The Trouble With Buying Wireless Headphones

I never realized how much of a pain in the ass it is to purchase wireless headphones these days. Part of this is that most earbuds go in your ear canal. I hate that. Makes me feel like I have a cold with stuffed up ears. I can hear myself breathing, and words are amplified in my head. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people like these. Perhaps it’s because they’ve been conditioned to enjoy them, like they’ve been conditioned to listen to and enjoy that really, really shit “today’s hit music”? Dance club music is meant to dance to, not go “Oh, that’s good stuff!”

And how do people actually work out to that stuff? Seriously, gotta play metal or rock. Upbeat. Not dance crap or Taylor Swift style garbage. Perhaps uptempo Country or Classical or Jazz would be OK. Heavy metal is still the best. Slayer, Testament, Annihilator, Megadeath, etc.

BTW, the best earbuds I have ever had are a pair of wired Sony’s, have had them for around 20 years. Excellent bass, mid, and treble. Only thing I’ve had to do is replace the foam covers, which are cheap.

A hint on figuring sound quality is to play either Steely Dan’s Aja or Pink Floyd’s Any Color You Like, whether headphones, stereo, car, soundbar. Especially when you are adjusting sound. This is something pros do, I got the hint from them. And if you want to really hear what the bass is doing, play Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell. Between the bass guitar and bass drum (which are real, not computer generated), you can hear if the bass resonates. Funny, the best I’ve had is my old 2006 Jeep Liberty. Not the greatest speakers, but, good stereo, and really resonated.

Anyhow, I wanted two new pairs. One for just general listening, like when chilling at work, which could also be used for talking to people. After giving a pair of Skullcandy ones that go in ear canal (returned immediately), I got a pair of JBL Tune 225‘s to replace the cheapos I have (they’re nice, comfy, stay in ear, loud, just OK sound quality), which were on sale for $59.99. They’re actually very good. Comfy, stay in, excellent sound quality, especially mid-range and treble. Could use a bit more bass, and be a bit louder, but, most bluetooth are not that loud anymore. Devices and headsets limit you, to avoid lawsuits. These ones are True Wireless, which means there is no wire between the two speakers. Think Apple Airpods. Keeping these.

The call quality is very good. I’ve talked to a few people wearing just the left one while wearing a mask (can’t take them off even for calls inside), and no one has complained about not hearing me.

Then, need to replace my workout ones. I’ve had a pair of Avantree Jogger Plus since August 10, 2016. I’ve used them, conservatively, 800 times. Still work, just getting beat up and a bit rusty from sweat. Very comfy, loud enough, dependable, not the greatest for bass and mid-range. First I tried Plantronics Backbeat 3150‘s. Not loud, good sound, very stationary (True Wireless), and the rubber digs into your inner ear. Right back to store.

I tried Sony CH510’s. These are over the ear. Sound excellent, volume great, comfy on ears. Headband beyond uncomfortable, just digs into your skull. Maybe if you have a giant head of hair you’ll be fine. Right back to store.

Next up was Skullcandy Push Ultra (True Wireless), which I really, really wanted to like. Very comfortable, good sound, could be louder. The problem is that the sound doesn’t seem to project. But, good enough for gym. Unfortunately, the earbuds like to cut in and out. And completely out. Rather a pain in the ass 10 minutes in to the treadmill and the right or left cuts totally out. Exchanged. Second pair? Same. This is the most disappointing, because they would have been perfect.

Next up, Jabra Elite 45H. These are over the ear. No clue how they sound, because I tried them for fit outside the store today, and they are so slippery that any minor movement causes them to fall off. Immediately exchanged for Plantronics Backbeat 505 over the ear. Good sound, comfy, still not stable enough to use at the gym. Heck, they were moving too much walking up and down the stairs and sitting down on the couch. Going back.

I might try the Jlab Audio Flex Sport, I would still like better sound for gym time. If not, back to the Avantree ones.

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6 Responses to “The Trouble With Buying Wireless Headphones”

  1. Steve says:

    I love my Bose wired pair. They come with three or four flexible cones that you choose which one fits best.

    I’ve gotten used to having things stuck in my ear – snoring dogs at night will make earplugs a necessity for anyone.

    Sadly, I’ve lost those ear buds and will need to get a new wireless pair to go with a new plug-less iPhone.

  2. Joe says:

    Slowly getting used to them. I needed to go that route after turning my head to look at a tree and sinking my I Pod in the hot tub. Damn wires on headphones were too short.

  3. Bose are excellent. I have a pair of wired ear buds, fall out too easy though, so I use them when I hook my guitar up to my little Rockman guitar amp.

    I’ve had them yanked out too many times, so, I went to wireless years ago, plus, got a nice pair when I worked for ATT.

  4. Dana says:

    If you think that ‘earbids’ that go in your ear canal are bad, try being ¾ deaf and having to wear hearing aids.

  5. DCE says:

    I can’t stand the damned things. I’ve tried using various earbuds and other in-ear headphones and never had any that were comfortable except for one pair that I bought from Radio Shack years ago, and they are now failing. So I stick with my over-the-ear headphones. Then again I’ve worn the OTE headsets for decades during my flying days and headphones during my audio engineering days.

    One advantage to the over-the-ear headphones: People pretty much know you can’t hear them when you’re wearing them unlike the earbuds which aren’t always visible.

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