Tag: Quality

Best Sport Earbuds: In-Ear Headphones for Athletes

Anyone at the gym can tell you the difference that music makes in their ability to push through their personal strength thresholds. Working out to the beat of uptempo music has been scientifically proven to increase performance in athletes helping them to push their limits beyond their ordinary levels. Yet, not all headphones are designed to withstand the particular demands of the working human body at athletic levels. Many in-ear headphones sacrifice sound quality for comfort or vice-versa. In this review, I will introduce our best in-ear headphones that offer a balance of comfort and sound quality. The models highlighted include the Monster iSport Immersion, the AKG 326, and the Sony MDR-AS40EX.

iSport Immersion SportClips

Most impressive in our line-up is the iSport Immersion Seriesby Monster. These headphones are specifically designed with an athlete’s unique needs. Each feature of the iSport series is engineered to provide superb comfort to users as well as precise and accurate music reproduction. The iSport Immersion have so many great features for athletes that it is difficult to chose a place to begin. Nonetheless, one of the most distinguishing features of the iSport Immersion is the patented SportClip design. The exclusive SportClip design comfortably fits the inter curvature of the ear to provide stability to the earbud and limit the

earbud’s movement within the ear canal. Unlike most earbuds, even those intended for athletic use, the iSport Immersion are extremely unlike to fall out of a wearer’s ear during exercise activities. But comfort is not the only concern for athletes. The interaction between a sweaty body and headphones does always result in a pleasant experience, particularly for those concerned about cleanliness.

To solve the problem of gross and sweaty earbuds, Monster designed the iSport to be completely washable. The iSport can be washed–with water–without being damaged either by the moisture of sweat or a stream of water. Moreover, for individuals who wish to listento music while practicing a water sport, the iSport can be used in swimming pools, while surfing, jet skiing and other relatively “surface” water sports. It is this water submersion feature that really distinguishes the Monster iSport Immersion from other in-ear headphones. But if water submersion ability isn’t enough, the iSport Immersion even features an in-line microphone and volume controls for complete power over the tracks and phone compatibility.



Not far behind the iSport Immersion in features, the Sony MDR-AS40EX offers lightweight comfort and exceptional sound quality. Generally priced at about a quarter of the price of the iSport Immersion, the Sony MDR-AS40EX is a great low-budget alternative. While lacking the in-line control and microphone for phone compatibility, the MDR-ASS40EX is moisture resistant and will not be damaged by the moisture produced when working out. Although the Sony MDR-AS40EX are probably not the very best choice if you are into intense water sports, they can reliably be used for intense workouts because they allow moisture to pass through the chamber without the threat of destroying the electrical components.

Like more conventional in-ear headphones, the Sony MDR-AS40EX are better suited for land use. They include pleasantly comfortable and stable ear hangers in three sizes. The hangers are removable, in case you prefer the earbud to sit in the ear without support. When used with the hangers, the MDR-AS40EX are securely held in place and are not jostled when jogging or running. Overall, the sound quality is respectable and they limit ambient noise for a focused and clear reproduction.

AKG 326

Finally, the AKG 326 boasts superior sound quality and functionally. As usual, the AKG brand provokes a sense of admiration among those familiar with the name. And, satisfying those expectations, the AKG 326 delivers stunningly accurate sound for headphones in our athletic category. If sound quality is your main priority from your workout audio gear, the AKG 326 are a great choice without caveat. Although far more of a traditional design approach, the AKG 326 do feature an in-line volume control and microphone for integration with a phone.

The construction of the AKG 326 is simple yet sturdy and reliable. When jogging the

AKG 326, Sound Quality for Athletes

comfortable earhooks hold the driver unit fast within the ear and do not allow the driver to be jostled by a users movement. The comfort and stability of the AKG 326 is further enhanced by the rubberized ear pads which also function to limit interference from ambient noise.

Overall, the AKG 326 are a straight forward answer for to-the-point athletes who demand quality sound reproduction.


Quality Versus Convenience in Music

As the music industry continues to shift away from CD’s and toward compact MP3’s, AAC’s and other digital files, we can’t help but wonder what kind of quality is really associated with each file type. The way we store our music for future playback is also a big factor when it comes to how the music sounds when played through your car stereo. Has the goal of the industry been to deliver the best sounding music for the best price? Absolutely not, in reality consumers are trying to downgrade their music libraries into a workable solution that is the MP3 player.

File Types and Quality

A good knowledge of different song file types will aid you in deciding how you want to play your music. First and foremost, CD’s are one of the best ways to play music and maintain a great sampling rate, which is typically 1,411kbps. The only issues with CD’s are the durability of the disc, and the amount of storage space required to hold your library in comparison to the small size of an iPod or other small device. The standard for downloadable music is currently MP3’s. Some people love it, some people hate it, but most people choose to accept it.

Quality Pros Cons
CD 1,411kbps •High Quality Lossless Music
•Most Common Method of Playback
•Majority of Stereos Accept CD’s
•Average of 13 Songs
•Scratched Easily
•Bulky CD Wallets
•WAV Files Are Large in Size
MP3 128kbps
•Small Storage Size
•Fit More Onto Storage Device
•Higher Bit Rates Sound Comparable To a CD
•Loss of Audio Quality
AAC Variable •Standard Music Format of Apple Products •Loss of Audio Quality
WAV Uncompressed •High Quality Lossless Music •10mb Per 1 Minute of Audio
FLAC Variable •High Quality Lossless Music
•Slightly Compressed
•Large File Size
•Not Compatible With Many Devices
•Inconvenient For Playback

Devices and Quality

The device you choose to play your music from also has its own ups and downs. USB Thumb Drives are fantastic for conveniently loading your favorite music onto. You may plug it into a USB port in your car for playback directly off the drive, although you are typically limited to 4 GB of space. The iPod can store thousands of songs and give you access to hundreds of playlists in a single device. The downfall is that all music on an iPod is compressed, which results in bad quality. Whether you use an auxiliary input or a USB connection makes a difference as well. USB will digitally transfer your music from a portable device and process the music through your head-unit, while auxiliary connections are analog and will sound slightly diminished to that of USB devices. When using AUX, avoid turning the volume up too loud on your portable device to eliminate clipping.

Pros Cons
Flash Drive •No Need For 3rd Party Software
•Small and Compact
•Stereos Usually Limit at 4 GB
•Organization of Music Can Be Difficult
iPod / Zune •Convenient For Playback
•Easy Organization of Music
•Major Loss of Audio Quality
CD •High Quality Lossless Music •Average of 13 Songs
•Scratched Easily
•Bulky CD Wallets
•WAV Files Are Large in Size
Aux Input •Universal 3.5mm Input
•Control Through External Device
•Analog Connection
•Slight Loss in Quality
USB Connection •Digital Connection
•Charges Your Device
•Typically a Premium Feature

There is no wrong or right way to play your music in your car. Everyone has their own preference of devices, and some people much prefer the convenience of an iPod versus the bulkiness of a wallet of CD’s and vice versa. Let this guide help you to decide the best methods of playing your music, and to help you understand that there is a significant difference in quality and storage space when comparing different file types. Please share with us your opinions and methods of playing your music using the comment box below, we would all love to hear from you.