Ironbuds from Acoustic Forge - under $50 ecobuds

  1. intelegant
    Ecofriendly non-throwaway interchangable - and under 40.00 US
    Written by intelegant
    Published Nov 29, 2012
    Pros - Amazing value. Sounds is stunningly good. Chord is super good. Gold plating throughout.
    Cons - No mic or volume control on the chord. No volume damping (so careful with kids having the volume too high!)
    I am tired of: throwing away earphones, wasting money, and destroying the environment. Ironbuds promised to be an answer to all three - imho they've cracked it. What is surprising is how good they sound.
    Been waiting a year for Acoustic Forge to release these. I posted in the forums about 8 months ago about them - but Thomas (the CEO) announced they were having some difficulties sourcing parts up to ecostandards and manufacturing etc; Thomas has a background with Koss and that boded well. They got their funding on Kickstarter x4 but it seemed for about 5 months that it was touch and go. I would check in and see posts of people asking whether this was a go or bust etc; finally it's off the ground.
    Firstly, these work. Fullstop. Not in a green ecofriendly Save the Whale so I'll compromise on fit, comfort or sound type of way - they are amazing, as in serious value and more. I have had Klipsch i5s, Jays, and got through pair after pair, I look after them (bag 'em), but I wear them for sports etc; but nothing soundwise has been as good as these. 
    I have tried them with:
    AC/DC - great bass and loud
    Bill Evans - straight ahead jazz piano - very clear
    Bach - lovely
    Beastie Boys 
    les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert - awesome
    and even, at the children's behest, One Direction - well, I heard it more clearly, not sure it improved the music itself....
    I have only had these for three days and have not burnt them in, but out of the box they are outstanding for the price (in fact nearly unbelievable) - they also go way louder than any other in-ear I have had - I was able to hear my music how I wanted to hear it which for a jazz enthusiast is really important. This is pretty dangerous stuff - plugging them on full volume could really be a painful jolt - but otherwise nice not to have volume damping.
    The earbuds: are detachable, and the build is very solid. they have a wooden casing. Originally these were going to be available in cherry red that option is not available but there are three choices available when ordering. They are quite long at 2.5cm but they are housing a 10mm 6um unit that pumps it out. They come in a little textile bag, which is too ok for shipping, but I wish it was twice the size then I would be able to use it as a headphone pouch - it is too small for that currently. I have contacted Acoustic Forge about this.
    Plug: 3.5mm jack - gold-plated and all plastics are made to ecostandards - the plug is flexible and grooved which allows for movement in pockets etc;
    The chord: this is one of my favorite features: 118cm for not too long, but excellent under a windbreaker for sports it is definitely not short, it if textile bound with Kevlar (as in bullet-proof jackets) reinforcement - it just feels solid and well-made. It is about the same thickness as the Klipsch i5. It has the appearance of a mountaineering rope. I chose black with yellow details, and there are options available. Above the yoke standard plastic not kevlar textile covered. There is a gatherer that slides all the way from the yoke junction right up to the earbuds - so no tangles.
    Yoke: there is a a yoke, and here I am guessing thy originally wanted to have detachable parts. It does not detach, it is one unit, meaning if the chord or jack breaks you can order a replacement for 15.00 US from the site and just slot your earbuds straight on.
    Volume control and mic: none. This may be a deal breaker for iPhone users, but I have to say I am willing to forego because the sound is so good.
    Earpieces: it comes with 4 black and 4 clear silicom buds in different sizes.
    Comfort: Good. The fit is good when sitting still, I love them with my MacBook Pro.However, when moving the size of the drums means they don't really sit super comfortably. It is most noticeable when turning the head - they do not come out, but there is a slight loss of fit and a need to adjust. Haven't tried working out in them yet but I suspect they are not really workout headphines. Noticed slight pressure when wearing a skating helmet but adjusted they were great.
    Isolation: Very good. Could hear large motors on the street when standing nearby otherwise nice isolation.
    Ordering: ordered through the site with an Amazon Pay link - simple and superfast. I received my earphones in Sweden within a week of ordering.
    Overall: no exaggeration, simply the best earphones I have tried at this price. I can't believe I am giving multiple stars in every category - but I just can't fault them. Incredible value - and I know that the manufacture process was green, and if they break I can order a replacement part instead of throwing them in the bin. I will update this review if they do break, or any other issues. These are my pick of the year. They set a new standard not just for price and quality but really do answer that bain of all users why must I spend 100.00 a year on throwaway goods. I am impressed, even thrilled, to be an early innovator here. Well done Acoustic Forge!