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on March 16, 2013
I had previously owned the Sennheiser CX 680 Earfin Sports Earbuds. I wrote a lengthy review of these earbuds, which is the "Most Helpful" review of this product on Amazon.com. I used my CX 680s several times a week at the gym and they performed well; they had a good run (so to speak). After about two years the plastic piece that connected one of the earbuds to its wire came loose, but it was easily fixed with superglue. About six months later, however, the sound gave out in one earbud, forcing me to trash them.

In hindsight, and in light of my recent purchase of the CX 685s, I would give the CX 680s 3 stars. The thing that bothered me the most about them was that with a lot of movement and sweating (e.g., running) the earfins sometimes became squishy and dislodged from my ear, thereby causing the earbud to come out. This was annoying and kind of defeated the purpose of these types of earbuds. By comparison, I will say that the PMX 70s (also reviewed) stayed in much better than the CX 680s during exercise. The downside to them for me was that they were the neckband type and were not noise-isolating. Those things and the sound starting to cut out due to issue with the wiring within several months of use (I just sent them to Sennheiser hoping they will repair or replace them) forced me to look for new earbuds.

Again I spent many hours searching for and reading reviews about earbuds designed to be noise-isolating and stay in place during activities like running. I narrowed my search to Monster iSport LIVESTRONG In-Ear Headphones - Yellow and Bose SIE2 Sport Headphones - Green. All had comparable features and reviews (actually the Bose may be slightly higher rated), but I decided the SIEs were too pricey for me. The Monsters and Sennheisers were at the same price point. Between the iSports and CX 685s, I chose the latter b/c of Sennheiser's 2-year warranty vs. Monster's 1-yr warranty (always make sure you buy Sennheisers from an authorized dealer...Amazon is but some sellers on Amazon are not) and my experience with the CX 680s. I paid $58 which I thought was reasonable and was comparable to what I paid for the CX 680s 3 years ago.

I have used the CX 685 several times this past week for up to an hour of working up a sweaty lather while pounding the treadmill. The earbuds don't budge, are comfortable, and are unobtrusive. Obviously, for me, the ability of earbuds to stay in place while running and sweating is my #1 priority. Fit and comfort are #2 (these deliver in this category, too). Sound is #3 and I would say that these are as good as the CX 680s (which I thought were good, not great), but definitely not audiophile material. They block out surrounding noise very well but seem kind of lacking in the bass department. The change of the earfin design from a flexible fin to firmer, but still flexible, hook was a great improvement. Time will tell if they continue to stay in place over longer, even sweatier workouts (hence only the 4, maybe 4 1/2, stars instead of 5), but for now I'm very satisfied.

For those interested in such things, the packaging is minimal/no frills but nice. Along with the earbuds (fitted with the medium earbud covers) are small and large earbud covers, a pouch with velcro seal (I love these pouches: they are just the right size and are very durable), a quick guide and a safety guide, a cleaning tool (I never used this with my CX 680s), and a clip. I would highly recommend using this last item to clip the wires to your clothing to reduce slack and avoid having the wires rub against your clothing and transfer sound. I do not know if either the CX 685 or CX 680 are prone to this b/c I always use the clip. The wire is 48", symmetrical, and the perfect length for me at 5'8". I use an iPod shuffle clipped to my waistband or shorts pocket and clip the wires to the back of my shirt collar. I miss having the option for a shorter wire (clipping iPod to - usually cut-off - shirt sleeve is my preferred setup) as with the CX 680, but I do not miss the clunky volume control on the extension. If there were one thing they could improve on the CX 685 it would be to provide a volume control like they have on the OCX, PMX, and PX 685i. It's a mystery to me why they would put this feature on some of the models but not on others.

Overall, better fins make this a better product than its predecessor and a recommended buy for those looking for sweat/water resistant/proof noise-isolating in-ear earbuds with decent sound that will stay in your ears while performing strenuous activity.

Update 12/25/13: I should have updated this months ago. As I alluded to in my reply to a question, with repeated, sweaty use, these started slipping from my ears. I tried all combos of earbuds and positions of the (adjustable) hook, but still had problems. Finally, I found a solution that helped: Use 2 clips to attach each of the wires to the collar of my shirt to balance/lessen the tension on the wires. For running this does help, and I find I usually only have to push them back in place a few times. Definitely not a perfect earbud, but overall OK.
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on November 15, 2012
Just got these headphones and am very satisfied. A few years ago I bought some sennheiser headphones (twist to fit, orange. Model no longer being made) and was very happy with the sound quality and fit during workout. The wire recently wore out after 3 + years of 3-4 times/week usage. The sound quality was great and they fit very well, never slipped during a workout (moving and slipping during workout was my main complaint before buying them). I had bought the CX 680 recently but sent it back, as the earfins did not hold them securely in my ear(plastic not hard enough to keep them in ear w sweat and moving).
These headphones have excellent sound quality across all music, from oldies to led zeppelin to new R&B(great bass). They fit well in the ear and stay there, as the plastic is firmer. The 3 size adjustments are also nice. They are in-ear models, so have a slightly different feel from most others that have foam-like padding on the headphones that sits outside the ear canal. These almost feel like having small earplugs in, which can be good or bad depending on your needs. They definitely block out more outside noise, so you don't hear the music at the gym that you don't want to. However, if you plan on using them to workout with a partner(or anywhere you want to have conversation while working out), you may have to take them out to hear somebody else talk. My old ones I could just pause my music and keep the headphones in, but these block out much more sound. This may also be dangerous if you use them jogging in an urban environment where you can't hear cars or people yelling. These are also water proof so you can rinse w water after your workout to keep them from getting buildup.
Overall, I think they're a great buy. I am loyal to this brand after my previous purchase, and will hopefully get good use out of these.
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VINE VOICEon January 13, 2013
Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you run, finding headphones with the ideal mix of fit and sound-quality is always challenging. Based on the product description for these, I was hoping for the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, it only delivered one half of the equation for me.

