Yesterday, I lost my beloved Bose MIE2i headphones somewhere en route from London to San Francisco. This was a big blow and I was reduced to having another play with the Etymotic hf3s and their expensive custom-made in-ear buds. Despite liberal dollops of the special gel, I confirmed that these custom buds and, indeed, the Etymotic hf3 phones, are not for me. Because I spent so much time, effort and cash in buying the phones and waiting for the custom buds to be made, I haven’t given up lightly. But they have come to the end of the road.
They do work well in suppressing background noise, particularly on an aircraft, but I simply find them uncomfortable and cannot bear them for more than a few minutes. They are also inconvenient when trying to talk to someone, such as a flight attendant. They take a knack to insert and need a big tug to pull out.
Others, including a good friend of mine, take an opposing view and are totally blown away by the Etymotics and their custom buds. I suppose it is a question of ear shape and tolerance for foreign objects in the canal. For me, I have concluded that I am better using the on-ear design such as the standard Apple headphones or the superb Bose MIE2is.
I have a further beef with the Etymotics, which I think are lacking in bass. They sound a bit tinny to me, although I am no expert in such matters. In contrast, the Bose have a good bass and, for me, provide a much richer, rounder sound. It’s all a matter of opinion and I can only conclude that you have to try for yourself.
I was sad, therefore, to kiss goodbye to the Bose which, despite their attention-grabbing black and white cables, must have disappeared down the side of my plane seat. This morning I bought a new pair at the Apple Store in Berkeley. The moral is, look after your earphones.