Friday, August 04, 2006

Bud Lite

Sometimes, despite, ooh, minutes of research, a gadget purchase can go awry. Particularly if your gut instinct is to buy as soon as you clap eyes on the product in question.

So it came to pass a few weeks ago, that I parted with good money and purchased a new pair of earbuds.
Now, I realise than those in the know (ie those who have either a) puchased the same items, or b) have tried their mates, or c) just know better than to trust a few online reviews let alone comments on a forum) will no doubt guffaw as soon as I mention the offending items.

Yes folks, I bought a pair of Koss Sparkplugs.

I was attracted by the 'sound insulating' design, the prospect of deep bass and they're made by Koss, whose Portapro headphones seem to get good reviews.

The sound insulation on these earbuds is achieved by the use of soft foam; the idea being that you squish the foam down, then shove it in your lug hole letting the foam expand in your ear canal and thus providing that sound insulation.

As a concept, this is fine by me - I regularly wear foam earplugs to mask ambient noise in hotel rooms so the notion of earbuds made of the same material was quite appealing.

Of course, a foam earplug has almost no weight to it, whereas the Sparkplug has the weight of the earbud, plus the cord, both conspiring to yank the bud out of your ear at the slightest provocation.

Ok, so once you've spent the best part of 5 minutes trying to get the earbuds to actually stay in, what do they sound like?

Imagine for a moment, dear reader, you are part of the Mafia, and you did wrong. You did wrong so badly that the Don, well, he's really pissed off. No horse head in the bed for you, sonny, No. Not even concrete overshoes and a visit to the Thames is good enough. Instead of your feet, they put your head in the cement and go read a book while it sets. After that, they then locate a motorway flyover under construction. They put your now block shaped head into the foundation and pour the remainder of the support. Weeks later, after the concrete has cured, the road has opened and thousands of cars, trucks, buses etc rumble over your support, you begin to appreciate how the Koss Sparkplugs actually sound.

Muddy doesn't begin to describe it. They sound awful. Oh yes the bass is there all right. To the exclusion of every other type of sound. Treble? It's on a Club 18-30 holiday. Midrange? Gone potholing. Yup, bass came round and invited his relatives. They turned the bass up to 11 on this one. Strange, because customer reviews on Amazon swing from 'Too much Bass' to 'OK' to 'To much treble'... eh, wot? Just put the spliff down, find a decent sound source and listen again. They're crap. End of.

I feel cleansed. I breathe easy. But lo! The Apple Store (Regent St.) are stocking a new range of earbuds by Sennheiser! They can't be worse than the Koss Crapplugs can they? Can they?? More soon!

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