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Only Audiophiles Need Apply,...
on January 27, 2012
So here goes, the first review I have written for ANYTHING!
I became recently frustrated by a free pair of BlackBerry Headphones (came with Bold purchase over 4 years ago, now cheaper phones are supplied) starting to short at the plug and decided to get an inexpensive pair of headphones w/mic for my iPhone 4 (I spend a considerable time on phone for work, family, life and wanted a non BT headset since I have BT system in my car). Thinking I could get a pair to do double-duty I decided to purchase an iPhone ready headset w/mic and volume controls and had been looking for something other than Bang & Olufsen since I already had a pair I purchased about three years ago for fitness and travel (A8 headset without mic and 3 button control).
Well, after trying a pair of VModas (which were on sale at Costco for $38) I realized I had probably grown accustomed to higher fidelity headphones (though the free BlackBerry sets certainly sounded great for the price). After immediately returning the VModas, I rationalized that I would just need to spend the $$$ for higher quality headphones. Next stop, the Apple store to get recommendations. I then decided to purchase the B&W C5's ($179) based in part on owning a mid-level B&W outfitted home theatre speaker setup. Good, almost great, sound. However, I was not convinced that they would hold up to use for fitness (since I would use this pair in case my other Bang & Olufsen set were left in car, at home, travel bag, etc.). After working out with the C5's I returned them since I ended up getting a few shocks from the ear buds while using them during a low-key workout where I didn't sweat much (read about this in C5's reviews but didn't believe the reviewers). I really wanted to like this set but eventually gave in to their shortcomings and decided to return this second set of headphones I tried within a month.
This brings me to my purchase and appreciation of the Bang & Olufsen EarSet 3i. Having previously been impressed by the stability, comfort and rock solid build of the previous model I own (A8's), I thought to revisit the version of headset I was familiar with, only this time with 3 button control and mic. This model not only has advanced 3 button functions (e.g. you can actually rewind/ffwd instead of just skipping to next/previous track; you can take a second call when already on phone, etc.), it actually sounds BETTER than the A8's. Though the design is almost identical, somehow the sound has even more clarity, better dynamic response, accurate tight bass (maybe newer driver design). The audio reproduction is impressive! Since I have never had an issue with my A8's, I expect that these will hold up at least as well. Although, these headphones are probably not for those that just want boomy bass, audiophiles will be pleased! (As a side note, my playlists include rap, r&b, jazz, funk, classical, just not too much country western.)
If you purchase, look forward to enjoying, rock-solid craftsmanship, three button control that puts iPod functions at your fingertips, GREAT audio sound and the thought that in this range, there is likely no comparison! I wished I hadn't wasted time comparison shopping but believe it confirms that this was a sound purchase (no pun intended, really). Now, anyone want to purchase a set of used A8's,...