EARPHONES: MY CONNECTION TO SOUND

Like many people in this modern era, I live in an apartment. Like many people in this modern era, I expect to be able to listen to my music whenever I want and at whatever volume I choose. How to reconcile these two things? Earphones. (I’m a good neighbour!) There are two types of earphones I swear by: Apple Earbuds, and JayBird Freedom wireless earphones.

ears1

Everyone knows Apple earbuds, and I’ve seen a lot of mixed opinions about them, with many people deriding them as being utterly crap. I’ll be honest: I’m not really an audiophile, and I can’t distinguish deep nuances of quality in musical sound, so that isn’t my priority. What are priorities are comfort, price, and portability.

I can’t wear headphones of any kind or I get terrible headaches, and most earphones give me an achy inner ear. Apple earbuds are one of the few that I’ve tried which don’t hurt me, and better still: they last a good long while, too. I know I should carry around that pretty Apple case (which looks like a mouse’s computer) to protect them, but being honest: who does that? I like them to take up as little space as possible and to get at them quickly, so mostly I roll them up and stuff them in a pocket– which is damaging enough that expensive ones are out, too. These earbuds are around €30, last me a year to 18 months, don’t hurt, are totally easy to carry around, and can be used interchangeably with my phone so I can be doing things like preparing dinner and unpacking my shopping while on the phone. For me, they’re pretty close to perfect.

Sometimes, though, the earbuds just don’t cut it. I’m a big fan of dancing and stretching (in my home; I don’t do gyms), so sometimes I need wireless earphones so I can toss my iPod on the table and not have to worry about finding some way to strap it to my person so it won’t get damaged. I’ve also had a couple of incidents of getting the cables wrapped around my hair and my neck, which wasn’t a fun experience. That’s where the JayBird earphones come in.

ears2

At €84 a pair, you couldn’t call them inexpensive, but I still love these things. Because they don’t have an earphone jack, they’re less prone to damage than conventional earphones, so I’m a little more relaxed about the cost involved as I hope they won’t need replacing every other year.

These earphones are wireless, and are literally just a little earbud with a bluetooth receiver attached, with a short cable between them that rests on your neck when you’re working out. Best of all, they come with three sizes of earbuds and these strange little pads that fit into the shell of your ear, reducing movement in the earphone itself. You can use whatever combination you want, and I would definitely suggest you experiment because I think I ended up with three smalls and a medium. I picked these up at the same time as a small bluetooth sender which plugs into the bottom of the iPod (it’s about 3cm across and 1.5cm down), and they were effortless to pair.

Charging is via USB, and while they do require frequent top-ups (the sender also eats the battery out of the iPod, just as a warning), I could not be happier I purchased these, and honestly, I wish I had done it years ago. The sound is a lot beefier than via the Apple earbuds, and there are basic controls (volume up and down, stop, skip, etc.) on the earbuds themselves, so if you wanted to use them outdoors, you would never have to take your MP3 player out of your pocket. I personally only use mine inside, so I can’t speak to outdoor coverage, but the indoor range of these things is amazing. You get about 30 feet, or slightly less if there are walls involved, but it can send flawlessly through partition walls, so I often forget that I’m no longer attached to my MP3 player and go wandering only to have the sound cut out once I get 20 feet and a concrete wall away from my iPod.

While I find most earphones slip out very readily, these things don’t move. Ever. I’ve been literally upside-down wearing them and they haven’t budged. The cable connecting both ears is sturdy without being stiff, and the construction overall is as excellent as you’d expect from the price. I do feel I have to take them out to turn them on and off so I can see (operation is via a tiny push-button on the right hand side), and they are not as comfortable as the Apple ones, but that’s to be expected considering the weight. Overall, I absolutely would recommend these to anyone looking to buy bluetooth earphones, and if you’re anything like me, you won’t regret buying them.

Do you use either of these products? Do you have a favourite earphone brand to recommend? Are you a devoted audiophile or do you just like to be able to hear the lyrics and melody? Drop me a line and let me know!
-A-

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