Bring on the Bulletz
Like me, Dekoni appears to be a relative newcomer to IEMs. When it comes to foam, Comply is the name more often than not associated with quality tips. In fact, my only previous experience with foam tips were the numerous sets of Complys I bought to use with my Chi-Fi IEMs, the surprisingly capable Rock Zircon.
For all their isolating qualities, I mostly tended to switch back to silicone tips in place of the Complys. I found the memory foam to lose its ‘memory’ too soon, and the tips themselves to lose their shape too quickly for the asking price. Moreover, all the Comply tips I tried tended to warm up the sound of the IEMs – which could be a good thing, if that’s your thing, but too much of a good thing when your IEMs are already warm and fuzzy to begin with.
As soon as I opened and examined my first pair of Bulletz, I knew things were going to be different. For starters, the memory foam was far less compressible than the Complys, but also softer and smoother to the touch. Instead of squeezing them to a pulp and inserting them in my ears, I could just push them in, and let them find their shape on their own. This makes Bulletz both quicker to fit and more comfortable from the start.
The other difference between the Bulletz and Complys was the relative change – or lack thereof – of warmth. No, not warmth as in sound, but warmth as in warmth. The Bulletz didn’t get as hot as quickly as the Complys, and while they did warm up over time, they never got uncomfortable as a result. On hotter days I didn’t even bother with the Complys, but the Bulletz were more than tolerable.
All about the sound
The most important quality of the Bulletz, regardless of how well they fit, was their impact on sound quality. Which is to say, they had little, if any, impact on the sound quality at all.
Cast your eyes back a few paragraphs and you may recall my shock and horror at the degree of difference a tiny ear tip can make to the sound quality of a great IEM. When I first heard my IEMs with the Bulletz, I had to check that I put them on properly – which is not as easy as it sounds with the notoriously wide bores of the FH5.
The sound was – well – as I’d expected it. No real twists and turns in the FR curve. Just straight up W-shaped and delightful as the FH5 is meant to be. Bass was there (and then some), mids were forward but not strident, and treble was as sparkly as the morning dew. Could these really be the first foam tips that didn’t cast their very own and very prominent veil of warmth – in more ways than one? Seems so.
For me, the litmus test for IEMs has always been how good they sound in the noisiest environments, and they don’t come much noisier than the back of a plane. I’ve been using active noise cancelling headphones for most of my adult life, but ever since discovering the isolating power of foam tips, I’ve ditched the ANC cans in favour of much more portable and less obtrusive in-ears.
Prior to the Bulletz, Complys were the only real choice for ANC-like noise isolation, but that came with some compromises, as described above. I’m glad to report that not only do the Bulletz isolate every bit as well as Comply, they do so without any of their competitors’ downsides. Just make sure you choose the right size tip. Too small and you’ll hear every whine of the engine – and the baby in Aisle 32.