Headphones for my iPod

Sennheiser PX100s are very nice and pretty inexpensive

A while ago I mentioned how much I like the Etymotic ER-4P earplug-style earbuds that I use with my iPod. My opinion of them hasn't changed a bit since then: they're fabulous. On the last flight I took, I was seated in among two families that had a total of eight children. A baby in the row behind me spent most of the flight crying, a teenager across the aisle watched a portable DVD player without headphones, and a youngster to my left played a portable videogame without headphones. I put my ER-4Ps in my ears, switched my iPod on, and had a pleasant flight.

But the sound-isolation that makes the ER-4Ps so nice in situations like that isn't always desirable. If I were to use them while I was sitting in a departure lounge, I might well miss my flight being called. Eric Rescorla has remarked on the same thing, and he's talking about ER-6s which provide slightly less isolation. When I needed to be able to hear things over my iPod, I used to use Apple's cool-looking white earbuds. But after listening with my ER-4Ps and my Monsoon speakers (which I also mention in the post linked above), I decided that it ought to be possible to find something that sounds better than Apple's earbuds but doesn't provide much isolation and is easily portable.

I found HeadRoom's site to be admirably informative and I judged from what they have to say that Sennheiser PX-100s ought to be suitable. And at $40 from HeadRoom, there's nothing to complain about in the price. Still, I was a bit leery. Would $40 headphones be any good? So I emailed their sales manager, explaining what I was looking for, and asked if the PX-100s were what he'd recommend, or if I should spend a bit more because something else would likely suit me better. He mailed back quite quickly and said that the PX-100s were what he'd recommend for me. In my experience, if a someone in sales doesn't recommend that you spend more money, you've found someone who really knows their products and is interested in making their customers happy. Naturally, I ordered the PX-100s from them.

And I think that the PX-100s sound very nice indeed. They sound a lot like my Monsoon speakers. They're certainly a considerable improvement over Apple's earbuds. Next to the PX-100s, Apple's earbuds sound thin and lacking in bass. The PX-100s aren't as good as the ER-4Ps, but it would be silly to expect them to be.

In addition to sounding good, the PX-100s are small and light and quite comfortable. The headband has two hinges and the earpads rotate 90 degrees, so they fold up like a pair of glasses. They come in a hard-plastic case which some folks may like but I think is too clever by half. If I want to put things in my shoulder-bag and have them not rattle around, I prefer the nylon envelope bags from Aerostich. Velcro wire-ties solve the snarled-cable problem.

Update July 8, 2004
Dan over at Dan's Data also likes the PX-100s.

Posted: Fri - March 5, 2004 at 03:29   Main   Category: