Story by Parker Hall via our partner site, Digital Trends /
Getting the perfect fit from an in-ear headphone is essential both for sound quality and security, but even though most products come with 16 pairs of tips in different shapes, sizes, and materials, getting the ideal seal is an exercise in frustration at best, and totally impossible at worst.
That seal is crucial for sealing out noise around you, delivering good bass response, and, perhaps most importantly, remaining comfortable so you’ll, you know … want to wear them.
Thankfully, SoundMolds custom eartips successfully solve this conundrum with its custom-molded silicone eartips – and they will work with any in-ear headphone you choose.
For a fraction of the price of traditional custom-molded in-ears, SoundMolds sends you a kit which has you mix a couple types of putty together and set the material in your ears, then send your impressions along with your favorite pair of in-ear headphones in for manufacturing. A week or so later, a pair of custom-molded silicone eartips arrive installed on your headphones. No muss, no fuss, and your headphones will offer a complete — and perfectly comfortable — seal.
Ordering and Setup
Each time you order a pair of SoundMolds, the company will ship two different molding kits. SoundMolds asks that you repeat the molding process twice to ensure they get an accurate impression of both ears.
The molding process is dead simple: Mix two different colored putties together, press the freshly mixed ball of putty into your ears, and wait to harden. The process took us about 40 minutes, and since we only molded one ear at a time, it was easy to perform other tasks while the molds set.
SoundMolds sells three distinct custom-molded packages at three price points. At just $115, ordering custom tips for headphones you already own is the most affordable option, but the company has also partnered with Optoma Nuforce to build tips for both wired and wireless versions of the company’s headphones for those who don’t already own headphones they like. The wired option includes a pair of Optoma Nuforce HEM Dynamic, and costs $220, and the wireless option includes a pair of Nuforce BE Sport 3 in-ears for $240.
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
We were impressed by the speed and quality with which SoundMolds manufactured our custom eartips. Once the company received our home-made impressions (we had three staffers make impressions to test the company’s consistency) it was a little over a week until our finished eartips arrived in the mail. Turnaround time for your order may vary.
Fit and Finish
The first thing we noticed about the SoundMolds is their outstanding build quality. Each high-grade silicone eartip arrived feeling remarkably sturdy and well made, and our tips even came embossed with our initials and an R and L to denote which side was which. Each SoundMolds tip has a clear pull tab for easy removal, and as we removed and replaced the eartips during the course of our evaluation, we learned the SoundMolds tips were perfectly milled to fit around the NuForce wireless headphones they sent in our package.
Because they are custom built, buyers can request a color for each eartip. We didn’t request a color, but the company thoughtfully made the right eartip in red and the left in blue so we never questioned which ear was which.
In terms of fit, the SoundMolds absolutely deliver on their promise. All three DT staffers who received SoundMolds found they perfectly fit in their ears, and felt completely comfortable. None of us had any issue wearing them for extended periods — something we often struggle with when using other headphones, not just in-ear models. Bass response is excellent with the tips on, and passive sound isolation is about as effective as it gets — leading one of our staffers to actually worry about using them during on-road workouts. In fact, they fit so well that we occasionally dislodged the tips from the headphones when removing them from our ears, an issue that is easily remedied when using the pull tabs.
The tips themselves are sweatproof, hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, and are designed to stay in place during even the toughest workouts. In fact, we found the eartips stayed more snug during runs and other physical activity than the traditional sport fins that come with workout-focused earbuds.
Bottom line: SoundMolds deliver on their promise 100% and are absolutely worth the purchase price for those who need and want the best sound quality their headphones can produce while also silencing the outside world. If you’ve got a pair of in-ear headphones you like but you just can’t seem to get the right fit, the SoundMolds eartips are the perfect solution. Of course, we’d suggest pairing the SoundMolds tips with a high-quality pair of in-ear headphones for the most sensible experience.