Recall those headphones that came with your music player? Sock them in a drawer and don’t look back. To really enjoy music you need to invest in a pair of quality headphones, and typically, you get what you pay for. Good headphones usually start in the $70 range and the price goes up from there. To help in your quest for listening pleasure, we tried out several in-ear headphones – the ones favored by travelers for their noise reduction qualities. Any resemblance between these and the earphones passed out on flights is just a coincidence.
Etymotic Research HF5
Etymotic is well known in the tech world for employing noise isolation technology that uses signal filters and also physically blocks sound in its headphones. This set fit snug against the ear, and the company claims about 35 decibels of isolation, meaning you should be able to avoid turning up the volume to impede most noise around you. These headphones also look great, offered in matte black or metallic blue or red. Some users might find that they stick out too much for comfort. The HF5 can be worn in front or around back with a sliding clip to catch the cable slack. Etymotic sells these for about $150 but you can find them for a little less at online retailers. To read more about the HF5 go to www.etymotic.com.
Sennheiser IE 8 Earphones
Like to lose yourself in music without losing fidelity? Sennheiser boasts that its IE 8 in-ear headphones reduce ambient noise by as much as 26 decibels, enough to drown out the drone on an airplane or the low rumble of a passing commuter train. What’s special about the IE 8 is that you can customize the frequency for each ear through cable-mounted controls that can be replaced in case of damage. A choice of ear adapters comes with the set, and more are available from the manufacturer, to help the user achieve a perfect fit. These compact earphones can be stowed in a case that helps protect them from moisture and controls humidity, which can affect performance. Audiophiles have several earphone brands to choose from, but at $450 these certainly are at the upper end. You can find more information on them at www.sennheiser.com
Klipsch Image X5
Audio pioneer Paul W. Klipsch set out 60 years ago making hand-built loud speakers, and today his company packs a mighty punch in a much smaller package. The X5 secret is in the fit, which the company says helps reduce ear fatigue and produces a better acoustic seal. It’s true that a tight seal around the ear improves bass response no matter what headphones you use. The X5 comes with five washable ear tips in different sizes and its cables are an unusual 50 inches long. At around $250, Klipsch also throws in a carrying pouch, airplane adaptor and a cleaning tool for the ear tips. For more information, go to www.klipsch.com.
Filed Under: Tech Trends
About the Author: William Plasencia is the former managing editor for Latin Trade.
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