seeking good information about headphones earbuds
August 9, 2004 3:52 PM   Subscribe

I need new headphones. I use my mp3 player when I run, work out and at the office. Currently I use Sony headphones at work and Koss earbuds when I workout. The earbuds do not give me loud enough sound and they pop out. The Sonys don't give good quality sound either and they hurt my left ear.

I've been told that headphone/buds that go into your ear, instead of laying on top are better for good quality and loudness. Does anyone have any suggestions for really good headphones/buds that will stay on while running and exercising, as well as be comfortable enough to be worn all day? I'm willing to spend up to $75.
posted by Juicylicious to Shopping (14 answers total)
They're more than $75 but I'd recommend Bang + Olufsen A8s. Available for about $100 on eBay.
posted by dobbs at 3:58 PM on August 9, 2004

Wow, I just picked up a replacement pair of Zenith ear buds for about $6 and I think they work great. I may not be the audiophile you are, though.
posted by nath at 5:08 PM on August 9, 2004

I've got the Koss/Tandy The Plug earbuds. They block external sound like mad, which can be both a blessing and a curse. (A curse when the careening semi-trailer truck is blasting its horn at you to get out of the way, but at least it won't hurt for long.)

They also are a PITA to get fitted nicely. Keep falling out. The solution, I've read, is to get proper squishy-style earplugs and customize the earbuds to fit.

For the running/jogging use, I should think something with an actual headband will be better.

Or maybe the Sony Fontopia will fit your ear better?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:13 PM on August 9, 2004

Here's a previous topic with some really good recommendations:
posted by tetsuo at 5:42 PM on August 9, 2004

One thing to keep in mind with headphones to be worn at work - are you going to need to take them off and put them back on a lot? If so, the super-duper in-ear 'phones (Shures, Etymotics) would be really annoying - inserting them is kind of tricky, because it's important to form a good seal.

The sound on my Etymotics is great, but I no longer use them at work for that reason.
posted by lbergstr at 6:32 PM on August 9, 2004

Be aware...
posted by rushmc at 7:19 PM on August 9, 2004

Take a look at the Sony h.ear line. They are kind of like buds in that the speaker fits in the ear, but they have a clip-on piece that fits over the ear to hold them in place. No headbands, no buds you have to customize, and they hang on pretty good when you exercise. (I use them when I run. They aren't the best-sounding headphones in the world, but with all the wheezing and gasping going on I can't hear a big difference.) Best part is that they start at $10, so it's hard to go wrong.
posted by joaquim at 7:48 PM on August 9, 2004

There are a few lines of earbuds that have a rubbery cushion that expands inside the ear. Both Awia and Sony Pioneer and a few others make them. They're comfortable in your ear over a long period and have a great bass range. I have the Sony ones, they're about 46 bucks, and I swear by them.
posted by phyrewerx at 8:29 PM on August 9, 2004

Odd. I'd posted a followup that mentioned that in-the-ear plugs may play havok with your body's temperature regulation system, and that you could end up over-heating when exercising in hot weather. And it doesn't seem to be here any more.

posted by five fresh fish at 9:30 PM on August 9, 2004

I've got Sonys like phyrewerx linked to - good sound quality (surprisingly bassy, in fact); old-style earbuds just sound shite after these.

Also, because they essentially seal into your ear, you can listen to music at a much lower volume than normal - which is probably good for you. When I lived in London I wore them on the tube every day, and when I took them out the ambient noise was perhaps 2-3x the volume I'd been listening to music at.


They're earplugs - so if you wear them at work and somebody is trying to talk to you, they're out of luck.

If the cable rubs against, say, facial hair then you can really hear it - again, because they're sealed. Stick your finger in your ear and then scratch your finger - it can be like that.

If you have funny-shaped ears they might not fit properly - and if they don't form a seal then you'll only ever hear treble.. I guess when you say reviews saying they're crap, this is what's happened.
posted by cell at 2:25 AM on August 10, 2004

More here, and here.
posted by anathema at 5:27 AM on August 10, 2004

I use the Shures at work, after trying four other bud and in-ear phones. The $99 Shures are the best earphones I've ever owned, bar none. I did have to send them back because the right ear started dropping out, but they replaced them for free (with a complete new kit and everything) and the replacements arrived in about a week.

There's no hassle taking the Shures in and out of the ears at work. Sound-blocking is more important: both in and out. I no more want to hear the inane conversations of idiot coworkers than I want them to hear my music. The only thing is, make sure you're facing the entrance to your work space. I've had the living hell scared out of me three or four times when someone has come up behind for a convo.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:43 AM on August 10, 2004

More info than you'll ever need:

Search for canalphones, shure, ety, etc.

I own the shure e2's and there great. You should be able to get them for mid-$60's or so. The e3's have a bit less bass, a bit more treble, some think they are more balanced. They are a little more pricey than you're stated amount; about $130. Be aware that it can be a slippery slope . . . I recently spent $300 on pair of Westone's; and amount that would have appalled me a year ago.
posted by rtimmel at 8:21 AM on August 10, 2004

Get custom earmoulds.
posted by joeclark at 9:42 AM on August 10, 2004

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