A comparison of Apple iPod headphones

by Volker Weber

ipodearphonesstock.png ipodearphonesinear.png ipodearphonesnew.png

White earphones are the hallmark of iPods. But they are not all the same. I preferred the original ones (left) over the in-ear phones (middle) that Ute used ever since she received a pair from Martin. Hers are on a lanyard which holds her iPod nano. Today Anna gave me the headphones which came with her new iPod nano* (right). And they fit my ears much better than the original ones. They are a bit smaller and more ergonomically shaped. I don't think they sound any better, they are just more comfortable.

If you want to improve the sound you need to go for serious headphones. I recommend the Koss PortaPro. A few years ago I received a pair from Ute and I have since broken it twice. Koss has a lifetime warranty, so you just send them in, and they repair or replace them, no questions asked.

If you don't like the Koss styling, and I cannot really blame you for that, check out the Sennheiser PX 100. They cost about the same as the PortaPro and sound almost alike, but they don't come with the lifetime warranty.

These would probably be my favorite "headphones", but so far I have not had the opportunity to check them out — but I have the iPod that goes with them:


*) Anna is not without earphones. :-) She has the same new shape on a lanyard. You would think that those fit on both the old and the new nano. But they don't. Although they share the same connectors, they are spaced differently. If you bought a lanyard for your old nano, you cannot continue to use it on the new. If you buy a new pair, make sure it fits the model of iPod you have.


Let me first with the obvious comment: check out the Koss URI, Domino freaks!!


Ben Poole, 2006-12-27

The earphones shown in the left photo came with my new Shuffle. They work and fit just fine when walking around, but they fall out of the ears all the time when doing sports (jogging). So I'll throw them out and go for earphones with ear clips.

Michael Wöhrer, 2006-12-27

my vote is for Shure e2c, using here in the holiday, awesome!

Cheers Marco

marco foellmer, 2006-12-27

Can you tell if the new ones have a better strain relief? The original ones easily broke when the cable was accidentally pulled down too hard.

Oliver Regelmann, 2006-12-27

I really want to make myself a pair of jackhammer headphones.

Philipp Sury, 2006-12-27

Oliver, do you want to me to find out by pulling down too hard? Fat chance. :-)

Volker Weber, 2006-12-27

Marco, why not the e5c, if you really want to spend more? ;-)

Volker Weber, 2006-12-27

I would still go for the B&O A8 Earphones. Stylish and excellent sound. Only con: It takes a little while to put them on.

Thomas Cloer, 2006-12-27

Ah, earphones, one of my favorite topics. My iPod mini came with the white ones in the left image, and they were ok, but not really good. And one broke this year, so i had only mono sound which wasn't fun, so i got myself a pair of the already mentioned Shure e2c, which i really like, even if sometimes they sound a little bit "thin". I prefer the e2c because the value for money is IMHO a little better than the e5c.

I also own a (broken) PortaPro, maybe i should send them in. Great sound, but a little too much bass in it. The Sennheiser PX 100 i bought as a replacement for the PortaPro, they sound really good, and are a little bit more comfortable to wear, so i use them on longer travels.

I also own the above mentioned B&O A8 earphones (thanks Miles&More), i like them, but they too often get loose in my ear, even if they also sound good (if they are right in place). I used them a lot before i had the iPod with my minidisc player.

So i own or owned nearly all of the above mentioned headphones - am i a headphone nerd?

Dirk Steins, 2006-12-27

Volker, imho e2c is today enough. I need some potential progress :-)

Marco Foellmer, 2006-12-27

Two thumbs up for the KOSS Porta Pro! Good stuff. Even if the guys there are using Domino on their website, Ben. :-)

Martin Kautz, 2006-12-27

Bought white Sony MDR-EX71SLW earphones more than a year ago and am quite happy. The original iPod ones are unwearable and the Sony sounds much better.

Moritz Schroeder, 2006-12-27

Come on, guys -- the Koss and the Sennheiser are both bulky and ugly. If you have enough space in your bag, I would again recommend B&O: Form 2 looks AND sounds really good.

Thomas Cloer, 2006-12-27

I'm still using the default earbuds for my Nano when I'm being portable.

When I'm being not so portable, I have a line-out dock cable going to RCA jacks into a Little Dot II+ tube headphone amp into a pair of vintage Yamaha HP-1 orthodynamic headphones. The HP-1's are only semi-enclosed so it's not a completely sound-isolating setup but it sounds pretty sweet and it wasn't very expensive to put together.

I've never been a fan of in-ear phones like the ones mentioned above.

Scott Gentzen, 2006-12-27

If you realy whant to here pure music and nothing else, try this bose headphone:
QuietComfort 2 Headphones
It's mine since half a year and it allowes me to enjoy music even if my wife watches TV.

Wolfgang Schmidetzki, 2006-12-27

I can fully recommend the Sennheiser PXC 250. The noise-canceling takes some getting used to, but when you are working in a noisy enviroment or travelling a lot, this is an absolute blessing.

Markus Kador, 2006-12-29

Personally I cannot stand anything that looks like the ones on the left or right. I have a set of earbuds from Sharper Image that work great, a=only starting to annoy me at about 5 hours or so. For international flights, though, nothing beats Bose/BA/Sharper Image high-end noise canceling headphones.

Rob Novak, 2006-12-29

The iPod Hi-Fi wouldn't be your favorite "headphones", believe me.

Thomas Cloer, 2006-12-30

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