CES 2012: Hearing Components

It's funny how sometimes the most obvious thing comes as a complete surprise. I had assumed the folks who make Comply tips were audio geeks, but it turns out they're chemists. Well duh! They're all about making squishy foam.

A spin-off from 3M, Hearing Components was founded by Robert Oliveira who has a PhD in biochemistry. He's got some serious chops in and around the ear, however. He led 3M's cochlear implant business, and was on the board of directors of the Hearing Industries Association and the American Auditory Society. Knowing that gives me quite a bit more confidence when I put a Comply tip on my Shures and stick it in my ear.

I've asked for a variety of samples, and sometime this year I'll be measuring these and a variety of other tips to see if I can measure changes in audio performance of the IEM. That should be an interesting little experiment.

Here's Thad Olsen to talk about the coolness of squishy foam.

Hearing Components
615 Hale Ave. N.
Oakdale, MN 55128
800 872 8986

mward's picture

This is up there with break-in and custom IEMs in terms of things I'm glad that you're looking into.

Our of curiosity, do you prefer Comply's tips to Shure's "olive" tips?

13mh13's picture

Tried both and WAY prefer Stock Shure Olive because they are iso enough and don't require "pre-forming".

Now, for low-iso IEMs like IE-80 ... Comply's are best ... if you are RICH ;)

13mh13's picture

Used by the military, ehh?? Now that partly 'splains their outrageous $$. They gum up quickly and are not "cleanable". Ridiculously over-packaged, too (which no doubt adds to the $$)! Alas ... yeah, they work, and are especially useful for low-iso IEMs like Senn IE-8/80, etc.
Chinese manufs seem to have "replicated" many West-produced "innovations" effectively well ... and much cheaper to boot! Hint, hint ... wink, wink ... that "memory foam" can't be all that hard to emulate ... and plenty o' 3M-like manufs in the Far East ;)

BTW ... HUGE CAUTION for Sennheiser IE-x: The Comply have a death-grip friction fit onto the nozzle. I've snapped BOTH (L, R) nozzles off the IE-8's chassis before I learned better ways of getting them on (and it's still a trick -- hint, spit-moisten finger tip and rub on nozzle, then PUSH (not twist) Comply on). Getting Comply off the Senn's ... well, make sure they are used to the point of non-usability ... and carefully TEAR (=DESTROY) them off w/o torquing or twisting.
The Senn IEM nozzles are a half-ass modular design that's fragile -- once you "break the seal" [think: soda bottle cap], the bayonet-like re-fit comes loose v. easily. Hunting on the floor for a tiny nozzle end = NOT fun.

Shihara's picture

Chemist or whatever type of scientist, they made a great product. Let's not make a movie of it. - Shimon Haber