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Wireless headphones / buds? (Read 103 times)

ultrarunner2018


    Hey guys;

    I have been a holdout on moving to wireless headphones for running, but I have been getting really fed up with wired, for a number of reasons, foremost being the tangle of the wire. I also think I would enjoy the freedom of wireless, even while at home.

    The big problem for me with wireless has been the sound quality; I wear a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50X (wired) when listening at my PC, and Koss PortaPro (wired) when running. While the PortaPro don't match the sound quality of the ATH-M50X, I never expected them to.

     

    What I am looking for in a wireless is a sound quality as good as or better than the Koss PortaPro wired.

    I prefer on the ear vs in the ear (either IEM or buds). I have not had great experience with IEM's in the past; I always end up with wetness inside my ear canal, which impedes the sound, and just makes me feel lousy.

     

    I have been searching and reading many reviews of various types of wireless cans for running, but it seems that every review site has a different preference.

     

    At this point, I am a bit frustrated. At first I was looking to spend $200 or less, but now I'm not convinced I can get what I want for under $300.

    But if I am going to spend $300, I would like to have some longevity built-in. Things like replaceable earcups/pads are obvious, but what about the useful life of a Lithium battery? I would like to have the option to replace it myself. I have over 30 years experience in electronics design and troubleshooting, so I don't think replacing a battery would present a problem, so long as I don't have to fight with tiny plastic latches to access the battery.

    I would expect that a full-sized headphone vs IEM would be more 'user friendly' for battery replacement, and since that is my preference anyway, I am leaning heavily in that direction.

     

    So, in summary; which on/over ear wireless headphones would you recommend for a runner with discriminating ears?

    Note: My phone is Android, so anything strictly Apple is out.

     

    Thanks for your help

    Ultrarunner

    flavio1980


    King of pastries

      Hey, have a look at the Jaybird Vista. Around $180, superb sound quality, it receives on both sides (right and left) so it's not a issue which wrist you wear your watch.

      Battery life is long, they charge against their little box, it's really neat. Pairing with a MacBook air, an Android phone (Nokia 7 plus) and the Garmin 545 music were very quick and simple.

      I bought it for my wife and she's quite happy and she's been wearing it for a few weeks without issues.

      PS: it's recommended you wear just one pod when running so you can still hear the outside world sounds .

      PRs: 1500m 4:54 (2019) 3K 10:34 (2019) 5K 17:56.7 (2021) 9.86K 36:40 (2020) HM 1:21:59 (2021)

      Up next: ????

      Tool to generate Strava weekly

      ultrarunner2018


        Thanks. I did a Google search for Jaybird Vista, and read mostly good things, but as with all other wireless, they do occasionally suffer connectivity problems. I don't run in congested area, so I doubt connectivity would be an issue. My big issue is with IEM's. I am afraid they will make my ears really sweaty inside, causing change in music quality, and discomfort to my ears.

        CalBears


          Thanks. I did a Google search for Jaybird Vista, and read mostly good things, but as with all other wireless, they do occasionally suffer connectivity problems. I don't run in congested area, so I doubt connectivity would be an issue. My big issue is with IEM's. I am afraid they will make my ears really sweaty inside, causing change in music quality, and discomfort to my ears.

           

          Not sure I understand what you want, but if you want over the ear wireless, why you don't try ATH-M50xBT (wireless) - 45 mm drivers, 40 hrs continuous use battery, superb sound quality, not particularly huge, very comfortable - I tried it and liked it a lot.

          paces PRs - 5K - 5:55  /  10K - 6:05  /  HM - 6:14  /  FM - 6:26 per mile

          ultrarunner2018


             

            Not sure I understand what you want, but if you want over the ear wireless, why you don't try ATH-M50xBT (wireless) - 45 mm drivers, 40 hrs continuous use battery, superb sound quality, not particularly huge, very comfortable - I tried it and liked it a lot.

