Wireless earbud, singular
March 21, 2014 9:40 AM   Subscribe

When listening to music at our office, we rock the old "one earbud in, one earbud out" look so we can hear both our music and if someone's talking to us. I'd like to find a "step up" from this arrangement, ideally a single small audio-only Bluetooth earbud that pairs with my MacBook. However, I'm having a hard time finding out if these even exist outside of those Bluetooth headsets for cell phones.

  • It needs to be wireless. No matter how nice the earpiece is, if I have to plug it in I'm just going to stick with what I've got.
  • I don't need a microphone and I'll never use this with a phone, though if a Bluetooth headset is the the only solution so be it.
  • I would greatly prefer an earbud in the form of either the original iPhone earbuds or the new earPhones. Those in-ear buds with the squishy rubber earpiece rarely fit for me.
  • Sorry, but I'm not interested in any suggestions that don't take the form of a recommendation for a wireless earpiece.
posted by Ian A.T. to Technology (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I saw this thing on amazon the other day; haven't tried it out yet, though. You can plug in any earbuds you like, and pair it with your device. Emphasis is on cell phones, but all my bt headsets work both on my phone and my computer.
posted by tilde at 9:57 AM on March 21, 2014

Best answer: if a Bluetooth headset is the the only solution so be it.

It's the only product for which there's a decent market. Problem being that anything with A2DP and a focus on music listening usually comes as a stereo pair these days.

For single earpieces: The Wirecutter likes the Jawbone Era, but the Plantronics M55 might be sufficient; I've used the M55 myself and think it's pretty decent.
posted by holgate at 9:59 AM on March 21, 2014

Best answer: This AGPtek bluetooth earbud looks like it would work, and at $13 doesn't cost much to gamble on.
posted by davidvanb at 10:01 AM on March 21, 2014

Alternatively, have you thought about "open" headphones? Earbuds are generally designed to block out the world, whereas open headphones allow outside sound in. Then there are inexpensive, light supra-aural headphones like the Koss KSC75 which press against the ear (or in the case of the KSC75, clip over the ear), which also allow outside sound in.

Really, I'm trying to say that those Koss headphones sound great, as long as you're OK with outside noise coming in. And because they clip over each ear individually instead of being connected with a headband, you can have one ear completely open if you'd prefer.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:18 AM on March 21, 2014

You could get a mono headset and a bluethooth adapter.

Similar to what davodvanb linked, but buying them separately allows you to get the headset in a style you like.
posted by okieangel at 8:21 AM on March 22, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone...five great answers.

tilde & okieangel: This makes me seem really ridiculous, but I already have one of those...it just never occurred to me to plug headphones into it! (It's connected to a pair of speakers in my nightstand.) Thanks for the suggestion!

davidvanb: I threw your suggestion in my Amazon cart to buy next time I place a bigger order; like you said, $13 isn't that much to take a chance on.

holgate: Yeah, thanks to The Wirecutter, the Jawbone Era was my original first pick, but I wanted to post this AskMe because I wasn't sure if this was a problem that needed a $100+ solution, you know? Thanks for pointing out the Plantronics M55, I'll try it out next time I'm at Best Buy.

filthy light thief: I agree that open headphones are wonderful. Unfortunately, I already know their habit of not just letting sound in but also letting sound out takes them out of the running. A coworker bought a gorgeous pair of Beyerdynamics that he was able to wear at his desk for all of about ten minutes before facing mutiny from his neighbors...
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:22 AM on March 22, 2014

Response by poster: I impulse purchased a cheapo Bluetooth headset over the weekend to see if this is going to work, and I thought I'd post this tip here for future readers of this question: if you're going to go this route, make sure the headset can be used on the ear you want to use it on.

The $20 one I got has clearly been made to be used in the right ear, though by taking the ear clip off and moving it around it can be used less-than-ideally in the left, where I need it. (The controls are upside down, which isn't really that big of a deal.)

Not sure if there are headsets out there that are "fixed" in one ear or the other, but it's something I'll double-check if I upgrade from this one.
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:43 AM on March 31, 2014

I have zero idea of the quality of this thing, but I came across it tonight and remembered this question, might be worth a try.
posted by HermitDog at 12:30 AM on April 4, 2014

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