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Steven T. Elayda RSS Feed (Fremont, CA USA)
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Panasonic RPTCM125W Headphones (White)
Panasonic RPTCM125W Headphones (White)
Offered by Limited Goods
Price: $12.99
60 used & new from $11.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best earphones under $30, March 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you are an audiophile and want to spread the joy of private music listening to family and friends who aren't, this is the perfect gift to give them (I bought one of each color to give to my brother, 3 god-kids, and the white one for myself). With an average price between $10-$15 it's really chump change when you see earphones 10 to 50 times more. What do you get for $15?
One of the most comfortable, sonically balanced earphones out there. The half in-ear rests on the outer ear and the nozzle has an oval shape making the silicone tip fit ergonomically into the ear canal (shallow). Isolation is below average. You can still hear things around you pretty well.
After 50 hours of burn in playing music non-stop over night for several nights, there were miniscule changes in sound.
The bass is nice and punchy but not overpowering. The mids are not recessed at all. and the treble is smooth and extended enough to hear cymbals but not sibilant.
The one-button with mic adds value to those who use their smartphone.
Build quality reflects its price range. Thin cable, plastic housing, and no gold-plated plug (though it's L-shaped, a plus).
I found out about these on thewirecutter.com, which named these their best earphone under $30.
My higher fidelity IEM collection range from (from most expensive to least) Sony XBA-4iP, Phonak Audeo PFE132, VSonic GR07, Meelectronic M-Duo, VSonic VSD1/S/LE, SteelSeries Flux, Xiaomi Piston 2.0 and the Monoprice 9927 (the previous best under $30). Even with more expensive IEMs, I can still enjoy these and find the best use as work earphones because I can still hear if my coworker needs my attention or if a machine makes unexpected sounds and I can just wind these up and toss into my desk drawer.
Highly recommended!


Audeo PFE 132 Earphones with Mic and Remote
Audeo PFE 132 Earphones with Mic and Remote
2 used & new from $249.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best used with gray filters for a balanced, mid-focused sound, March 2, 2014
I bought this on a discontinued sale from another place but felt I needed to post a review here.

I've had this for almost a year and I have enjoyed it once I got the right filter and tip. I played around with the two filters:

Black filter: This boosts the bass and the treble, making the mids (vocals) a little recessed. Though the bass is enhanced, it's still not enough in this configuration. Overall, the black filter makes the PFE132 too much like any other consumer earphones.

Gray filter: This balances the sound bringing the mids (vocals) slightly forward than the bass and treble. What you get is an all-around earphone that features clear vocals, supported by enough bass and nice (non-fatiguing) treble.

It might seem that the bass is lacking, but that's because the other frequencies are on the same level. For me, it helped to change the tip to a double-flange from the VSonic GR07 to create a better seal. After having the gray filter and the double-flange tip, both isolation and sound improved.

These are one of the most comfortable earphones I have. It lives up to the "perfect fit" they claim.

The iDevice friendly buttons change volume/ play and pause/ call and hang up. The actual buttons are the "+" "-" and "O" therefore it's quite small.

My only complaint is that the cable's memory makes it curvy/coiled when taken out of the case. I have to store it hanging on a key hook to keep the cable as straight as possible. Well, another complaint, if you can call it that, is that Phonak discontinued the Audeo PFE's as of 2013. They will honor their warranty, which is 2 years, if purchased from an authorized dealer. From memory, RHA earphones does better with a 3-year warranty. Sony's is only 90 days.


MEElectronics Atlas Orion IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones with Headset Functionality
MEElectronics Atlas Orion IML Graphics On-Ear Headphones with Headset Functionality
Price: $39.99
20 used & new from $25.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing looks and sound; Okay build quality; Poor isolation, February 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
TL;DR Design is nice. Clear, balanced sound hits above price point. Build quality on par. Isolation is poor.

