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Decibullz Contour Custom Molded Earphones Review

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Decibullz Contour Headphone

Decibullz Contour Headphone

Summary

  • Product Name: Contour
  • Manufacturer: Decibullz
  • Review Date: July 26, 2015 15:00
  • MSRP: $60
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now
  • Custom Decibullz Molding technique
  • 3 sizes of silicon tips
  • Flat Cable to reduce tangles
  • High-Quality Zippered Carrying Case
  • $60 MSRP (Contour Custom Molded Earphones)

Executive Overview

Thanks to Decibullz Contour Custom Molded Headphones, with a little hot water, and your thumbs, you can make a pair of off-the-shelf earbuds fit like custom in-ear monitors.  This review is primarily about the Contour Custom Molded Headphones, but we’ll also talk a little about the Custom Molded Earphone Adapters and Custom Molded Earplugs that use the same unique custom fit method.  It’s the custom molding technique common to all of these products that is the real star of this review.

 Decibullz Contour Custom Molded Headphones YouTube Review

First Impressions

At first glance, the Contour earphones look like any one of a hundred other earphones.  They have a round barrel, 3 sizes of silicon tips, and a small inline one-button microphone.  They do come with a very nice zippered carrying case, but that not the exciting part.  The part to get excited about is the moldable, teardrop-shaped ear-pieces that snap onto the elongated barrel of the earphones.  Available in 9 colors, this ear mold is shaped to your own individual ear so that the earbuds are easy to insert, comfortable, feature good isolation, and stay put without being uncomfortable.

Decibullz Contour Mold and Tip

Decibullz Contour Mold and Tip

The molding process is generally the same for both the Adapters and Contours, though the instructions vary slightly, so make sure you follow them.  Generally, you heat up the adapters in hot water, fit your earphone, stick it in your ear, and mold the plastic material to the shape of your ear.  If you mess up the first time, free your earbuds from the mold with a hot hairdryer, and re-submerge the mold in hot water until they are once again pliable.  It’s recommended that you listening to dynamic music while you mold them.  This will give you some reference for the final sound, and you can work to make sure you have the best seal you can get.  The mold cools to a hard plastic, so they don’t squeeze into your ear.  They are held in place by perfectly matching the contours of your ear and hooking into all the little nooks and crannies.

Decibullz are custom molded using only hot water

Decibullz are custom molded using only hot water.

After molding and remolding my right earpiece 3 times, the material had gotten pretty mangled, but I had a good fit with an okay seal.  With a bit of practice under my belt, molding my left ear went much easier and I got a good fit the first time.  Essentially, the silicone tips create a great seal with good isolation, and the molded plastic just holds everything in place.  During the molding process, the silicone tips also served to keep the earphones themselves in position making the molding process easier.

Decibullz Molded in Ear

Decibullz Contour Molded in Ear

The finished product with the Contours was great fitting, had a great seal for good bass response, and good isolation.  Instead of the whole earphone being held in place by a piece of rubber crammed into your ear canal, the pressure is spread across the whole Concha (that’s the bowl of your ear), so these are very comfortable.  They are also very secure, and even substantial tugging wasn’t enough to dislodge the Contours.  Just for giggles, I tried the contours with some foam earpieces, and that improved the isolation just a touch more with only the slightest extra pressure in the ear canal.  If you have some foam tips, It might be worth playing around with but most folks will be perfectly happy with the included silicone tips.  

Listening

Moving on to the sound, The Contours retail for $60.  Subtracting the $20 price of the stand-alone Molded Earphone Adapters, we’re essentially dealing with earbuds in a price class of $40.  I thought the sound of the contours was pretty good.  I use Feist's “The Limit To Your Love” to listen for strident high frequencies, and the contours has a very smooth presentation with no harshness.  There wasn’t a ton of air at the very top of the frequency response, but soft high-frequency details like the decay of a gentle ride cymbal or the jangle of a tambourine were clear and present.  Midtones were neutral and clean, with Feist’s touch or throatiness and the body of the string instruments coming across nicely.  The bass response of the contours was un-accentuated, which may not be to the taste of many in the Beats crowd, but for those looking for a neutral response, the contours are a winner.  Bass notes did get a little ill-defined at points, with plenty enough oomph, but lacking definition leaning towards muddy.  Overall, I’d say the sound holds with other $30-50 earphones I’ve heard like the Sennheiser CX Series.  The fit may be revolutionary for the money, but the sound is just average.