            The ATH-M50xBT would suit me perfectly - I have the wired M50X and love them. But... I think those would be a bit too heavy/bulky for running. I know that most runners are going for IEM's, but I'm really afraid to try them after the problems I have had before. That said, it is possible that the (wired) IEM's I was running with before were not sweatproof, and it was sweat from outside that was getting past the seal and into my ears. I have been on the assumption that the sweat buildup was originating from within my ear canal due to lack of ventilation.

            Now I've got to Google that; do the ear canals even have sweat glands?

            CalBears


              The ATH-M50xBT would suit me perfectly - I have the wired M50X and love them. But... I think those would be a bit too heavy/bulky for running. I know that most runners are going for IEM's, but I'm really afraid to try them after the problems I have had before. That said, it is possible that the (wired) IEM's I was running with before were not sweatproof, and it was sweat from outside that was getting past the seal and into my ears. I have been on the assumption that the sweat buildup was originating from within my ear canal due to lack of ventilation.

              Now I've got to Google that; do the ear canals even have sweat glands?

               

              Yes, I agree, they would be a little bit too big for running - imho, though I saw quite a few people running in over the ears headphones - can't blame them, hard to beat the sound quality of those.

               

              I am in the same boat as you are - I tried quite a few wireless IEMs and found them pretty bad - cannot stand that weak non-full sound from them. Most of them for some reason have 6mm drivers - I do not think physically you can produce anything decent with 6mm drivers, just no way. But I think, for now I found my choice of IEMs - yes, IEMs, as I think you cannot find anything that is relatively small and over the ear - I cannot believe people find Aftershokz as decent in sound quality  My current choice is Sony WF-XB700 wireless earbuds. I bought them a month ago, they have 12mm drivers, 9 hours of play on one charge, the best sound quality I experienced with earbuds (of course - they are 12mm). They are water and sweat proof. The only possible negative some might find with them - they are a little bit bigger than usual earbuds, but I will take it for 12mm drivers and 9 hours playback (which is also on a higher end). Oh, one other possible negative - if you want to run with one earbud, only left one is working in that mode, I think the right one dependent on the left one and cannot function separately. But those are not negatives for me at all, so far I love them a lot - the sound quality is great, you just need to let them settle down in your ear for a few seconds before you get the best sound and great bass.

              paces PRs - 5K - 5:55  /  10K - 6:05  /  HM - 6:14  /  FM - 6:26 per mile

              ultrarunner2018


                Thanks for the info. I would not want to run with only one bud; it would distract me, and prove to be far more dangerous than running (outside) with both ears plugged. Even when wearing the open-air Koss, I am much more aware with my eyes than when not. I am constantly watching for vehicles and other runners - today watching for other runners/walkers is more of a problem than for vehicles, with social distancing.

                 

                Besides being bulky, the ATH-M50xBT are not water/sweatproof, and that will cause damage to the cushions and perhaps the drivers as well.

                So maybe I will just get the Sony's you suggested and go from there. I suppose if I don't like them, I can return them, or at least sell on Ebay (after sanitizing them of course).

                 

                Edit: After reading several reviews of these on Amazon, I'm not so sure about trying them. Seems they have some trouble with the right bud disconnecting. It's like the same old same old. You pay good money and get a product that hasn't been fully tested before released.

                Perhaps these people having problems with disconnecting are in crowded gyms where there may be lots of interference.

                Somehow, I'm thinking maybe I'm still better off sticking with wired for now...