I was invited to review MEElectronic's Atlas headphones, their new fashion forward on-ear headphones. I was amazed by the sound coming out of these headphones, even out of the box. Apparently, so did my family and coworker (more on this later). After 50 hours of burn-in (playing music at medium volume for several days and nights), a slight increase in bass was noticed. I played the Atlas through my iPhone 4S, iPod touch 5th gen, Kindle Fire HDX and my old laptop (Dell Latitude D630). I mostly played Pandora and mp3 music with 192kps and streaming shows/movies through Amazon instant videos.

Design and Build:
I opted for the Orion design because of its cool circuit-board like styling. It was either this or the Carbon Fiber style because it was the most subtle; I was not ready to make a loud statement. There was a layer of grooves and a layer of printed design. MEElec calls it In-Mold Labeling and it looks really nice. The headphones is mostly plastic with a flat metal band for support. It folds up to be compact for travel, and the hinge has some metal reinforcement for durability. The detachable cable is flat with one side black and the other side grey. It terminates to an L-shaped plug. The microphone housing has a single button for play/pause/next song/last song/call/hangup and a volume slider that works for both Apple iDevice and Android. I noticed the 3.5mm plug detaches from the left ear cup without much effort unlike my other headphones (UE6000 and V-Moda M-80). I attached the MEElec cable to my M-80 and it was very secure; M-80 cable in the Atlas was not as secure. I asked about this at the head-fi.org forum and they say theirs are secure. So mine might be a "one-off". I would say the build quality is on par with the $100 price point because it is not all plastic and the plastic they do use is sturdy. The V-Moda, at double the price is over-built with a full metal band and some plastic on the cups.

Comfort:
The band has a light clamping force and coupled with the breathable, perforated pleather ear pad make the Atlas a comfortable headphone to wear. It helps that the headphone itself is lightweight. I can wear these for many hours without any signs of discomfort.

Sound and Isolation:
I very much enjoy the sound on the Atlas. It is very balanced with good extension in the treble. The bass is present but it not the emphasis of the sound signature. The sound has nice impact; very clear and enjoyable. Comparing with my other headphones, the V-Moda M-80 sounds darker with a lot of bass and treble does not extend as well. The UE6000, an over-ear headphone has a similar sound but smooth (Noise Cancelling mode OFF). Maybe a little too smooth and sounds dull compared to the Atlas' energy. MEElec really nailed it in the sound department on the Atlas.

I listen to a range of music from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rebelution, Bruno Mars, Bob Marley, Oasis, and mostly current pop hits. The Atlas sounded great with these. I use "Wobblin' Dubstep" channel on Songza for burn in and while listening, the sub bass was lacking a little. Dubstep and electronic might not work well.

Isolation is the Achilles' heel of these headphones. Not only will you hear everything around you, people around you will hear what you are listening to. When listening to moderate levels, my brother-in-law who was sitting beside me has to comment. At work, my coworker sitting 10 feet away also told me he could hear it. When I create a seal using my hands on the ear pads, I can still hear the music. It seems to be leaking through the back of the ear cup housing. When I do the same thing to the V-Moda M-80, the sound is greatly reduced. The M-80 even has small bass vents on the back.
These will not work when traveling by plane. The bus, train/subway, or even the library might not work too (if you're considerate; if not, then by all means, go ahead). At home? What good is a fashionable headphone when not in public?

Conclusion:
The design is very good. I look forward to future implementation of the IML technology. The sound on these is one of the best I have heard. I prefer a balanced sound, so a basshead will be disappointed. The lack of isolation knocks off one star as it limits the use in public of these beautiful headphones (if you're considerate). It might just be mine but the cable takes little effort to disconnect from the headphone.


Orbtronic Two 18650 Protected 2900mAh Li-ion Rechargeable Batteries Button Top with PCB - NEW Dual Protection Version Panasonic 2900mAh cell inside
Orbtronic Two 18650 Protected 2900mAh Li-ion Rechargeable Batteries Button Top with PCB - NEW Dual Protection Version Panasonic 2900mAh cell inside
Offered by ORBTRONIC
Price: $18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great protected 18650 batteries, January 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I browsed through CandlePowerForum for what brand of 18650 batteries they preferred for their flashlights and this was one of them, if a protected battery was needed. At the heart of the Orbtronic is the Panasonic battery that is trusted by CPF members. Yes, there is a price premium over other brands but I wanted a good set of 18650 batteries.

