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June 2015
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Forte Audio Impact Earbuds And Comply Comfort Fit PLUS Tips
Good earbuds greatly enhanced with the Comply premium earphone tips.
Review By Heather Baird

 

Forte Audio Impact Earbuds

 I have had a difficult time fitting earbuds since I can remember; they either never stay in place for me or hurt my ears over a period. It seems the higher the quality of earbuds, or virtually every earphone I try, the heavier they are the more difficult they are to stay put comfortably. It also seems that the more money you spend does not always correlate with how well they will sound. Myself, like most people who seem to go for the universal fit earbuds, enjoy music that has quite a bit of bass. Some of my fave music is by Maroon 5, Tiësto, Deadmau5, PitBull, Skrillex and all the typical pop music of the day. It is not always easy to find an earbud that gives a good amount of bass while also having decent midrange and treble. I cannot say too much on frequency response and all the graphs that go along with being an 'audiophile', as am just learning how to read and understand these measurements and am more a music lover than an audiophile. Fortunately, my husband is Editor and Creative Director of Enjoy the Music.com. What I can tell you is my husband Steven received these Forte Audio Impact earbuds to review and I just had to try them. Steven did also try them during this review process and am sure he'll be chiming in from time to time. I simply know what I like when it is heard. After many years of living with Steven and his many audiophile systems within our home, I know how wonderful music can sound within a variety of top-quality, and quite expensive, audio systems.

 

Look And Feel
At first glance, Forte Audio's Impact universal fit earbuds are simple yet classy in appearance. They are not too showy and thus don't draw too much attention to themselves. Their styling is great with my workout, casual and more dressy clothing. The cord was not too long, and in fact was just right in length; with the cord being just barely long enough at the gym while using the ARC trainer that only has a holder towards the back of the machine. The previous earphones I was using were very frustrating as was fighting to keep them in my ears. These were a pair of more pricey Brainwaves that were good, until of course I got my hands on the Forte Audio Impact earbuds. It is not easy being the wife of a true music lover, as just when you think you found a good sounding set of earbuds, he gets something else that are better and my standards for great sound go up a notch. One of the lessons learned is that higher price does not always mean better sound.

Forte Audio Impact Earbudsips

At Forte Audio, the company strives to produce a high quality product by engineering their proprietary Harmonic Interference-Free (HIF) technology into their products. To quote their website, “HIF technology originated from an advanced signal processing research developed for a conservation project in Taiwan lead by Dr. Pan to study the native calls of tree frogs residing near a noisy waterfall. His research depended solely on fundamental physics and math to extract the authentic sound of a tree frog, but while talking to our founding engineer, they quickly discovered that this research is also the perfect solution to a critical issue that headphones companies are desperately trying to solve”. Forte Audio's Impact universal fit earbuds are available in Gunpowder Gray, Silver, and the ones they sent to Steven are Champagne Gold. Steven loves the look of rose gold, and so choosing that version was an easy. Forte manufactures their Impact to have strong and smooth bass, with moderate midrange and good high frequency sound. There is a microphone on the cord so they work great with my smartphone when I need to answer a phone call. Frequency response is quite good for the music I love. For those technically-minded, it is from 20 Hz to 20 kHz with a sensitivity of 106 dB. Basically, to my ears it plays all the music I enjoy and they can get loud when I turn the volume up. Some earbuds have a smaller number, lower sensitivity, and so do not get as loud.

Forte Audio Impact Earbuds

The cord has a wonderful soft yet grippy feel to it. It is thicker and more durable than many cheap earbuds and doesn't seem to tangle easily like other cords I have used. Forte Audio's Impact comes with a nice compact oval black case that closes with a zipper. They also come with a variety of sizes for the ear tips and Steven and I tried them all, yet none really fit either of us quite well. This is where the Comply foam tips came in handy. If a set of earbuds do not fit well in your ear, it can also greatly alter how they sound. You can get too much bass or too many high frequencies. Of course there is the comfort factor, because if they are too big they hurt my ears. If they are too small, there is little bass and they also tend to fall out of my ears easily. While at the AXPONA 2015 event in Chicago we visited various booths and Comply was there with their Premium Earphone Tips. Choosing their Comfort PLUS with Wax-Guard ($21.95) was an easy choice because I wear my earbuds during long flights, such as our recent trip from New England to Germany for vacation plus see a high fidelity audio show. Steven knew this would help me with the comfort part I was complaining about and so I tried them. (Sigh) Once again Steven was right. Read on...

 

Heather's Troubled Earbud History
I am not sure if it is just me but I have the worst time with earbuds! Yeah, they are great for a short period of time if I sit still on the couch. Yet problems arise when I want to wear them for an extended amount of time, such as on an airplane. After only two hours of use, the opening of my ear canal becomes very sore.  My next big issue is at the gym, out hiking or jogging, as they never stay in! Am constantly trying to push them back into place, which is very annoying! Now I realize that an audiophile is very particular and may not feel you can get the proper sound quality out of an earbud, yet I am not that fussy. However, I am picky. (Editor Steven Notes: Guys, she is not fussy at all; just picky. Now guys, please take out your 'Wife To Husband' dictionary and turn to page 135... Love you dear  :) )

One particular handy benefit of these earbuds is their one button; once again, no frills but very user-friendly button to turn music on/off or answer/hang up a phone call. There is also a microphone attached that comes in very clearly. This is said by a girl (me) who is often is told to repeat herself due to so-called mumbling etc. Steven nods and agrees I do tend to mumble, which can be a bit frustrating to decipher what I'm saying to him. With the Forte Audio Impact universal fit earbuds, nobody on the receiving end of my phone calls had any issues with hearing me clearly, or I them. Overall I do love these earbuds and will continue to use them, especially when worn with the Comply foam tips. It is really nice to enjoy my music that sounds the way I expect it should sound plus be comfortable while doing it.

