Best earphones for running/exercise?
Jul 12, 2008 at 5:57 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 31

DARKHAVEN

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Posts
222
Likes
10
I'm looking for a nice set of earphones/IEMs for running. I'm deciding between Shure SE210/SE310, Sennheiser CX500, Yuin OK2, Etymotic ER-4P, Westone UM1, and Jays q-Jay. I'm looking for good sound (good bass a plus with motivating music...), robust build quality (something I can knock around a little), and something that fits well with the activity (for fit and sweat resistance). Any thoughts?
 
Jul 12, 2008 at 8:19 PM Post #3 of 31

hauntingtheholy

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 30, 2008
Posts
160
Likes
10
Whoops. Stupid computer.
mad.gif
Anyway......

I jog using the CX300 and I'm not sure how you'd feel about the sound quality, but for sure it will stay in your ears! I did have to change the pads once b/c they got kinda nasty, but other than that, A+
 
Jul 12, 2008 at 9:43 PM Post #4 of 31

DARKHAVEN

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Posts
222
Likes
10
The CX500s are only really a contender because I can get them for a good price. I got them for my girlfriend and I find the fit solid, although comfort is a bit lacking for me. I also find the sound a notch or two below what I want, ideally. I find them to be a bit veiled, the treble was subdued. I worry about the pendulum swinging to far the other way with IEMs like the Etymotic ER-4Ps, which I've heard from others are quite bright (and perhaps harsh?). On the positive side, I feel the CX500s strength is in the midrange, which they handle competently and the bass is pleasantly clean and present (as opposed, once again, to what I hear about the Etymotics, which are supposedly bass lacking?). Admittedly, I'm being a little hard on the Senns, but I'm used to my Shure SE530s and they've ruined me... Having said that, the CX500s are also a quarter of the price, so keeping that in mind, they aren't bad. I'm just not sure they are the performance leader in the $100-150 category (I'm pretty sure they aren't...). Cheers.
 
Jul 12, 2008 at 10:45 PM Post #6 of 31

nickdawg

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Posts
603
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by hauntingtheholy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I did have to change the pads once b/c they got kinda nasty, but other than that, A+


I'm assuming they were foam pads(foam does get nasty over time). I would suggest something with sillicone ear sleeves. They're much easier to clean and last longer than foam.

Only downside is the sillicone may slide out if you sweat too much.
 
Jul 12, 2008 at 11:17 PM Post #7 of 31

oicdn

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 28, 2006
Posts
3,381
Likes
11
IEMS sans the UM2, are HORRIBLE for working out because of all the microphonics from the cords bustling around. That and you hear all the thuds from your feet hitting the ground when running, your heartbeat, etc.

I say UM2's aside because of their design, they way they sit in your ear, and their over the ear design really fight microphonics. I actually used to use UM2's for MOUNTAIN BIKING, and never had a problem with sweat, durability or sound issues. A bit of investment for "tossing around" but they're work ridiculously well.

Bets option is a KSC 75. Clip ons suck until you get used to them.....but the lifetime warranty is unbeatable.
 
Jul 13, 2008 at 2:42 AM Post #9 of 31

oicdn

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 28, 2006
Posts
3,381
Likes
11
Crap...I forgot about the iGrado. I really need to get one of them....
 
Jul 13, 2008 at 10:54 AM Post #10 of 31

green_avanti

Head-Fier
Joined
May 30, 2008
Posts
87
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by DARKHAVEN /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The CX500s are only really a contender because I can get them for a good price. I got them for my girlfriend and I find the fit solid, although comfort is a bit lacking for me. I also find the sound a notch or two below what I want, ideally. I find them to be a bit veiled, the treble was subdued. I worry about the pendulum swinging to far the other way with IEMs like the Etymotic ER-4Ps, which I've heard from others are quite bright (and perhaps harsh?). On the positive side, I feel the CX500s strength is in the midrange, which they handle competently and the bass is pleasantly clean and present (as opposed, once again, to what I hear about the Etymotics, which are supposedly bass lacking?). Admittedly, I'm being a little hard on the Senns, but I'm used to my Shure SE530s and they've ruined me... Having said that, the CX500s are also a quarter of the price, so keeping that in mind, they aren't bad. I'm just not sure they are the performance leader in the $100-150 category (I'm pretty sure they aren't...). Cheers.


A bit of background first with regard to my experience with buds and IEM's, I am a long time listener of Sony ER888's (Sony's best earbud at one time), Ety ER4P/S and have also recently in the last year aquired CX-300's, and SE530's.

I also run, go to the gym for weights and for spinning and commute and race on bicycles.

Going through my choices, in order of preference:

Sony's MDR-E888's
I use for cycling and where I need to be able to get them in and out frequently and/or quickly. They have a high quality sound but pick up wind noise outdoors and are severly hampered by their nature, ie being buds - I don't consider these or any bud's to be serious hifi contenders, they just don't get the sound into your head well enough, unless you put your hands over your ears and press hard! But great for the bike whan you need to know what is going on around you and need to be able to pull them out at will. You couldn't run with them as they would fall out of your ears all the time.

Senn CX300 (CX500 etc very similar)
I bought these under the impression they were 'neutral', half-way isolating and tighter fitting so they wouldn't fall out all the time. The first is false the rest is right. They are not at all refined (nowhere near neutral), have a focus on the lower spectrums, bass heavy bordering on bloated. You couldn't consider them for any sort of critical listening or as your only pair. They ruin a lot of music for me but sound great with the likes of Queen and the gym where you are looking for a heavy beat and a solid groove. They are half-way IEMs that sit solidly enough in your ears - and you can tell when they are properly seated because the tips go 'pop' when you push on them gently to check. If I lost them, I'd buy another pair staight away, but just for Queen and the gym ('Killer Queen' on these is great
smily_headphones1.gif
) I havn't tried them running, they may stay in but I suspect that they would move around and you would lose that all-important seal you need for IEM's.

