Aftershokz Trekz Titanium bone conducting headphones

by Volker Weber

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Headsets serve two purposes for me: they let me listen in private when I am traveling and they isolate me from the surrounding noise. But what if you do want to hear what's happening around you? Like running through a forest or riding in traffic? Aftershokz set out to solve this with their Trekz Titanium headset. It works by sending the sound through your cheekbones instead of your ear canal. You can still hear what's happening because your ears remain free.

Big question: how do they sound? Somewhere between tinny and terrible. The frequency spectrum proabably looks like a bell curve. Midrange is fine, high frequencies are dull, low frequencies don't seem to exist. It gets better when you plug your ears with your fingers or the included squishy ear plugs, but that defies the purpose. You can switch between two EQ settings by pressing both volume buttons at the same time. One of them provides more bass than the other. There are two noise cancelling microphones for making phones calls.

How do they fit? The band between those "earpieces" is an elastic titanium alloy which creates the pressure needed for bone conducting and you wear the band over your ears so they don't slide down. Glasses are not a problem, since you can slide them under the headset. The headset tickles the skin in front of your ears and that can be irritating. It also leak sound since the vibration has to be strong enough to induce sound in your ear.

Are they useless? Not at all. When you listen to podcasts or when you need to make phone calls, you don't need Hi-Fi sound quality. I have custom earplugs (german: Otoplastik) and the Trekz Titanium is the only headset that can bypass those.

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