Thoughts on headphones

For me, headphones are an essential accessory for running, especially for runs lasting more than an hour.  With music piping through headphones, they relieve boredom.  And I use an iPhone app to track things like pace, time, and distance.

But I’ve always struggled with headphones.  If they are a poor fit, they fall off.  Those damn cords tangle easily.  Some headphones are uncomfortable.   Many breakdown after a few months.   There are headphone  that have “angel wings” attached to the ear buds, there are those whose headbands wrap around the nape of your neck instead of the top of your head, there are those that have some strange indentation on the ear buds so that they don’t fall off.  Of all of these designs, I prefer those wherein the headphones are one complete unit and not having separate unattached ear buds.   It truly irritates me when one ear bud slips off.  I hate it when I am in that zone when my pace matches the music and then everything abruptly goes out of whack.

I was looking for a headphone that also has a microphone.  I could use voice commands to SMS or update my twitter feed or my facebook status (yes, there’s an app for that and it’s called Vlingo!) .  It would be useful to record thoughts into my iPhone, have it tagged by GPS location or by time, and then review it post-run.

Anyway, in my quest for the headphone-mic accessory, I came across two products which were priced at close to—wait for it—P12,000!  Geez, P12,000 for headphones?!

I am no die-hard audiophile so I wonder, do these headphones really give crisp, quality sound?  And, even if they do, is it that important while doing some sport activity?   I can imagine that pristine music will be important if you wish to relax and meditate, but is that level of excellence really critical when you are huffing and puffing?

I also noticed that both headphones tout the “Monster” label.  Every self-proclaimed audiophile is aware of the Monster Cable product.  But it has it’s share of controversy.  There was some scientific analysis to show that there is no difference between the expensive Monster Cables and ordinary lamp cord.  There is also another experiment that showed that so-called audiophiles can’t tell the difference between the Monster Cables and coat hangers!

I use the Philips SHQ4000/28 Neckband Headphones.  I bought it not because I expect quality sound.  I just wanted it not to slip off.  It’s one-third the price of those supposedly high-end headphones, but it gets the job done.