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unc32
Aug 7, 2003, 12:48 PM
I've seen many brands of ear buds mentioned before. What do you recommend as the best? I'm looking for something good that I can use in the lab plus provide a bit of moise reduction.

Thanks.

Eniregnat
Aug 7, 2003, 01:47 PM
For Noise Reduction

I like these Koss Plugs (http://www.koss.com/koss/kossweb.nsf/02ProductPrint/THEPLUG?OpenDocument)
Great for Noise reduction.

They sound great (10-20,000 Hz), but are a bit hard to get used to at first. They are much less expensive than the equlivlant Sony Fontopia (http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=4m38pBPx0hL8vCzDesD2r1zhpRYqMZ-timM=?CatalogCategoryID=2qEKC0%2eN63UAAAD27LYbuNFv&ProductID=xpgKC0%2eNiPgAAAD2mkcbuNFy&Dept=acc) and have replaceable plugs. The Fontopia have better range (6-23k Hz), but I don't think they sound much better. There is a badged version of the Koss Plugs at RadioShack (http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&category%5Fname=CTLG%5F007%5F003%5F003%5F000&product%5Fid=33%2D1167).

Open headphones are better for ear health. I like the Sony w's (the over the ear clip ons). Closed headphones create more back pressure on the ear. Also it's hard to hear outside noises that could help you avoid danger. I work with expensive closed cell AKG studio monitors and when I get home I want light and small.

These Active noise reduction (http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=4m38pBPx0hL8vCzDesD2r1zhpRYqMZ-timM=?CatalogCategoryID=qC0KC0%2eNfo0AAAD2%2e7YbuNFv&ProductID=G4QKC0%2eNYBkAAAD2obkbuNFz&Dept=acc) buds by Sony are also good, but I don't like the silicon ear inserts.

By the way, most humans hear between 20 (http://www.sfu.ca/sca/Manuals/ZAAPf/r/range.html) and 20,000 Hz (http://www.cs.cf.ac.uk/Dave/Multimedia/node271.html). Range is great, but not the entire story when it comes to a good set of headphones. Responce (how quickly a speaker can change frequency) and distortion are also important concerns. The equal loudness contour for a given frequency is not easly graphed, to further compound the dificulty of finding the "best" set of phones. The Equal Loudness Countour (http://www.sfu.ca/sonic-studio/handbook/Equal_Loudness_Contours.html) shows the threshold of hearing at different frequencies and the apparent levels of equal loudness at different frequencies. I think that most people can
10Hz and below, but the impact is minimal though the ears. Thoes sounds are more "felt" than heard. The only reason that I convey this so that it is in the archive and so audiophiles don't tell you that your nuts if you find something that sounds great to you and not to them.

jbomber
Aug 7, 2003, 03:21 PM
Listen.

Without a doubt, the absolute best earbuds are the Sony MDR-EX51 series. The earbuds extend into your ear canal (which seems scary at first) but sound amazing.

they're around $40-$55 and worth every penny. accept no substitutes.

will_henderson
Aug 7, 2003, 03:38 PM
I'd venture to say an even better option than the sony's are the Shure E2s. These little things are freaking amazing, almost every review I've read puts them at the tops. Cheapest I've see is here (http://shop.store.yahoo.com/earplugstore/shure2isear.html) .

Kwyjibo
Aug 7, 2003, 04:38 PM
I have the same fontopia ones but I bought the white ones off ebay to match my ipod (the white ones are import only) . I must agree that once you get compy with them they are awesome at alsmot everything.

Eniregnat
Aug 7, 2003, 04:39 PM
Just to help you with the links.
The buds that JBomber list are here (http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_ParametricSearch-Start;sid=4m38pBPx0hL8vCzDesD2r1zhpRYqMZ-timM=) and are basicly an older version of the ones I listed from Sony. All of the recomended buds here extend into the ear chanal. I use Sure noise canceling microphones for all of my field recorders (They are a reputable company).A link to the E-2 (http://www.shure.com/earphones/eseries_e2c.asp) at Sure's home is here. They also offer a set with active noise cancelation.

Prices that I can find are like this:

Koss- 14.99 (were 29.99)
Sony Fontopia MDR-EX51 39.99
Sony Fontopia MDR-EX71SL 49.99
Sure E-2 (passive) 79.95 (99.99 MSRP)

Also, I'll list The Gold 20 (http://www.magellans.com/jump.jsp?itemID=2670&itemType=PRODUCT) which I havn't used, but also sit in the canal.

Regardless of what you get, your going to be happy. All of the ones listed have their advantages and disadvantages. I think that I will get the Fontopia buds next. The Koss have several replacement "plugs". The material is soft, just like earplugs. The Fontopia use a silicone rubber like material. The Sure E-2s offer several different sizes of fitting buds in 2 different densities.

jbomber
Aug 7, 2003, 05:11 PM
whoops! i actually meant the 71s. i have both sets but i must have blanked on the model number.

Anyway, for the price, I'd still give my vote to the sony set over the others. once you hit the $100 mark, DJ headphones and other high-end stuff kinda springs to mind.

wowoah
Aug 7, 2003, 05:29 PM
I just got the MDR-EX71SL's and the sound quality is excellent, not to mention the awesome fit and feel. The only thing that's kinda disappointing is the bass, which seems really weak. Has anyone else experienced this as well?

jbomber
Aug 7, 2003, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by wowoah
I just got the MDR-EX71SL's and the sound quality is excellent, not to mention the awesome fit and feel. The only thing that's kinda disappointing is the bass, which seems really weak. Has anyone else experienced this as well?

