Delicious ear fill!
PROS: hybrid silicone/foam design, comfortable fit, normal and wide versions.
CONS: available only from eBay.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
While Custom IEMs should fit your ears like a glove, the advantage of Universal IEMs is to be able to fine tune the sound while you search for that perfect glove-like fit with a help of different eartips, referred to as tip-rolling. We all have a different anatomy of earcanal, both the width of the opening and the shape and bends of the canal itself, so it’s normal to go through a tip-rolling with a new pair of IEMs to find the most comfortable fit and the best isolation. It also acceptable that not everybody will be able to use the included stock eartips.
Typically, the most common eartips are silicone single flange cap (with double and triple flange variations) and foam eartips (with Comply being an industry leader). Hybrid eartips are rare and not always of the highest quality, and I’m only familiar with original Sony hybrids that had a spongy filling under a silicone cap. Some companies call their eartips hybrid, while they refer to a thicker silicone core of a different color material in comparison to a dark silicone cap. There were also some clever design variations, like Spiral Dots or Spinfits, but not as much innovation I’m aware of.
That’s why Symbio “mandarin foam” eartips caught my attention because they offer something different, along with their eye candy bright mandarin foam. I have seen pictures on-line, but it was still a nice surprise when I received 2 little boxes from Hungary, sold directly by manufacturer on eBay in Normal and Wide flavors, with each box containing S/M/L sizes. Each set of 3 pairs cost $15 (including shipping), and you can mix and match sizes, though I do recommend initially ordering a set of S/M/L to figure out which fits you better.
Symbio hybrid eartips are quite unique, having a typical flexible silicone cap on outside with a polyurethane memory foam underneath, inside between the thicker core and the cap. We are not talking about a cheap sponge or a soft foam, this is a high quality medium compression memory foam underneath of a durable silicone cap. As a result, you have an advantage of a traditional silicone hypoallergenic cap which “expands” in your earcanal with a perfect seal of memory foam.
These eartips come in two versions, with a Normal bore diameter of the core (3.8mm) and with a Wide bore diameter of the core (4.5mm). The Normal one has a taller/deeper core stem and a smaller diameter of the cap, while the Wide one is shorter and has a wider cap. As I already mentioned, each set is available in 3 sizes (S/M/L).
The core itself is very stretchable, so the provided diameter value is just for a reference to give you an idea that, for example, these will be too loose with Shure or Westone thin nozzle iems. I tried them with many of my IEMs, and they can really stretch, even over a wide nozzle of RE2000. But the more important thing here is that W model also has a wider cap.
I have a pretty wide earcanal opening and use only Large eartips. Here, Normal Large eartip was a bit loose in my ears, so I preferred W model. Also, the diameter and the length of the core will play a role in sound shaping, based on the bore opening and if it as wide as the nozzle or how deep it goes into your ear to bring driver closer to your eardrum. That’s why it’s called a tip-rolling, to go through different ones in order to find the one which sounds the best to your ears.