It's not the highest capacity battery out there but it's enough for occasional use on my Fenix TK22.


SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Headset for Gaming and Music
SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Headset for Gaming and Music
Price: $46.92
27 used & new from $35.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clear, smooth sound with good bass and great mid range, January 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got these when they were half off and these didn't disappoint. I replaced the tips for the Sony Hybrid (medium) tips and they were more comfortable for me. My sources were iPhone 4S, iPod touch 5th gen, and a Kindle Fire HDX. The single button w/ mic helps with manipulating music playback (no volume) and the occasional call.

These are mid-focused with good extension in the upper and lower ranges. This means the vocals in songs and speeches in games and movies take a step forward over the thump of bass and the clangs of treble. Don't get me wrong, the bass is well balanced to give a good thump to songs and rumble to game/movie explosions. I am not sensitive to sibilance, but I notice it if present, and the Flux are NOT prone to sibilance.

I find the build quality to be good. The housing is made of sturdy plastic with a polished barrel and matte-like back end. The flat cable is tangle-resistant, but I am not a fan of flat cables in general. I like the oval cables from the Sony XBA series IEMs. I am also not fond of the straight plug. I prefer a right-angle plug for ergonomics and stress-relief.

I took these IEMs with me on a flight to Miami and it did a good job of isolating the engine noise thanks to the deep insertion the small housing allows.

For the price (especially if it's on sale), the SS Flux is a strong consideration if your preference is a balanced sound with clear mids. Bass heads may be disappointed.


VSonic GR07 Bass Edition Dynamic Noise Isolation Earphones Earbuds IEM
VSonic GR07 Bass Edition Dynamic Noise Isolation Earphones Earbuds IEM
Offered by GateShop
Price: $128.99
3 used & new from $128.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the BASS EDITION moniker fool you, the sound is balanced, October 27, 2013
These are my favorite IEMs ever!!!! (my other noteworthy IEMs: Sony XBA-4iP, Phonak Audeo PFE 132, VSonic VSD1 and VSD1LE)

Please note, this IEM requires 100+ hours of burn-in to start sounding their best.

Build Quality: even though the housing is plastic, they are built sturdily with one of the best cables I have seen on earphones. They have a metal nozzle that can swivel to accommodate every ear type.

Comfort: the cable runs over and around the ear that helps secure the monitor and reduce microphonics. the low-profile housing makes listening while laying on your side possible.

Sound: initially, the sound was a little grainy on the top end. But after 100 hours of playing music for several nights, the sound has vastly improved. The bass is tight and punchy but does not muddle the mids, or vocal region. The treble is sparkly without (much) sibilance. "SSS" shows up on some tracks but it's not too bad. Thanks to the bio-cellulose dynamic driver, the sound is crisp and refined. The bass is slightly enhanced and gives the music a satisfying rumble. These are NOT basshead earphones! These are not for you if you are looking for overwhelming bass.

Several "negatives" if you can call it that:
*no mic/buttons for calls and music player manipulation
*it's not too noticeable, but the cable has a burgundy/grey candy-cane style striping on the cable.
*does not come with a hard case (it comes with a soft pouch); I would suggest purchasing a clamshell-style case along with the earphone
*can only be worn around ear, not cable down


MEElectronics M-Duo Dual Dynamic Driver In-Ear Headphone with Inline Microphone and Remote, Blue
MEElectronics M-Duo Dual Dynamic Driver In-Ear Headphone with Inline Microphone and Remote, Blue
Price: $49.99
31 used & new from $25.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars M-Duo Great Value under $100, August 15, 2013
Pros:
*Great V-shaped sound characteristic
*Great build quality
*Comfortable
*Universal Mic and play/pause/call button

