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twm53

Buying New Earphones

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On 9/22/2018 at 10:42 PM, aeroLai said:

Fair point. I know I had a pair of headphones that started crapping out on me after using them for mowing the lawn and I sweated a bit haha. 

fwiw - sweat is one reason I am looking for good all around BT pair but thinking IP rating might be worth it. I got an aukey supposed to be sweat resistant about 4 yrs ago on half price sale so figured it was a cheap way to try out BT for convenience when mowing and whatnot - I sweat tons due to the heat of south FL. They weren't very good sound wise - seemed very weak on upper mids to highs - but for mowing not a big deal. Worse part was the thin rubber eartips - good fit was uncomfortable so had to switch to largest size to keep them from hurting, but over time the sweat may be the reason they act flaky now. I figure if not IP rated then simple plastic housings that snap together could allow moisture to enter and eventually ruin them. Its hard to know if these plastic housings are actually sealed or not if there is no IP rating.

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22 hours ago, chconline said:

Yep, of course aptX is better and as you have pointed out, it does have an objective positive effect on sound quality. The frequency response charts you are referencing is reflective of what I've experienced in my tests, but I 100% agree most people vastly overstate their listening capabilities. It is certainly not "abysmal" compared to wired in most cases.

However, I think it is important to point out that wired versus wireless has more variables than you would think. If I run my headphones with a high end amplifier and DAC compared to Bluetooth with the integrated DAC unamped on the headphones itself, then I don't think that's an apples to apples comparison either. Of course, one would ask what is an "average" DAC and source, amplified or not? Also, some headphones have better integrated DACs than others, which is not entirely based on the wireless compression algorithm either. It's a tricky business and you're going to see more variance between products than you think.

Hate to beat a dead horse but reading another review just a bit ago: "Then there’s the codec support. You’ll get AAC and aptX compatibility which we think should be the minimum requirements for all headphones. Neither is the best codec available (keep an eye out for the upcoming aptX adaptive), but they’re leaps better than the standard SBC codec that all wireless earbuds default to."  This is from the sennheiser HD1review. Leaps better?  

My wife has the wired SE215 and I do like the sound from them wired - but I'm not sure I trust them when doing heavy sweating - especially the cable connection, although I guess that part would be easy to remove to dry off. Anyway, my hunt and my reading continue!

 

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I think SQ is a chain of things and the protocol is one factor but it's not always the limiting factor. For the cables I think most of the wear from sweat is just because sweat is acidic and eats through the rubber. Have you considered true wireless like Apple Earpods?

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1 hour ago, TL6MT said:

I think SQ is a chain of things and the protocol is one factor but it's not always the limiting factor. For the cables I think most of the wear from sweat is just because sweat is acidic and eats through the rubber. Have you considered true wireless like Apple Earpods?

Ya, I agree - with wireless there are a ton of factors. But if I’m going to spend $100 or more - I’m inclined to be a bit anal about doing my research as much as possible. 

I’m not too concerned about wear from sweating - I’m also anal about cleaning my gear after a workout. I’m more concerned about infiltration. Sweat is salty as well - it’s why our electrolytes can get out of whack when we get dehydrated. Salt is highly corrosive. Infiltration between casing parts or at cable entrances is the biggest risk if not IP rated. 

As for wirefree - I’m a little afraid if one piped out, I might mow over it. At least with connecting wire, it’s unlikely both would pop out so the one would support the other and give me time to readjust them.

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9 hours ago, chconline said:

Earpods sit really well in your ears. You don't get noise isolation though.

