[Slowhand] iPod Earphones & Headphones

DeltaNick deltanick at comcast.net
Sat Jan 26 14:50:38 EST 2008

Someone recently asked about iPod earphones and headphones. I used a Sony (cassette tape) Walkman in the past, but now have an iPod nano with video. I commute daily via train to Washington, DC, so I get to see what people, young and old, use as well. I'm a user surrounded by other users. Terms are used interchangeably in the real world. So, for purposes of discussion here, I will refer to earphones as the little ones that people usually use with their iPods, and headphones as the big ones that the cameraman or director in a TV or recording studio uses.

Earphones - There are numerous reviews of the more expensive earbuds and in-ear earphones (the little ones). If you want to check out the reviews in one place, you can do so on Apple's web site (go to "Store," and look under "iPod"/"Earphones"). Some of the more expensive earphones are: Shure, Bose, V-MODA, JBL, Sennheiser, Sony, and Bang & Olufson. Sony also makes less expensive versions. For further reviews, make a list, then Google each one.

Headphones - There are basically two types: around-ear and on-ear. And some models are of the noise-cancelling variety, meaning that they block outside noises through various means. All the same manufacturers, except for maybe V-MODA, make regular-sized headphones (the big ones), like you see people wearing in recording studios. Again, Sony also makes both moderately-priced and expensive headphones. While I love my Bose TriPort and Sony MDR-V600 (both around-ear) headphones, I use them only occasionally at home, and they are not really meant for listening while traveling. However, there are some -- mostly young people wearing lots of bling -- who do use the big headphones in travel mode.

So, getting back to earphones ... I've been using the earbud-type earphones that came with my iPod, and have been satisfied with them. I also have the Sony Fontopia MDR-EX51LP in-ear earphone, but choose not to use them for two reasons:
- My natural tendency -- I think most people do this -- is to listen to my music louder and louder. I think in-ear earphones are way too easy to turn up to dangerously loud levels, without realizing, that could eventually impair my hearing. So I'm trying to "listen healthy" with earbuds instead (My iPod also lets me limit its loudness).
- I also want to be able to hear beyond my iPod, in case of emergency. In-ear earphones block out surrounding noises moreso than earbuds do. So, I'm satisfied with the earbud-type earphones that came with my iPod. But what about the sound quality of the earphones that come with an iPod?

Well, a recent test was conducted by gizmodo.com, and they found that, in the under $30.00 category, Apple's earbuds -- the ones included with your iPod -- actually tested the best. Here's the URL to the test:


I hope this helps.

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