Last week I wrote about XtremeMac FS1 earphones ($149) and the Griffin TuneBuds ($20). Since that post, I’ve continued to test the FS1 earphones and am even waiting for a second pair just to be sure. One thing I’ll say right now is that you “must” use the foam inserts with the FS1s. Don’t even waste your time with the silicons because the sound isn’t as good.
Amid this turmoil, someone asked me about the Griffin EarThumps, which are isolating earphones that sell for $20. I got my hands on a set and have been testing them over the last few days.
The EarThumps are available in black or white models, so you can match them to your iPod and they include 3 different sized silicon inserts. The cord is a couple inches longer than the standard iPod earbuds cord.
First thing the EarThumps have going for them is that they are much more comfortable that the iPod earbuds. They fit nicely in the ear canal and do help isolate the music you’re listening to from the drone of the outside world.
The bass response is enhanced. My guess is this will be a hot topic of discussion for some. When I ran blind tests with friends (iPod earbuds vs FS1s vs EarThumps), some felt the bass on the EarThumps was too exaggerated, while others liked the rumbling low end. Maybe I spent too much time standing in front of an Ampeg bass amp and speakers in my 20s, but I like the bass here.
The other noticeable trait of the EarThumps is that you have to immediately turn the volume “down.” For most listening situations, I had the volume on my nano at about 40 percent with these earphones.
So for $20 you get isolating, bass enhanced earphones, a case, 3 sets of inserts, a long cord with narrow plug that works with all of your iPod cases… pretty good. Do they blow away high-end $200 earphones? Of course not. But they’re a good value for dollar. Give them a listen and let me know what you think. I like ‘em.