November 9, 2011 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to make these, the MOST INFURIATING HEADPHONES KNOWN TO MAN, slightly less infuriating?

I bought them at Radio Shack a few weeks ago to replace my iPhone headphones which had bit the dust. You are supposed to jam them all the way in your ears - and when you do, for a second, they just sound fantastic. However, if I should do one of the following things:

1.) Move slightly
2.) Breathe
3.) Think too hard

They pop out of my ears.

Am I doing these wrong? Do you have a pair of headphones like this? Is there anything I can do to them to make them usable? I am happy to hack 'em or something. The anger these headphones can inspire in me is actually quite useful when I am at the gym, but I'm afraid that while on the train or walking down the street, my headphones might pop out of my ears again, and I might hulk out and punch a baby.
posted by pazazygeek to Technology (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Did they come with a selection of rubber tips? I used to have a set of similar Sennheiser earbuds that came with 3 sizes so you could choose the ones that fit.
posted by jon1270 at 8:31 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ah, I neglected to mention - no, they just have the one size of tips. Maybe I can find different sizes somewhere?
posted by pazazygeek at 8:33 AM on November 9, 2011

try hooking the wire around your ear, like this
posted by Bunge at 8:35 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah I have, ahem, tiny ear-holes and the "regular" size most of them come with never fits me. You might want to return them and pick up a pair of Skullcandy (they're the only ones I am familiar with) headphones that come with three different sizes of tips.
posted by griphus at 8:35 AM on November 9, 2011

You can often buy just the replacement rubber earphone tips, although that depends on whether the tips on your own earphones are detatchable or not (and whether the replacement ones fit).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:36 AM on November 9, 2011

Sennheiser makes iPhone-compatible earbuds that come with a size selection of inserts.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 AM on November 9, 2011

I had 'headphones-always-popping-out-while-walking-fast-running-working-out' rage while continuously trying different earphones until I got a pair of yurbuds

Yurbuds simply do....not...fall....out. And very comfortable.

I've never used a pair with a mic, but they do sell a version with a microphone
posted by de void at 8:39 AM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

For less than $10, you can make custom ear bud supports.

There are a couple of guides here and here.
posted by bonehead at 8:42 AM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have the MDR-EX38iP which are pretty much the same. Mine came with three sizes of ear buds . I am guessing the extra prices is why mine came with the diff sizes and yours do not. You can get replacement rubber tips at radio shack also. They will work with anyheadphones shall you decide to get another pair.
posted by majortom1981 at 8:43 AM on November 9, 2011

Funnily enough, I recently ruined my MDR-EX38's by putting them through the wash. They're my go-to headphones, and I decided to try the model you bought because they were $10. majortom is correct- the extra $10 is for differently-sized tips, and the build quality of the cord is slightly better.
posted by mkultra at 8:48 AM on November 9, 2011

Bunge: Awesome... I am completely going to try that. If I buy other headphones I am totally ditching these in-ear ones because heavens to betsy is that a gamble with my sanity.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:54 AM on November 9, 2011

I don't know if these ones are compatible, but if so, I strongly recommend replacing the rubber tips with the Shure black olive foam tips. I have some on my Klipsch headphones, and they're a massive improvement. They happily stay in while I trundle all about London-town.
posted by Magnakai at 8:57 AM on November 9, 2011

Same here on the small earholes. You can generally get replacements for most Sony models on eBay even if yours just have one - but I'd replace them with better earphones. I love my Shures and they are worth the money at the $100 price point, though you may prefer another sound profile.
posted by kcm at 9:16 AM on November 9, 2011

Foam tips work much better than rubber tips. I have the Apple in-ear headphones with remote (which are ridiculously expensive, but, hey, that remote sure is handy), and my enjoyment of them increased massively after getting aftermarket foam tip replacements.
posted by grouse at 9:28 AM on November 9, 2011

I agree with grouse about foam tips, but they get so utterly disgusting when they get sweaty that I just can't use those anymore.

When making a future replacement purchase you might consider the Bose IE2 ear buds. They are not cheap, but so far they've been my hands-down favorites. These second generation buds have a new/different loopy part that snugs up into the curvy part of the earlobe, and that single change has made all the difference in my ability to keep them in my ears, especially during sweaty exercise.

FWIW, my first generation Bose earbuds bit the dust via a cord short and when I called the company to inquire about what to do they said they wouldn't be able to repair it but they offered me a significant discount on a new pair. If you know someone with an old dead set you may be able to work out some kind of similar cost reduction kind of deal.
posted by mcbeth at 9:43 AM on November 9, 2011

I heartily recommend Comply foam tips. However, their product selector doesn't seem to have an entry for your particular model. You might drop them a line. I thought my Etymotic HF-5s were awesome until I tried them with Comply tips of the right size. Now I think they're SUPER awesome. I'd recommend ordering an assortment of sizes to try; I had no idea I had large ear canals.
posted by dust of the stars at 9:45 AM on November 9, 2011

With in-ear ones, they really need to be offset, so that the bulk sits further back than the rubber sticky-inny bit., otherwise that little flappy bit of ear is going to get in the way. Panasonic Ergofit (which I have and love) are offset like that, and come with three different sized rubber dealies, and cost not very much.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:14 AM on November 9, 2011

I can only use in-ear headphones. I don't know what kind I have, but I make my own foam tips like this:

1) Pull off the rubber or foam part of your headphones.
2) Buy some good foam earplugs from Home Depot. They cost like $5 for a packet of 20.
3) The earplugs are about .5" - .75" long. Cut them in half.
4) Poke a hole through the center of each earplug with a pen or exacto knife or something.
5) Slip them over the speaker part of your headphones.

I suppose whether or not this works for you will depend on the construction of your headphones once the original foam/rubber part is removed, but you should be able to do the same thing with just about any in-ear headphone

Unlike the original foam that came with headphones, the ones I make last about a year. They never dry out; they just tear to the point that I need to remake some more. After 3 years, I'm still on my original $5 bag of earplugs.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:22 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Look what just went on hella sale. That price is going to change, so grab them if you want them.
posted by griphus at 12:48 PM on November 9, 2011

Magnakai: "I don't know if these ones are compatible, but if so, I strongly recommend replacing the rubber tips with the Shure black olive foam tips"

Definitely foam tips, and definitely those. The Shure Olives are incredibly comfortable, and last longer (in my experience) than the comply tips, or the etymotic black foam tips. Plus they cut way down on microphonics (again, in my experience).

They fit much more than just Shures. I can personally confirm that they fit both the Etymotic ER4ps and the Westone 3s with no trouble, so if the stem on your 'phones is close in size, the olives are the way to go.
posted by namewithoutwords at 7:13 AM on November 10, 2011

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