Cons:
*I like to wear my IEM around my ear lobe and the angle of the strain relief makes it protrude a bit when coupled with an ear hook (minor)
*For me, the cord length was 6" too long so I coil it and secure with a small velcro strap near the Y-split to reduce potential to snag on things (minor)

I purchased the M-Duo direct from Meelectronics when it first came out. Out of the box, I can tell that the build quality was top notch with a metal housing, kevlar-reinforced cord, and a 90-degree gold-plated plug. The plug is interesting in that there's about a 1/4" gap from the end of the 3.5mm plug to the 90-degree bend. What this translates to is that it can connect to smartphones/MP3 players with the thick cases with no problem.
The cord is long. This could be a good thing for tall people or for those that connect the M-Duo to a laptop/PC and want to reach for something without having it yanked out of their ears. I put this as a CON, but it did not impact my review of the M-Duo.

It took about 80 hours of burn in before the sound settled. I listen on my iPhone 4S and iPod Touch 5th gen. Initial sound impression was that it sounded a little cold (not much mid-bass; no body to vocals or guitar strums) and a little grainy. But after burn in, I noticed a slight warmth in the mid bass region giving it a very satisfying sound. I like to listen to Sublime/ Rebelution and the like, and the bass is amazing on those songs. I also listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers/Foo Fighters and the treble sparkles with energy. They sound great on many of today's popular music genre (Rap, Hip Hop, Pop, Reggae, Rock).

I have to say that the sound is aggressive: it is in your face/ in your head and not as airy (distant) as the Vsonic GR07BE, for example.

I would recommend the M-Duo if you want a fun, aggressive IEM and have a budget under $100.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 12, 2014 8:47 AM PDT


HexBright FLEX, 500 Lumen Programmable LED Flashlight
HexBright FLEX, 500 Lumen Programmable LED Flashlight

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well constructed, bright, programmable, rechargeable, June 11, 2013
I supported the Flex flashlight on kickstarter and its probably one of the best projects I backed. It took a while getting to us but we were constantly updated with the progress, so we were not left in the dark, so to speak.

When it finally arrived, I was impressed with the build quality, the light performance and the future outlook with the programming community.

The throw on the light is good but not adjustable. I normally use the low or medium beam because it's plenty bright. The high beam is insane! The grooves on the body is ergonomic when held. It is light weight and sturdy. The clicker feels good. The battery is charged via mini USB that is accessed by twisting the housing about 2 rotations. The battery is replaceable and the replacement is cheap. It is waterproof utilizing an O-ring on each end and it has survived a few drops from 3-4 feet onto concrete.

I have not messed with the open source programming yet, so I cannot comment on it.

I commend the first production run and I am confident that the newer versions will improve on an already great flashlight.

I will not hesitate to recommend the Flex for those looking for a pocket sized flashlight.


Satechi Headrest Mount for 7"-10" Tablets: iPad 1/2/3, Google Nexus 7, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Galaxy 10.1, Viewsonic Gtablet, Blackberry Playbook, HTC Flyer
Satechi Headrest Mount for 7"-10" Tablets: iPad 1/2/3, Google Nexus 7, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Galaxy 10.1, Viewsonic Gtablet, Blackberry Playbook, HTC Flyer
Offered by Satechi

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May not fit all headrest posts; iPad mini a tight squeeze with case, April 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Pros:
Build quality is great
tablet is secure on the mount

Cons:
May not fit all headrest posts
Tight squeeze for iPad mini

We have an 18month old daughter who needs to be entertained during extended drives and having my wife hold the iPad for her is tiring. So we needed a car mount to solve this problem.

I use the headrest mount on my wife's '03 Toyota RAV4 and the fit is perfect. The headrest post rests within the designated area to close it securely.
In order to fit the iPad mini with a Speck Products FitFolio Protective Cover for iPad mini - PowerOwl Blue (SPK-A1657) , the bracket needs to be fully extended and needs to be inserted in the spring-loaded side first then forced through the rubber stopper on the other side. I worry that over time, the rubber will degrade sooner than expected.

