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    Headphones

    I figured I'd go with a general thread title just in case anyone else has headphones questions. I've been using earbuds for the past decade or so when commuting/traveling because my messenger bag is usually full and I don't want to carry the Grado headphones I use at home or at work. The earbuds are fine for shorter commutes but if I use them on a plane, I'm basically good for 2 hours before my ears start to hurt. And that's a drag for red eye flights from the US to Europe. The earbuds I have now are better than the Apple earbuds but still don't feel good. So, I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations for small, portable headphones that sound good, feel good on the ears, don't take up too much space in a bag, and won't leak too much (i.e., disturb whoever is sitting next to me on a plane or the subway). I'm thinking of something like the old Walkman headphones but with good sound.

    #2
    I know they're not really what you're looking for in terms of form factor but I use the JVC HA-FX98T (catchy, huh?) Bluetooth earbuds.

    They're pretty comfortable (and I am very particular about this - most earphones do not sit well in my lugs at all), sound quality is good (nice dynamic range; decent bass and treble without being too overwhelming), audio bleed is negligible and best of all, they're not too expensive. I think they're currently about 17 on Amazon - I paid a bit more but I have had them for about 18 months now.

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      #3
      I have never had any but I have always imagined that it would be ludicrously easy to lose Bluetooth headphones. Not only are they small and not tied together with cable, but normal earphones fall out of my ear from time to time (which is a mere annoyance rather than the problem it would be with Bluetooth ones)

      How are these things not a hassle?

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        #4
        I admit that could be an issue but mine aren't the Apple-style buds - they're tethered together with about 18" of cable. The controls sit about 3" from the right bud and also houses the battery. I bought a portable pill box to use as a caddy.

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          #5
          Have you tried ones with earhooks?
          I've got some Bose QC30s but you can get much cheaper cans with similar anchors.
          It means you don't need to stuff them in so far, which makes them more comfortable.

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            #6
            I would suggest trying some bone conduction headphones that won't be in your ear at all, but that's not going to be much good on a flight when you want to block out the noise. Frankly I'd say suck it up on the size and get some good over-ear headphones like the QC35s or the new Sony ones.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Ginger Yellow View Post
              I would suggest trying some bone conduction headphones that won't be in your ear at all, but that's not going to be much good on a flight when you want to block out the noise. Frankly I'd say suck it up on the size and get some good over-ear headphones like the QC35s or the new Sony ones.
              I'm a recent covert to bone conduction headphones - I was forced down that route by road race regulations, but they work really well for me cos I have hearing difficulties stemming from my ear drums. It can be quite surreal listening to music and being able to hear ambient noise at the same time, and yes therefore not particularly useful for blocking out.

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                #8
                I'm currently experimenting with generic cable-free Bluetooth earbuds from Amazon.

                Not bad. Much better for podcasts and audiobooks than for music. But you can only get about four hours before you have to put them back in the case to charge.

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                  #9
                  To Bluetooth or not to Bluetooth? Personally I'm a convert, for casual use. It is much easy to negotiate crowded public transport with no trailing lead, and the ability to stop and start by touching the headphones themselves. As a bonus, you can wear headphones while washing up, washing your face, whatever. They offer a lot.

                  For casual use and down the gym I use the catchily named MDR-ZX330BT, which look a bit plasticky but are excellent sound quality and can be found for about 50 quid.
                  For serious listening to music, I use the classic Sennheiser, HD 25-1, which are used by many broadcasters (as seen on TMS)
                  For comfortable listening I use Beoplay H6 wireless headphones, which are leather and feel great, although the sound quality doesn't justify the price tag.

                  The first two are on ear, the second two over ear, but if you get a good on ear headphone it's nearly as good as over ear.

                  If I did much commuting on underground trains or aeroplanes, I'd consider some noise cancelling ones, but I haven't felt the need as yet.

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                    #10
                    https://www.nuraphone.com/products/nuraphone

                    Had these recommended to me the other day... Really like the idea of buying them on subscription. But I do wonder how you would wear them if, like me in cold weather you wear a woolly hat.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Stumpy Pepys View Post
                      I'm currently experimenting with generic cable-free Bluetooth earbuds from Amazon.

                      Not bad. Much better for podcasts and audiobooks than for music. But you can only get about four hours before you have to put them back in the case to charge.
                      This is what got me to buying the Jaybird Tarah Pro's - they have about 12 hours playtime which is good for if I am running and as typically negligent at charging them as I expect myself to be. For most my long races I can't use headphones but in the event they are allowed I know these will work for me.

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                        #12
                        I've gone through so many earphones. They fall apart and I find that the wireless ones I have are fiddly to charge. The cable falls out and it's hard to figure out if they're charging or not, etc.

                        I'd like a pair that I could wear while running on the treadmill.

