The Bitstream Blog :: Posts

(Almost) No bones about it

Well, the rain has departed for a time and the temperature is creeping toward the 60’s. The sea has calmed, and the sunset is peach and blueberry sherbet…Which really does not put me in a mood to add one last (promise) MacWorld installment. :: This last go round wasn’t as rich a treasure trove of schwag as in times past. This year, I took home a single item, a plastic “bone” used to control a headphone cord. It was very nice of the vendor to hand them out but, when I tried it on my trusty Altec inMotion iM716s, my commuter headphone of choice, I found the cord fell off quick as a wink. A moment’s thought produced a solution, as you shall see below;Headphone bones  Take a look at these three examples…The Good, The Not So Bad, and The Ugly. The Good is my matching bone that came with my reference Etymotics. Notice how the “jaws,” through which the cord passes, just touch. This prevents the cord from popping out and unwinding. :: On to the Not So Bad, whose jaws do not touch, hence the problem noted above. The simple solution is to “take a hitch” in the cord, passing it under itself as it exits the bone. :: Finally, the very utilitarian but just plain Ugly. This is one I made for my junk headphones, the ones that come with an iPod. It was fab’d from some single ply paperboard I was going to recycle. Notice the quarter folded template I used to make a somewhat symmetrical finished product. It works well enough but, since this one is only paper, it would also need a simple or half hitch to keep the cord from popping out and unraveling. :: Now that I’ve gone all Martha on you with this artless crafts lesson, a word about the cans, at least the first two I mentioned. We all know that Etymotics rank up there with the best, though I love Shure’s better models and I’ve read some favorable comments about Ultimate’s high end models as well. The Altecs are not the flattest or lowest distortion but they are comfortable, rugged and have an in–line volume and bass boost control. This makes them great for non–critical, long term listening, especially in noisy environments. In–ear phones typically have from 12 to 20 dB of broadband isolation so you can play back at lower levels and protect you hearing from long term external exposure. Remember, it’s not just how loud a sound is that determines the damage, it’s also the duration. Riding on subways, airplanes and motorcycles all are loud enough that an unprotected couple of hours of exposure are just as bad as 10 minutes of speaker wind in front of a stack at the local colosseum. In short, protect your hearing, it’s only given to you once…All for now, ba-bye!


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