Are Bone Conduction Headphones Worth it?

lazer155

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 5, 2010
150
0
I've been using the apple in earbuds for the last couple years and they work great in my opinion. These:

http://www.apple.com/ipod/in-ear-headphones/

They're much better than standard apple earbuds. Those things are terrible.

Anyways, I have been reading about bone conduction headphones recently and was wondering if anyone here has tried them and what their experience was like. I don't ever listen to my music at very high volumes and specifically got those in ear apple headphones because they had good isolation which allowed me to keep the volume very low (and still hear the music clearly). The bone conduction headphones interested me because you can still hear all the sounds around you but supposedly also hear the music at the same time.

These are a pair that I was considering:

http://www.aftershokz.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AS300

What are your guys' thoughts?
 
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lazer155

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 5, 2010
150
0
For $60 I'd try it out. They look cool!
That's what I was thinking but there don't seem to be any review videos on them. That company also seems to be about the only one who even makes them. It's kind of disappointing that I can't read or watch a review before trying to buy them. I'm concerned that they may not work well and I will have wasted $60.

They do look very cool though. :)
 

cvaldes

macrumors 68040
Dec 14, 2006
3,237
0
somewhere else
Bone conduction personal audio gear has been around for at least three decades. It has never been popular although periodically, there's a minor activity that drifts in and out of the fringe of consumer consciousness.

Even in early Eighties, there were bone conduction Walkman-competitors, one was like a shawl or neck roll that had a radio built it.

The biggest drawback with this technology seems to be that bone conduction does not adequately deal with the issue of ambient noise or competing bone conduction interference. Something that sticks over or plugs into your ear canal reduces ambient noise. Bone conduction playback equipment doesn't touch your ear canal. Also, things like vibrations from buses and trains can't be adequately addressed by bone conduction equipment.

Another drawback with bone conduction is the necessity of a relatively large conduction area. This doesn't lead to small components. Traditional earbuds/canalphones can be made quite small. Bone conduction equipment needs to be much larger. In the instance of the radio neckroll, it was probably a couple of feet long, about an inch thick and maybe four inches wide. How big is a pair of earbuds?

It's a clever concept, but one that hasn't yet translated into a workable consumer-grade marketable solution for real-world situations. While I can see the conduction efficiency improving, I fail to see how this technology can adequately deal with ambient noise interference.
 
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lazer155

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 5, 2010
150
0
Bone conduction personal audio gear has been around for at least three decades. It has never been popular although periodically, there's a minor activity that drifts in and out of the fringe of consumer consciousness.

Even in early Eighties, there were bone conduction Walkman-competitors, one was like a shawl or neck roll that had a radio built it.

The biggest drawback with this technology seems to be that bone conduction does not adequately deal with the issue of ambient noise or competing bone conduction interference. Something that sticks over or plugs into your ear canal reduces ambient noise. Bone conduction playback equipment doesn't touch your ear canal. Also, things like vibrations from buses and trains can't be adequately addressed by bone conduction equipment.

Another drawback with bone conduction is the necessity of a relatively large conduction area. This doesn't lead to small components. Traditional earbuds/canalphones can be made quite small. Bone conduction equipment needs to be much larger. In the instance of the radio neckroll, it was probably a couple of feet long, about an inch thick and maybe four inches wide. How big is a pair of earbuds?

It's a clever concept, but one that hasn't yet translated into a workable consumer-grade marketable solution for real-world situations. While I can see the conduction efficiency improving, I fail to see how this technology can adequately deal with ambient noise interference.
Hmm, yeah bone conduction headphones don't sound like they work all that well. This is the only review (only one that seemed like it wasn't sponsored by the company and was completely unbiased) that I could find:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDpzlMCxF6I&feature=plcp

The reviewer does not recommend them in the end.
 

Bauer24

macrumors regular
May 18, 2009
137
0
Vancouver, BC
That's what I was thinking but there don't seem to be any review videos on them. That company also seems to be about the only one who even makes them. It's kind of disappointing that I can't read or watch a review before trying to buy them. I'm concerned that they may not work well and I will have wasted $60.

They do look very cool though. :)

This video was on the site you linked. Did you watch it?

http://youtu.be/F0IIM7GjFxQ
 

lazer155

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 5, 2010
150
0
This video was on the site you linked. Did you watch it?

http://youtu.be/F0IIM7GjFxQ
Yeah but it wasn't as detailed as I wanted it to be. Plus I figured since it was on the actual company's website it might not be as accurate as it could be. I was wanting a completely unrelated to the company 3rd party review. I'll probably wind up trying them. Aftershokz seems to have a good return policy on their site.
 

cclloyd

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2011
1,760
144
Alpha Centauri A
I was thinking of trying them. They'd be great for work. Only issue I see is I wish they were wireless.

But even their wireless ones have issues. Only 6 hours of battery on low volume, not long enough for work.
 

bnumerick

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2010
23
17
I've been using the apple in earbuds for the last couple years and they work great in my opinion. These:

http://www.apple.com/ipod/in-ear-headphones/

They're much better than standard apple earbuds. Those things are terrible.

Anyways, I have been reading about bone conduction headphones recently and was wondering if anyone here has tried them and what their experience was like. I don't ever listen to my music at very high volumes and specifically got those in ear apple headphones because they had good isolation which allowed me to keep the volume very low (and still hear the music clearly). The bone conduction headphones interested me because you can still hear all the sounds around you but supposedly also hear the music at the same time.

These are a pair that I was considering:

http://www.aftershokz.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AS300

What are your guys' thoughts?
I've owned the Trekz Titanium for two or three years. I use them primarily when I'm out riding my bike so I can hear what is going on around me. While I'm sure the sound quality is not quite as good as regular headphones can be I think they sound good enough while i'm working out. It takes a little bit to get used to how they fit and feel when playing music though. Sometimes you can feel the vibration (or I can) but it doesn't bother me at all now. I've been very happy with them and will be getting another pair when my current ones die.
 

jahala

macrumors regular
Feb 7, 2008
201
13
I have a pair treks air bone conduction headphones. I really like them a lot precisely because I can hear the music or phone call along with everything else. I can just leave them on all day long. No need to remove them or replace them during the day. I also find them more comfortable than earbuds that go in my ears

I like to use them for phone calls as well. They even fit well over my glasses
 
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