Made In The USA: Comply Foam

What’s more economically important, the razor, or the blades? I have two sets of what the kids call IEMs, but what we used to call “earphones”, from the nice people at Noble Audio: the Noble x Massdrop and the Noble Luxe. The former is stellar, the latter ain’t bad. I’ve discussed in the past how Noble carefully notes the source of every component in their IEMs, which is nice. So far my experience has been very good and I’m expecting long service out of both sets. The problem, however, is simple: earplugs, unlike diamonds, are not forever.


Comply makes IEM tips/earplugs/whatever you want to call them in several different shapes, densities, and colors. Compared to the original Noble foam tips, the Comply Isolation tips nontrivially improve the experience, both in comfort and in audio fidelity. In particular, the “Isolation” models restore some of the missing bass that makes me long for my Focal headphones or, better yet, my home stereo.

Comply tips are Made in the USA and they are remarkably cheap. You don’t need to spring for Nobles in order to benefit; they are available for a wide variety of IEMs. If you buy some, let me know what you think.

20 Replies to “Made In The USA: Comply Foam”

    • AvatarShortest Circuit

      Large pressure vessels is a good example. Nobody thinks twice about what is basically a big metal jug, but it actually takes a fair bit of know-how to manufacture them. Chernobyl happened because the USSR at the time didn’t have the capability to manufacture the 8″ thick reactor containment that can be pressurized to 2000psi, this is why they used the boiling water type. TMI was contained, even though half of the core melted, because the vessel held up. Chicago Bridge and Iron was the only company in the US with this capability, of course now even beer brewers have to import those paper thin stainless steel vessels from Finland.
      “Here’s to the pencil pushers. May they all get lead poisoning.”

      Reply
      • Avatarcartime

        DME Brewing in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The craft brewing scene blowing up has them going non stop. They’ve shipped all over the world and there’s no signs of slowing down. My understanding is they have a few production facilities around the globe.

        Reply
      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

        I’m no fan of using them to restrict distribution of 3D printed guns, but export restrictions did indeed help win the Cold War. Much of the world’s titanium is mined in Russia but the Soviets could not buy or develop on their own x-ray machines to test titanium welds. It’s hard to make good subs without good welds.

        Reply
        • AvatarShortest Circuit

          Ronnie, that was a contributor for sure – amongst many. Last month I visited the National Computing Museum in Bletchley. The most amazing story I’ve heard about the codebreakers wasn’t the story of Enigma. It was the first digital computer (2 years before ENIAC) built to decypher the Lorenz cypher used by the German high command. After the war ‘COLOSSUS’ was dismantled, but enthusiasts got the original plans thru FOIA requests and rebuilt it in the early ’10s, but they got the most surprising pushback from the British gov’t. “Please don’t show it, or show it but don’t advertise,” etc. Couldn’t figure out why, until some retired MI6 bloke explained it. Turns out, when the Russians captured Berlin, they took the Lorenz machines, reverse engineered them and kept using it – because it was officially never cracked. They supposedly used the Lorenz cypher well into the Cold War…

          Reply
  1. Avatar-Nate

    Nice ;

    Last night I was given a lollipop along with dinner’s check and it was made in Mexico ~ nothing wrong with Mexican candies but seriously, can’t America even made simple candies anymore ? .

    I remember when America made good plastics, the best in fact ~ my American made funnel simply cracked whilst at rest ~ I made sure to never leave it oily nor lying in the sun yet this simple product proudly sporting an “AMERICAN MADE” and flag label, crapped out in less than one year .

    Why ?.

    To make good plastics only co$t$ a fraction of a cent more than to make crappy ones .

    -Nate

    Reply
    • AvatarPaulyG

      Nate:

      You can thank the sugar tariffs which benefit the domestic corn syrup producers and the Fanjul family for candy and cookie production being shifted to Mexico.

      Also, we are actually one of the largest producers of high quality plastics in the world. Petrochemical technology is a skill we have not lost here in the USA. Unfortunately, it sounds like your funnel producer lacked the skill to mold them properly.

      Best Regards,

      Paul

      Reply
      • Avatar-Nate

        Thanx Paul ;

        The fact remains that finding American made plastic consumer products is very difficult .

