Stick It In Your Ear…

Written by Jo

I listen to music. It’s one of the things that makes life bearable when shit goes down, and it helps me get into my Zen state when I’m drawing or painting. I’ve said before that if it were physically possible, I’d like to have music directly jacked into my brain, but alas, the technology for this does not exist yet, so the next best thing is earphones and more specifically, earbuds. I’ve gone through innumerable pairs of headphones and earbuds, and after two pairs of easily busted Skullcandy products, I questioned why exactly I should pay for a $20 pair of earbuds if they’re going to break under normal wear and tear. I don’t ask anything of my earbuds but to supply my eardrums with music.

I very recently purchased a pair of $5 cheapass earbuds from the Great Wall of Mart, just to see if they were as functional as they were blingtastic. I’m not a professional audiomancer, but I figured the best way to see how they fared was to play the same song twice, once with the bling earbuds, and once with the default earbuds that came packaged with my iPod. I played about four songs, all of which had different audio effects, like crossfading, deep bass, prominent treble, etc.. The differences were pretty obvious, and here is the sum of my conclusion:

Blingy Earbud

Bling Pros:

  • Shiny, attractive design
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Cheap fix if you’re broke and so are your good earbuds

    Bling Cons:

  • Tinny-sounding audio
  • Doesn’t translate audio “position” mixing too clearly
  • Audio crackles if you twist the audio plug in the socket

One thing worth mentioning about the bling buds is the physical design; they’re actually nice looking for earbuds under $10, and since they have replaceable silicone edges on them, they’re quite comfortable to wear. But alas, they do not deliver in terms of high audio quality. It’s most noticeable when playing music with lots of audio cross-fading and bass. It sounds like you’ve stuck miniature tin cans in your ears. I tried to remedy this by changing the audio EQ in the settings on my player to Treble Reduce, but then it sounded like a tin can lined with cotton.

My suggestion concerning these is: Only get them if your old earbuds died and you’re fresh out of money. Or you really like shiny things.

Otherwise I would suggest you stick to the midrange priced Sony earbuds. They might not be blingtastic, or have a funky stylish namebrand, but the audio quality is much better, and the buds are nearly indestructible. I literally had a pair of earbuds chewed on by a small child (don’t ask) and they still worked after that. Although I decided to retire them anyway because well, I don’t like icky kid germs or teethmarks on things I stick in my ears. Skullcandy, indeed.