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Earphones for bicycling

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So, one of my clients is leaving to do a bicycle rce in th Alps on Friday, and knowing that I'm a bit of an audio nerd he had asked me if I can source him some good earphones for the trip.

Thing is he can't be TOO isolated as he needs to hear traffic/etc, so he can be aware of what's going on around him.

He's reasonably picky about sound... but source will be straight from a 160gb iPod to put things in perspective.

His ear cavities are pretty small so for example a small UE tip isolates him too much for bicycling.

Price is absolutely no object but fast availability is... any ideas?

Thanks!

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Sony MDR-7506/-V6

- Pretty good sound quality without an external amp, if a bit bright

- Isolates ... somewhat

- Fairly well made (not a tank like the Beyer DT770, but the DT770 isolates too much)

- < US$100, so if it gets broken, won't be heartbroken

- Folds

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I ride w/ Atrios M5 w/ Shure Olives but they probably isolate too much for most people.

Most of my commute is through parks and quiet neighborhoods so I went for better sound. They do a good job of minimizing wind noise but I can still hear sirens or horns.

I just stay very alert and use my mirror constantly.

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I've never found buds that isolate worth a damn...

The only buds > $20 that I've ever been intrigued with would be the Yuin PK series available @ Head-Direct. I've spoken to a few people who have used them at work because they can a) hear the phone ring, B) no headphone hair and c) aren't obvious, and they seem to think they perform very well for a bud. I've even bid on a few pairs during silent auctions at meets, but never came away with a pair. So sadly that means I'm recommending something I've never heard. The plus is the line has a pretty good range of models for the intended budget. Availability? No idea.

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Head Direct RE-1s are basically open backed. They don't isolate worth a darn. But it's an open question whether the iPod could drive them satisfactorily.

Comply is coming out with new foam tips that are designed to allow environmental sound in for just such uses. An email to Jeff Koontz at Comply might yield some samples. ([email protected])

-Carl

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The Stax SR-001Mk2 is also completely open, forgot about that one. And sound quality is excellent. Downside is the fit necessary to get good sound is fiddly.

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I've never found buds that isolate worth a damn...

The only buds > $20 that I've ever been intrigued with would be the Yuin PK series available @ Head-Direct. I've spoken to a few people who have used them at work because they can a) hear the phone ring, B) no headphone hair and c) aren't obvious, and they seem to think they perform very well for a bud. I've even bid on a few pairs during silent auctions at meets, but never came away with a pair. So sadly that means I'm recommending something I've never heard. The plus is the line has a pretty good range of models for the intended budget. Availability? No idea.

I have the Yuin PK2. They are nice buds and sound surprisingly good but do not isolate. The wind noise generated by riding will be an issue for any bud I can think of. I don't use them while riding for that reason.

Perhaps a combination of headband / bud would reduce wind noise enough but I haven't found a configuration that works for me for a bud.

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How would the Shure Push to Hear work for this? Possibly put it behind you so it won't pick up too much wind noise, and you can adjust the volume of the mic output against your source volume.

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I don't listen to music while riding. On our tandem we wear a communication device so we can talk. The ear pad is open. Wind noise isn't much of an issue most of the time, but then again we're cruisin at a leisurely 15mph. I wouldn't wear an IEM of any sort. I own the Yuin PK2 and this would be the only solution worthy of trial IMO.

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koss ksc 35, good sound, cheap, over the ear.

while i'd vouch for these as well, they don't isolate worth a damn, so instead of hearing some music and some wind, in my experience, it'd be all wind.

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Sennheiser MX760 dammit!

... but the form factor is kind of stupid. The main earbud+cord is a Y-cord that reaches down to above the belt, making it worthless without a shirt pocket/armband/neckstrap mp3 player, or the added bulk of the extension cord. But oh does it sound good. Walks all over the PK3.

And any earbud will be subject to wind noise in speedy biking

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Sennheiser MX760 dammit!

... but the form factor is kind of stupid. The main earbud+cord is a Y-cord that reaches down to above the belt, making it worthless without a shirt pocket/armband/neckstrap mp3 player, or the added bulk of the extension cord. But oh does it sound good. Walks all over the PK3.

And any earbud will be subject to wind noise in speedy biking

Thanks for all the input, guys... these Senns look ideal... are they not a current model? Have they been replaced by something else? Any idea where I can buy a pair hot shipped to Vancouver?

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Sennheiser discontinued them for some reason and last time I checked there were a few stores that claimed to have them in stock; I just assumed that some more serious searching could come up with more results.

The lower model MX560 is pretty good, not as great but better form factor, that might be more available. And I have no idea about shipping to Canada, sorry. :(

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I suggest Clip-on's. They isolate more than normal earbuds, but obviously less than iem's. The ksc75 are just decent, ksc35 are a bit better. If he can spend, the Yuin G1A are not too bad provided his DAP can power their impedance. My 18mW/channel iRiver E10 could without an amp.

Sennheiser PXC300 active noise canceling headphones are said to be pretty good by non-idiotic people as well. Very small, portable, foldable.

The head direct RE1 are decent sounding but have basically no treble, plus the cable is unpleasant and I wouldn't bike with them.

Stax SR-001 Mk2 sound good, but I wouldn't suggest to use them when biking. The least thing your friend would want in that situation is that they start making their horrible suckout noise, as well as other microphonic f the bike has a bump. I had them: good for sitting down, impossible to walk with without becoming nervous at any kind of noise they can produce.

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A couple of things:

1) He needs to check and make sure headsets/headphones are allowed to be worn in the race.

2) If they are, he better be prepared to tape over the ear buds to keep them in his ears if he expects them to stay in due to sweat and head movement.

I don't ride with headphones due to crazy drivers and comment #2 so I'll refrain from any recommendations.

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I'd suggest clip ons too, I bike it with the Koss KSC75. Good sound, comfy, can be worn with helmets and don't isolate very much, so you can always be aware of traffic etc.

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I've been cycling almost every day this summer, and I've just been sticking with iBuds. The only other portables I have are PX-100, and the helmet makes those unfeasible. I definitely wouldn't recommend IEMs, because it is important to be able to hear at least something of the road noise.

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