Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

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RonnyRonin
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Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by RonnyRonin » Mon May 30, 2016 10:21 am

My comms system is pretty sad right now but I at least have an AM/FM/shortwave receiver in my BOB (Countycomm GP-5)
http://www.countycomm.com/gp5ssb.html
and like many ZSers, a HAM license is on the "someday" list. Well I was watching silly prepper videos on youtube the other day and had a real face-palm moment when I realized I didn't have earbuds to surreptitiously listen to my radio if I was trying to quietly gather news (I probably do actually have the crappy ones that came with the countycomm, but I don't want to rely on them). Down the road I'd want something for whatever two-way comm set up I get, but I am still pretty fuzzy on the details there.

So, my emphasis is on long-term durability, I have very low audio quality standards in my day-to-day life and I don't see the need for this application either. Form factor should be small and light so I would need to be compelled to buy anything other then ear buds. I am specifically looking for something better then cheap disposable junk but I'm not spending $100+ on audiophile quality headphones that will sit unused in my BOB, so I will vaguely set the budget at "mid-range"

I assume whatever earbuds I get would integrate into a PTT system down the road, but if there is a certain style or form-factor that works enormously better for that I would be open to prioritizing it.
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by RonnyRonin » Mon May 30, 2016 10:33 am

(forgot to mention low battery consumption is a priority as well)

I looked up some reviews and there is a little overlap, but naturally there are many many differing opinions, and I don't have the most faith in the "top 10" style sites:

https://www.reddit.com/r/BuyItForLife/c ... eadphones/

http://headphonesaddict.com/the-most-durable-earbuds/

https://www.pricenfees.com/most-durable-earbuds.html

http://headphonescompared.com/most-durable-earbuds/
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by TacAir » Mon May 30, 2016 11:48 am

I keep 3 or 4 spares in small, separate zip locs.

If your rig doesn't have a built-in speaker, buy 'em cheap and stack 'em deep.

Most comm rigs sound like crap due to narrow B/W - and for CW, you just want to ensure you earbuds will pass the sidetone....
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by roscoe » Mon May 30, 2016 11:59 pm

Just make sure they fit before you pack em away. My Vx-7R is picky about earbuds.

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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by Stercutus » Tue May 31, 2016 12:29 am

If your rig doesn't have a built-in speaker, buy 'em cheap and stack 'em deep.
Yep. Unless you go high quality mid quality isn't going to be much better.
I keep 3 or 4 spares in small, separate zip locs.
Exactly what I do. I will say I don't get the cheapest ones I can find. I get the cheapest ones that I know will last a couple of months of daily use.

If you go high quality it will last much longer (say military grade) they will last much longer but will be much heavier.
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by Halfapint » Tue May 31, 2016 1:12 am

To be honest ask around for people you know that have iphone/ipods, those little buggers are awesome. They are darn near indestructible and have good sound quality. Other than that, I have a 2 pair of Bose QC20 noise canceling in ear headphones, they are spendy but if you want good quality cant beat Bose (just a saying, I know lots of better brands but they cost more).
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by Close_enough » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:40 pm

Inexpensive, small, light, and durable. Just pick up any sports or fitness oriented earbuds with tangle free cords. Add in a storage case and a lapel clip and you're good to go. They run about $20-$30 and will last a couple of years.

If you're dead set on "tactical" earbuds, pick up some grey/green/black/brown/whatever embroidery floss and French whip or coxcomb the earbud cords. Just don't try it on top of tangle free cords.

EDIT: You will find that earbuds really extend the battery life of your radio.

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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:13 pm

Stercutus wrote: Yep. Unless you go high quality mid quality isn't going to be much better.
Stercutus wrote: I get the cheapest ones that I know will last a couple of months of daily use.
This seems to contradict itself, would the cheap earbuds that are better the other cheap earbuds more or less be a mid quality?

care to elaborate on the second part? what have you had good luck with?
At my current ear-bud usage level it would take decades to trial-and-error my way out of this one.
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by nyarlotep » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:39 pm

These are my daily users for listening to music. They sound great.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004R ... JIS0TI1D57

If you want something cheaper, I've had luck with the JLabs stuff. They're usually in the $5-10 range. I had a pair that lasted me 2-3 years of almost-daily use listening to MP3s. YMMV, of course.
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:24 pm

I've had the best luck with Skull Candy and JVC headphones. I refuse to spend more than $20 on headphones because I either smash them at the gym with plates or lose them. My longest lasting pair are a set of JVC (can't remember the model) and Skull Candy Ink'd (Walmart about $10-15). Sound quality is 90% of Dre Beats without the $150 price tag.

Note: Do not buy a pair with volume control or mic if you can (any brand). They are a weak point and will break (they are a non solid wire that a connection is made my soldered metal in the little plastic mic. Break one open and see how fragile they are).

