"Thousands of ears fondled, thousands more scanned”, should read the marketing blurb of every high-end earphone. Most assuredly, it isn’t all about sound.
A great-sounding, great-$$$ earphone that causes blisters won’t last a fortnight; a comfy cheapo you'll keep in your ruck sack for years. Some high-end earphones both sound, and fit great, but there are fewer of them than you'd think.
Many designs wedge into the concha like elbow joints, slinging cables over the ear. They can be broken into the following fit categories:
1- Tear drop - thick shoulders, narrow hips, tall, straight-angle sound tube. Examples include: Noble K10u, FitEar Parterre.
2- Teenager - narrow, long, explicitly angled sound tube. Examples include: Ultrasone IQ.
3- Ben Hur - flush body, hooked sound tube, ready to gouge the competition. Examples include: Oriveti Primacy.
4- Tank - blocky, and or rotund body, meatus-filling shape, gently-angled, short sound tube. Examples include: Dita Audio The Answer, Campfire Audio Andromeda.
Fondling thousands of ears should lead a good designer to build the Teenager: its narrow, upwardly thrusting sound tube is anatomically correct. But Teenager’s largest problem: an obtuse insertion angle, causes it to rub against the outer canal wall of smaller ears. Compact Ben Hur designs place hooked sound tubes flush against the inner canal wall. But today’s representative, Primacy, utilises a perpendicular, contra-anatomic insertion angle that hugs the ear too much, bending out from the cable port. Enter Tank, a flush-fitting design that mashes the plusses and minuses of both. Andromeda’s archetypical insertion angle is IQ-anatomic. Its long body fits flush. But, as a rule, Tank stretches everything, and in compact ears, its thick sound tube just barely squeezes in. Tear drop, an unoffendingly comfortable, but ultimately loose shape, won’t stay put through a full workout. It’s an earphone for the desk or the comfy chair.
I’m unembarrassed to say that I’ve dreamt about a Teenager and Ben Hur mashup: Andromeda-like, but all around compacter, and with narrow sound tubes. Of course, I’m just one man. I’m just one man that’s not fondled thousands of ears. I am just one man who dreams of ears, and who scans dozens, if not hundreds of PMs, emails, and comments about fit.
And, I'm a man illicitly attracted to earphone Teenagers.
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