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Customer Review

121 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solved our problems dealing with a lousy Gym, February 2, 2011
This review is from: Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones (Black) (Electronics)
Even though I have been going to gyms for 20 years, it seems just recently (the last few years), all the gyms in our area have fallen into the irritating habit of blasting the overhead music excessively loud.

How loud ?

Conventional ear-buds and headphones are unable to drown out the gym's overhead music even with your MP3 player on 10.

From talking with dozens of other members, it seems despite numerous talks with management and letters to corporate offices, all the gyms in our area (Ballys, LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, etc..) continue this same bad habit.

Hey ..... these are supposed to be gyms, not night clubs or rave/dance clubs ....... right ?

Unfortunately the locally owned gyms have all been squeezed out of business, so there are few options available for joining elsewhere.

Making it worse, these gyms all tend to play hip-hop, rap, techno or some other form of overly simplistic, repetitive, bass heavy, mind-numbing noise that barely qualifies as music.
More like an audio version of Chinese Water Torture.

So we were searching for a set of noise isolating headphones that would be effective at shutting out the gym's noise and allow us to focus on our workout with a music of our own choice ... played at a reasonable volume.

I heard these earphones have the highest noise cancelling factor in the industry
(up to -42 db with the foam inserts , - 35 db with the plastic inserts)
This is even better than the - 33db of sound isolation/protection offers with the earplugs often used at gun ranges.

Let me simply say this .......

The first time my wife wore them to the gym, she looked at me smiling and mouthed the words ...... "I don't hear anything".

I signaled for her to remove them.

She took them out, and WHAM could hear how loud the gym was playing the overhead music that day.

She said ..... "These are great, I am glad you got these. Now coming here does not annoy me anymore. You can tune out the gym's irritating noise and it's like you are in your own zone".

What you have here is essentially an ingenious "amplified earplug".
The earplug blocks off 98% of external sound, while the small 8mm dynamic speaker delivers the sound directly to your inner ear.

Now a few comments .....

1) Like any dynamic speaker type system, these will sound better after they have had a chance to be played for 20-25 hours. Just like guitar amp speakers or any other dynamic speaker system, they tend to be a little stiff and thin sounding when brand new.
After 20-25 hours of use, they are broken in and better reproduce the full audio spectrum with smoother highs and better low end.

2) Some people have commented these earphones have a weak bass response.
After broken in as described above, their complaint is not true.
They have a very natural frequency response from about 60 hz - 18 Khz
I have worked in recording studios, mixing and mastering for years and I can attest to the accuracy of these earphones for the price.

My guess is the people complaining about the weak bass either .. (a) do not have them inserted in the ear properly .... or ....... (b) these people like to listen to music that has exaggerated subharmonic bass (dance, techno, hi-hop, salsa, rap).

3) A proper fit is KEY to getting the best sound isolation and full sound. At least 5 different sizes of earplug are available for this model. When installing the earphone into the ear, you should actually hear the sound of the room around you dissapear to virtually nothing as the foam expands to fill your ear.
The expanding foam works best for total sound isolation.

4) Because these earphones block out the external sounds and deliver your music directly to your inner ear ... BE SURE TO LOWER THE VOLUME OF YOUR MP3 PLAYER before putting them on !!
If you are accustomed to listening to your I-Pod on 9-10 wearing normal ear-buds or headphones, you will probably find that you only need to turn the volume up to 1-2 with these.

This is a great thing. Listening to your music in this quiet situation at a lower volume is much safer for your hearing than needing to blast your player with regular headphones to try and drown out external noises.

5) They are easier, better and more quiet than the various Bose systems.

6) Do not wear these outside walking, driving , hiking, etc...
These things really make the outside world go dead quiet.
For example, I can't even hear my own Cell phone ring or people taking right in front of you to your face.
At the gym, it is as though you are deaf.
You see people moving but you don't even hear the clank of metal weights.

Perhaps in the 2 second break between songs on your own player, you MIGHT hear very faintly that there is something being played in the gym's background .......... but is is almost not even noticeable.

7) Some of the more expensive Etymotic earphones may sound slightly nicer, but these MC-5 are more durable and better suited for rugged activities.

In summary ........

These MC-5 give you your own zone of privacy and silence by tuning out 98% of all external noise.
They offer very accurate sound.
They allow you to listen to your music at a lower volume, thus protecting your hearing.

It is always nice to find a product that really excels at what it was intended to do.
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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 22, 2011 2:09:08 PM PDT
Have you used them while running? If so, how are they?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2011 6:01:06 PM PDT
M. Spitzer says:
No, I have not used them while running outside for the safety reasons mentioned earlier.
(ie ... you would never hear an approaching danger).

But I have used them on an Elliptical in the gym -- and also while working outside around my yard.
Worked fine.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2011 6:14:26 PM PDT
Ok great. I'm just looking for treadmill/cardio machine use because when I run outdoors I use my iPhone speaker so I don't have to use headphones. thank you!!

Posted on Oct 16, 2011 11:53:59 AM PDT
How do you find they stand up to perspiration? Have you had any trouble with sweat damaging them or shorting them out? (There should be less of a problem with this since they don't have the microphone/three-button control that the etymotic hf3 has, as that is the part that usually shorts out, but I am still curious.) Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2011 7:09:25 PM PDT
Perspiration has not affected the function at all.
The only thing is the sweat causes the foam to wear out faster
I replace the foam earplug insert part each month

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2011 9:38:17 PM PDT
Thank you so much for your prompt answer. Sounds like these will be great for me at the gym, perspiration and all! Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2011 7:23:56 PM PDT
M. Spitzer says:
As M.F. commented, the foam earpieces offer the best sound isolation (less outside noise), and the foam seems to last about 30-60 days before replacing.
Buy a bag of them and they will last a year.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 6:15:31 PM PST
R. Barrett says:
I'm right with you with the annoying gym music, 95% of the people at my gym are listening to their own music, yet they insist on blasting some pretty bad music... to annoy us perhaps. Etymotic seems like a good fix

Posted on Dec 2, 2011 8:58:55 AM PST
You sound like you spend time at my gym - Retro Fitness. I can't hear myself think with the hip hop music blasting :(

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2011 6:40:25 PM PST
M. Spitzer says:
I don't understand how this irritating trend started with gyms blasting rap, hip-hop and techno music so loud all the time.

It is NOT motivating, it is irritating and annoying.

I prefer a gym where the only sound is that of metal weights clanking ............ IF you want to hear music ..... THAT IS WHAT MP3 PLAYERS AND EAR-PHONES or HEADPHONES ARE FOR !!!!!

By not playing any music, you don' annoy anybody and people can choose to hear what they want.

I guess they have too many urban kids managing gyms now.

In fact, I finally quit the gym I was going to and was lucky enough to find a gym that has a no overhead music rule ------ BRING YOUR OWN , if you want music.

I know about 20 people who have also quit places like LA Fitness and Ballys for the same reason.

But this NOISE issue seems to be a growing everywhere ............ it seems Grocery stores, gas pumps, department stores, restaurants, etc....... are all starting to play overhead music louder and louder it seems

What is the deal ??

Doesn't anybody appreciate peace and quiet anymore ?

Why do they think we want noise around us all the time ?
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