Comply Comfort Fit PLUS Tips

I must feel my bass, and not have Maroon 5's Adam Levine sing with highs piercing my brain. In addition, muffling at any level is not okay. My love of a husband and editor has been kind enough to lend (give) me quite a few different brands and styles of earbuds to try. Some being heavier, causing me even more discomfort and trouble keeping them within my ears.  My favorites so far are the Forte Audio Impact, which I use the most. Though having these hard to please ears of mine, after a long flight my ear canal does tend to be sore when not using the Comply Comfort Fit PLUS. Flying home from AXPONA, I figured this was the perfect time to put on my new Comply tips to the test as this was an easy two hour flight. In my opinion, the nice cushy foam, which gently molds to my ear and thus make a nice seal, helped the bass boom just the right amount. It was actually a little more than they did with the stock rubber tips they came with. They were much more comfortable while wearing, and when the flight was over there was no discomfort on the outer part of my ear canal (it's a miracle!).

 

Listening To The Forte Impact Earbuds
As I mentioned, the Impact did not quite fit well within my, or my husband's ears, with the stock plastic ear tips. Steven noted that the sound was not that great and it must be due to the way they fit, or not fit in this case, within his ears. We tried some others plastic tip we had laying around here yet some did not fit on the Impact and others just never were quite perfect. Steven commented that sometimes being a reviewer is not an easy task. Fortunately, we were at AXPONA and were able to put on the Comply Comfort PLUS, which not only gave his and my ears a perfect fitting, they were also very comfortable. During our very long flight to Munich last week my ears never hurt. With the Comply Premium Earphone Tips on the Forte Audio Impact I absolutely love the sound. There is plenty of great bass. When exercising, they stayed firmly in my ears and I did not need to continually fix them into place as I did with other universal fit earbuds. I do tend to work out very vigorously, so this is a challenge.

As I said before, I did try each of the rubber tips that came with the Forte Audio Impact; none were a perfect fit for my difficult to please ears. Though better than most earbuds I have tried, there was still some discomfort in my outer ear canal after removing when wearing for a relatively extended period.  One of the secrets with the Comply Premium Comfort PLUS is that the tips are made of a foam substance. You roll your fingers over them so they compress and then fit the earbud into your ears. They expand to stay snug within your ear in seconds and then you're ready for musical bliss. This also cured the problem of having to keep refitting them when I'm moving around as well as any discomfort after wearing for an extended period of time. Since this formed a better fit, the increased bass made my listening experience more enjoyable. Steven feels they have a bit too much bass, yet with good midrange and a bit recessed highs, though that is his preference. For me, there is hour after hour of great music and I really appreciated the way this setup sounds.

Comply Comfort Fit PLUS Tips

Steven adds, they are very comfortable with the Comply tips. Before these tips, the sound, as mentioned before, was just not at all in the ballpark of my liking. With the new Comply Comfort PLUS tips, the bass is a bit too strong for my liking yet the midrange is quite smooth and highs a bit shy as it is overwhelmed with bass. On the plus side, great for EDM, pop, and perhaps some music that has been mastered with searing highs. Died-in-the-wool audiophiles will want to look elsewhere for an even-frequency set of earbuds. Resolution with the Forte Audio Impact is a bit compromised, which is to be expected at this price level. They are very good and quite impressive performers to other universal fit earbuds i have tried under $100. We must remember I use custom made IEMs ranging from $1200 to $2400, which is what all professionals wear when they are on stage performing. For $70, the Forte Audio Impact are quite good at this price range. So if you love dance, pop, dubstep, etc,  the Forte Audio Impact with Comply Comfort Fit PLUS tips are worth a try and better than other offerings I have heard to date. The next best thing would be the $299 Etymotic Research ER4P-T MicroPro noise-isolating IEMs, which are very impressive and comfortable to wear. For all you bargain hunters who love bass, the Forte Impact are well worth a try imho.

 

Tonality

Sub-bass (10Hz - 60Hz)

Mid-bass (80Hz - 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz - 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Fit And Finish

Value For The Money

 

Specifications
Impact Audio Forte
Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Features: Harmonic Interference-Free Technology
Sensitivity: 106 dB
Impedance: 16 Ohms
Price: 69.99

 

Comply Comfort PLUS With Wax Guard
Foam ear tip for universal fit earbuds
Price: $21.99 for set of three

 

Company Information
Forte Audio
1700 Wyatt Dr Suite 6
Santa Clara CA 95054
Website: www.MyForteAudio.com

 

Comply
Hearing Components
615 Hale Ave North
Oakdale, MN 55128

Voice: (651) 739-9427
Website: www.ComplyFoam.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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