Sunday, January 23, 2011

Headphone Review and such....

I think it was last month, in December, when i won a drawing for headphones from our friends over at @RunVermont (web site here). The headphones were unlike any i had seen before; they are designed to sit OUTSIDE your ear, rather than IN your ear. Odd, right? Well, here's what the company says is the reason behind this philosophy:
"The open ear design utilizes the ear to its full advantage by optimizing the ears’ natural ability to interpret sound while allowing users full awareness of their surroundings. Add life to your music! Free your ears! “Using proprietary InAir Technology, AirDrives break the sound barrier that isolates music lovers from their environment.” You shouldn’t have to choose between music and social interaction. AirDrives address the growing health and safety issues and their open architecture means there are no uncomfortable buds in your ears."
I was curious, but a bit skeptical. One of the troubles that I have had in the past with traditional earphones is that they don't seat themselves well in my ear, and constantly fall out or require readjusting. I eventually found a pair of phones with over the ear hooks. This dramatically increased their stability in my ear. I have also experimented with tethering the chord so that it doesn't bounce too much, thus reducing the stress on the ear piece. So when I read that these sit outside my ear, I was skeptical (did i mention that already? sorry...)
A nice little package arrived, and this was inside:
The packaging was a bit more that I thought necessary, but it did look very 'cool'. It did take my wikkid sharp garden shears to cut through the plastic, but I managed without a trip to the ER, so...WIN! Inside was a  fairly big instruction booklet, which i promptly discarded as any self-respecting male would. I mean, really. They are headphones. How much instruction should I really need (don't answer that, Tracey)?
Also included in the packaging was a cute little carrying bag to store the headphones in when not in use. Clever. I like that, since I usually just chuck them into my backpack when i am done, and then have a heck of a time untangling them before each use. I wound them up neatly and placed them in the bag, to get ready for the next time i might be able to use them.
THAT didn't happen until we went to Baltimore over New Year's weekend.
I ran early enough in the morning that traffic wasn't too much of an issue, but i wasn't too keen on the industrial-ness of the area, so i kept the music fairly low. One thing that i did notice was that I had to turn the volume all the way UP on my {droid}just so that i could hear the music. I switched to my mp3 player, but had to do the same thing. no worries, off i ran. The first day i went out there was no traffic, and i stayed on back streets, so there was no real background noise to worry about. On the second day, however, I went out a little later. City buses were on the prowl for commuters and such. When I ran on the parts that took me along the main road, the music was completely lost to the sound of the cars and the buses.
This disappointed me, in that i wanted to still hear my music AND the road noise. 

Here is a link to the company's site. Check them out for more details. They have video tutorials and all that fun, jazzy, web-stuff that you won't find here.
So lemme wrap this up:

The Good:
sound quality. 
allowed me to hear other things, not just my music/podcast/etc.
adjustable over the ear things that held them in place very well.

The Bad:
required me to turn up the volume too high, which shortens battery life.
music was completely drowned out in traffic areas.
when wearing them in the car, other people could hear the music, too, which annoyed the crap out of them.

If you have a tough time with earphones staying put, these are a GREAT alternative.
If you need to hear other things around you because you frequently run in traffic and such, then these are GREAT.
If you want to disappear into your music and become oblivious to everything else, don't buy these.

FCC mumbo-jumbo: I was fortunate enough to win these, and the opinions are my own.


  1. These are not for me. I need noise canceling, ear deaffening, brain splitting head phones. going to be interesting though once I take to the road. Will I need to change and hear more?