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Review: Eletech Baroque Eartips

It’s not often that something this small makes such a big difference, but Eletech’s new Baroque eartips have raised the bar for those small silicone bits we often take for granted in our audio chains.  

Over the past few months, I’ve been fortunate to experience and thoroughly enjoy some outstanding IEM cables from Singapore-based Element Technology, better known to you and me as Eletech. But contrary to popular wisdom, it turns out Eric Chong has more than just cables in his repertoire. 

We see ourselves as a boutique audio accessories maker with cables as our core,” he told me in a recent conversation. “We’ve always been very serious about crafting good products, not just cables, but also other audio accessories like cases and now eartips.”

Baroque is the culmination of more than three years’ R&D, which started about a year after Eric founded Eletech in 2019, and it’s taken him this long to narrow down the supply chain and find just the right combination of materials and acoustic design know-how to get it right. 

Designing Baroque

As with everything else Eletech, the entire design process was kept in-house, from material sourcing to testing. According to Eric, they wanted the creative space to implement their own ideas about ergonomics and acoustics, no matter how tough or bothersome this became, which is why collaboration or outsourcing was never considered.

“After researching various ergonomic aspects and sound acoustics, we started to see these eartips as miniature sound domes or acoustic halls, and ended up using conventional room treatment techniques to arrive at Baroque’s unique design.”

Another deviation from traditional eartip design was tuning. According to Eric, most tips target bass and/or treble attenuation or enhancement, but very few focus on the midrange. 

“We couldn’t find any tips that accentuated the mids and mid lows with warmth and vibrancy, while at the same time increasing airiness and imaging like a properly treated sound room,” he recalls. So they set out to create Baroque with this tuning in mind. 

A wide bore enhances treble response and expands the stage for an open, airy presentation, but the shape of the dome doesn’t reduce the bass response quite as much as conventional wide bore tips. A solid silicone core also prevents the shape of the inner dome from distorting in-ear, maintaining a consistent seal and sound regardless of the IEM pairing. 

Tip tech

Eletech developed three new trademarked technologies for Baroque: Satiné, Flexion and Tria

Satiné. Ergonomically, the idea was to make the tips as soft as possible, removing any sense of pressure of discomfort to allow for longer listening sessions. Baroque is made from a specially-formulated blend of Japanese medical-grade silicone, ensuring maximum comfort while mitigating any skin irritation or allergy concerns. 

The surface is infused with a proprietary Eletech material called Satiné, which uses wavy ‘nano lines’ to create a tactile, satin-like texture for even better skin feel. It also makes the tips easier to clean and more resistant to accumulating dirt and debris. 

Flexion. One of the design goals for Baroque was a more comfortable deep-fit insertion. Normally, a deeper insertion relies on very soft silicone so as not to put too much pressure on the ear canal opening as the tip is inserted. Even so, this is where most users will feel pressure over time, as silicone tends to expand when heated. 

Inspired by origami, Flexion is a strip of angular ridges around the base of the tip that ‘folds-in’ on itself as the eartip is inserted deeper into the ear canal, thus reducing the outward pressure. The Flexion structure also helps reduce unwanted vibration, improving the accuracy of sound transmission. 

What’s more, the Flexion ridge closely resembles Eletech’s angular hardware theme, proving once again that form is just as important as function when it comes to design. 

One thing to note here: because Baroque tips are generally much softer than regular silicone tips, and because Flexion allows them to ‘collapse’ for a deeper fit, those users with larger ears might want to size-up if they’re not getting a perfect seal. I’ve personally found Baroque actually needs to be inserted deeper to create a seal, and I’ve even had to use two different sized tips for my left and right ear to get the same degree of seal in both.  

Tria. Last but not least, Baroque features a series of triangular cut-outs inside the topmost rim of tip that act like a series of small acoustic panels. While the shape of these cutouts is proprietary to Eletech, we’ve seen similar techniques used in the highly successful and very popular Spiral Dot tip from JVC. In both cases, the cutouts help disperse soundwaves as they come through the nozzle, removing unwanted resonances to create a smoother response and larger acoustic space.  

Wired and wireless

Baroque was initially introduced in three sizes: small, medium and large. They were also mainly intended for regular wired IEMs, especially modern IEMs with wider nozzles. In the past few months, Eletech added three additional sizes – medium-small, medium-large and extra-large – but also supplemented the original design with an all-white version better-suited for true wireless (TWS) IEMs, including one made specifically for Apple AirPods.

Aside from the colour, there are some other fundamental differences between the ‘wired’ and wireless Baroques. For starters, TWS users tend to be more active, and generally spend less time cleaning their gear on the go. As such, Eletech added a new antibacterial coating called PureShield to its TWS and AirPods range, enhancing their longevity. They also formulated the surface with different ‘nano cuts’ to improve grip, while retaining the Flexion strip for added comfort. 

Side-by-wide, the shape of the wireless versions has also changed slightly. The tips themselves are flatter, with a reduced depth of 7mm compared to the originals’ 8.25mm. This helps reduce any obstructions inside TWS cases, but also makes inserting TWS IEMs – which normally sit deeper in the ear by design – more comfortable. The bore is also slightly smaller, at 4.45mm diameter compared to 6mm for the originals.

Continue to sound impressions…

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Picture of Guy Lerner

Guy Lerner

An avid photographer and writer 'in real life', Guy's passion for music and technology created the perfect storm for his love of portable audio. When he's not playing with the latest and greatest head-fi gear, he prefers to spend time away from the hobby with his two (almost) grown kids and wife in the breathtaking city of Cape Town, and traveling around his native South Africa.

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