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How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level 196

redletterdave (2493036) writes "Apple is one of the biggest headphone makers in the world thanks to those signature white earbuds that have shipped with every iPod, iPhone, and iPad since 2001. But even two years after earbuds became 'EarPods,' the design could still be improved — and competitors are taking notice. Amazon recently unveiled a new pair of in-ear headphones that are magnetic, tangle-free and $5 cheaper than Apple's $30 EarPods, while smaller startups are promoting their own wireless and customizable 3D-printed earbuds. But Apple has an ace up its sleeve, in the form of patents for a set of headphones with 'one or more integrated physiological sensors' designed to help users keep track of their body stats."
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How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level

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  • Step 1 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2014 @10:06PM (#47342949)

    buy Beats

  • Re:Step 1 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @12:52AM (#47343389) Homepage

    In my spare time, I've been an audio technician for the past 5 years. Before that, I was a DJ as a hobby, and I've been on stage crew occasionally for the last decade. My current professional job involves system engineering on a multi-million-dollar sound system.

    At home, my headphones are a $30 Sennheiser over-ear pair, and I carry $15 earbuds that I can only describe offhand as "black".

    It is my professional opinion that all of the audiophile bullshit is bullshit. On a low-end sound system using the cheapest components you can buy, the worst component is your ears. That's where all of your problems start, and you're trying to pay lots of money to compensate throughout the rest of the system.

    If you want a pair of headphones that sound great to you, forget about brand names and fancy features. Sit down with a pair of cheap headphones, and listen to the tones in music/tv/whatever that you find most pleasing. Some folks like to hear the deep rumble of heavy bass, while others (like myself) prefer the crisp clarity of vocals that the high end provides. Still others like the nostalgia of 60's disco and AM radio, so they'll have both high- and low-end, but cut out midtones entirely. Know your ears and your tastes, and that will tell you what frequency response you'll be happiest with.

    Next, think about features. This should not be a difficult decision, as it mostly just relates to lifestyle. If you ride a bus or train to work and listen to audiobooks, noise canceling is probably a decent choice. Otherwise, it's probably not worth the price. A good fit is more important for keeping unwanted noise out, so if you're in the market for earbuds, look for ones with adjustable rubber. On my traveling pair, I actually have different rubber cones for my ears, because my ears are different sizes. My wife doesn't like in-ear styles, so she carries a pair of folding on-ear headphones in her purse. That was a criterion when we bought them.

    Finally, go to Google, and research candidates. Brand doesn't matter nearly as much as having the right headphones for your ears. Buy a cheap pair with the right criteria and try it out. As a general rule, all headphones are made with thin wire and fragile construction that falls apart at the slightest trauma. That's the nature of the beast. Expensive brands just tack on bigger profit margins.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.