These are "in-ear" headphones, which means you need to insert the bud into your ear canal. The package contains 3 interchangeable tips, so you'll need to find the one that fits your ear canal the best. You need to slightly twist them into your ear canal to seal them. Then, there's a second component to holding them in-place. The earbud has a flexible tip on an adjustable extention that you must fit into the ridge of your ear, just above your ear canal. Let's just say -- figuring out how to get this work will require some trial-and-error, and perhaps a mirror. Eventually you'll have "Eureka!" moment and you'll realize they are securely in your ear.

Continuing on comfort...when I have these positioned correctly in my ear, they initially feel good. They stay secure during a 30-minute run on a treadmill. There is a included clip that you can attach to the cable, and then attach to your shirt, to keep the cable from banging around on your chest, which minimizes any vibration and tugging on the earbuds in your ears. When it comes to keeping these "in the ear", the design works incredible well.

However, I don't recommend wearing them for extended periods of time because -- at least for me -- they get extremely uncomfortable. Not only are they "in your ear", but the added flexible tip ends up pushing up against the ridge of your ear with a bit of pressure. After about two hours of use, I have to stop using them. This doesn't make them good for all-around, every day use. It also doesn't make them good for extended workouts -- long-distance runs, for example.

If it weren't for the comfort issue, I might be able to over-look the mediocre sound quality. These just don't sound good at all. They lack a solid low-end (bass) on every type of music. Only once in a while do I hear bass response that makes my ears perk-up, but it doesn't last long. It's actually quite perplexing. Mid-range and treble seem unnatural and harsh, but that actually makes them suitable for podcasts or anything that stresses vocals. For music use, I accept this because I only use them temporarily for my workouts. Otherwise, I have other earbuds that I use for all-around music listening.

Buy these only if you need short-term workout headphones. If you are looking for something to use during workouts AND for all-around every-day use, I can't recommend these. I keep these next to my treadmill -- that's where I use them.
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on August 23, 2013
I'm a long-distance runner (I run 5-6 days a week, anywhere between 5 and 20 miles a run), and have been on the hunt for the perfect earbuds. I think I found them here! I have had over-the-ear headphones before, but I don't like their bulkiness or how "hard" the part near the ear canal tends to be. I prefer earbuds, but it's been tough to find ones that really resist the sweat/water from my ears and stay put. These do! The sound is great, and I appreciate the clip that comes with them -- I salvaged a clip from an old set of headphones with the last few pairs I've had, but this clip is much sturdier. I really can't say enough about these! The top part above the earbud is adjustable, so I would imagine it will fit anyone (my ears are small so I have them all the way down). These are good quality and will be my headphones of choice from now on.
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on May 5, 2013
First off, my goal was find an ear-bud that doesn't fallout. I run a lot and I hate ear-buds that pops-out while I am hitting my stride because it unnecessarily ruins the whole flow and all ear-buds I have tried, prior to the cx685,always pops-out while running or during working-outs.

In fact, I had given up on ear buds altogether and moved on to the Koss Porta Pros over-the-head headphones, which was very light, but was very uncomfortable for running and working-out for a long period of time (even though they stayed in place, they felt like a vice grip on my head).

I compared the CX685 to my other earbuds (to reference sound quality even though those are not sports models) which included a Sony Mdr Ex310 LP, Klipsch S4 Image and Klipsch S4I reference, Sennheiser CX 880 and Bose IE2 playing the same song on my Sansa Clip, Cowon D2, Cowon s9 and I thought the bass were more than sufficient and not over powering. The bass in the Klipschs were tight and well defined, in Ex310 LP had more boom to it but never got muddy, Bose IE2 was very good, Sennheiser cx880 was excellent, and cx685 was surprisingly in the middle of all these earbuds.

At first, I was disappointed with the sound but after a week of burning in. It sounded amazing and now I am using this for everything.

Also, you can adjust and tweak your MP3 player settings (Equalizer, bass,treble etc) for better sound. For those who use those Iphones and Ipods and android devices for playing music, they are sound apps that will greatly improve your music and allow advance adjustments beyond the typical Iphone adjustments.

Also, if you want great music at a excellent price for 30 bucks, try the Sansa clip. It's quite small n good for the gym n running but the sounds for the price is top notch. Then there are Cowons and Sony mp3 lines of players.
Overall sound quality is very decent.

