Last 2 weeks I have started a new job at a plastics plant making J-Hooks and the pipe attachments that go under your toilet.
Haha shitty job poop jokes.
I have wanted some earbuds for some time that weren’t going to be a pain in the ass to keep in. I haveu a pair of Altec Lansing bluetooth earbuds that sound great, stay charged for 35 hours with audio going, great all around BUT… They fall out. These JBL ones seem to be better. For a good reason.
They got a big chunk of rubber filling your ear.
For 20 bucks you get something that won’t fall out even if you catch the wire on something momentarily, has decent audio (though not perfect, more on that in a bit) and actually cancel out a lot more noise than I expected.
I bought the black ones because I’m not ACTUALLY supposed to have anything at work. Its what people would probably call a sweatshop, but its a factory of sorts they’re all pretty much like that. I’m not supposed to because theres a hi-lo rolling around. However, the hi lo doesn’t really go near the workstations, so probably the reason the rule exists is some dumbass with beats got hit by the hi-lo and had to go to the hospital.
I’m not saying I’m so much more careful, but the FM radio’s get tiring.
So, point is they won’t fall out, and I wear black and have a beard. Unless you are really looking, you won’t otherwise see them. That might be important to someone.
Now. Sound. FREQ Response is 20 to 20, 20 hz to 20khz. What you want optimally is 8 to 32 in a normal set of headphones. 4 to 60 is where it starts to be 2-400 bucks for a really good reason (its because they sound real if you have good audio files and DAC, at least to me lol), and any higher is just excessive unless you’re an audio engineer.
Or really stupid.
So with these being 2-20 that means they’re shit right? Just bung to it and buy that 65 dollar pair you’re looking at on amazon? Well, I would say that depends on what you look for in audio. Are you listening to music? Voices? Many drumbeats or a flowing melody? I have a couple benchmarks for sound quality, driver performance, and separation.
These are just the tracks that I used last night for a few hours, and there are a few more that I could test with that could tell me a little more about how these earbuds act, but I have a pretty good opinion I think.
So any bass increase on EQ you’re going to get driver rattle. Basically if you listen to bass boosted meme music its that but actually physically shaking in your ear. Not great. VLC on Android phones lets you adjust EQ all over the place from 31hz up to 16khz. Might be a sound card limitation depending on the phone, but I’m using this with a phone exclusively for the most part.
So with the first track I’m not so much listening to the track itself, but to the blank space. I’m looking for if theres any static there. If your driver has a meh wire connection or its made out of less than stellar materials there will be static there and it will annoy you if you like your music. Though if you’re in a loud factory you won’t notice. I just want to not have my MDR-XB950‘s in a car by the hood.
You can get more out of that mix, but I’m after the beats at the start for the most part.
Next is high and low end at the same time. Is there good separation? OEr is it just muddy and mixed together? Does it turn into a tone in the middle instead of two separate tones?
Last track I’m looking for crackles that the headphones make by themselves from constant variation in pitch. Its the most annoying thing and the most common thing I see in cheap headphones because most of them are just shitty all around. Cheap enough that a middle schooler can go gather cans and pay 10 bucks. Most skullcandy earbuds are a good example of this, but the 6-10 dollars is ridiculously cheap. And if you don’t care and just want something cheap and popping and crackling doesn’t bother you too much, those are great.
Well, these surprisingly don’t do any of that stuff aside from really bad driver shake.
Being 20-20 they don’t have a low end per-se. As soon as you do under 20hz in range they might freak out a little bit or they ignore the sound until you up the EQ a bunch. They are really flat though, surprisingly, and favor low-mid to highs. So lo-fi sorta stuff is out of the question, but because they can separate sounds so well anything from speedcore and drum n bass to really complex metal is going to sound fine. I’m relatively surprised by that, personally. But then again, JBL like quality no matter the price range.
As for the massive chunks of rubber… Well they aren’t uncomfortable. My issue with earbuds is that they always feel foreign and bug the shit outta me and then they fall out and that pisses me off. These fill out enough of your ear canal that, once gotten used to, you forget they are there. I like over-ear headphones for that. I generally listen to music or podcasts 100%b of the time I am awake if at all possible. So that these kinda stop feeling like they are in my ears boosts my favor with them.
Now, yeah. They are 20 bucks. But I can tell they are sorta designed after in-ear monitors, sorta trying to be quality for they price point, but the driverls are cheap enough that they aren’th over 25 bucks.
You know what, I like that. As a person who uses over-ear headphones and goes for good enough quality, I’m not dropping 200 bucks on a pair for the hell of it and my XB950‘s are good at 230 (being as good in bluetooth audio as they are wired, just holy shit), but you need ones you can lose. These are 20 bucks, and good enough. Great for voices, great for general music like electronic, classical, jazz (all that I listen to atm), and probably really good for rock though I’m not in a mood for rock lol.
Rings of Saturn would be an amazing test to see if they buzz, but I doubt they will.
Anyways. Good for 20 bucks. Better than expected. Normally these ones that I see claiming that they’ll never fall out always do. Turning your head, jumping, they just do. These don’t! And I’m not sure they ever will. I’ll be picking up another 2 or 3 pairs of these for when this first pair dies.