question about in-ear buds

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by waynesun, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. waynesun macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2006
    I'm planning to purchase some for my audio device sometime soon. However, the subject of becoming deaf haunts me about "in ear" buds that cancel outside noise.

    I'm considering the following:
    Panasonic RP-HJE50
    Sony MDR-EX81

    I've only done research on these two earbuds so far, both of them have received positive reviews. However, there's one problem. I'm on a strict budget of 40 dollars, and I can't differentiate the performance between spec sheets. Being that this is a "Digital Audio" forum, i thought it'd be useful to get some help from the pros who use noise-cancelling headphones for a living. Any suggestions other than these two earbuds?
  2. e-clipse macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2006
    Earbuds are handy in size and appeal to many portable playback device users.

    Earbuds are awfully close to your ear drums. That alone can lead to significant risk of ear damage, temporary and permanent. They magnify the sound signal by as much as six to nine decibels. Headphones that rest on your ears are safer. Think about how the headphones cup your ear. If the pads don't allow air to pass through to the outside, you are building up sound pressure as well. Loose and comfortable is best in my book.

    Noise Cancelling Headphones $50.00
    Sony MDR-NC6 Noise Canceling Headphones 50.00

    Headphones I would pick ($40 and below)
    AKG K 66 Dynamic Headphones 39.99
    AKG M 70 Headphones 29.99
    Sony MDR-7502 Headphones 39.99
    Yamaha RH3C Professional Stereo Headphones 39.99

    PS--Cool Designs on Deviant Art!
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    earbuds are dangerous in that regard, as eclipse noted. i rarely use them (and when i do, at low volume) and i use headphones for a short period, as well.

    my normal listening environment is through my monitors, usually between 65-70 dB (A weighted).
  4. Dreamkatcha macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2003
    Manchester, England
    I'd never considered the affects of pressure build-up using earbuds until now. I was lead to believe that they are better for your ears than looser fitting head/ear phones because you tend to use them at a lower volume when you no longer have to compete with traffic/other environmental noise.

    I've been using the Panasonic RP-HJE50 earbuds exclusively for the last six months or so and am reasonably happy with them. I have very narrow ear canals so if I want to cut out environmental noise I really have to jam the things in my ears and jig them about until an air-tight seal is made. They cut out a lot of high-pitched noise, but by no means silence the outside world. You may have better luck getting one of the three differently sized sets of silicon ear pieces to fit your anatomy. For me, small isn't small enough.

    Sound quality seems pretty good to me and they're much cheaper than the pluck-a-crazy-figure-out-of-thin-air Etymolic or Shure varieties. I doubt very much that these latter brands are more durable than any other earbuds so I'd rather buy 10 pairs of Panasonics and keep them as backups.

    The cables are quite annoying (you get a short length and an extension cable). The shorter piece is only any use if you're going to put your MP3 player in your shirt pocket or have it dangling around your neck to goad muggers or demonstrate to passers by how hip you are.

    If you plug the short cable into the extension socket you can keep your MP3 player in your trouser pocket, but then you've got far too much excess wire. Also because the socket is very heavy relative to ordinary wire, the force of it swishing about often pulls the earbuds out of your lugholes unless you clip it to your clothes somehow.

    What I'd like to know is how to clean the wax off the mesh-like material covering the speakers without tearing a whole in it. Sooner or later build-up there is going to muffle the sound.
  5. e-clipse macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2006
    Many articles I have read about ear damage from earbuds mentioned easrbuds to be safe at half the maximum listening level for less than an hour a day. The lower volume use listen at, equals a longer listening time. I personally like the Sony MDR-NC6 headphones, because they have earpads that are breathable and
    also have noise canceling. If you use your iPod for jogging outdoors in busy areas with vehicles and strangers around you, noise canceling can become dangerous.
  6. waynesun thread starter macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2006
    The Sony MDR-NC6 seems like a great buy, but it doesn't suit my needs. I'd take one of those in a heartbeat if i didn't have to stuff my audio player in my backpack during school days. I'm looking for something in between the earbuds and the MDR-NC6's.. like those behind-the-neck external earphones. Mainly, something that provides portability and style. Any suggestions?
    Thanks for your replies.
  7. e-clipse macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2006
  8. thumper macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2003
    Under the Sea
    Sony Headphones are Poo Poo

    the Sony ones are garbage. they break REALLY easy.
    you always see noob DJ's with those silver ones with
    tape all over them holding them together. they look cool
    and fold up nice but thats about it..


    the best headphones i would have to say would be the
    Fostex T20. these are tried tested and proved.
    almost every studio ive been to uses these. infact.. its
    kinda like my "Trust Factor" when i enter a new studio.
    If i see these on the live floor and in the studio i know these
    guys only care about one thing... Quality.
    if i enter a studio and see some silver futuristic looking sony ones.. i know
    ill be in for a night of troubleshooting and broken down gear... never fails.

    these Fostex headphones are pretty much the standard for mixing/mastering studios.
    they are famous for reference just like the NS-10's.

    Please read some of the reviews about Sonys Headphones

    People easily fall for looks... and they do look nice.
    but they break and just dont sound as good as others.

    here are some Quotes.
    I have heard TOO many people say the same thing about these headphones.
    so don't fall for that OLD GIMMIC of "Well they look so cool!!!"

    Your best bet for shopping audio and sound stuff
    is to look at the Equipment page on a well known recording studios website.
    look at what they use. these people use this stuff almost 24/7 and they only
    want whats best.


    Ive actually been to one studio where they had 4 of those nice
    silver sony ones.. but they told me.. "those are just for display,
    we only use the fostex ones cuz they take a beating and still
    sound good."
  9. Flyinace2000 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2004
    You can also try some Grado SR60/80 for $65/95. I think i will be buying a pair of these for myself once my tax refund comes in. They get great reviews. Only problem is that you can't really use them in public due to their open air design.

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