device fabrication. They tried to make a retro-fit type of coating that consumers can apply, but it didn't work.

Re:The other end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42561559)

The internal design of these new highly compact devices involves detailed heat-transfer calculations to ensure components are able to dissipate their waste heat in a manner that avoids excessive temperatures. Adding a coating that the mechanical engineers did not account for in their heat transfer calculations is asking for early component failures.

Re:The other end (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42562461)

It's $60-$80 for the 'treatment'. I dropped my phone in a creek last year, a few days in a bag of white rice dried it out. There's lots of cool stuff at the CES that I won't be buying.

11 minutes to put in earbuds? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558783)

If you follow the directions in the video it will take a minimum of 11 minutes to heat up and mold each ear bud into your ears, plus you need a microwave, a cup, water, spoon, and paper towel. Quite a lengthy undertaking for something that normally takes me 10 seconds and doesn't require any special hardware.

I guess if you go for very long morning runs or bike rides every day this might make sense. Otherwise, it's cool, but very impractical.

Re:11 minutes to put in earbuds? Really? (1)

pheonix7117 (1439515) | about 2 years ago | (#42558889)

I'm pretty sure the molding is done when they don't feel like they're fitting well. In other words, you don't need to mold them before each use, if they're still comfortable to wear.

Wow. Custom molded ear-buds... (0)

Jawnn (445279) | about 2 years ago | (#42558935)

And this is news, why?

Re:Wow. Custom molded ear-buds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559401)

Because they're *so amazing* that their website it littered with backwards image! Go an see! (Insert Sarc Mark here)

Best solution I've seen so far (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#42559189)

A couple years ago I bought some brand of earbuds that came with multiple foam/rubber covers of different sizes. The smallest size fits best for me than the one-size-fits all buds I've tried because I have freakishly small ear canals.

golf fitness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559479)

Awesome. I really enjoy.

Polycaprolactone? (1)

OGmofo (189475) | about 2 years ago | (#42559917)

Sounds like it could be.

Over the ear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42560105)

I cannot wear earbuds for the same reason someone else has stated. No matter what the brand, they hurt in less than a minute. The same for my blue tooth. Also, I cannot imagine what anyone would want earbuds anyway. The audio quality is deplorable. The drivers are so small and their frequency response is limited. I prefer the over the ear, with the behind the head band. Deeper basses and better audio all together. Don't listen to tinny music that sounds like it's resonating in a soda can.

Looks like "Shapelock" plastic (1)

Mike Van Pelt (32582) | about 2 years ago | (#42560431)

It looks like they're using "Shapelock" plastic -- this is marvelous stuff. I got 2 kilos of the generic (polycaprolactone plastic beads) a while back, and it's great for all kinds of projects. I haven't used it for earbuds, though.

Don't leave it in your car on a hot day, though... it will melt. (I found that out with the "windshield washer jet cleaner" I made using it.)

Am I doing this wrong? (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#42561631)

...have earbuds you can heat in your microwave, then shape and reshape as often as you like to fit perfectly in your ears.

I'm having trouble fitting my head inside my microwave oven...

Buds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42562981)

How about those of us who don't want to cram shit into our ear canals to listen to music? What happened to good old-fashioned ear buds that just sit in your ears?

Should make cheaper hearing aids possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42564107)

Seems like this would make it feasible to mold your own earpieces for mass-produced hearing aid cores. Cheaper (but maybe not as well fitted) hearing aids could be possible.

Memory foam seems as effective, and less hassle. (1)

Je-Tze (877130) | about 2 years ago | (#42564845)

KOSS Sparkplugs just had a memory foam earbud cone. Much like moldable foam earplugs. You just roll/squeeze them between your fingers and it takes several seconds for them to plump back to regular size. Put them in the ear before they plump up and they hold themselves perfectly snug with only VERY slight pressure on the inside of the earhole. Great noise isolation and very comfortable and they were KOSS so they actually had decent sound as well. Nearly all other earbud-type apparati make my ears hurt. Unfortunately they seem to be discontinued, and i've not seen any similar products out there; though mine are still good so i've not spent much time looking.

Anyway: i feel like the memory foam solution is actually better than the semi-permanent moldables from TFA.

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