Beats Beat Bose or No?
If you’re like me, you’ve owned a million pairs of headphones, and at least four of them were those crummy earbuds from Apple. (Seriously, how does a big company like Apple not devote a large amount of their resources to optimizing the headphones they hand out like pillow mints?) Anyway, I’ve been experimenting with the latest and greatest sets of headphones on the market, and I’ve narrowed it down to five solid choices.
First of all, after years of listening to music and various iProducts, I’ve realized that every young man needs at least two good pairs of headphones: A set of earbuds, and a pair of over-ear noise cancellers. I’ve noticed that on flights, it is nearly impossible to drone out the sound of the airplane engine without some form of noise cancellation.
Unfortunately we’re all on a budget, and there are situations in which big headphones simply won’t do. People need earbuds for a number of reasons. The fatty ear cones from Bose or Beats By Dre are great for viewing movies on flights (and hearing every word of the dialogue) but sometimes (for me, the majority of the time) you don’t want your hair all trussed up, or passersby to divert their attention from your outfit to the giant electronic apparatus atop your noggin. Plus, accidents do happen; sometimes it’d be worth letting the sound of an oncoming car horn make it through your tunes.
Inspiration for one of the newest forms of earbuds came from runners whose headphones wouldn’t stay in. A pair of Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Pros ($59.99) will cost a bit more than the generic pair you bought at a highway rest stop, but are guaranteed not to fall out. They’ve recently started to add new designs and color choices, but the classic red and black scheme is crispy fresh and doesn’t scream for attention. Also with their TwistLock Technology you turn the buds like a key into your ears, so they won’t fall out, even if freezing temperatures are making the wires stiffen. Their tagline is, “developed by athletes, for athletes,” but us sedentary folks need a secure stream of music too! I doze off to audiobooks every night so my Yurbuds are crucial to hearing my iPhone alarm in the morning. Sweat and water resistance makes them a safe bet for working out, and the three button dry mic where the wire forks is easy to use while in motion. Plus, each pair of Yurbuds comes with an extra (larger) size of rubbery bud pads, an easy carrying case and plastic alligator clip (for keeping the bouncing wire in check.) As a final note, they’re commitment to customer service is astounding: If both sizes don’t fit, you mail them your buds with a picture of your ear and they’ll custom make a new set that’s sure to stay in! Whether walking, running or dozing, earbuds are not the place to skimp.
And although I’m partial toward this up-and-comer company, if you’re looking for the highest possible sound quality in your in-ear headphones, then you’ll want the iBeats ($119.95). These high performance buds from Beats By Dre won’t stay in as well as Yurbuds, due to the necessity of the occasional adjustment, but are dramatically more secure than that damned pair by Apple. Not only do they have great bass, and wonderful sound quality, but they also come in various styles with numerous bud pads (meaning the little spongy things that protect your ears from soreness.) These buds are tops for traveling and even working-out with their secure feel and sound depth. Plus, a great perk is the flat cord that can never get tangled.
For when your hairdo isn’t of much concern, potentially the best bang for your buck comes from a pair of Beats Solo HD’s ($199.95). These over ear headphones give unbelievable sound quality that is easily distinguishable compared to normal forms of auditory-injection. Although the style’s a bit throw-back and the cones don’t fully go around your ear, the suction created from the extremely comfortable cushions gives these great noise cancellation. Overall, these are great travel headphones as they aren’t overly bulky, yet have enough noise cancellation and sound punch to leave your ears craving more. They come in white and black, but I’d stress buying the (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition Solo HD’s because they’re exactly the same price, but a portion of the profits will go straight to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. So if you can stand owning red headphones, go for the special edition.
The cream of the crop, I’m afraid, is a bit indistinguishable. It depends on your tastes (or maybe I’m just being stubborn) but my friends insist on the superiority of a pair of Beats studio. ($299.95). This final pair of over-ear headphones from Beats By Dre deliver studio quality sound and have battery-powered noise-cancellation. With these, the listener can hear every little nuance of each note, chord and melody. The website advertises the sound quality as “music the way artists and producers want you to hear.” With their large frame, they are great for the studio and traveling on planes, but not as easy for toting around daily. Offered in black, white and red and with more colors coming soon (although it appears the green pair will be particularly special, as they will cost fifty bucks more than any other pair of studios) so you’ll be able to add a bit more personality to the bulkiest noise-cancellers from Beats By Dre. Overall, these headphones are on par with the best Bose has to offer. I’m partial to the QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones ($299.95) from Bose. They were the first to introduce noise-cancelling technology to headphones 20 years ago, and until recently, they’ve upheld an unparalleled standard for the quality of their products. With the softest of cushions forming an around-the-ear fit, these will deliver your tunes without any of the external noise. They come in a carrying case that I’ve never used consistently (it’s a bit of a hassle) and are harder to pack than the tri-folding Beats By Dre (which also comes with a handy carrying case that easily hooks onto a backpack.) The only knock on the studios is that when played to the loudest, they can be clearly heard by others in close proximity.
So if somebody had a gun to my head, I’d have to go with the studio.’s from Beats By Dre. They’re easy to travel with, deliver the most excellent sound quality in terms of music (maybe I’m imagining it, but I think Bose does movies better) and are offered in several different colors.