                CalBears


                  If you are a prime member at Amazon, you have 30 days to return - I always do that, we are too individual to trust completely all the negative and all the positive review. But I would recommend to try Sony. I would say, there are 1-2 seconds interruptions from time to time - usually it's about 4-5 times on my regular 12 miles run - but the fact the interruptions always happening almost at the same spots tells me it's not Sony's problem. Try it - 30 days is enough to make a decision - and the returns are so easy and free (if you have prime).

                  paces PRs - 5K - 5:55  /  10K - 6:05  /  HM - 6:14  /  FM - 6:26 per mile

                  ultrarunner2018


                    After much consideration, I have decided not to go wireless. It's just one more thing to cause me frustration - more so than the wire on my Koss PortaPro. Why should I spend so much more money on something that isn't going to sound any better (if as good as) the inexpensive Koss I am wearing now. So, I'm going to purchase another pair of the Koss PortaPro wired for $35 and keep them to use when my current ones wear out - or perhaps as a second pair to switch to after a run when they're all wet.

                    It would be nice to have an inline volume/play/pause control, but with the BT 'Chubby Buttons' controller I don't really need it. The problem with the Chubby Buttons controller is that it would be very uncomfortable to wear on my bare arm (I always wear it with a coat/jacket), but I suppose I could hang it on my waist belt.

                     

                    Perhaps by the time the 2nd pair of Koss PortaPro wear out, BT will have finally 'come of age' and I will be able to get a product I can live with.

                     

                    Edit: Here is why there is no BT headphone that works perfectly:

                    https://www.androidauthority.com/why-true-wireless-connectivity-sucks-936120/

                    CalBears


                      After much consideration, I have decided not to go wireless. It's just one more thing to cause me frustration - more so than the wire on my Koss PortaPro. Why should I spend so much more money on something that isn't going to sound any better (if as good as) the inexpensive Koss I am wearing now. So, I'm going to purchase another pair of the Koss PortaPro wired for $35 and keep them to use when my current ones wear out - or perhaps as a second pair to switch to after a run when they're all wet.

                      It would be nice to have an inline volume/play/pause control, but with the BT 'Chubby Buttons' controller I don't really need it. The problem with the Chubby Buttons controller is that it would be very uncomfortable to wear on my bare arm (I always wear it with a coat/jacket), but I suppose I could hang it on my waist belt.

                       

                      Perhaps by the time the 2nd pair of Koss PortaPro wear out, BT will have finally 'come of age' and I will be able to get a product I can live with.

                       

                      Edit: Here is why there is no BT headphone that works perfectly:

                      https://www.androidauthority.com/why-true-wireless-connectivity-sucks-936120/

                       

                      You should not use 2018 article in 2020 - I am telling you, I am trying this wireless technology for a awhile and it goes fast. I had and have too many headphones - over the ear, in ear,  on ear and I literally suffer if the sound really bad. Sony I mentioned is great sounding device, probably not ideal but great sound, much better than Koss PortaPro - I had those too, two pairs, until I got really tired of their absolutely horrendous wires. On paper and in ideal situation Koss is better than Sony (or many other headphones) - the problem is that they are "on ear" - the sound, when you run is really really suffering from the air that goes between the headphones and your ear when you are running. It's not bad, it's decent but I was not happy with it. Adding the wiring problem it made me look for a replacement. Intermediate solution I found is Betron BS10 in ear buds - $15, 12mm drivers, great wire - inexpensive and great sounding - you can clip them to the back of your t-shirt and they will stay in place - they are so inexpensive that if something happens to them (which is not very often - very well done), you can just buy another one. I bought like 5 pairs of them - just i case, because they are so good - I still have 4 pairs unpacked Smile Anyway, just my 2 cents, but personally, I am so much happier with Sony BT buds I have, sound wise and no wires wise. Plus, the buds can control the MP3 player, so, it doesn't matter if your player is under a jacket or under a t-shirt. Ok, I am done, and no - I am not working for any of companies I mentioned here 

                      paces PRs - 5K - 5:55  /  10K - 6:05  /  HM - 6:14  /  FM - 6:26 per mile

                      ultrarunner2018


                        OK CalBears; I hear you loud and clear. Maybe it is time for me to take a 'risk' and do the wireless thing. I do have to admit that the Koss PortaPro (and I have also used SportaPro) let in far too much external noise. Especially when I run along a road that parallels a CSX railroad mainline with long, heavy trains pounding by all the time. When I am trying to listen to an audiobook - especially an instructional one like physics lesson, I get very distracted by the train. I do love trains btw, but there is a place and time for everything.

