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Comply NR-10 Noise Isolating Earphones - Comply NR-10 Noise Isolating Earphones

By Hugo Jobling



Our Score:


You're probably wondering by now whether or not all this foam tip business actually has any effect on the most important consideration of the NR-10s; whether they actually sound any good. The answer is: yes.

You see, having used Comply's foam tips on a few other earphones I have to concede they definitely deliver on their promises. Noise reduction is definitely a strong suite of the NR-10s - it's no surprise that the US Army and NASCAR number among Comply's user base. However, I personally still prefer Shure's style of foam tips for day-to-day use. Actually, I'll go further than that. I'd prefer to have a set of Shure earphones, too.

Indeed, given that a pair of Shure SE210s fall at around the same price, in comparison the NR-10s deliver not only a very bass-heavy sound but one that also comes at the cost of high end response. In contrast, the Shure SE210s effortlessly provide both a clear accomplished sound but also one that spans the entire frequency range, offering clear highs and deep, booming lows.

That's not to say the NR-10s don't offer good audio, they just need to be of a certain type. Listening to Paramore's My Heart is a good example as the reproduction of the lovely Haley Williams' vocals is as good as can be asked from a single driver, but you could almost be forgiven for thinking the band couldn't afford cymbals as the songs more subtle audio nuances become lost in the mix.

Moving on to a smattering of Marylin Manson, the results were slightly better, but that's to be expected of the band's tendencies towards slightly heavier (and darker) music. Rock is Dead came across very well via the NR-10s, although again the SE210s produced a clearer, cleaner sound. The more guitar and bass-heavy Dissociative arguably swung things in the NR-10s favour, thanks to their bias towards low-end power.

Another niggle, though not enough to be a deal breaker, is that the NR-10s aren't particularly loud. On an iPod I was listening at max volume near-enough all the time, and even on a more powerful Creative Zen X-Fi I was close to the limit, too. That I was able to listen to the Deftones with everything turned up to 11 without my brain bleeding out through my ears, should be all the explanation needed.

Overall there's nothing particularly wrong with the Comply NR-10s in and of themselves. Were there no such earphones as the Shure SE210s or the Philips SHE9850s then the NR-10s would be a pretty decent offering. Sadly, though the competition has been in the game longer than Comply and it shows.


Drum 'n' bass aficionados might find that the NR-10 Noise Reduction Earphones fit the bill well, but if you value clarity and breadth of soundstage over straight-up bass power, Shure's SE210s or Philips' SHE9850s are better options at similar or lower prices.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Features 7
  • Design 7

Hans Gruber

September 28, 2008, 2:37 pm

Got some Comply (as in fly not plea as in pea, I'm English don'tcha know) T100 slim fitting foam tips for my Shure E3c phones and in my experience, they are much more comfortable than the scratchy yellow lug blockers Shure provide, both for short periods but particularly for longer listening.

Not sure but I don't believe Shure offer their yellow foam tips in a range of sizes, as Comply do. My ears must be a little less usual as I can't use any of the silicon tips Shure supply as they won't stay in more than a minute before popping out. Only the foam tips stay in place but they really hurt (they're too big). So the Comply tips, with their extra squishy and smoother far less coarse material are much better in that regard. So, if you're ear canals are narrow they're worth getting.

Agree that they pick up dirt (and oily skin grease) along with any lint fibres far easier than the Shures so require more regular cleaning and better care. They seem to respond better to washing than the Shures though but don't appear to be as rugged, and that's probably got a lot to do with why they feel more comfortable since their material construction is kinder to the wearer at the cost of increased physical wear and tear. Not a panacea for those with sensitive lugholes. I prefer to wear a set of cans far more than the in ear type.

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