One of my photos

Quality of life

April 15th, 2006 · Posted by Skuds in Music · 2 Comments · Music

I think my quality of life improved by a couple of percent this week, with the purchase of a set of Koss 'Spark Plug' headphones for my iRiver.

I had been happy with my Sony MDR EX71s as far as sound goes, but I had some concerns about their robustness.  My first pair packed up after a year, and the replacements seemed even more fragile and never quite sounded as good anyway.  Considering they are up to thirty quid a pair, I was not happy with that, but they did sound fantastic.

I bought a pair of these spark plugs for our daughter and they seemed to be as good, but for a much lower price, so I decided to try a set out for myself – given the way they fit in the ear its not something you really want to share.

The volume on my iRiver goes up to 30. With the Sony's I was listening at a volume of 10 and it was adequate, thanks to their sound isolation qualities. With these Koss things I find I can have the volume as low as 5 and still hear just as well. Actually I can hear more detail in the music, and at the same time there is even less chance of sound leaking out and disturbing other passengers on the train. In fact I got Chrystal to listen on hers at a volume over 15 and I couldn't hear a thing from a foot away.

Now when I listen to music on the train I hear only the music and hear it more clearly, and at the same time I satisfy three of my passions – music, technological gadgets, and saving a few quid.

They are a bit weird though. instead of the rubber flanges that Sony use, Koss have something they call memory foam. What you do it you compress the ear buds, shove them in your ear and hold them there long enough for the foam to expand again. When it expands it gives a sound-tight seal and also holds them in. A bit of a strange feeling at first, but you get used to it quickly, and its not as uncomfortable as it sounds at all.

Tags: ··

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew

    These sound great, thanks for the recommendation. My EX71s are on the way out (I’m impressed they’ve lasted this long, given the amount of abuse they’ve had) and these seem like just what I was after. Do they loop around the back of the neck like the Sonys? Also, is the cable as long? Sorry for the interrogation 🙂

  • Skuds

    As a Timelord, and an EX71 user, you will appreciate how personal these things can be, but at the price they are worth trying.

    The cable is 4 feet long and symmetrical. I may be in a minority of actually liking the Sony’s asymmetrical lead so this was a minus ponit for me. However plug the earphones in at shirt breast pocket level so there is moer than enough slack for me to have the cable going under my arm and up from the back.

    This means that if I do have to extract the headphones they will drape round my neck instead of plummetting to the ground.

    The only colour is white so I have to live with people thinking I want to pretend I have an iPod. If thats a problem Koss do a similar model for a few pounds more.