My purchase of some compact Sennheiser headphones from eBay fell through, leaving me unfortunately out of pocket. While I’ve been surviving with my Sennheiser HD210s, they’re very much designed for home use and are a bit large for using outside while walking.
As a (proud) iPod Mini owner I already had the iPod earbuds but these would never stay in my ears, especially when walking which is when I listen to my iPod most. The EarJams promised to take the already good earbuds offered by Apple and make them more comfortable, and make the sound better, so I ordered some from , a UK-based company selling iPods and accessories via eBay. After a slight problem with delivery (i.e. me being out when the postman came – they were sent first class recorded delivery so I couldn’t sign for them), they arrived today and I’ve had a chance to play with them. Here’s what I thought of them, and how I feel they live up to the manufacturers claims.
- To deliver “massive” bass
- To improve sound
- To enhance the comfort and fit of your iPod earbuds
Bass and Sound Quality
The EarJams do indeed boost the bass and overall volume of the iPod’s output – I could turn the volume well down and they’d still be quite loud, even on the European volume-limited models (US iPods aren’t subject to legal maximum volume limits so they will be even louder). They’re also better at filtering out background noise, which is handy if you’re listening to it while out walking through a city like I usually am.
Unfortunately the sound quality suffers quite badly – a surprise as I was expecting an improvement. While this may vary depending on what music your listen to, I tried it on various rock, trance and R&B tracks and in all cases I felt the overall sound quality was worse than without the EarJams on. It puts the earbuds on a par with some of the cheaper earbuds included in more basic audio players. A disappointment on that part, then.
They are, at least for me, considerably more comfortable than the ‘naked’ earbuds on their own. As well as actually staying in my ears for more than just a few seconds, my ears didn’t hurt as much as they have done when trying to wear the earbuds without the EarJams in the past. What you lose in sound quality you gain in comfort and reduced annoyance I guess.
You don’t just get the basic EarJams for your money. The silicone pads (or ‘nipples’ as I like to call them) which fit on the end come in three sizes – medium is the ‘default’ size but you can go large or small depending on which feels the most comfortable. With my big ears I felt that large gave me the greatest comfort.
You also get a nice grey pouch for keeping your earbuds in, which includes a couple of pockets on the inside so that you can store the extra pads in case your ears magically change shape, or something. It can also double up as a purse as it’s just big enough for a few coins and notes, and can take a few cards too.
That said, I think Griffin missed a trick by making it that size – if it was a mere half inch taller it could fit an iPod Mini inside. You could probably fit an iPod Shuffle in there but I don’t have one to be able to find that out.
So what do I think overall? I have mixed feelings about the EarJams. On the one hand they actually make the iPod earbuds useful to me by ensuring that they actually stay in my ears, but the sound quality suffers as a result, which is a shame. I do also think they’re a little overpriced – they’re selling here for around £12 which does seem a lot for a few bits of moulded plastic and silicon. The pouch is probably the saving grace here – had it not been for that then these would have certainly been an absolute rip-off.
Where they worth buying? I suppose so. Okay, so the sound quality isn’t great but I have a pair of decent headphones for that. They are better at filtering out background noise and they are considerably more comfortable. By snapping on to the existing iPod headphones they do get your street cred, which for some will justify the price – the iPod is the music player to have and wearing a pear of those earbuds shows you have one. Though I suppose that also makes you more of a target for muggers.
Overall, I’m reasonably happy with them. I just wish I hadn’t paid so much for them.
My full set of photos of the EarJams is available over at Flickr, by the way.