When I used the mount on my 1998 Honda CRV, the headrest post was too close together for both posts to be within the secure area. It's one post or the other. I had to use small towel or scarf to secure it.

In conclusion, I would give this product a 3.5 stars because even though it's built well and securely keeps our iPad mini mounted, it may not fit all headrest posts and the bracket needs 1/4" more to accommodate an ipad mini with a case. I will not be removing the case every time I need to mount it; it'll just be too cumbersome.


LG Electronics HBS-730.ACUSBKK Tone and Bluetooth Headset, Black
LG Electronics HBS-730.ACUSBKK Tone and Bluetooth Headset, Black
Offered by Electronics Club
Price: $69.95
40 used & new from $21.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1month Review: I love it! No skipping on iPod Touch 5G, March 6, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
1 Month Review:

I've had the HBS-730 for a little over a month and have been pleased with its performance on the iPhone 4S when wifi is off. It still had skipping once in a while when wifi is on. A week ago, I got the iPod Touch 5G, and had no skipping what so ever playing Pandora with the headset. iOS is 6.0.1 out of the box and I have no plans of upgrading unless the music apps I use require it. This is the reason I increased my star rating from 4 to 5. It plays continuously now. So music is played through the iPod touch, and my iPhone is still connected to handle calls.

There is one annoyance (mentioned by other reviewers) that does not affect its star rating:

The magnet is weak that the earpieces pop out with the slightest bump.

Battery is still great: it can handle two 12 hour work shifts playing music at medium level with normal EQ.

I don't leave home without the HBS-730.

-----------------------------------Initial Review below-----------------------------------------------------

I received the HBS-730 today and have been messing around with the settings and here are my initial impressions:

The primary device I will be using this with is my iPhone 4S on iOS 6.1.2. Secondary device is my Dell Latitude D630 with a USB mounted Bluetooth 4.0 adapter. Pairing was simple and I was really impressed with the sound when playing Pandora music via home WiFi. Like everyone has described, I did experience the cutting/clipping of sound every minute or so, especially when I'm in the outer reaches of my WiFi range. Fine, I'll get closer to the wireless router. Clipping was minimized to once every five minutes. Music app with songs saved locally has no problems.
Hmmm...
I google "How to prevent bluetooth headphones from skipping" and I came across a blog from PracticallyAgile.com about how the iPhone's WiFi and bluetooth share the same antenna or power. So I try their suggestion: turn off the WiFi, so I'm on cellular data, and guess what? ZERO clipping on Pandora or Songza!!! I try to turn the WiFi back on, and it takes forever to even find my home WiFi. It seems the bluetooth has taken most resources/power/antenna band. So I turn both WiFi and bluetooth off. Then turn the WiFi on first to connect to the internet and then bluetooth to connect to the HBS-730. Play Pandora again, and clipping has shown its ugly face.
I am now certain this is the case because I have been listening to Pandora for two hours on cellular data and have had no skipping. I have the ancient unlimited data plan so I have no worries about overage.
Also, there are three EQ settings (Bass boost/ Normal/ Treble Boost). Default is Bass boost, but I prefer Normal. To change, press both + and - volume buttons and you'll hear a beep to confirm.
Comfort is excellent. I do not feel the neckband and the stock ear tips are the right size for me.
Sound Quality is excellent. I have not tried call quality on this first day.
Opinion on battery life is still pending, but for listening for 4 hours out of the box, battery level is now at 50%. So it seems to have a long battery life.

If you have this unit and having problems with clipping, please try turning off WiFi if you have an iPhone. If the problem is resolved, then it's probably not the headset. I bought this product knowing about the issue versus the older HBS-700 but took the chance anyways. My guess why that is maybe due to the bluetooth 3.0 on the 730 vs the 2.1 on the 700 requiring more power (?). I don't know.

I will update this review after I've had a few days/weeks with the headset. Initial review is that i like it, with the caveat that I have to turn off WiFi for full enjoyment.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2013 4:15 PM PST


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