A couple of months ago, I posted a Photoshop mockup of a new pair of "wireless" headphones for the second-generation iPod Shuffle that Arriva, a startup based in Colorado, was working on. The irony was that the headphones weren't wireless in the traditional sense (Bluetooth, IR, or RF), but they simply had a tiny Shuffle II integrated into the headphones at the back of your neck. It's a concept that Monster has also seized upon with its iFreePlay headphones, which houses a Shuffle dock in the left earpiece. … Read more
Every few weeks it seems someone's announcing a new pair of noise-canceling headphones that are designed to take on Bose's ultrapopular--and ultraexpensive--QuietComfort line of headphones. This week's entry is the JVC HA-NC250, the company's new top-end noise-canceling headphone.
The formula's pretty simple for creating--or at least attempting to create--a pair of Bose-killers. Make them sound good, look luxurious and comfortable, and then price them $100 less than the Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones, which sell for $300 (the smaller QuietComfort 3's go for $350).
This is what JVC has to say about the HA-NC250:
"… Read more
The Web is filled with folks coming up with makeshift solutions from paper clips to cutting plastic away from headphones for some of the issues I've written about here.
For example, my friend Patrick, otherwise known as "he who waited hours in the iPhone line with me," agreed with my observations about previous generation iPod accessories that, on first glance, don't work with the iPhone. (He also had to wait three days in limbo for his iPhone to activate after being ported from Nextel while his wife's phone worked instantly, but that's another story … Read more
Being brave, I finally took my iPhone to the gym to listen to it while I worked out. No fear of dropping it could stop me now. Usually, I have an 8-gig iPod Nano with me. For a workout, I don't usually use the headphones that come with the iPod, since they: (1) fall out of my ears; (2) don't have enough bass to motivate me to run/erg/push that extra mile out; and, (3) let's face it: the standard-issue iPod earphone sound quality, well, just sucks.
To alleviate this unfortunate state of affairs, instead of … Read more
I like to listen to music. I fell out of the habit for a while, but then I got an iPod, which got me interested again. Now I probably buy more CDs every three months than I did throughout the 1990s.
I'm addicted to New Music Tuesdays on the iTunes Music Store, mostly because of the "Free on iTunes" section. There's a lot of good music out there! And a lot of bad stuff, too, but when it's free, that's not so much of a problem.
Oddly, I can't seem to get interested … Read more
Far be it from Shure to stand idly by while others profit from the iPhone's recessed headphone jack. Early last week, the successful earphone manufacturer announced a new product called the Music Phone Adapter (MPA). As the name suggests, this headphone add-on is designed to work with music-playing cell phones. It offers a built-in microphone (and shirt clip) for calls while allowing a connection with stereo earphones for tunes. Of course, the MPA's slender headphone plug casing belies its true companion--the iPhone.
I got my hands on a prototype of the MPA and can attest that it fits … Read more
A couple of small--but I think somewhat serious--issues regarding the audio output of the iPhone have been percolating on the Web for the last week or so. The issues involve the iPhone's headphone/headset jack and the phone's ability to output stereo sound via Bluetooth.
Let's start with the headphone jack. In Walt Mossberg and Katherine Boehret's iPhone review for the Wall Street Journal, they state, "The headphone jack, which supports both stereo music and phone calls, is deeply recessed, so you may need an adapter for existing headphones." Why the port would be … Read more
One of the little-mentioned aspects of the iPhone is its recessed headphone plug, liable to render some earphones incompatible. If you've invested in a sweet pair of high-end headphones or earphones for your iPod, and you're feeling a little iffy about the iPhone sending you back to the stock Apple "mug me" earbuds, then Shure's new Music Phone Adapter might be just the thing. It's a cable adapter with a built-in microphone and a control button, allowing your existing set of earphones to be adapted for the iPhone. The product, to retail for $39.… Read more
It's rare to get the opportunity to review custom-molded earphones. Custom ear products are usually just too expensive to be relevant to most people, and the ear-impression process can be an inconvenience. But when John Diles from LiveWires offered to come by CNET and take the ear impressions onsite, it was a tough proposition to pass up. (Click here to view a slide show of my custom earphone fitting, but be warned! These photos are not for the squeamish.)
I've had the earphones for over a week now, and they sound fantastic. At $249, they're less than … Read more
If keyboards and USB drives can be built to survive everything from Mack Trucks to nuclear blasts, why can't earphones get a little reinforcement too? After all, unlike a lot of these other devices, it's actually understandable if they're dropped or otherwise put in harm's way by accident.
Denmark-based Kilo Design understands this well and has come up with a pair of $75 buds designed to withstand a good measure of abuse, with a thick coiled cord that looks like it should be attached to a phone, not your head. Our favorite thing about them, however, … Read more