In-ear headphones for the gym

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by annk, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. annk Administrator

    annk

    Staff Member

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    #1
    Every gym I've ever belonged to plays music over the speaker system, and the one I'm a member of now is no exception. I listen to audiobooks while working out (I've given up listening to music, because it can't compete volume-wise with the music over the speakers :(), and I want some earbuds that let me do this with without having to crank the volume up to a dangerous level. I've already got a high-frequency loss in my left ear (I wear a hearing aid there most of the time because of this, but not at the gym), and I used to work as a professional musician, so I'm very aware of protecting myself from more damage/tinnitus.

    I'm looking at the Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones right now. Anyone have any experience with the sound-isolating aspect of these? The reviews seem good...

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #2
    Ann, consider also taking a look at Shure in-ear headphones. I've looked at Etymotics in the past, but recurring complaints about cable and audio quality seem to crop up here and there... and they're not easy things to try out in person in store.

    They're the only type of headphones that I'd use when commuting on the tube, for instance, as they do a great job of blocking out external sound to the extent that you can hear your own breathing and footfalls resonating in your head, which can be a little odd at times. Also, regardless of which brand you get, it takes a little experimentation with the different ear pieces (foam, rubber, etc) to find a good fit.
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #3
    Etymonics have a reputation for making incredibly isolating earphones, but they lack punch, IMO. My brother has them. Great IEMs if you want to block out noise, but not if you want a bit of bass. The detail is there, but not everyone listens to jazz, you know. ;)


    If you want even better protection, I suppose the noise-cancelling earphones would be better. I'm not sure, though. They'd certainly be more expensive, but the sound quality may not be as good as the Etymonics. If you're using them at a gym, you probably don't care about sound quality anyway, and would be happy with isolation, no?
     
  4. Otaillon macrumors 6502

    Otaillon

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    Québec
    #4
    I'm in no way an audiophile but my Westone Um-1 are doing a great job at insolation! Plus they cost about 100$
     
  5. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #5
    Thanks very much for the replies, and sorry I've been MIA from this thread. My email notifications don't seem to have been working. :eek:

    Abstract, you're right that I'm not concerned about punch in this case. I only listen to audiobooks at the gym, and my main concern is protecting my hearing (= not having to turn the volume up to a ridiculous level).

    BV and Otallion, thanks - I'll read up a bit more on the ones you've suggested before I decide. :)
     
  6. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #6
    Sennheiser CX300: Very Cheap, cancel a LOT of noise if you use the correct in ear plug (three sizes included), they sound great (good all-round sound) and can take a beating.

    i use these on my iPod and Nokia phone whilst running and at the gym. Fantastic earphones for the money they can't be beat. I'm very very happy with the sound (I also listen to audiobooks).
     
  7. callmemike20 macrumors 6502a

    callmemike20

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    #7
    Those look nice. Question: Do they work with the iPhone bumper case?
     
  8. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #8
    I use Sennheisers (not exactly the same model mentioned above, but with the same set of rubber caps) to listen to audiobooks while falling asleep. I agree that the sound is great, that they can take a beating (they stay in while I'm asleep, so the cord can get twisted a bit during the night :p), and that they're a great bargain. They're absolutely perfect for listening while falling asleep, because you can lie on your side and not even feel them. I tried using them at the gym, but they didn't cancel enough sound for my taste. My ears might just not be the right size for those particular types of buds to create a good enough seal.

    I finally ordered the Etymotics. I was torn due to the cord issues BV mentions, but there was just something about the total effect of the reviews I read that really made me want to try them. I'm used to inserting buds into the ear canal (hearing aid experience comes in handy for something, I guess), so that part won't bother me. But if they do conk out on me due to cord problems, I'll then try the Shures. It seems they have very similar systems, and they also got rave reviews.

    Have to say, it's also a relief to know that other people are bugged by the music played in gyms. While reading all the reviews I found lots of comments about gyms where they only play one bad channel all day long. With all respect for gansta rap, it's just not my perfect work-out music. And here I thought I was just a cranky old lady. :p
     
  9. annk, Apr 6, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011

    annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

    Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Somewhere over the rainbow
    #9
    Thought I should post back to share my experience.

    I got the Etymotics a couple days after my last post. So far so good. The large 3-tiered flanges make a great seal for noisy environments, and the squishy ball-thingy ends are fine for quieter places. The smaller flanges are just not the right size for my ears, and the foam tubes don't seem to expand well enough after being inserted. So it's good they include different types to try.

    The flanges are a bit of work to get in correctly, but worth it once they're there. If you're not used to inserting things into your ear canal it might be a bit scary at first, and your ears do get a bit sore while you twist at them learning to adjust them correctly. :p

    But now I can listen to whatever I want at the gym. Have also tried them out in a car (while a passenger), and they work much better than my husband's expensive Bose noise-cancelling headphones. This is going to be great when flying; I won't have to drag along bulky noise-cancelling phones in my carry-on anymore.

    I am tempted to use them while walking to work as well (traffic noise usually makes that impossible), but will have to be SUPER careful in that case, since you really don't hear anything around you. I am generally very careful, and I walk a safe route on sidewalks with stoplights where I need to cross, but still - I'd have to be extra good about looking around me much more than usual to stay aware.

    Now I'm crossing my fingers that I don't have any problems with the cords...

    Edit: Re-read the little instruction book that came with them, and there it suggests moistening the flanges for a better seal. DO IT. What a difference! MUCH easier to get a good seal with no fuss.
     

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