Noise isolation to a fair extent is a big deal for mowing, yard work, and often the gym. Another reason I got the receiver to try was because the flimsy Aukey tips are a poor seal. I figured with the receiver I could use my ety’s or ue’s with the foam tips - I get comfort plus decent isolation but the receiver didn’t overcome the cord yanking as I had hoped. Clipped onto my tee shirt, it always falls off. In my pocket it yanks on the cord or it snags on something. I’m ok with a short cord behind my head. Pretty sure I’d hate a neck band type which is one reason I’m not overly sure about the beats x - probably best option for an iPhone but not if the neck band irritates. Jaybirds get decent reviews but I don’t like the proprietary charge cable. So I’m thinking either sennheiser hd-1 free or shure se215bt and not worry about the sweat or worry about the sweat so go for the sennheiser cx sport or Optoma sport or maybe Bose sport (although their build quality seems to be really poor - my sons are coming apart in under 2 yrs). Fwiw, it’s nice to be retired and have this as my biggest decision to obsess over ;) 

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I hate doing that - I know these big retailers can handle the expense of selling as open box return, its just I hate buying just to try  - now if I do my homework and narrow it down to just 2 or 3, then ya, that is an option. Fwiw, my wife has the SE215 but only wired so at least I can get a sense for the feel and general sound - I like them btw - but need to try them longer to be sure. My son has the bose sport so I can try those but really not feeling confident on the build quality - a little over year and they are coming apart everywhere. So I guess its try to find the sennheiser and optoma locally - sennheiser maybe, optoma, I doubt. in the big picture, I'm probably over obsessing over this far more than necessary - plus I just found some of these little bluetooth receivers with AAC support so maybe I'll stop saving my old Bose QC15 for travel and leisure and use them more often around the house. and use my Ety's for outdoors and gym. options!

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Yeah money certainly is an issue, especially $100 isn't a small sum. The thing is with audio products, $100 is not a lot :(

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54 minutes ago, chconline said:

Yeah money certainly is an issue, especially $100 isn't a small sum. The thing is with audio products, $100 is not a lot :(

I know - sadly - like everything, not just audio - there is a price for high end - but I definitely do not need a $1000 Porsche level earphones for mowing the lawn or taking a bike ride - so as I consider active use earphones, I think I could do just as well with a $100 or so Honda level - definitely not the under $50 Ford type though. My $300 Bose 10 yrs ago are about the same now for the current version so it seems price ranges are roughly holding in the same tiers. For active use -  I just want decent sound quality without an overly emphasized low end with clear mids and crisp highs - the finer nuances of audio require two things I am not providing - high end source material and wires so why bother getting whetstones, its over kill. When there is mower engine in the background or gym music thumping away that I'm trying to simply over come with some chill music as I crank away on a recumbent bike, I just want comfortable listening - I've just been reading so many reviews about sport types that are heavy on the low end, that it's caused me to step back and read up on all I can to try to avoid the hassle of choosing something obviously not right for my preferences. Since I am managing to sell off some of my unused stuff on ebay, I'm upping my budget to $150 or so. Bose SoundSport seem decent but I'm waiting to see how they respond to my son's pair coming apart in a bit over 1 year - it is past warranty but it seems to be more widespread than just a few outliers so I sent a tech support contact some photos and his serial number to see if they might replace them - not holding my breath though.

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1 hour ago, chconline said:

Haha yeah, first world problems. Or maybe they have demo units available?

ya, really - such trauma we have to deal with ;)  I had a wait at an apple store not long ago so tried their demos - mostly the over or on ear headsets - mostly beats but I was surprised they were halfway decent, not the bass thumpers I imagined but I understand the in ear models are far different. Didn't see any in-ear models on demo - maybe now that they are more popular - the store was packed so a little noisy - I just felt weird putting on something 5000 other people had recently handled. There is a bestbuy not too far I might go by to check. Otherwise not much here that would beckon me to deal with the traffic and crowds. If you've ever been to the Miami area, its no fun, especially during snowbird season.

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Well if they're more worn, it means they're nicely broken in :lol: Let us know how your search goes!

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You guys have been fun to discuss head/earphones so some updates:

I did a bit of a bluetooth comparison, a very limited highly subjective comparison - I managed to get my mini bluetooth receiver to pair with my iphone - it was acting up and wouldn't pair and is still flaky but since I got it working I decided to try a side by side listening - it is about 2 yrs old without AAC vs. wired. I used both my Bose QC15 and my old etymotic 6i I think is the model wired devices. Frankly the difference was night and day - when wired both are deep, full sounding, crystal clear with great range - connect via BT with only SBC and its like a dark cloud ruined a sunny day - the range became limited and lost a certain cleanness, and most definitely a greater loss on the high end. I was somewhat surprised the difference was so drastic. My ears are pretty old and been through quite a bit. Obviously I know there are a lot of electronics processing in the BT receiver that could be a bigger contributor than just the codec, plus I don't have an equal device with AAC to compare. But it tells me in a general sense that I may prefer having a device with AAC.