Trick of the trade: At the "Y" in the headphone cord, wrap electrical tape around that area to strengthen the junction. Most headphones have one main cable and a second cable is spliced in to make the "Y". If it gets caught on something and pulled out, it can ruin the headphones. I used to break mine at the gym by accidentally hooking it on the bar and walking away, resulting in snapped cables. Now I just need to not drop stuff on them...
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by RonnyRonin » Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:27 pm

JeeperCreeper wrote: Note: Do not buy a pair with volume control or mic if you can (any brand). They are a weak point and will break (they are a non solid wire that a connection is made my soldered metal in the little plastic mic. Break one open and see how fragile they are).

Trick of the trade: At the "Y" in the headphone cord, wrap electrical tape around that area to strengthen the junction. Most headphones have one main cable and a second cable is spliced in to make the "Y".
Exactly the kind of tips I was looking for, I was kind of suspicious of the volume control, but it seems a lot of ear buds seem to have them now. I'll keep that in mind.
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:31 pm

RonnyRonin wrote:
JeeperCreeper wrote: Note: Do not buy a pair with volume control or mic if you can (any brand). They are a weak point and will break (they are a non solid wire that a connection is made my soldered metal in the little plastic mic. Break one open and see how fragile they are).

Trick of the trade: At the "Y" in the headphone cord, wrap electrical tape around that area to strengthen the junction. Most headphones have one main cable and a second cable is spliced in to make the "Y".
Exactly the kind of tips I was looking for, I was kind of suspicious of the volume control, but it seems a lot of ear buds seem to have them now. I'll keep that in mind.
I wanna edit my old post... Skull Candy Ink'd are about $20 and are good. Skull Candy Jib are what I've been using the last few months and they are $10. Sound quality is excellent (I like hip hop and rock music so a nice deep bass and crisp treble). The Ink'd have a thicker cord, but I'd get the Jib (still a thick cord) for the price.

Like I said, I used to snap the cords all the time so that aspect is important to me.
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by RonnyRonin » Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:42 am

So some of the buds that came up in my review cruising have aluminum housings for the buds themselves...seems appealing but like Jeeper says, housings don't seem to be the weak link; connections and cords are.
Anyone think of a compelling reason for metal housings over typical plastic?
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by Close_enough » Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:09 pm

RonnyRonin wrote:So some of the buds that came up in my review cruising have aluminum housings for the buds themselves...seems appealing but like Jeeper says, housings don't seem to be the weak link; connections and cords are.
Anyone think of a compelling reason for metal housings over typical plastic?
I've got a set of metal bodied musicians ear plugs. The sound quality tends to be a bit better with metal construction (less muzzy low tones) vs. plastic

I know that there are over the ear headphones with reinforced cables to prevent pullout. But, they tend to pull greater current then the smaller ear buds. This may be simply a case of buy them cheap and stack them deep. That being said, I've only had one set of corded ear buds have a cable failure. They're usually last a couple of years of regular use.

Lastly, if you want in-line volume control, you can get a stand along inline volume controls as part of extension cables.

https://www.amazon.com/Stellar-Labs-35- ... me+control

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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by 50 Mission Cap » Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:41 pm

Trick of the trade: At the "Y" in the headphone cord, wrap electrical tape around that area to strengthen the junction. Most headphones have one main cable and a second cable is spliced in to make the "Y". If it gets caught on something and pulled out, it can ruin the headphones. I used to break mine at the gym by accidentally hooking it on the bar and walking away, resulting in snapped cables. Now I just need to not drop stuff on them...

Excellent idea but I've never done it. I would think a bit of quality heat shrink tubing would do the trick as long as you can slide it over the plug. The kind with the waterproof goo that oozes out when heated would be ideal. Search OTC waterproof heat shrink. Awesome stuff.

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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by designerchick » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:36 pm

I go through a lot of them because my "office" is in the corner of the living room and when I'm working nights I plug in spotify in the earbuds while hubby watches the kiddos. I've used expensive ones and cheapies, and I've honestly never found any that work well for very long. The Apple ones are horrible because of their shape. I like the ones that come with different sized rubber tips to fit in different sized ears :lol: . The Skullcandy ones are fairly cheap and work as good and as long as any others I've tried. I usually go with them unless I'm trying a new brand I haven't used before. Honestly I would just buy a set from a few different cheapy options and go with the ones that are most comfortable, then buy a few of them.

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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by taipan821 » Sun May 20, 2018 5:58 pm

I use a bowman headset which I've modded to suit the icom radios my volunteer unit run. I only use this as it is reasonably comfortable and still allows me to hear.

for amateur radio...in fact all my radios have a pair of cheap earbuds packed away with them. I do have a pair of sennheiser headphones but I wouldn't recommend using them anywhere but at home.
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by RonnyRonin » Sun May 20, 2018 7:20 pm

taipan821 wrote:I use a bowman headset which I've modded to suit the icom radios my volunteer unit run.
I would love to hear more about this, I actually just started shopping for a bowman.
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Re: Best (durable) earbuds for comms/BOB use

Post by taipan821 » Mon May 21, 2018 3:01 am

RonnyRonin wrote:
taipan821 wrote:I use a bowman headset which I've modded to suit the icom radios my volunteer unit run.
I would love to hear more about this, I actually just started shopping for a bowman.
I honestly just got it to fit under my helmet so I can hear the radio while conducting search and rescue. haven't used it enough to give a opinion
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