With such an increase awareness of health in this country, the headphone market is finally starting to take notice. Over the past few years companies have started to step up their game when it comes to sports/fitness headphones. Making a headphone that can withstand the day to day pounding that an athlete puts on it is no easy task. Once you have built the indestructible headphone, you have to make that headphone sweat and water resistant, if not waterproof altogether.
Sennheiser is one of the companies that decided to take this on this challenge in its early stages. There have been several iterations of the sports line. Then a few years back, Sennheiser partnered with Adidas
The Sennheiser MX685 is the updated version of last year’s MX680. I have been using the 680 as one of my stable of four favorite sports headphones since they came out. I am a huge fan of the earfins on the 680. I think the system works perfectly for me and the sound quality is very good for an earbud of this nature.
The 685 has incorporated a new system to ensure a secure fit.
It’s called the “Slide to Fit” holding system. When I first read about this system I had it in my head that they were spring loaded. So, upon opening the package, I was excited to see this new system. I was unpleasantly surprised to see that it is not a spring loaded system; it’s really just a sliding mechanism. I had my doubts about this system, and we’ll cuss and discuss this more shortly.
The earbuds are good solid quality, and the color has changed from last year’s neon yellow. I personally like this new color scheme. The earbud also has a very noticeable change from last year’s model. The cord is one solid long cable, not the shorter cable with an extension. I really like the small L shaped plug in also. I think it is a good idea to make the connector small so that it has no trouble fitting into any case or armband. The accessories are nice. Three sets of rubber covers that go around the earbud and a set of foam covers. The bag is also a nice touch. It’s well made and feels like it’s meant to take a beating and it’s probably quite waterproof.
After putting three sets of adapters that came with the earbuds, I discovered that none of them worked very well for me. They fit just fine, but they just were not giving me the type of seal I wanted. It left the sound lacking the heavier bass that I was used to with the 680. So, I tried the foamies (foam covers) that also came with them. That really gave me the seal I wanted, but while it added the bass I wanted it also tamed down the mids and highs a bit.
I came up with the ultimate solution, and something that I wish Sennheiser had included with this year’s model. I put on the larger rubbery, silicone cover from last year’s model. Now it doesn’t really look quite right, but it’s the perfect solution for me.
So now it’s off to my first run. I ran into the same problem that I had with last year’s model. The right earbud ended up slipping with sweat and started lodging itself out of my ear after about two miles. This really isn’t an issue with the slide to fit system, it’s the way my ear is shaped. So my first experience was a little on the frustrating side. I had to make the same type of adjustment that I made last year. I just inserted the right earbud a little differently and went out the next day. Perfect! Five miles, no issues whatsoever!
For most of my runs I was using the Sony Walkman. I have used my Iphone 4s (but I really don’t like the music on it as much as most of my other players). The one diamond in the rough, for people who want slamming bass, is the Philips GeGear with the Fullsound engaged. I used these several times also.
--When listening to Maroon 5 “One More Night,” the bass was really awesome. Actually rumbled my eardrum. I had the volume on 7 and it was coming through loud and clear. The mids come through very nicely. Not overpowered by the bass in anyway. Detail is very good. Crisp and very clear. Really a pretty enjoyable experience. Don’t get me wrong they are not going to give you the same quality that the upper end earbuds will, but for workout headphones, they are well above average, in my opinion.
--The Go!Team’s “The Power Is On” was a really fun song on these little earbuds. When I was looking at my average speed on my garmin after this run, I think that my pace picked up during this song.
With the seal I get using the silicone yellow oversized adapters from last year’s model, I really get too much bass with my GoGear. But I really like getting all that thump when I’m running. It really gives me a pumped up feeling.
I did give these the water test when I came home. I ran them under the faucet and cleaned them off. No issues at all. I dried them and plugged them in and there were no issues.
I have ran with these several times now over the past couple of weeks. I can definitely say that they are every bit as good as the 680. The slide to fit system is really so much better than I had expected. You can get such a tight fit that it actually hurts.
In the competitive world of workout headphones and earbuds, I’d say these are a great choice, especially for 49 dollars. My only issue is that I wish they included a blue set of silicone oversized adapters so that they didn’t look goofey. These will be one of my personal mainstays when running.
Edited by nonsupremous - 10/15/12 at 8:03pm