Over the years, I’ve tried nearly every style of earphone, from big clunkers in the ‘70s to sleek ear buds the last few years. Nothing could beat ear buds, I thought — jamming them deep into my ears and getting the music that much closer to my brain was heaven.
But there’s always better, isn’t there?
Folks, I give you Sharper Image Pro Sport ear buds.
They look a little weird, don’t they? They aren’t the typical straight-in-your-ear-canal buds. These hook over the ear and sit vertically inside. The speaker points to the tragus, rather than into the ear.
I won’t lie, when I first took them out of the package, I couldn’t figure out how they worked — I was trying to find the part that I could jam deep. Obviously, there isn’t one. It turns out that’s exactly why they were bought for me.
It’s no secret to my family that there is no such thing as too loud when it comes to my music. Jam them deep and turn it to 11 – that’s my default starting position. They worry about my hearing, that one day I’ll turn it up too much and pay a price.
It amuses me to no end that the lectures on the dangers of loud music come from my kids.
Anyway, my older son bought these for me — on my husband’s advice — specifically because the speaker faces the front of the ear. “So you won’t wreck your hearing, Mom,” he said with great hope (and plenty of attitude).
I haven’t yet told him the truth: these are the loudest earphones I’ve ever had. I figure I’ll wait until I can do it without laughing.
What makes them so great isn’t just the volume; it’s the clarity of the sound. “Crystal clear,” the back of the packaging says, and they are not exaggerating. The music I listen to most is the music I’ve been listening to for years, and these headphones are so good I’m hearing new things in songs I thought I knew every nuance of. (For the record, I listen to a lot of industrial-ambient and neo-alt-prog, music built with many layers, and sounds hiding in the background.) There’s even more to the music I love than I knew, and I cannot begin to explain how much that thrills me.
As far as practical matter — fit and wear — they also rate well. The ear hooks are fine; they are soft and well fitting, and sit well under the arms of my glasses. The overall fit/steadiness/stay-in-place factor is good.
If there is a downside to them, it’s the thing that probably makes them sound so freaking good — the rounded back part that rests in the bowl of the ear gets somewhat uncomfortable after extended wear (two to three hours). But as someone who depends on music to help keep me upright and sucking air, a little bit of ear discomfort is a price I’m more than willing to pay. They really do sound that good.
Are you sold yet? Here’s one more thing that makes them awesome: you can find them for less than $15.00, giving them a bang-for-your-buck rating that’s through the roof.
If you try them, let me know how you like them.