The quest for better earbuds

Everyone knows that the earbuds that come with the iPod are pretty low quality. Mine have barely any low frequency at all, and they seem to be losing their volume level each and every day. So I decided to buy some new earbuds as a replacement.

I first went out and got a set of Philips HE592 Surround Sound Ear Buds. I actually liked the “surround sound” effect a little. It was subtle. The speaker in the earphone faces the away from your ear and is bounced back to you. It did sound, albeit vaguely, that the music was around you and not being channeled directly into your ear canal. I tried to give them a few days to get used to them, but these earbuds had to be the most uncomfortable phones I have ever worn. And they never stayed in my ears. To try to get them to stick in at all I had to manipulate them into some unnatural way in my ear, and by the end of the day, I couldn’t even keep them in because my ears hurt so much. I gave them to my brother to try and he had the same result. Also, the funky wire-setup really frustrated me. I guess these earphones will just sit on a shelf from now on.

So I went back to the stock iPod earphones until today when I went out and bought some JVC Gumy earbuds. I saw these time and time again, and I know that JVC makes some great quality equipment as I work with pro-audio systems on a weekly basis.  But never got them since they are fairly ugly little things and they only cost $10… so how good could they be? But I was tired of the tin sounding iPod headphone and decided to try them out.  Again, it’s only a $10 investment. The “Gumy” aspect wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. And they do gave a deeper, richer sound than the iPod phones… though that’s not saying much. I’m going to give these a few days as well to see if I like them. I can get over the look of them as they look very much like my butt-ugly iPod carrying case.

We shall see. Though, I saw some Shure earbuds that I would love to have, if I made enough money to spend $200 on earbuds….

7 Replies to “The quest for better earbuds”

  1. For what it’s worth, if you do have the cash to buy $150+ in-ear headphones, definitely check out the Ultimate Ears Pro. I spent a lot of time researching and comparing these to the Shure E3C earphones and ended up buying the Ultimate Ears for my girlfriend and she LOVES them. I’ve only had a chance to listen to them for a few minutes (my girlfriend doesn’t want to part with them!) and they sounded really good – they provided a good representation across the whole sound spectrum (highs, mids, and lows) for in-ear headphones.

  2. I too bought those surround sound earbuds. And, though they give off a very pleasant sound, they are the most annoying pieces of equipment that I’ve ever had to manipulate. I think I paid fifteen for them and would love a refund if I could only find the packaging and the receipt…darn it…

  3. I bought the Philips earphones, after going through two sets of original Apple earbuds (got the second pair for free at the 5th Ave store). The asymmetrical chords are annoying, and the surroundsound effect is only fair; but otherwise I have no complaints. I must be one of the few whose ears aren’t bothered by the fit, absolutely no discomfort for me. Did you try the different-sized plastic covers for them? The defaults work fine for me.

  4. Yeah, I tried all the different little plastics. Nothing worked to make them more comfortable. The JVC Gumys are working out pretty nicely though. I don’t even feel them in my ears.

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