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It’s 2-3 yrs old - FosPower and, ya, I’d say low quality. Was a cheap way to try out the concept by investing very little. Since it does have potential I may try again with a better unit. I’m finding not too many have aac support. To be certain I’m emailing support for info - also tells me a bit about the company if I don’t get any replies or if their written descriptions say one thing and support says another. 

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Yeah, you're not just comparing the protocol at that point. The receiver probably has a poor quality DAC, etc. I've compared wired versus wireless using the V-MODA Crossfade II Wireless (you can operate it in wired mode), and while you can tell the difference, you have to pay pretty close attention and it is certainly not night and day.

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I am sure electronics play a big role - I guess I was just surprised it was so noticeable. Never really thought much about how sound gets reproduced via bluetooth until just recently.

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Yeah the receiver/transmitter quality makes a big difference. Things you learn.

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11 minutes ago, TL6MT said:

Yeah the receiver/transmitter quality makes a big difference. Things you learn.

I do enjoy learning new things - helps to “exercise” my aging brain. Read some decent reviews of Fiio mu BTR and BTR1k as best available under $50. Guess the 1k has better dac. But at under $30 the mu might be good enough for casual use. Seems like best are maybe a bit too big or heavy to comfortably clip to a t-shirt. Anyway, something else to research. 

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I think for $50 you generally won't see anything that decent. Even at $100, most products are pretty meh at best.

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1 hour ago, chconline said:

I think for $50 you generally won't see anything that decent. Even at $100, most products are pretty meh at best.

The mu or micro version lacks a dac and I guess is no better than competitors in that price range, no charts that I could find. But specs on the btr1k and btr3 seem pretty decent, assuming their freq response charts are honest. I haven’t seen any BT earphones any better. I haven’t been tested in years but I doubt I could hear the drop off that appears to be above 15khz give or take - which again makes me question the value of aac over SBC. But it does seem like having a decent dedicated dac offers a better chance for better quality versus barebones bt receivers. 

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On 2/25/2019 at 1:17 PM, twm53 said:

The mu or micro version lacks a dac and I guess is no better than competitors in that price range, no charts that I could find. But specs on the btr1k and btr3 seem pretty decent, assuming their freq response charts are honest. I haven’t seen any BT earphones any better. I haven’t been tested in years but I doubt I could hear the drop off that appears to be above 15khz give or take - which again makes me question the value of aac over SBC. But it does seem like having a decent dedicated dac offers a better chance for better quality versus barebones bt receivers. 

There's more to Audio than just AAC or SBC, but the Frequency chart is a good start. It can't measure things like how Warm/Clean/Soundstaging Etc the sound is though.

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Yup. For sure - lots to consider. But for use outside doing yard work, too much ambient noise to really obsess over sound quality nuances. Fwiw, I got my mini bluetooth receiver to work again - dropped it, tried it and it connected to my phone. I can old guess something maybe got between the external button and the inner button. It’s minimal - BT 4.1 csr8635 chip is all I know besides no codec beyond SBC. So I’m using it with my old etymotic-6i and Bose qc15. The etys sounded significantly better wired but I also had to change to foam eartips for a better fit to keep them from falling out - it seemed to improve the sound both wired and on the btr, so I’ll have to repeat the comparison with different music genres to get a better sense of the difference. For the Bose, wired definitely has better overall clarity, range and a certain depth, but I was surprised at the relatively good sound when on the btr. I’ll try out my wife’s shure se215 to compare as well. But overall with a decent headset or earphones, the btr certainly meets my needs for casual listening while running around the yard with a trimmer or mower. With the Bose I can wrap the wire around the headband and clip on the receiver so the wire stays out of the way - great for mowing duty. For exercise/gym, more suitable Bluetooth earphones makes more sense. At the moment I’m leaning to the Bose sound sport or the Optoma be4 sport. 

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