I recently tried a highly reviewed IEM and was appalled at the poor sound. Hollow, tinny, no bass, they were awful. But they had such good reviews from a wide variety of users. How could this be? Poor fit. I was using the rolled foam tips, which should give the best seal but in this case the tips were too narrow for my ear canal and didn’t give me a good seal. I switched to the rubber tips and the IEMs came alive with rich, full sound.
When researching IEMs you’ll often see isolated poor reviews of otherwise highly rated IEMs. This is usually chalked up to individual variation and tastes but I suspect there are often fitment issues at the root of it. I briefly considered writing a guide to IEM fitment but there’s none better than The Headphone List’s excellent guide:
1) Is your earphone designed to have the cable go down, go over-the-ear, or either? I have seen people wear over-the-ear earphones with the cable down resulting in a horrible experience. The packaging and/or product page should show the proper wear style. Also, make sure to follow the left/right markings.
It seems a basic point but many people aren’t aware that there’s more than one way to wear the cords and that some IEMs are designed for the cord to route up, over and behind the ear. There’s a lot of good info there so head over and check it out.