Actually (and i know this doesn't sound like it makes a lot of sense) I think the MDR-EX51 series had better bass. I remember putting on the newer ones after my old ones shorted out and feeling like i wasn't getting the same kick.

Eniregnat
Aug 7, 2003, 05:46 PM
jbomber is there a diffrence between the two sets? The 51s are 10 dollars cheaper, and have nearly the same specs as the 71s. (By the way Sony offers free shipping on headsets.)

JbomberAn ultra premium malt beverage with all natural vodka flavors
Also, where is you Signature from (http://www.state.vt.us/dlc/descriptions/vodka.html)?
It looks like somebody in Vermont Liquor Control enjoys Vodka as much as you. But where did you get that quote?

RE: Lack of Bass
It's hard to get good low frequency responce with small headsets. Highmass drivers/strong magnets, long travle drivers and acustic chanles seem to be the only way to generate low frequency sounds when there is not enfough space on the diaphram to generate low frequencies laterialy. I can only vouch for the Koss set- they have good base, but thats due mostly to the acustic chanel. I do think that I will get a Sony set if Jbomber reponds.

jbomber
Aug 7, 2003, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by Eniregnat
[B]jbomber[B] is there a diffrence between the two sets? The 51s are 10 dollars cheaper, and have nearly the same specs as the 71s. (By the way Sony offers free shipping on headsets.)


Also, where is you Signature from (http://www.state.vt.us/dlc/descriptions/vodka.html)?


RE: Lack of Bass
It's hard to get good low frequency responce with small headsets. Highmass drivers/strong magnets, long travle drivers and acustic chanles seem to be the only way to generate low frequency sounds when there is not enfough space on the diaphram to generate low frequencies laterialy. I can only vouch for the Koss set- they have good base, but thats due mostly to the acustic chanel. I do think that I will get a Sony set if Jbomber reponds.

Well Sony's got a great track record where personal electronics are concerned. I had a pair of Koss headphones (not the ones we're talking about) tried them out and took them back to the store, same day.

Most of the people i've seen wearing the sony set, absolutely love them. the bass might be a bit of an issue, but like you explained, it's hard to get good bass in small units. i think the bass on them is decent actually. it might be a matter of how snugly the earbuds fit in your ear.

the only real differences between the 51s and the 71s seem to be largely cosmetic.
the have the same range (6-23000Hz) and are virtually identical from a technical standpoint. The 71 comes in both long-cord and short-cord varieties, while the 51 appears to only come with the long-cord. The 71 also sports a somewhat updated body design.

Hope that helped. Good luck with whichever brand you decide to get.

jbomber
Aug 7, 2003, 06:09 PM
Hehehehe,

oh and my sig is lifted/adapted from some malt liquor product. probably Skyy Blue or something.

:D

Eniregnat
Aug 7, 2003, 06:31 PM
Thanks. I've never had problems with Koss, but individual products don't reflect a complete companies line. They do make some real cheap-o stuff as well as some great audio equipment. The same can be said about Sure and Sony.

Koss really missed with this product.
http://www.koss.com/koss/kossweb.nsf/files/graphics/$file/cheesephones_lg.jpg

;)
Note to Cheese Heads: I both respect and mock you and your spirt.

jbomber
Aug 7, 2003, 06:40 PM
Originally posted by Eniregnat
Thanks. I've never had problems with Koss, but individual products don't reflect a complete companies line. They do make some real cheap-o stuff as well as some great audio equipment. The same can be said about Sure and Sony.

Koss really missed with this product.
http://www.koss.com/koss/kossweb.nsf/files/graphics/$file/cheesephones_lg.jpg

;)
Note to Cheese Heads: I both respect and mock you and your spirt.


Very very true about the individual products.

About the cheese headphones, i don't know whether to laugh or stand aghast, mouth open in horrow.

legion
Aug 8, 2003, 12:03 AM
The Shure E2s are without a doubt the best ear buds in a reasonable price range. Going outside of the reasonable range means custom molded earbuds.

I have the Sony's mentioned. The reason why they have the good bass response is really only because they are closed speakers verses open or transparent speakers. However, closed speakers are considered to produce sound less accurately (emphasis of the bass freq and lack of good mids-- they more or less get trampled.)

As for noise-cancelling, there has yet to be a good noise-cancelling headphone (earbud or otherwise) Each time noise-cancelling tech is introduced, the tech also adds signal degradation to the system. It's far better to use closed headphones than go with noise-cancelling tech. (Plus it costs more, adds weight to the headphone, and adds power consumption for something that has yet to be effectively used; in theory it's a great concept just practically audio engineers haven't mastered it) Closing the auditory channel by just blocking the ear passage (which is what closed earbuds and headphones do) cuts out as much outside noise as noise cancelling and it also helps with the inherent deficiency found in headphones of bass response.

I've got the Shure E-2s (closed earbud with self-molding foam earpieces), the Sony's (closed earbud plastic/rubbery earpieces), and a set of Grados (traditional open headphone with wood design and large speaker drivers) with a headphone amp (necessary to drive the Grados and like all speakers, excess amplification is a good thing to produce clean sound.) The Shure E-2s are for work on the go and when generally travelling, the Sony's for the gym ('cause I don't care if they take abuse and it blocks out the annoying gym music), and the Grados for work (because with the headphone amp and size of the drivers, they aren't that convenient and are relatively heavy compared to the other two.)

If anyone's tried out anything under $200 for earbuds better than the Shure's I'd love to try them out.:)

bousozoku
Aug 8, 2003, 01:51 AM
I like my Sennheisers. They weren't terribly expensive but they have better than average sound--as ear buds go.