Headphones for gym
January 25, 2009 9:04 AM   Subscribe

My iPod's headphones wore out, but I'm not mourning them. What's a good replacement under $35 or so?

I like to listen to my iPod at my campus gym, and since my other headphones (a pair of cheap Sony canal phones) wore out, I've been using the earbuds that came in the box with the iPod. I know they're not great, but they were what was around, and I'm not that much of an audiophile.

Anyway, the little rubber thingy around the edge wore out so they now feel kind of sharp in my ears. I tried borrowing my roommate's "over the ear" Philips headphones, but I'm not really a fan because they hurt the cartilage of my ears after about 30 minutes or so. Headphones, earbuds, and canal phones seem to be my best option.

Another thing to note: the gym I exercise in tends to be loud at times, since the people running it put on the radio really loud. It's annoying, and I've written them about it a day or so ago, but I'm not 100% expecting them to change. I'd like something with some decent isolation, but I know my general price range is too low for noise-canceling headphones. A short cord is also useful, since I'm going to be on gym equipment.

$35 is the range I'm hoping to spend. I could go up to $50 if you make a good enough case for headphones that cost that much. If it matters, they're for an iPod nano, 2nd generation.
posted by mccarty.tim to Shopping (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Skullcandy ipod earbuds. Find them for <$20 on ebay.
posted by special-k at 9:10 AM on January 25, 2009

I cannot stress that the most important thing is to find a pair with decent noise isolation - it makes an utter world of difference. The semi-in-ear types that come with memory foam fittings (like the squishy ear plugs you get on planes) are the best. I've found the flange and silicone earbuds to be pretty hopeless.

I've just splurged £80 on a pair of Shure SE210's that have this, which is a bit out of your price range, but there are cheaper available. I grabbed a pair of Panasonic earbuds with memory foam for about $US20 a few months ago, and they worked well. I can't find the model online though.

I found these ones for $6.28 at Amazon.

special-k's Skullcandy suggestion is excellent also. These ones have foam buds, but they're a bit pricier. I'm sure Skullcandy have cheaper ones with the same buds.
posted by sektah at 9:17 AM on January 25, 2009

This question I asked recently might be helpful.
posted by bluefly at 9:22 AM on January 25, 2009

Get the Griffin Earjams if you want to go super cheap and keep using your existing headphones. They are small clips for your headphones that convert them to in-ear. Around $10 with shipping.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:24 AM on January 25, 2009

Koss Plugs. Dirt cheap. Will stay in your ears as you run. Good isolation.

You can often find them for $10 or so. If you lose 'em or they get trashed, they're too cheap to worry about buying another pair.
posted by dzot at 9:58 AM on January 25, 2009

3rding Skullcandy. I specifically have and like the INK'D model. Target and I believe Best Buy should have them, in case you want them ASAP.
posted by 6550 at 10:29 AM on January 25, 2009

I really like these: v-moda bass freq.
posted by ninjew at 10:32 AM on January 25, 2009

I'd switched to these Panasonic buds after the ones that my Creative player came with died. They have a soft rubber inner earpiece and fit very well. They broke and I went for these Skullcandy ones. Both are in the same price range (CAD$25-35). The Skullcandy didn't fit as snug, and I was very disappointed with the sound - the bass response was noticeably less and the highs were shrill - to the point I had to reset the equaliser to approximate the previous set.
Frequency response. Panasonic: 6Hz - 24kHz, Skullcandy: 10 - 18kHz. The wider range has the better (fuller) sound. Durability was about equal with both types.
True I could've gone up or down in the price range, but (generally) cheaper = worse sound and more expensive = well, they're going to break anyways and I don't want to drop $100 on them. I found both of these at London Drugs here in Canada which carry a very general range of electronics. I'm unsure of what a US equivalent would be.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:44 AM on January 25, 2009

I love the Sennheiser Cx300s, as do apparently ~600 reviewers at Amazon.

They sound great for the price, and do a great job of blocking out background noise: crying babies/noisy airplane engines/crappy gym music, are all quickly silenced.

The only thing to be aware of is fakes. You'll be just fine from Amazon, but if you find a 'bargain' for $10 or something on ebay they will definitely be fake.
posted by latentflip at 11:07 AM on January 25, 2009

I am very happy with the Skullcandy Smokin' Buds (black for me). Also had to set the equalizer, but I always do that with new ear gear.
posted by blink_left at 11:13 AM on January 25, 2009

I will pile on and champion my Skullcandy ear buds. I got them from target for around $10.00 and they have been amazing. They fit well and do an amazing job of canceling out noise.
posted by amicamentis at 1:38 PM on January 25, 2009

i got these maximo isolation earphones for $10 off of woot.com, and i LOVE them! i was amazed the first time i used them at the gym, because i was used to keeping my volume at 90% to drown out the gym radio, and with these i could have the volume at only 30%.
posted by kidsleepy at 2:19 PM on January 25, 2009

Before I splurged on my Shures, I had an earlier version of the Sony EX-71s. They're extremely lightweight, comfortable, and they're good for the gym because they feature deep bass and bright highs, which is good when you're compensating for droning workout machines. The only two downsides I remember were the following:

1) The cord coming off the phones is short, because it links to a longer extender (probably designed to work with wired remotes from Sony discmen and older iPods.)

2) It uses neodymium drivers, which are great, but require more volume output from the player to reach the desired volume level in your ear.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 4:57 PM on January 25, 2009

i would also ask you to go for high end phones ($80-100ish) with ultimate ears, shure etcbut if not
check out seinnheisser, good brand great phones
sonys are pretty good too
posted by radsqd at 8:28 PM on January 25, 2009

+1 Sony EX-71s
posted by bbyboi at 1:52 AM on January 26, 2009

I know you said you had a Sony pair before, but I'm another fan of the Sony EX71s, apart from the cable. It's too short without the extension (unless you have your iPod strapped to your upper arm), and too long (and heavy) with the extension. I later replaced them with the EX51LP, which appears to be identical apart from the cable length, which is just right.

I've had these for a couple of years and they're still going strong. The only problem is that the silicone earbuds can fall off and get lost, but replacements can be found cheaply on eBay.
posted by ocha-no-mizu at 11:22 AM on January 26, 2009

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