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Sound out your own earphones

Priyanka Joshi  |  New Delhi 

MP3 players are capable of producing superb sound effects. However, they are usually saddled with a terrible set of earphones. The best value proposition is opting for noise-isolating in-ear earphones, which are designed to slip into your ear canal, thereby reducing interference from external sources.

We rounded up three sets of earphones and put them to the test to see which would be the best replacement for your existing ones.

Panasonic HJE700Panasonic HJE700
PROS

  • Small and lightweight, comfortable to wear  
  • Tonal accuracy is really good 
    CONS
  • Not for the tight budgeted  
  • Bass seems to be artificially boosted

    If you happen to be one such user trying to decide which firm will get your hard-earned money at the end of the month, then definitely consider the latest from Panasonic – the HJE700 in-ear-monitor headphones.

    Designed to fit all ears regardless of shape, the Panasonic HJE700’s elliptical design, coupled with ear tips in three sizes, prevents the earphones from falling out, even when you are exercising.

    The company has built an Acoustic Precision Control into the earphones that uses a triple virtual speaker system. The result is that the sound output is fine-tuned and even has a bass effect. Also, the tiny speakers mounted on the earphone tip have a special ribbing that provides rigidity for purer sound and for reducing the resonance at the same time.

    You will be lighter by around Rs 5,500, but these are dependable noise-cancellers, which protect you from unwanted intrusions thanks to Panasonic’s noise polishing

    Sennheiser IE8Sennheiser IE8
    PROS

  • Solid design helps in noise isolation  
  • Stellar sonic performance CONS
  • Fragile looking cable for the price  
  • Bigger than most other in-ear earphones

    Small in-ear headphones generally do not deliver an eardrum-thudding bass response, but the noise-isolating buds from Sennheiser tear up the rulebook – then set it on fire for good measure. Sennheiser IE8’s rich bass response is bound to impress all rock and pop music fans. Although appearance and styling of the IE8 is very much on the understated side, its true benefit lies in its stunning and sublime audio performance.

    The IE8s use powerful magnets to deliver a brilliantly broad spectrum of sound, excelling in both bass and treble delivery. A tiny screw on each headphone even lets you adjust bass response to your taste.

    Sennheiser IE8’s carrying case comes equipped with dry salt pads. These pads ensure a constant level of humidity when the product is stored. This is particularly helpful, given that ear-canal phones could be exposed to sweat during use.

    The headphones are quite capable in shutting out external noise by fitting tightly into your ears, and the huge range of earbud varieties and sizes supplied make it a breeze to get that snug fit.

    Retailing at Rs 19,990, these earphones from Sennheiser may just be the thing to convince you that it’s not all that bad to actually be an audiophile.

    Apple in-earApple in-ear
    PROS

  • Pretty good frequency response  
  • Small, lightweight and comes with a nice carrying case CONS
  • Didn't really isolate against outside noise  
  • Suffers from bass distortion

    Thanks to the popularity of its iPods and iPhones, Apple realised the need to upgrade the earphones that are bundled with its products. When you grab the new Apple in-ear headphones with remote and mic, one of the first things you will notice is the fantastic Apple packaging and presentation.

    The headphones come with three sets of different buds to fit in any ear (Small, Medium, Large). Apple clearly lists that the new in-ear headphones as not iPhone-compatible. However, we tested the in-ear headphones with an iPhone 3G and a first-generation iPod Touch, and it worked.

    On the iPhone 3G, you can play/pause a song, answer/end a call, change tracks and make use of the microphone, but you cannot control volume through these earphones.

    Apple has also incorporated two dedicated drivers in each earpiece that, in turn, provide a balanced and detailed sound across the entire sonic spectrum. They have also managed to control sound leakage really well, which simply means that people around you won’t be able to hear your music, even if it’s playing at a very high volume.

    The Apple in-ear headphones will set you back by just Rs 2,920 (plus local taxes).

     

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    First Published: Mon, April 20 2009. 00:43 IST
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