As many people here on UTBBlogs (and at home) are aware of, I am addicted to music in a way that is almost unheard of in today’s atmosphere of “fast food” entertainment. My quest to find the perfect setup for the best audio experience on-the-go has been an ongoing one, but after acquiring the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds this past summer, I felt that I may have finally hit a major milestone in setting the bar on the ideal combination (paired with any BlackBerry 10 device of course thanks to the native inclusion of aptX support which is offered in the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds) due to their excellent sound quality in both playback and phone calls, battery life, and impressive Bluetooth range that is not typical of Bluetooth stereo earphones/headsets/earbuds. However, one thing plagued the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds that hurts just about any product on the market with removable bud tips: they are never tight fitting and can come off easily. This isn’t just a problem with loss of tips and cost to replace them; sound can easily escape through any space not tightly sealed.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time fidgeting with my earbuds to position them in my ear canal so that they sound close to right, but it can be a frustrating and fruitless mission sometimes. Included with the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds was a set of foam ear tips that looked nothing like the typical rubber ones on pretty much every other product out there (also present in the box). I went ahead and gave them a go, but after trying them out, I learned that they were not designed for isolating noise (they were identified in the box as being Premium Awareness tips) but instead for use when you want to listen to music or calls and still be able to hear surrounding noise. For my specific needs, these were not ideal. On the outside of the box, the company who provided the foam tips was identified as “Comply”. Prior to owning the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds I had not heard of the company Comply (or their products), so I decided to do some research and found out that they in fact manufacture several types of ear tips for numerous products. Unfortunately, the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds were not listed in any compatibility chart, so I gave up on that endeavor….until recently.
Desperate to find a better set of ear tips than the stock rubber tips and the Comply Premium Awareness foam tips, I decided to send Comply an email stating my desire to have more than just the Premium Awareness foam tips included with the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds. I also highlighted how BlueAnt just won the Good Design Award for 2014 for the Pump HD Sportsbuds, and that they should expect more people to inquire about tips in the future (especially after this article). Comply responded with a way for me to order the correct ear tips in their Isolation line in bulk (perfect for music), and even threw in a second set of Medium tips as thanks for spreading the good word. They arrived yesterday, but I have tested them all morning, and the following is what I have to report.
The first thing you will notice about any Comply ear tip (as I did with the Premium Awareness tips before I received the Isolation tips) is that the center, which they call the “core”, is tight as hell and a chore to install on the ear buds (no matter what brand of earphones/earbuds you use). I liken the fitment to that of a Chinese finger trap; once it’s on there, it’s not coming off easily. There are two reasons why this rules with audio junkies (such as myself): the airtight seal on the core means less sound leaking and more into the ear, and the tips will not just fall off at the slightest bump or snag.
The seal on the core was phenomenal, but how does the Isolation foam measure up? Equally as spectacular. Do not panic when installing the Isolation tips for the first time – they will become misshapen (see picture) but will return to their normal form (see next picture). There is no need to roll the tips in your ears or anything special, just insert your earbuds/earphones and go. The seal is extremely tight in your ear (be sure to buy a mixed 3 pack to try out different sizes, but the Mediums worked best for me), and the tips actually reduced movement I experienced a little when more active while wearing the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds which was an unexpected bonus. I listened to many songs to test them out, and what I noticed first was extra sounds in my songs that I wasn’t able to EVER hear before; not background hiss or negative noise, but extra instruments, effects, backup vocals that were well hidden. The way that HDTV has made it more difficult for Hollywood actors to have their blemishes hidden, the Comply Isolation tips will create the same effect: you will hear every bit of music that was intended to reach your ear and then some.
I guess it goes without saying that I HIGHLY recommend the Comply Isolation foam tips (especially for BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds owners: your core size is 150, and Comply has stated that the Isolation 150s will eventually be added to the site but for now must be requested through email). My goal at any given time is to find the best possible combination to heighten the aural sensation, and with the marriage of the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportsbuds, the Comply Isolation foam tips, and of course, BlackBerry 10, you will not find a bigger slice of heaven anywhere else.
P.S. – I apologize for my absence in posts lately. There’s more on the horizon…