Thursday, 26 July 2012

RANTS: Modern earphones

What the hell happened to the good old fashion earphones for Walkmans/ipods/Mp3 Players/phones/handhelds/etc??? You know, the hardy ones that sit just inside the ear? OK so i know that they didnt always fit everyone, and that something had to be done about it, but the outcome from design teams were to create something that act more like earplugs, giving consumers a choice of rubber fitting. I cannot fathom for the life of me why real music lovers would appreciate these. But more about this in a second.

I have always used the old 'hardy' (? How else should i call them) Sony earphones, mostly because they would last for years unless you did something stupid like get them crushed upon closing a car door (yeah that happened) or something else. In recent years (like, the last 10 years) I have been relying on the Sony MDR-E 818 LP which are slightly inferior to my favourite, the Sony MDR-E808 that sported the gold jack. The main reason why I appreciate Sony rather than the others is how the jack is bent, meaning the cable can easily wrap around the Walkman without jutting out too much, which would otherwise cause the wire to bend too much to the point that it breaks and you need a new set of earphones. And yeah, this happens. A lot.

Well, my Sony MDR-E 818 LP are finally starting to fail me after 6 or so years since my even older pair of identical earphones, which I still keep. And you know why? Because the only problem with these earphones (both sets now), hear me, the ONLY problem with these earphones is that the jack is silver. Thats it. Nothing else. Because its not gold, the jack needs to be twisted minutely a thousand times before you kick out the static which distorts the sound. Slight taps or knocks on the jack can distort the sound and you need to twist it again to get it working fine. This is not a problem with gold jacks.

These days it seems like the only earphones you can purchase are ones that plug directly into your ear, with differing sized rubber bits for 'comfort'. These are all extortionately priced, with some apparently being better quality than others. After reading extensive reviews I took the plunge on a pair of what were apparently a 'good' pair, the Sony EX210. Let me assure you, they are crap. But not for the reasons you may think. My gripe is with the modern ear plug design. Yes i know it caters for more consumers, but they are ALL CRAP. EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE. Doesn't matter about manufacture or price, and heres why-

Ear wax. on the old style can you put them in and take them out and pack your walkman away instantly. On these the ear wax gets EVERYWHERE. You have to CLEAN THEM before packing them away, and some wax gets inside the ear phones to places out of reach. Yuck.

All sizes of ear plugs hurt. I tested out my new, first and last pair of these 'modern' earphones for about half and hour and both ears hurt. Like hell. They still do.

swallowing doesn't help. Your ears are blocked and want to be set free.

The plugs have to be inserted at the exact minute length inside your ears to get the sound and bass 'right'. thus ensues constant readjusting.

You cannot sing, hum, eat or even use your teeth as the drums as you jam to the music, it instantly distorts the sound.

You cannot hear the real world. this poses a problem if someone is trying to talk to you. Who cares about car noise with the old style, its more of a nucense not being able to hear a THING other than music. Music that sounds off anyway because you need to readjust the left or right phone to get the music to sit central in your head.


I have always trusted Sony in terms of Quality. But the only good points i see from the Sony EX210 are the legnth of cord and the golden jack. Oh yeah another thing, the wire is incredibly thin. It feels like it could snap if tugged or pulled by accident.

So overall I hate these with a passion. I have never had a problem with the old style and wish i could find a pair with a twisted golden jack.

Bring back the MDR-E808!

1 comment:

  1. I seem to recall a similar thing happening to me maybe around five years ago. The earphones I had at the time were Sony as well, and when they broke, I went for a brand that were considered some of the best (can't remember the brand off the top of my head), and they were VERY expensive. However, once I got them, I had problems similar to the ones you describe (they were the rubber-ended earphones), so I figured it was defective and sent them back. I managed to score another earphone on the cheap similar to what you wanted.

    That cheap headphone only lasted a couple of years and I was forced to switch.

    I have Sony ones now, which are the modern ones with the rubber ends. I don't know which model I have (I couldn't find it on a quick inspection), but I haven't had any problems. At work, I do have to keep the volume down or I won't hear people calling my name, but the sound quality is pretty good. The ear wax problem I don't have, but then I end up keeping my ears clear. Sometimes, the earphones will make my ear(s) itch, but that seems to be when the humidity is lower.

    Now that I'm used to the different feel of the modern ear plugs, I like them. I wouldn't use these in a vehicle though, so I am thankful that my auto has a kicking stereo system onits own.

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