09 September 2012

My New Headphones, So I Can Ignore You Better

It is generally a good thing when the voices in your head go silent.  Generally, it is not a good thing when the music in your head goes silent.  What is worse is when only one side goes out.  Whether it be kicking music or satanic voices, it is best to have them in stereo.

I have had a good pair of earbuds (MDR-EX71) for a few years, they were Sony.  I like Sony stuff, because I like name branded stuff...and I am shallow like that.  So what?  Anyway, one ear when silent...much like when Alderaan was destroyed, "as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and suddenly silenced".  Working out without my awesome tunes sucks, because I have to listen to the noises of the gym.  You know, weights slamming, treadmills whizzing, meatheads grunting, and gym music.  It also means I have to acknowledge someone when they are speaking to me.

The hunt was on for another pair of headphones...earbuds...whatever.  You know how picky I am, so it comes to no surprise that I was looking for something specific.  These were the criteria:
  • Made by Sony - Remember, I am a brand-whore.
  • Needs to fit in the ear - Do not want the extra weight of 'headband-type' headphones.  Plus, earbud design will somewhat block ambient gym noises.
  • Needs to have a short cable - To be used with an iPod Shuffle, clipped to my collar.  Having six feet of cable is just stupid.  Short cable headphones come with extensions, like my current non-working pair.
I found a pair that met my requirements.  The Sony MDR-AS40EX, retails for $40. So, here is my review.

The first thing you will notice is that it has 'ear hangers'.  I was not excited about these at first, but the set did have a short cable.  The great thing about the design is, the ear hangers are removable.  If I find them uncomfortable, I could just remove them.  For those not in the know, I where glasses (usually Nike or Oakley frames...brand-whore), so I was not sure if the ear hangers would get in the way. 

In addition to being removable, it comes with three sets of hangers for different sized ears.  Which means that Spock could wear theses.  Well, they work great!  With my previous pair, I would have to constantly adjust my earbuds as they would shift and loosen as I did my awesome exercises.  With the ear hangers in place, there was never a problem with the earbuds falling out.  The different size hangers also allow a custom and comfortable fit.

Look at all the crap you get with this
Like my previous earbuds, and I guess all Sony earbuds, the MDR-AS40EX comes with three sizes of silicone 'plugs'.  These offer the user a custom and comfortable fit.  In combination with the ear hangers, these are not going to fall off.  I wore these for a week while working out and never had a problem with slippage or discomfort.

These also come with a small clip so you can clip the cable to your shirt to avoid tangling or snagging.  I took it off, since I used it with a clip on iPod Shuffle.

How is the sound, you ask?  There is a reason why I buy Sony.  Sure, there are other brands out there that have great sound and are really expensive.  No need for headphones when I am listening to MP3's with earbuds, while working out.  If I was relaxing in a soundproof room with high end audio equipment...an analog source...then yeah, I might consider some $500 cans...nah, I would probably still go with Sony.

What, those two round black things in the picture...what are they?

Over-sized caring case
The carrying case is good to protect the headphones from damage.  I think just throwing my other headphones in the bag may have caused them to malfunction.  Storing your headphones/earbuds in a case is a good idea.  Having the case be so ridiculously huge is not necessarily a good idea.  The case could be about half the size and still be effective in protecting the product.

The MDR-AS40EX was designed for "sport" and "active style".  After a few hours in the gym, these have met my requirement.  Basically, they are better than good enough.  I would recommend them for anyone seeking headphones for athletic and/or everyday use.

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