        The modling was *perfect* the quality of the plastic sucked, no excuse .

        -Nate

        Reply
        • AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

          As PaulyG pointed out, it was one of two problems; First would be the use of an incorrect polymer (the correct term, “plastic” is a description of a substance able to bend but retain it’s original shape; steel is also “plastic” to an extent) that either reacted poorly to UV or the chemicals in the liquid. The second maybe problem would be in the actual molding. If a polymer is exposed to incorrect level of heat in the extrusion process, it will degrade (heat to high), or not “mix” properly (heat to low). Either of these problems can be caught quickly by a competent QC inspection. Sadly, that QC, and even machine operator competence, are not what it should be in some facility’s.

          Source; 20+ years experience around many types of polymer molding machines..

          Reply
          • Avatar-Nate

            @ DDMG :

            Understood, here in So. Cal. we _used_ to have tens of thousands of hole in the wall plastic molding plants, mostly all gone now, most of my friends worked in them over the years and I/we still have really cheaply made plastic items they made that are still fine after 40 + _years_ of use….

            As I said : NO EXCUSE .

            Ut cracked whilst sitting un used in the shade .

            -Nate
            (who loves all the free education dispensed here)

      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

        For higher end engineering plastics that’s true but for commodity polymers like lower end nylons and ABS, the Chinese have gotten pretty good. I use eSun ABS+ filament in my 3D printers, with better results than I was getting from American vendors. To be fair, the American vendors are small companies and their specialty filaments are very good, but eSun makes ABS filament by the ton while the American vendors are so small that I’m dealing with the owners themselves.

        Reply
  2. AvatarVTNoah

    I had a set of these a while back. Can confirm, they work great and are an upgrade from the tips you usually get with most buds.

    Reply
  3. AvatarJ Edwards

    The Comply + version is what is included with the Shure SE535s. They are definitely comfortable for long term wear, but they still don’t offer the isolation or low-end fidelity of the triple flange tips. The triple flange definitely takes some getting used to, but they definitely are the best sounding option.

    Reply
  4. AvatarJames

    I bought some NHT earphones that came with a sample pair of Comply tips, in various sizes. They worked well.

    I use Comply tips now, but I wouldn’t call them cheap!

    Reply
  5. Avatarscotten

    I bought a couple sets of these for the Beats I received as a gift, but even the awesome Comply tips couldn’t make those “Beasts” fit in my ear.

    Reply
  6. AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

    Pretty sure these came with my Jaybird X2 buds. I use them mainly while flying and they work well. Good to know where to get some replacements.

    Reply
  7. AvatarTyguy

    I got first set in the package with a pair of TDK Balanced armature earbuds. . I bought several replacements when I upgraded to Nuforce Headphones and recently bought an amazing pair of chi-fi iem’s and swapped the compli’s on to them.

    Speaking about reasonably priced and American made… I ordered a few pairs of the Dearborn Demin jeans and like them, but I just noticed this company the other day. TexasJeans.com . American made Jeans for 30 bucks… Haven’t ordered a pair yet, but thinking about it.

    Reply
  8. Avatarsafe as milk

    Thanks for this. I have been disappointed with all the replacement tips I have tried on both my beloved Klipsch and surprisingly good for the money Sony earbuds. I will definitely give them a try!

    Reply
  9. AvatarClayton

    My “Listen Longer” assorted size pack showed up today. These are much better than the soft rubber tips and the foam tips that came with my MPOW bluetooth ear buds. With the original tips I was always (I.e. ~3mo.) hunting for the sweet spot where they would seat in my ear canal. The rubber ones never did. They were either in to far and sounded muffled or falling out and the bass was gone. The mpow foam ones didn’t stay crushed long enough to insert them and weren’t comfortable. These seem to be made of better “memory” foam and do stay crushed much longer, long enough to get them in with out hurrying. I was able to get them seated on the first try and wore them comfortably for 1.5hr+ straight away. Now that I know my “size” I’ll likely be buying some more. Thanks Jack for the recommendation. I would not have thought you look for replacements were it not for this article and the other commenters who added their $0.02.

    Reply

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