If there’s a potential downside to the contours, it’s the build quality.  The cable is noticeably thinner than my Monoprice headphones and there’s no strain-relief where the wire meets the earpieces or the single-button microphone.  On the plus side, the contour includes a very nice zippered case to keep tangles and pocket damage to a minimum, but it remains to be seen how these hold up over time.  After a few months of use, I haven’t broken them yet.

So, can you use the Decibullz Molded Earphone Adapters with your favorite buds to get identical results?  Probably not.  With the Contours, the custom molds and silicon tip work in tandem for both a custom fit and perfect seal.  By contrast, the Earphone Adapters are designed to replace the silicone and foam tips that are stock on other earphones so you only get half the benefit: all fit, very little seal.  Once again, the molds cool to a hard plastic without any give, so they don’t push against your ears to create a seal.

I used the Molded Earphone Adapters with a pair of Monoprice earphones designed to work with a silicon seal.  While the fit was great and no reasonable amount of tugging and shaking could dislodge the earphones, the seal was only okay, not great.  This meant that the overall bass response was less solid than with the stock eartips, and the sound isolation was nowhere near as good.  Overall, the custom moldable adapters felt more like a good proof of concept than a final product with broad applicability.

For those looking for a custom earplug, Decibullz is scheduled to ship a NRR 31 Earplug based on the combo mold/ear tip design.  While I didn’t try these out, I would have confidence in purchasing a pair, based on my experience with the Contours, when maximum isolation is the goal.

Conclusion

The Decibullz Contour Custom Molded Earphones have almost everything going right for them.  They feature an imaginative and unique design that captures the best features of custom molded in-ears that would typically cost hundreds for only $60.  I simply don’t know of anything else on the market that is this easy to get a perfect fit with.  While the sound quality won’t blow anyone away, it’s perfectly in line with their price point, and the isolation from outside noise is great with the included silicone tips.  The only potential downside is a slightly flimsy build, but the included case offers extra protection.

Decibullz Contour Earphones

Decibullz Contour Earphones

I’d love to see what Decibullz could do for $99 if they focused on some sound quality improvements and a sturdier build.  That said, I was incredibly impressed with the over final fit, and can’t go back to standard earbuds now that I’ve experienced a custom fit.  I can definitely see these scratching the itch for anyone looking at expensive custom in-ear monitors.  If you’ve always lusted after custom molded in-ear monitors, but aren’t sure about spending the hundreds, or even thousands that they can cost, you owe it to yourself to try out the unique and affordable Decibullz.

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About the author:

Marshall is an Educator by trade, and currently lives in Oregon. He was lucky enough to grow up in a musical household, and though the AV equipment wasn't the greatest, it was always on. His dad introduced him to Queen, Paul Simon, and Sgt. Pepper's, and his mom played Lionel Richie and Disney Soundtracks. When Marshall was 14, his uncle passed down a pair of JBL towers and Marshall finally had his own system. Having enjoyed podcasting and video production over the past 10 years, Marshall is happy to be contributing at Audioholics.

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Recent Forum Posts:

gene posts on July 27, 2015 02:17
Thanks to Decibullz Contour Custom Molded Headphones, with a little hot water, and your thumbs, you can make a pair of off-the-shelf earbuds fit like custom in-ear monitors. This review is primarily about the Contour Custom Molded Headphones, but we’ll also talk a little about the Custom Molded Earphone Adapters and Custom Molded Earplugs that use the same unique custom fit method. It’s the custom molding technique common to all of these products that is the real star of this review.


Read: Decibullz Contour Custom Molded Headphones Review
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