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Urban Headphones

20 gennaio 2004

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Koss 'The Plug'

As I mentioned in a previous entry I am now the happy owner of a Sony Ericsson P800 which I use to listen to mp3 audiobooks while going to/from work by subway and bus, which are unfortunately very noisy. After a while I got fed up with trying to shield my ears from the noise, and started investigating possible solutions to this problem.

My first thought was to look for a headphone amplifier to raise the volume of the P800 audio output. It turns out that pocket headphone amplifiers are not too common. Apart from a DIY project which I have no skills (and no patience) to complete, the only one I was able to find (via Dan’s Data) is the Boostaroo, which looks like a nice little piece of hardware. Unfortunately the Boostaroo isn’t available in Italy, making it a bit too expensive. And of course, what’s the point of having a smart phone if you have to carry other stuff around to use it?

My next thought was to find a pair of portable noise-reducing headphones. After reading a nice review on cheap headphones on HeadRoom I decided that a pair of Shure E2C would be perfect to shield my ears from the surrounding noise, knowing perfectly well though that I would never be able to find them in stock somewhere around here.

Sennheiser PX200

So today when I got out from work I went shopping, hoping to find the right pair of headphones for my needs. My first stop was a well known HI-FI store, where despite the snobbish clerk (apparently you should enter that store only if you’re interested — ie buying — esoteric and very expensive HI-FI components) I bought a pair of Sennheiser PX 200. Then on my way home I stopped at FNAC to buy a 3.5-2.5 jack (while I wait for my PC-Mobile SP8AA adapter to get here from Hong Kong) and, surprise surprise, they have a cheap version of the E2Cs, the Koss “The Plug” earbuds. Obviously I couldn’t resist and I bought them too.

My impression so far is that the Koss earbuds are perfect for my needs: they’re (relatively, at least in Italy) cheap, very light, and they block most of the outside noise. The Sennheisers on the other hand are a bit too big to carry around comfortably (they fold in an eyeglasses- size case), but they’re beautiful, very very comfortable, and a wonderful piece of design. So I’m glad I bought both, and I guess I will use the Koss earbuds with the P800 while the Sennheisers will go in my laptop bag, or come handy at home when E. is working in the same room where I am (she needs total silence, except when she feels like chatting which is very often). =)

update: it turns out that the Koss earplugs are not as comfortable as I thought, inserting them well is pretty hard, and they are almost painful; on the other hand the Sennheisers are wonderful, very very comfortable and with very good external noise reduction, so I’m using them as my day-to-day headphones.