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Get the Most Out Of Your In-Ear Headphones: Make Sure They Fit Properly


It seems like almost everyone is wearing in-ear headphones these days. Small wonder - they're the perfect companion to portable music players, smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices. They can also sound fantastic - and a big part of ensuring they do is to make sure they fit properly.


Audio-Technica recently demonstrated the importance of correct fitting in-ear headphones at the SonicFuel Experience at CES 2014. More than 450 attendees got a personalized fitting of the new SonicFuel ATH-CKX5iS (MSRP US$49.95) in-ear model, which features Audio-Technica's exclusive 360-degree rotating eartips that adjust to the angles of the listener's ear canals, helping to create a comfortable, perfect seal for maximum bass impact and sound isolation. In addition, the ATH-CKX5iS comes with four sizes of eartips (XS, S, M and L), three sizes of ergonomic C-tip earpieces that nestle in the ear for a stay-in-place fit and offers smartphone compatibility with call answering and control of music playback.

"If your in-ear headphones aren't fitting properly, aside from not being as comfortable as they could be, you won't hear them at their best," noted Crystal Griffith, Audio-Technica Consumer Marketing Manager. "They need to have a tight seal to deliver enough bass and have the right frequency response."

"Equally important, the wearer needs to choose the right size ear tips for their ear canal. What most people might not realize is that sometimes wearing different sizes of ear tips in each ear might be the most comfortable, since peoples' ears are not symmetrical. Finally, it's important to make sure they’re stable and secure.

Griffith continued, "In-ear headphones are designed to provide noise isolation, meaning the ear tips should feel as snug as possible without feeling uncomfortable. A medium-sized ear tip comes on the headphones, but even if that feels like it's the right size, take the time to go up and down in size to make sure you're getting the best combination of comfort and audio clarity. If you can hear too much of the outside world around you, then the tip may be too small. On the other hand, if the ear tip hurts your ears over time it's likely the ear tip is too large."

"Using our ATH-CKX5iS as an example, the C-tip should lay comfortably in the curvature of the ear. It's helpful to use a mirror to make sure the C-tip is snug within that C-shaped part of your ear. The C-tip should not be too difficult to put in place but also shouldn't look or feel loose."

Participants in the SonicFuel Experience commented on the benefits of a proper fit. Harris Fogel of Mac Edition Radio said, "The first time I tried in-ear headphones they had no bass and weak overall sound. The problem wasn't the headphones, it was the fit. I was lucky enough to visit the Audio-Technica booth during the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, where people were there to fit the SonicFuel earphones to visitors. They came with three different sized ear tips - but surprisingly my first instincts about the proper size were wrong. Luckily the Audio-Technica people were there to insure the proper fit. Once fitted, I could shake my head and move all around just as I would during exercise, and not only did the headphones stay on properly, all the while the sound quality, which was very good, never changed."

Hakan Y Can, Operations Manager at tech review site BooredAtWork.com said, "After I was fitted and came back from CES, I wore the ATH-CKX5iS while on a treadmill at my Boston Sports Club. The comfort level of the eartips and C-tips is high and the 360-degree rotating eartip is a highly useful feature to have. I was surprised at the sound quality considering it came from 8mm drivers, and how little sound I heard from the treadmills and ellipticals around me."

Fogel noted, "the old adage that a good fit is everything doesn't just apply to clothes, it's just as important for earphones!"

Audio-Technica offers a wide selection of in-ear headphones, including additional SonicFuel CKX models with other features like flat tangle-free cord and Comply TM foam eartips. Other headphones include washable SonicSport models with C-tip, back and ear hook designs; the QuietPoint® noise-cancelling ATH-ANC33iS that reduces background noise up to 90%; the Solid Bass lineup with deep, impactful bass; high-value Clear and Core Bass headphones; ultimate-performance audiophile models and more.

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