Remote headphone options for ipod touch?
March 5, 2010 11:47 AM   Subscribe

I love the remote control and mic on the headphones that came with my ipod touch. However, I am rough on headphones and after only a couple of months I find that one ear no longer works. I dislike the idea of buying $30 headphones every few months -- do I have any other options?

I have tried a third-party remote control* that my husband has used with his ipod classic -- unfortunately, it doesn't seem to speak well with my ipod touch. The play/pause function works, but the volume does not, nor does the forward or backward. (Which is a shame, because I was thinking of using it anyways before my headphones broke, because I am a podcast addict and always wanting to skip back a bit to hear something I missed).

Obviously, my default option is to replace my headphones and then be more careful. I just wanted to find out if there are other products which might do the same things, while being either cheaper and/or more robust. I can wear any type of earphone.

*not a wireless remote, but a cord that plugs into the data port on the ipod and into which you plug your headphones. It also has a volume resister, which is great for reducing the volume lower than the ipod is normally capable of.
posted by jb to Technology (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you've only had them a couple of months won't Apple replace them for free?
posted by wabbittwax at 11:50 AM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: I should check that out -- I guess I assumed that headphones, being relatively cheap and very fragile, were not covered by the limited manufacturer's warrenty. And clearly they functioned for several months, so it's not a manufacturing error.
posted by jb at 11:52 AM on March 5, 2010

I've had my eye on these for a while. I'm assuming that iPhone compatibility is synonymous with iPod Touch compatibility. I haven't used these myself. They appear to be a nicer version of the Apple earbuds that come with the iPhone, with the same functionality.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:54 AM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: I once had Apple headphones give out after a few months (buzz in one ear) and they replaced them for free. It was easy, I just called them on the phone and the new earbuds arrived in the mail a few days later.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:00 PM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: Apple will replace your headphones if you're within the one-year hardware warranty period (or longer, if you bought AppleCare). Call them up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:05 PM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can even do it online. Just stick your iTouch's serial number in and follow the steps. Apple will send you new earbuds and a prepaid packing slip to ship back your busted set.

I actually did this myself yesterday with the set that came with my 3GS (the left ear got really weak), and the new ones arrived this morning! (Unfortunately I was at work, had them shipped to my home, and Apple doesn't allow FedEx to redirect packages once they ship. Now I have to go pick them up at the depot tonight.)
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 12:15 PM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: If you're near an Apple retail store, just bring them to the genius bar when they're not too busy (or make an appointment). I've done that a few times and gotten a new pair, no questions asked. Once they didn't even take my old ones.
posted by supercres at 12:30 PM on March 5, 2010

I'm assuming the earphones that came with the iTouch are the same that came with my iPhone. If you go with the view that I have that these are disposable headphones and will only last at most a couple months, you can buy cheap chinese knock offs for $3-$4 a pair. I use these from with my iPhone, expecting them to die. Shipping's free, but it takes up to a month to get to me in Canada. So far, I'm okay with this arrangement; I'm on my 3rd pair since October, with daily, hard use.

It doesn't matter what earphones I use, I *will* end up either loosing them, or having one ear cut out eventually. When they're this cheap, it doesn't bother me, and they sound almost as good as the original (albeit kinda crappy) product.
posted by cgg at 12:40 PM on March 5, 2010

Also, I should point out that the only reason I'm on my 3rd pair and not my 2nd is because my cat pulled the earbud off, not because it was malfunctioning. I can't quite blame the product for that one.
posted by cgg at 12:44 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you for all your help. I'll definitely call/go online/drop into the apple store to get replacements if I can.

That said, for the future I may just invest in a case of the knockoffs cgg linked to. There are others that even come in black -- I admit it, I'm still a bit nevous about the visibility of white headphones, and would prefer darker.

I don't suppose the do knock-offs with wrap-around ears? (The rest of the family don't like earbuds, but all like the remote control -- wrap-arounds with a remote and mic by Phillips are $60).

I'm curious how the remote system works -- clearly it is sending additional information to the device.
posted by jb at 1:45 PM on March 5, 2010

There are in-ear headphones that have remotes that are advertised to work with the iPhone/iPod Touch. Since most of the non-Apple headphones seem to be of this variety, I would recommend that you try these out before you buy.

I was given a pair by Apple as a replacement for my failed earbud 'phones, and I absolutely hate the in-ear design. Any kind of movement of the headphone cable creates this cavernous whoosh that is amplified in my ear canals.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:49 PM on March 5, 2010

There are also remotes that work with the ipod touch that you can plug any headphones into. Link is representative, but I have not tried this model. Operative search phrase you're looking for is "iphone remote headphone adapter"
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:34 PM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

> Any kind of movement of the headphone cable creates this cavernous whoosh that is amplified in my ear canals.

That's usually referred to as 'microphonic' noise. Depending on the design of the particular model you use, you may be able to wrap the cable around the back/top of your ear, then insert the phone upside down into your ear canal. I do this with mine (Sennheiser CX 300 II, fwiw) and it makes a huge difference.
posted by a halcyon day at 3:37 PM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

it makes a huge difference

It does, indeed. Thanks for the tip!

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:27 PM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: UPDATE:


They sent me the wrong items -- admitted that it was their mistake but then would not send me the correct item. They offered me a "refund" on the items I did not order, but that was less than what I had paid for what I did order, leaving me to cover the difference.

It was only a small amount of money, but the exact same thing happened to someone else who ordered from focalprice based on this recomendation, and who also never received another item. They have bad stocking, and will make you pay for their mistakes.
posted by jb at 10:35 AM on January 2, 2011

Ah man, sorry - I feel bad, considering I made the focalprice recommendation. I haven't had any problems until recently, so maybe they're gone downhill. I guess at the same time, I'm willing to take the risk on buying $4 earphones with the alternative is 10x that, but as always I suppose you get what you pay for.

Anyways, sorry it didn't work out for you.
posted by cgg at 8:25 AM on January 3, 2011

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