l33tminion: (Music Metroid)
Sam ([personal profile] l33tminion) wrote2017-05-30 02:34 pm
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The End of the Rabbit-Ears

Almost as long as I've been carrying an audio-player everywhere, I've been equipping myself with a pair of Sony MDR-J10 earbuds. I first bought those because they were some of the cheapest earbuds I could pick up at (soon-to-be the late) Radio Shack. But I've kept buying them because they're some of the most comfortable earbuds I've tried.

Most of the earbuds I've encountered have an earplug-like cylindrical or hemispherical design which places the speaker on a circular face covering the opening of the ear canal. The MDR-J10s, on the other hand, has a "half-moon" speaker design: The hemispherical earbud sits with its flat face perpendicular to the opening of the ear, and the speaker is on the half of that face that sits within the ear canal. While this is obviously worse in terms of sound isolation, I like earbuds that interfere less with my ability to hear ambient audio, in particular because this allows me to better pursue my favorite hobby: Not getting run over.

The over-ear clips are also great. They conveniently hook to a shirt collar or pocket when not in use, and I find the curved, flexible design more comfortable than alternate designs that feature elastics or hinged joints.

The only downside is the low durability. And given relative ease of breaking (or losing) even more-durable earbuds, I'd rather have a bunch of cheap earbuds than fewer more-durable ones.

The problem is, these were evidently never a commercial success. Sony no longer makes them or anything with that form-factor. The very length of time I was able to purchase these earbuds deadstock (still packed in tiny ziplocks, never made it to retail packaging) after they were no longer available at retail attests to that. But the last time I went to purchase more, my previous supplier was out, and I had to resort to buying a bunch from some eBay-er shipping from China. Eventually, I just won't be able to find these at a reasonable price.

So I guess I'm keeping an ear out for alternative headphone suggestions. If there's in fact a clone of that design I've missed, that's ideal, but I'm on the lookout for anything that's comfortable to wear basically all the time, has reasonable sound quality, and keeps exterior audio unobstructed enough that I can hear an oncoming bus.
peristaltor: (Default)

[personal profile] peristaltor 2017-05-30 11:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I, er, hear ya.

I haven't tried the half-moon plugs, but they sound good. No matter; I'm firmly in the over-the-ear clip camp myself. I never cover more than one ear while out walking in public. That whole don't-get-ambushed by large moving things.

I get the retractable cord over-the-ear set, which tend to be more durable simply because I found with headphones in general the first thing to go were the cords. Retracting the cords cuts down on wear dramatically.

But yeah, I'm in the same position as yourself, without a good supplier. Luckily, I bought in bulk last time, stocking up on three sets of retractable-cord phones without a glimmer of English printed on the packaging. At this rate, I'm good for a few more years.
mindstalk: (Default)

[personal profile] mindstalk 2017-05-31 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
Haven't heard of the design you mention, and can't really visualize it.

My life and Consumer Reports have taught me that Panasonic is the god of durable electronics, and after multiple earbuds dying on me (i.e. one bud stops working), I decided to look for them. I had to order off Amazon, and got 3 sets, $10 each.

I'm still on my first set, over a year later.

They also have a switch that sends a pause signal to my phone, though my computer doesn't notice.

Don't know the exact model, though I'd taken notes on "ergo-fit RP-TCM125".

They've got a funky part flat part in-canal design.
mindstalk: (Default)

[personal profile] mindstalk 2017-05-31 02:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, speaking of cheap earphones: I found some at Dollar Tree, about a dollar each! Got 3 different ones. But when I opened the packages, they smelled of plastic and chemicals so strongly I was afraid to touch them again, and threw them out.
katuah: (Default)

[personal profile] katuah 2017-06-01 03:08 am (UTC)(link)
Not much help here, I suppose: I don't wear over-the-ear-hooked 'phones, as they bang on my glasses frames. I also do not like buds that imitate plugs, as they do tend to stop up the canal and deaden sound to an extreme degree. My compromise has been either lightweight oldschool headphones, or buds with these tiny soft rubber "hooks" that fit in the grooves of your outer ear to hold the bud in place over the canal. Google "earhooks" or "earhoox" and you will get the idea.