                        What I really enjoy is running long - 26.2 to 50 miles. I would love to have headphones that would run for 50 miles (10 hours) but I don't think that's possible, so I would need a recharge somewhere along the way. Aid stations with recharge facility?? not going to happen for any ultras. But with the supplied recharge case, I could carry it and place the buds into it for a while then be recharged. So I guess wireless would work after all.

                         

                        My real hesitation is the buds. I have had some problems with buds in the past, but maybe better ones would work. I don't know, and wouldn't know until I have tried them.

                        I am Amazon Prime member, so I could try the Sony for 30 days and if I really don't like, return.

                        Maybe if I wait for Amazon Prime day I could get them at a lower cost? But unfortunately, this year Amazon Prime day is not until September. But maybe that's OK. I will run faster, and longer when the temps cool down. More time to enjoy my music.

                         

                        Just an added note: I am a ham radio guy; I find it challenging to work stations that are very weak, and I have some trouble hearing. But when I am listening to music, I don't enjoy any static or interruption in the music. That is the reason I thought sticking with wired would be best.

                         

                        anyway; thanks for the encouragement. I might be writing back to thank you if I do decide to buy the Sony and come to love them!

                         

                        Edit: Some reviews complain about not enough volume from the Sony WF-XB700's. What is 'not enough volume'? How loud should you really be listening while out running?

                        I am using Power Amp Pro on Android, and it has its own EQ, which I can use to boost frequency I want, plus volume. Do I need anything else?

                        ultrarunner2018


                          My LG Fiesta 2 has Bluetooth ver 4.2. Is this going to reduce the quality of sound or connectivity with BT headphones/IEM's?

                          CalBears


                            My LG Fiesta 2 has Bluetooth ver 4.2. Is this going to reduce the quality of sound or connectivity with BT headphones/IEM's?

                             

                            I don't think so - my tiny MP Bluetooth player has 4.1 and the sound quality is good - just make sure the phone/player and your earbuds "see"each other (I wear small arm band on my left arm)

                            paces PRs - 5K - 5:55  /  10K - 6:05  /  HM - 6:14  /  FM - 6:26 per mile

                            ultrarunner2018


                              OK. Thanks. I may be buying a new phone this year, but not sure.

                              ultrarunner2018


                                After much research and indecision, I went with my gut and past experience, which meant no IEM's for me.

                                I found a great deal on the JBL Under Armour Train Wireless at Walmart. The cost is only $60, but one reviewer stated that he received refurbished product. But for 1/2 the going price of new, I'll accept that, so long as I don't see any wear or defects, and there isn't any funky smell (I once bought a pair of cans on Ebay, and they had a heavy odor of cigarette smoke; I returned them for a refund).

                                I purchased the 3yr protection plan (something I never do) because I figured that if the headphones are reconditioned, one of the drivers could stop working at some time, or there may be some other defect that doesn't show up right away.

                                 

                                From the reviews I've read, I should be happy with these, as they have a good (if not excellent) sound profile. But regardless of sound profile, my music player (PowerAmp Pro) has a great EQ, so I can create pretty much any profile I like.

                                One thing I find interesting is that no matter which EQ I use, when I use the preset for 'Rock', it is not to my liking. I always create my own profile, which boosts lows and highs, but not mids. This is not surprising to me, as everyone has different hearing curves. I have always had a fairly high end hearing; I used to be able to hear the 17550Hz flyback oscillator on a television.

                                Now, I have some hearing loss, but it's pretty minimal. I do get some tinnitus at times, but I don't usually notice it unless I listen for it.

                                 

                                Time to run!

                                 

                                Ultrarunner

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