                        I've looked at getting the real Apple earbuds. Lots of people have them in the gym, but they are so expensive.

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                          #13
                          They fall apart and I find that the wireless ones I have are fiddly to charge. The cable falls out and it's hard to figure out if they're charging or not, etc.
                          Never encountered this problem and I have used a lot of wireless headphones. They all have lights to indicate the charge status.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Ginger Yellow View Post

                            Never encountered this problem and I have used a lot of wireless headphones. They all have lights to indicate the charge status.
                            Yes, but I never remember what the lights mean! I only ever use them in the gym or on airplanes. That's my fault. But I would like the kind that charge in a little box. That would be easier to deal with and harder to lose, I think. I could tape a Tile tracker thingy to the little box.

                            I don't travel much these days, but I'm looking to get new ones because I'm hoping to do more cardio in the gym. I don't mind not having music when I'm lifting weights, because that's not as painful and tedious. But on the treadmill, it gets boring after about five minutes.*

                            The main problem I have with them is that they don't stay in my ears during exercise. They slide out. Likewise, I don't want to get the big kind that cover the ears because those get drenched in sweat.

                            *The Y I go to does not play music over the speakers, thank God, but they have TVs in front of the cardio gear and two others around the weights. You can listen to the audio if you want by plugging a jack into the treadmill. The choices are Fox News (FFS), ESPN, CNN, and something else - FS1 or some other sports, usually. I usually end up by the one by CNN. But I really don't want to watch any of that. I just want to listen to podcasts, audiobooks and music. Just a quick glimpse of the Fox News one, even without sound, usually makes me depressed. It's just so evil and yet I know that is the main source of input for a huge portion of people over 60.

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                              #15
                              It's pretty much always green = charged, not green = not charged.

                              You might want to try the Jabra Elite Actives (they just released the 75t model, but you can presumably pick up the old 65t model cheaper). The soft earpiece bit comes in three sizes so you can adjust the comfort/slippability factor accordingly. I've never had any problems with them coming out, though admittedly I haven't done cardio using them, only snowboarding. They charge in a box.

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                                #16
                                So, going back to my concern, you don;t ever lose these ear bud type earphones? They don't fall out while you're running, biking, walking, lounging around, whatever?

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                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
                                  So, going back to my concern, you don;t ever lose these ear bud type earphones? They don't fall out while you're running, biking, walking, lounging around, whatever?
                                  I had a pair of non-official-apple ones that did that. I'm not sure where they are right now.

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                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
                                    So, going back to my concern, you don;t ever lose these ear bud type earphones? They don't fall out while you're running, biking, walking, lounging around, whatever?
                                    The ones that actually stick in your ear canal, no. Well, with wired ones, I've had them yanked out by door handles and such. Which is why I'm always wireless these days.

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                                      #19
                                      Are those big-ass Beats headphones worth all the money?

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                                        #20
                                        T
                                        Originally posted by Ginger Yellow View Post
                                        It's pretty much always green = charged, not green = not charged.

                                        You might want to try the Jabra Elite Actives (they just released the 75t model, but you can presumably pick up the old 65t model cheaper). The soft earpiece bit comes in three sizes so you can adjust the comfort/slippability factor accordingly. I've never had any problems with them coming out, though admittedly I haven't done cardio using them, only snowboarding. They charge in a box.
                                        Thanks for that tip.

                                        I'll check out what Best Buy has. I'd like to try them on before I buy them.

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                                          #21
                                          Originally posted by WOM View Post
                                          Are those big-ass Beats headphones worth all the money?
                                          No.

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                                            #22
                                            Originally posted by Ginger Yellow View Post
                                            The ones that actually stick in your ear canal, no. Well, with wired ones, I've had them yanked out by door handles and such.
                                            Oh me too. But that's simply annoying rather than a loss of upwards of 50 quid. And wired ones still fall out from time to time (perhaps I just have sweaty ears)

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                                              #23
                                              I can have that issue, along with what appear to be unusually shaped ear canals. Which has lead me to rely on wired models despite the episodic yank.

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                                                #24
                                                I bought the SoundMagic E10 buds. Very good sound quality for buds, very good build quality as well (they lasted for two years before the cable broke, whereas the Sennheiser ones I had never made it past six months). They come with many different sized rubber tips so you could hopefully find one that fits your ears.

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                                                  #25
                                                  I've been using very cheap MPOW Flame, and now the slightly better MPOW D9 (with better battery life, and also a mic) headphones: cheap, bluetooth, tolerable sound quality, over ear so fairly comfortable, and tethered to each other so I haven't lost them. I'm not sure they'd be great for overnights on a plane, but for every day use, and particularly running, they're exactly what I need. Nothing fancy, nothing noise-cancelling. But remarkable considering that they cost about $20.

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