Comply Foam - Sport, Comfort and Isolation Tips

July 08, 2016

Comply Foam is an increasingly common type of ear tip being used by the top audio manufacturers out there. The common question(s) that are asked are what is so special about these buds? After all, aren't the default silicon buds good enough? Let's find out together.

Comply Foam is actually developed by Hearing Components, a company that 'develops products with an unrelenting passion for hearing'. They are primarily a US-based R&D company and it is spun off from 3M. They started with audiology products and have expanded to other areas like military and consumer electronics (that's where we are :)

What Brands Use Comply Foam?
We have reviewed a ton of in-ear earphones over the past year that actually provide Comply Foam tips within the default packaging. Apparently, 75 earphone brands choose Comply tips as part of their earphone solution. It's fair to say that these buds have developed a decent rep out there. 
B&O BeoPlay H3 ANC - Comply Foam T-200 on the left

To list some out:
Jaybird X2 Wireless - Sport tips
Earin - Comfort tips
B&O BeoPlay H3 ANC - Isolation tips

Why Use Comply Foam?
While default tips provide a decent level of fit and sound quality, Comply Foam tips are a customizable option that takes it a level further. If you want to run, you need to hear ambient sound while having decent ear fit / sound quality. If you sit in a plane or take the train, you need to block off ambient noise as far as possible. You get the idea :)

They feel and work like memory foam. Simply squeeze the tips, insert them in your ear and they expand to fill the void within.

Comply Foam Tip Types
Overall, there are 3 types available:

  • Sport (S)
  • Comfort (Ts)
  • Isolation (T)

We check out what are the general differences between these types. 

1. Sport (S)
This is made of a more rugged and breathable material. The fit in the ear is great as we found out while reviewing the Jaybird X2 Wireless
Looks the most porous of the 3 types.

2. Comfort (Ts)
You can insert these in your ears for quite a while without much discomfort. And yup, that's where the 'Comfort' name comes from. These are the buds that came with the Earin and they provide a good balance between comfort and ambient sound blockage. They are soft to the touch and look the most spherical (ie. fattest) of the 3.

3. Isolation (T)
This type is the most intuitive to understand and apply. If you are in a train, the Isolation tips are the most effective of the 3 to block off the screeching of the rails for a more than decent passive noise cancelation. We had reviewed the LG TONE Active (HBS-850) with these tips and boy, were they good. Looks like a slimmer version of the Comfort tips.
LG TONE Active - Fitted with Isolation (T-400) tips
Each of these 3 types have a 'Plus' variant. They are called Sports Plus (Sx), Comfort Plus (Tsx) and Isolation Plus (Tx). The 'Plus' appended at the end of the product includes a layer called SweatGuard (for Sports) or WaxGuard (for Comfort / Isolation) where its purpose is to filter off the sweat or debris from entering the earbud hole. 
Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless - Fitted with Isolation Plus (Tx-400) tips.
The WaxGuard layer is the whitish-grey area within the bud.
No surprise here but the neck of every earbud tip of each audio product comes in a different size. For that reason, there are a series of numbers such as Size 100, 200, 400, 500 and even custom sizes to denote the differences. If you aren't sure what Comply Foam tip you need, you can check their site.
B&O BeoPlay H3 ANC - Size 200
LG TONE Active - Size 400

Now that we have a better understanding of Comply Foam, we will dive into further depth once we veer toward the conclusion of the Wireless Sports Audio series of articles. Stay tuned!

From the Comply Foam website, 3 pairs go for the respective pricings from the Comply Foam website (USD) and Treoo (SGD). The following assumes a Size 400 bud (eg. Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless / LG TONE Active).

Sport (S-400) - USD 8.95 
Sport Plus (Sx-400) - USD 12.95

Isolation (T-400) - USD 14.95 / SGD 31
Isolation Plus (Tx-400) - USD 19.95 / SGD 35

Comfort (Ts-400) - USD 16.95 / SGD 33
Comfort Plus (Tsx-400) - USD 21.95 / SGD 36

Credit to Hearing Components for evaluation units.

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