ADV. Eartune Fidelity Custom IEM Tips Review – The Intermediate
Improved comfort and isolation, Perfectly stable fit, More controlled and extended bass, Wider soundstage
Design limits compatibility with different earphones, Difficult to insert and remove, Smooth lower-treble limits synergy, Less stable imaging
The Eartune Fidelity tips are able to completely transform the fit of your favourite universal earphones and save models that are sonically excellent but ergonomically awkward.
ADV. is an American audio company who pride themselves on their range of unique value-orientated products while showcasing their expertise with high-end models targeting professional application. They struck a chord with the audiophile world due to their adoption of the latest technologies at reasonable prices and innovative designs targeting unfilled niches – the sleeper earphones are a good example of this. In recent years, ADV. has been working to make custom-fit options more accessible to general consumers. By implementing 3D printing and digital ear scanning, they greatly reduce turnaround times by permitting easier production. The Eartune Fidelity ear tips are one of their proudest products, silicone ear tips for universal earphones crafted specifically to the listener’s ear shape. They promise excellent wearing comfort and sound isolation with their personalised fit and come in at $149 USD. You can read more about ADV. and treat yourself to a set here. You can also see their range of custom-fit products here.
I would like to thank Hannah from ADV. very much for her quick communication and for providing me with the Eartune Fidelity tips for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the tips free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
Customization & Ordering –
The tips can be ordered directly through ADV.’s website where they provide a range of colours and options to tailor the fit to the nozzle diameter and design of the buyer’s specific earphones. There’s a list of earphones on the website already, but you’d have to contact the company for confirmation if your model isn’t currently supported. Users are then able to ship their physical ear impressions to the company or simply upload digital scans. ADV. also offer impression taking in their Santa Cruz lab for local customers. ADV. digitise their impressions for future reference and they can be requested for download for use with other brands. Turn around ranges from 2-3 weeks, very reasonable for a custom-made product and this was confirmed with my timely review unit, around that 2-week figure in my case.
The design is quite different to the majority of existing custom ear tips. For instance, the rather unassuming Custom Art tips come across more like a traditional ear tip while the Eartune Fidelity tips instead, partially engulfs the housing of the earphone. There are positives and negatives to this; instantly, they are bulkier and place the earphones further out from the ears. On the contrary, they guarantee a comfortable fit as none of the original earphone housing contacts the user’s ear, only soft silicone. As they contact more of the ear and implement an anti-helix stabiliser fin not dissimilar to a lot of TWS earphones out there, they offer an especially stable fit. Of note, handy red and blue ADV. logos also help orientate side and they come with a neat twist to close case.
My set was constructed for ADV.’s own GT3, however, they also comfortably fit on my other earphones of similar or larger nozzle size such as the Campfire Audio Andromeda. Though you would be best ordering the model specifically crafted for your earphone so they seal onto the nozzle appropriately, it’s good to see they can be transplanted for those lucky enough to have multiple sets. My main personal caveat was that I struggled to insert the tips. They are sublime when fit, but are difficult to get into the ear due to their grippy exterior and flexible design that compresses under pressure. ADV. state that this process becomes easier as the oils of the ear lubricate the tips, however, for me this wasn’t the case. Water-based lube is provided but the packet can’t be resealed so it’s difficult to use. As such, they are fallible to one of the same vulnerabilities of traditional custom-fit designs, in that they are less convenient to wear day to day.
Build Quality –
The construction quality is very good and in line with ADV.’s similarly successful 3D printing venture with the M5 earphones. I intentionally chose a clear design to showcase their workmanship and was delighted by the smooth finish and the generally bubble-free constitution with only very small pockets visible under scrutiny. As pictured, they showcase good transparency for a silicone design. They have also been very hard-wearing; I’ve had this review unit for some months now and they’ve lived up to daily use very well. I even swap them between multiple earphones quite regularly and the only degradation I’ve observed is some wear on the logos with no rupturing around the nozzle inlet or other wear. These photographs were taken after a few months of use to provide better reference.
Fit & Isolation –
I know many in the hobby who prefer universal over custom earphones as they find the acrylic construction unforgiving on the ear, despite getting a good seal. The Eartune Fidelity tips offer an intermediate, sporting a medical-grade silicone construction that makes them more comfortable and compliant to the subtleties of the ear. They’re also more readily conforming when moving making them a great choice for use with universal stage monitors. In addition, the silicone construction is grippy, providing additional retention in the ear for impeccable fit stability though. As with all custom products made with good impressions, comfort remains superb even after hours of use. However, the flexible construction does make them a bit more forgiving of ill-fitting impressions and of use during any kind of movement.
Vented or sealed, the Eartune Fidelity tips also provide noticeably better passive noise isolation than even memory foam ear tips and are a big step up from normal silicone. Their ear-filling design and dense construction attenuates low-frequencies especially well which certainly provides more serene commute and travel. Of course, if the earphones are vented, there is only so much they can do, but overall attenuation is improved by a very noticeable degree. Users with already highly isolating earphones will surely want to wear them safely in public places, especially as they are more difficult than standard tips to insert and remove.