Pros
-Once in, stays in
-2 years warranty
-Great Sound Quality for what it is (don't expect top notch audiophile music in a sports headphones but its above average)
-Blocks out sound 85-90% (be-careful when running)

Cons
-Takes about a week to burn-in ( I was going return it because it sound tinny and weak at first but after the burn-in, its amazing)
- Takes some time to got get used to the design (sometimes I thought it was going to fall out but never did)
-Fins are changing shape (so far haven't affect the ear buds ability to stay in)
-Price: I thought it was kind of overpriced ( I paid 60 including shipping)
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on July 3, 2013
Not bad, not great.

Tried Skullcandy Fix in ear buds, Skullcandy chops in ear, Monster iSport, Dre Powerbeats, and the Adidas/Sennheiser CX 685. By far the best sounding are the iSports, it's not even close.

Adidas CX 685- Second place - clear mids and highs, but lacking in the bass department and they have an awkward fit that is not a good seal. Also the actual unit is very big and heavy. Stays on the ear pretty well. Not a great deal at 70.00.

Monster iSport livestrong/immersion - Easily first place - Awesome mids and highs, along with punchy pounding bass make these the winner. They come with 5 different earbud sizes and 5 different earpieces making for an outstanding sealed fit once you figure out which ones to use. This took about 30 minutes but was well worth it. Does not fall off the ear and the buds do not come out of the ear at all. Good deal at 55.00. Great sound isolation, the earbuds rotate in place for a great fit and no cord feedback from bumping on the shirt make this a great pair of headphones.

Skullcandy fix - third place. Similar bass to the adidas, but muddled mids and highs. Stay in the ear very well and make a nice seal. Good for the 30.00 price.

Dre powerbeats - Fourth place. Decent mids and highs, and only the iSport has better bass. The problem is the strange fit. They don't fall off the ears, but the buds constantly fall out making for a terrible seal and poor sound once they fall out. The hooks also poke out at a strange angle. The worst deal at 110.00.

Skullcandy Chops - almost no bass whatsoever, but good highs and mids. Depending on the type of music you like these may be an option. Nice fit and seal, and very lightweight. Do not fall off and the buds stay put. Good deal for 25.00.
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on April 30, 2013
after my Skullcandy Asym went bad, I bought these with three things in mind. (Great buds for running but suspect durability)
1) Ability to stay secure while running.
2) Sound quality.
2) Comfort.

My thoughts regarding these three categories
1) A+ - They haven't fallen out once. The design is great in regards to staying in your ear. The Asyms never had a problem either. Their buds were designed to wrap around the ear. I believed this may have helped to curb background noise as well by distributing excess movement in the wire along your ear as well as the bud.
2) C - Sound quality is pretty good if your standing still, but that's not what I bought these for. The background noise from the over-sized cord is quite noticeable when making the slightest movements. I have to crank up the volume to avoid hearing this at all times. Even without that problem, I don't feel as though I got my moneys worth. The bass isn't quite there. I realize these are just buds, but I feel as though my Skullcandy Asym buds gave a bit more punch for half the money. The Asyms had a similar but less egregious problem that was remedied by sliding up the plastic piece that brings the cords together up close to my chin. I'm thinking about rigging something up to serve the same purpose on these.
3) C - While the design has kept the buds in my ear, they tend to get a little uncomfortable. By the time I am done with my run, I am happy to take them off. Perhaps I am extending the adjustable arm too far, but it just doesn't feel secure otherwise.

They serve their purpose and I don't plan on buying another until these wear out. However, I think I prefer the wrap around ear style for comfort and passive background noise reduction. The design is clever, but it feels either flawed, or unperfected.
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on November 24, 2014
I use these headphones to run with on a dirt trail. They fit very nicely in my ears. I was worried that they would hurt but they do not. They do not fall out when I run. They do block the sound out of outside so I would not recommend for those who run on the street because you do not hear whats around you.
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on December 1, 2014
My wife has small ears and never found earbuds she liked - mostly because they always fell out. I had gotten her some over-the-head headband style earbuds, but when they broke this was the next option. She loves them! They stay in well and are extremely loud (she can use lower volumes due to the great sound isolation, which is better for her ears anyway).

Price was a bit more than I care to pay for earbuds, which I consider likely to break or be lost, but it was worth it in this case to find something that actually worked for her.

They are comfortable enough for her 45 minute commute, though after that they do become a bit annoying.

We're not audiophiles, so can't really comment on the quality, but sounds good enough for her purposes.
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on October 18, 2012
These are probably the best workout headphones I have ever used. I've used Nixon Whip, Koss PortaPro, Skullcandy FMJs and a few others and these are hands down the best. They fit nicely in your ear and have a cool extension and the tip that lightly presses against the inside of your ear to keep them in place. Very good sound cancellation and fit. You might want to take them out every 1/2 hour or so if you like to wear them tightly. There is no mic or in-line control which doesn't bother me and the cord is very light. These don't have much booming bass but the sound is great and these can get really loud without any distortion. I highly recommend them.
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