New headphones are my No. 1 recommendation to anyone who wants to get the most out of their new MP3 player. (Except, of course, for those who decided to go with the Sony NWZ-A810 series or the Zune 80.) Straight up: Those janky, plastic buds that came with your player aren't doing you any favors. First off, they're not terribly comfortable, and they don't fit most users securely--for me, there are few things more annoying than having to constantly shove a hard piece of plastic into my ear. Then of course there's the sound-quality issue...hollow, … Read more
It's hard to figure out which pair of earphones will best match your taste in music. Even after carefully considering all the hundreds of options, trolling audiophile forums, and finding the best price, the fact of the matter is that everybody's ears are different. What's right for the metalhead may not be right for the jazz fan.
A startup company named Sleek Audio is making a bold attempt to address listeners' fickle listening preferences by allowing them to customize bass and treble performance with an interchangeable set of high-frequency filters and bass ports. Sound complicated? Well, it … Read more
Meet Jack. Jack hates tangled earphone wires. He's a bit of a neat freak, actually, but that's good news for you. Jack would just love to help you keep your cords free from tricky twists and gnarled knots, if only you would give him a chance. Just throw your earbuds over Jack's shoulders, twist the cable around his neck and feet, stick the plug in his hand, and Jack's a happy camper. Chances are you will be, too, because instead of spending time detangling cords, you can get right to listening to your music. Jack will … Read more
As rumors continue to swirl about Shaq retiring, we've got an idea for his post-NBA career: as a pitchman for these giant earphone speakers. He's one of the few living giants who could probably fit them in his ears.
The rest of us will have to keep them on the desk beside the computer, which most likely would be a Mac. (Why else would anyone buy a pair of speakers designed to look like the iPod's standard white earbuds?) The name, by the way--"500xl"--refers to their supposed dimensions, 500 times larger than the … Read more
At first glance these "Budclicks" might just seem like the latest gimmick to customize your earbuds, an accessory to an accessory. But lest you write them off, consider the history of the "Jibbitz," the wildly popular doodads that kids love to stick on their Crocs.
That idea was started by a stay-at-home mom, who created the decorations with her three children in the basement of their Colorado house--before selling her business to Crocs Inc. for $10 million. Budclicks, as far as we can tell, is essentially the same thing for earphones, at $10 to $15 a … Read more
For some, the passive sound isolation provided by many sets of in-ear headphones just doesn't cut it. But active noise cancellation is a bit difficult to find in an ultracompact package, such as that offered by earbuds. In fact, I can only think of two sets off the top of my head: the JVC HA-NCX77 and the Sony MDR-NC22. Now, I can add one more to my memory bank, Audio-Technica's new ATH-ANC3 QuietPoint earbuds. Unlike many noise-canceling headphones that only succeed in blocking out low frequency sound, the ATH-ANC3 uses a patented technology that matches environmental noise with … Read more
Philips has announced plans to release a line of Swarovski crystal earbuds, available just in time for Valentine's Day. Priced at $99, the Philips Active Crystals earbuds feature a stainless steel body, fabric cable, silicon in-ear caps, and single neodymium drivers with a 16 ohm impedance.
The Active Crystal earbuds are part of Philips' larger launch of women-focused products, including crystal-studded USB drives and home electronics that feature a softer, more elegant design aesthetic.
Woodworkers have had a field day with the design of various consumer electronics products, with sylvan finishes in everything from TVs and PCs to cameras and keyboards. Even J. Lo has gone with the grain in her signature line of USB drives.
But wood in earbuds? It hardly seems worth the trouble for JVC's new HP-FX500 ear buds, which Slippery Brick says are made with birch, as well as hybrid drivers that include a "dampening gel" to improve stability and noise cancellation. Then again, this is a company that's known for its unconventional use of lumber … Read more
In the perfect utopia that exists only inside my head, all cell phones and MP3 players incorporate A2DP, also known as stereo Bluetooth. As a result, they're all compatible with stereo Bluetooth headsets like the Plantronics Voyager 855, which CNET rated 8/10, and which Newegg currently has on sale for $57.99, shipped. That's a pretty big savings over the $149.95 list price.
During business hours, the Voyager 855 functions as a fairly standard headset, albeit one with a cool sliding boom mic. When you want to get your groove on, you just connect the second … Read more
As mobile phones continue their march in to the music world, their accessories increasingly resemble those previously reserved for media players. Just yesterday we saw a pair of Bluetooth headphones designed for both music and phone reception, complete with touch-sensitive controls.
Now Nokia, which has been among the more aggressive phone makers to market music equipment for its handsets, has come up with a couple of new headsets that will let you listen to MP3s until a call comes in, then automatically shut them off so you can talk. Even better, it'll pick up where the song left off … Read more