Custom tips always provide a certain style of sound though, of course, each has their unique characteristics. The Eartune Fidelity tips are defined by increased contrast throughout. The presentation is more impactful and physical but also more expansive. Yet, this also comes at the cost of coherence as the presentation tends to come across as slightly more diffuse and less focused.
The most immediate difference to me is a more commanding, visceral sub-bass response. Presence is slightly increased, but extension is most improved, providing a more authoritarian slam at the very bottom. The resolution of the bass is also increased by a noticeable degree. This was most apparent to me in the mid-bass where there was simply less smear between each note as compared to the stock tips. Notes were tighter and more defined, not smaller in size or diminished in quantity, but a more controlled presentation with improved detail retrieval and separation.
The midrange also sees a combination of tonal shifts in addition to differences in quality. Vocals assume a slightly more forward position as the upper-midrange becomes slightly enhanced. As such, vocal clarity is increased and density and smoothness are both slightly decreased resulting in a more open-presentation. Warmth and body remain from the low-end and the differences are not excessive, so sharpness and thinness are not any more of an issue than stock. Rather, the presentation gains contrast and engagement at the slight cost of coherence. Meanwhile, note resolution is slightly higher which works in tandem with a more revealing presentation.
Highs are attenuated and I can only attribute this to the added tube length adding some acoustic impedance. This isn’t to the extent that high-frequency extension is hampered as the tips retain pleasing upper-octave sparkle and render, if anything, a wider soundstage than stock. Rather, the lower-treble, most prone to such damping, becomes more laid-back, forming a more organic presentation of treble instrumentation. Percussion becomes smoother and cymbals gain a bit more body. This effectively offsets the more revealing midrange presentation to ensure the overall sound isn’t too sharp or bright. However, on already smoother earphones, the detail region can come across as under-represented.
With regards to the soundstage, we also observe some key difference. The soundstage becomes noticeably more expansive in all axis, though especially width. Separation is improved due to added control and slightly reduced midrange note size. Layers, in particular, are more defined. Imaging, however, is altered, losing the coherence of stock in favour of a more expansive and separated but also less accurately organised presentation. In particular, vocals tend to be pushed to the side with a hazier centre image. That said, as directional cues remain sharp, the presentation is a bit more holographic but overall less stable and realistic.
Custom Art Tips (~$70): The Custom Art (CA) tips are cheaper and substantially more compact, retaining a more familiar fit and feel to stock. Being solid silicone and custom moulded, they also offer excellent isolation and fit stability. They fit a bit deeper but provide more pressure in the ear. The Eartune tips I can see being more stable with larger earphones as they better stabilise the housing, they are also easier to orientate as they are more firmly fixed to the earphone. I find the CA tips easier to live with, they are much easier to insert and remove, almost like universal tips. That said, as they only hold onto the nozzle of the earphone, if your earphone has no lip for retention, they are prone to becoming stuck in the ear upon removal which is a massive pain. Still, this also means they will be compatible with every earphone of similar nozzle size regardless.
Sonically, the CA tips are also more conventional and provide a more transparent sound. They also provide a commanding sub-bass though there’s a bit more bloom. The Eartune tips offer a more controlled and defined low-end, especially through the mid-bass while offering the same extension and power. The midrange is more typical on the CA tips too, both are slightly more forward and revealing, though to a lesser extent on the CA tips. Definition is higher on the CA tips while the Eartune tips provide more clarity but are less resolving of fine detail. The key difference is the treble, where the shorter CA tips provide similar levels of lower-treble to stock and more linear extension into the upper-treble. The Eartune tips are smoother here and darker, as such, they provide a wider soundstage with more sense of distance and also better separation. Meanwhile, the CA tips provide more coherent imaging while slightly expanding the stage too.
The Eartune Fidelity tips are a good choice for those wanting to transform the fit of their universal earphones without committing fully to the CIEM route. They are cost-effective for those with pricier universal IEMs and can be re-used should the user choose to upgrade to a pricier model of similar design; upgrading within Campfire Audio’s line-up for instance. There are benefits and cons to their highly customized design. For instance, if made for an unconventional in-ear such as the ie800, they are unlikely to fit anything else. Furthermore, I did have difficulties with their grippy exterior even after extended use so those with dry wax head warning there in terms of convenience. Furthermore, the laid-back top-end won’t suit all. Still, convenience was never the intention of the custom-fit tip. These place fit stability, wearing comfort and isolation above all and in these respects, they excel while bringing an overall enjoyable sonic impact.
The Eartune Fidelity ear tips are available from on ADV. (International) for $149 at the time of writing. I am not affiliated with ADV. and receive no earnings from purchases through this link
Leave a Reply