Although the large over ear headphones seem to be all the rage again thanks specifically to a few big name endorsements I’ve never been a fan of the bulk of them, especially wearing them out and about. So I’ve always stuck to the inner-ear type and predominantly I’ve been happy with the ones supplied with all my iOS from Apple.
These standard earphones have always sufficed, but there is definitely a point at which if you spend a little more money you get a lot more quality, the question remains whether it’s worth it or not. So for the last week I’ve been listening to my music, podcasts and audiobooks using the Etymotic mc3 earphones with my iPhone 4S.
As Apple and other companies have proved design and packaging are half the battle in making any device a success and Etymotic have taken that approach too with their elegant packaging and beautiful accessories.
The whole package contains the earphones with built-in mic, 4 sets of different eartips, spare filters, wire clip and a pouch to keep it all in.
The eartips were the first thing that drew my attention due to their distinct and different shapes. The earphones come pre-installed with a set on and I have to admit I was a little disappointed with how they felt and, because they didn’t fit perfectly, how they sounded too.
So my next task was to fit another pair of eartips to see if they would fit better and while the grey industrial style eartips certainly didn’t look that special they fitted snuggly and securely and when I turned on the music I could tell that I had chosen the right ones.
I have worn them for a little over two weeks now and not only are they comfortable but they produce great sound for both spoken work, podcasts and audiobooks and music and because they have in-line controls and a built in mic they are ideal for the iPhone as you can take calls and use Siri while wearing them.
This is only half of what you are getting when you invest in a set of Etmotic earphones as you also get their iPhone App “Awareness!” which you can download for free from the App Store and then enable all the features with the code you are provided with when you register your earphones.
The Awareness! App takes the listening experience to a whole new level although it does take a little while to get used to it. With the multitasking app turned on your earphones become environment aware, with the mic listening to your surroundings and acting on what it hears.
This can range from stopping what you are listening to completely, lowering the volume or feeding the sound that it hears through to your earphones. As I said this can seem a little odd at first but once you have used it a few times it makes listening to audio an even better experience, especially when you are out and about and need to be aware of your surroundings.
The addition of this app takes what are a great pair of earphones to a wonderful pair of headphones and for this reviewer I will never skimp on earphones again.
You can even upgrade to what Etymotic call ‘Rock Star status’ by teaming up with a local hearing specialist to have a pair of personalized custom fit earmolds. I haven’t done this but at for an additional $100 this could be a serious option especially if you have to wear earphones for many hours at a time.