Fitting In-ear monitors is something that gets easier the more you wear them. We recommend you start with the medium foam tips, these usually ship as the standard first fit on most IEM's. Squash them a little (if using foams, not flanges) and insert them in your ear - hold them there for a few seconds to let the foam expand, then:
1: Make sure the cable runs over your ears. The cable can run down your front or back but the cable must first run up, over and behind the ears. The only exception to this would be something like the Westone Beta Adventure Series which can swivel to accommodate both.
2: Don't be afraid to try a few tips, and don't expect the one that feels 'right' at first to keep feeling right over the following days. Sometimes the tips you try first might feel good, and then after a few days they don't seem right. This is normal and you will begin to know what does feel right.
There are different types of tips. Most in-ear monitors ship a select of them.
- Foam Tips - great noise isolation. Good fit and comfortable. Adds a little weight to the feeling in the ear which can be good or bad depending if you are on a plane or using your IEM's for running.
- Flanges - these come in different forms also. Single, double and triple flanges. The offer pretty good noise isolation especially a triple flange, but not as good as foams. These can be harder for some people to get a good fit with depending on your ear shape. They can also be less stable depending on how well they suit your ears. Flanges can give music a different sound signature than foams - the softer material can treat the sound vibrations differently through the thin linings of the wall of the flanges. Most manufacturers ship flanges and foams so you can play with both.
3: If you are running the cable down your back make sure you pull the cable slider up so the cables meet at the base of your neck - this helps hold them in a little and feel comfortable. Don't make the cable too tight on the back of your head though, as this can become uncomfortable over time. If you are running the cable down your front there is no need to worry about this step. Even if you are only comumuting with these we recommend running the cable down your back is the most comfortable. If you need to access inline controls (stop, play, pause, skip) on the cable, like the Westone W10
range for example, then down the front is better.
4: The more you wear them the more you will start to notice what doesn't feel perfect. e.g. you might find they feel wide enough but not deep/long enough, in which case you would try the longer foam tips which offer more length with different widths.
5: As you put the IEM's in and out, during use over the first few days/weeks, you will get very good at getting them in right the first time with little fuss. You'll get to understand what a perfect seal sounds like, and you'll know when you haven't got a perfect seal. The Bass levels are the first thing to sound missing when you don't have a good seal in your ear.
6: Rotation/Twisting of the earbud in a circular motion in the ear can help to identify a better ear fit.
Signs you don't have a good seal:
- You can still hear low level ambient noise around you. e.g. There doesn't seem to be any noise-isolation. You want to feel like your hearing is a little 'underwater'.
- The sound is thin, lots of treble and they lack any bass at all.
- You can't identify stereo sounds or the soundscape of the music.
- There is a lot of movement of the IEM in your ear.
Sometimes the best way to get this right is practice. At first it can be very difficult to get used to in-ear monitors especially after you have been using white apple earbuds, beats, sony or similar. The rock star feeling will pass too. Once you do start to get it right you'll love the fit, feel and sound you get with IEM's. You're music will never sound so good again. All our Shure and Westone in-ear monitors come with all the tips you need to get a good fit.
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