Top positive review
24 people found this helpful
Excellent sound and OOB experience
on April 21, 2013
I've only had these for a week, so the other reviews here that complain about durability may be right. But so far...very nice job, Matthew Polk!
First, the out-of box (OOB) experience. The packaging is like what you'd expect from Apple.
There are a lot of nice little extras included:
* Hardshell zippered case, about 3" x 4" x 1" with elasticized netting on both inside surfaces. It's too big for a pocket, but let's you carry around all the other included goodies.
* Nokia adapter and old-fashioned dual-prong airline seat headphone adapter. The standard 3.5mm jack is elongated a little to deal with Apple and other manufacturers who like to recess their headphone jacks (really, guys, I mean really?)
* A large assortment of ear-tips of various sizes and types. (More on that in a moment.)
These are the first noise cancellers I ever tried (they were $70 on Woot last week, so I spun the wheel). I don't know how they compare to other cancelling earbuds or over the ear headphones, but they do a nice job of turning the external volume down by about half. That feels pretty nice. I got these because my office is next to some very noisy noisers. With the Comply tips (which give you better than 20dB of reduction all by themselves), bliss.
Excellent. But, as someone else mentioned, the bass is almost too much, especially with good eartips. Yes, there are EQ apps out there to fix this. I don't listen to music most of the time on an iPhone. Most people don't have software control of music EQ. Next version of these earbuds, it would be nice to be able to turn the bass down 3db, maybe 6db. Other than the bass being too much at high volume (others may consider that a feature, not a bug) I love the sound. Classical music, no problem. Nicely balanced. Another reviewer complained that these headphones need a 3 to 5 dB treble boost. I don't want to start a fight, but we're all too used to listening to music with too much treble. Loudspeaker manufacturers deliberately boost the high end because it makes speakers sell better. Personally, I like the spectral balance here. Which brings me back to the eartips....
Instead of using the plethora of included eartips, you should go buy some Comply TSX-400 memory foam eartips.
These will make the bass louder. Bass for earbuds is largely determined by how good the seal is between your ears and the tips. Comply eartips seal very well and are very comfortable. I suspect Polk was trying to account for bad eartips, thus the too big bass issue.
If you don't know whether you are a small/medium/large eartipper, use the various types of Polk-supplied tips to figure out which size is best for you. Or you can buy a Comply pack that has small/medium/large and experiment directly. It's cheaper to buy a Comply pack that contains only the right size for you, but it's still not that expensive to get multiple sizes to find which you like. Most people are medium, BTW. Note that the 400 series Comply eartips are a tight fit on these earbuds, but they do fit. It will take a couple of minutes to get them put on right. Be gentle. :)
Other good stuff:
* The sensitivity is ridiculous good. Be careful about how loud your source material is when you connect. There's a 0/-10 switch to lower the sensitivity. I expect it will drain the battery more if you set it to -10. Seriously, turn the volume down.
* The "your captain is saying something" button. Mutes the music and boosts the outside sounds in case you want to hear your captain or your boss.
* if your battery runs out, no worky. There's an on/off switch. You should probably remember to turn it off. And keep an extra AAA battery on hand for when you forget to turn it off. I don't know if the earbuds turn off after a period of time with no music--but if they don't, in the next version, they should.
* noise cancelling can't be cancelled. Don't jog or walk around the city with these earbuds. You will get hit by a car.
Update after 4 months:
Nothing more bad to say. I bought a set for my wife a couple of months ago at full price (love you, honey!) and she loves them too. She is, shall we say, not a person who usually uses most of the technology I get for her, but she went all in on these.
Battery life is excellent. I use these with rechargeable NiMH batteries for several hours a day to drown out my loud colleagues, and batteries last more than a week. I was perhaps even ungenerous about the level of noise reduction in my original review. With Comply eartips (which give you 20dB or better of quieting on their own) loud co-worker conversations become background cocktail chatter. Put on a little Bach and suddenly you hear them not and are productive and happy.
Maybe these will break next week, as others have complained, but so far with all kinds of office and airplane action, they're great. I just bought another set to put in the cupboard, since they're half price at Amazon at this moment. Even if it turns out they're fragile, which I have not yet seen, I want another one right now if mine breaks!
God Bless You, Matthew Polk.
One more suggestion to the Polk people: how about putting the control module about 6 or 8 inches away instead of 18 inches away from the plug? Unless someone buys the Apple version, you don't have track controls on the control, and the extra cord just has to be coiled up in your pocket or next to your computer. It gets in the way of my mouse unless I arrange the excess just so.
6 months later: the durability seems just fine. No issues or problems yet and I use these every day at work, pack them up to take home and take them to work the next day.