Ety ER4P/S
The ER4S is a very refined IEM, with a unique SQ, detailed and clear with a nice sparkle - not bright. The ER4P a little less so but it has a more normal balance. You would find both too airy and bass lacking after the SE530's. What rules out the Ety's for running/jogging, or and kind of significant movemant though is that the cord is noticably microphonic and you will get a lot of superfluos sound just from that - it would spoil any music you were trying to listen to. Also the weight of the cable is unsupported (ie not over the ear) and again I suspect this would cause a frequent a loss of the seal that is important for IEM's. If you do get serious about the Ety's I would suggest the ER6's which are less affected by these problems.

Shure SE530
My current fav. I can't understand why you are looking at Ety's for running when you have these. They are a similar fitting IEM but have cable-over-ear which supports the weight of the cable better with less microphonics and should cause you less grief while running.


Knowing all the above, I wouldn't want to go running with any of them. My first choice perhaps would be the MDR-E888's with tape over my ears to hold them in
smily_headphones1.gif
. Realistically, you are not able to appreciate the finer naunces of hifi while you are puffing and panting so I would be looking for something midrange that you think will not fall out.

To summarise, why not try running in your SE530's and see what is lacking there to determine what you really need.

Kind regards

g_a
 
Jul 13, 2008 at 12:17 PM Post #11 of 31

DARKHAVEN

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Posts
222
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I like the iGrado for going out and about. Not crazy about its looks, but the comfort and SR-60 drivers make up for a lot.


Ah, the SR60s bring me back... I used to have a pair of those and LOVED THEM! There simply is no better headphone under $100 out there. They wouldn't work well for running though. I wanted a tinge of sound isolation to combat wind and traffic noise and they simply wouldn't stay on my head with all the bouncing. I wish I still had my SR60s...
 
Jul 13, 2008 at 12:32 PM Post #12 of 31

DARKHAVEN

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 1, 2008
Posts
222
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by green_avanti /img/forum/go_quote.gif
A bit of background first with regard to my experience with buds and IEM's, I am a long time listener of Sony ER888's (Sony's best earbud at one time), Ety ER4P/S and have also recently in the last year aquired CX-300's, and SE530's.

I also run, go to the gym for weights and for spinning and commute and race on bicycles.

Going through my choices, in order of preference:

Sony's MDR-E888's
I use for cycling and where I need to be able to get them in and out frequently and/or quickly. They have a high quality sound but pick up wind noise outdoors and are severly hampered by their nature, ie being buds - I don't consider these or any bud's to be serious hifi contenders, they just don't get the sound into your head well enough, unless you put your hands over your ears and press hard! But great for the bike whan you need to know what is going on around you and need to be able to pull them out at will. You couldn't run with them as they would fall out of your ears all the time.

Senn CX300 (CX500 etc very similar)
I bought these under the impression they were 'neutral', half-way isolating and tighter fitting so they wouldn't fall out all the time. The first is false the rest is right. They are not at all refined (nowhere near neutral), have a focus on the lower spectrums, bass heavy bordering on bloated. You couldn't consider them for any sort of critical listening or as your only pair. They ruin a lot of music for me but sound great with the likes of Queen and the gym where you are looking for a heavy beat and a solid groove. They are half-way IEMs that sit solidly enough in your ears - and you can tell when they are properly seated because the tips go 'pop' when you push on them gently to check. If I lost them, I'd buy another pair staight away, but just for Queen and the gym ('Killer Queen' on these is great
smily_headphones1.gif
) I havn't tried them running, they may stay in but I suspect that they would move around and you would lose that all-important seal you need for IEM's.

Ety ER4P/S
The ER4S is a very refined IEM, with a unique SQ, detailed and clear with a nice sparkle - not bright. The ER4P a little less so but it has a more normal balance. You would find both too airy and bass lacking after the SE530's. What rules out the Ety's for running/jogging, or and kind of significant movemant though is that the cord is noticably microphonic and you will get a lot of superfluos sound just from that - it would spoil any music you were trying to listen to. Also the weight of the cable is unsupported (ie not over the ear) and again I suspect this would cause a frequent a loss of the seal that is important for IEM's. If you do get serious about the Ety's I would suggest the ER6's which are less affected by these problems.

Shure SE530
My current fav. I can't understand why you are looking at Ety's for running when you have these. They are a similar fitting IEM but have cable-over-ear which supports the weight of the cable better with less microphonics and should cause you less grief while running.


Knowing all the above, I wouldn't want to go running with any of them. My first choice perhaps would be the MDR-E888's with tape over my ears to hold them in
smily_headphones1.gif
. Realistically, you are not able to appreciate the finer naunces of hifi while you are puffing and panting so I would be looking for something midrange that you think will not fall out.

To summarise, why not try running in your SE530's and see what is lacking there to determine what you really need.

Kind regards

g_a



Wonderfully thoughtful analysis green_avanti, thank you. I had a few comments based on yours that I wanted to share. As for your recommendation of the Sony's for knockarounds, I would fall toward the Sennheiser MX760s if I was going to go that route (which I might). I will admit straight-off that I'm a shamelesss Sennheiser fanboy (and a Shure fanboy since the SE530s...).

As for your recommendation with the SE530s, call me cautious, but I just can't use $500 IEMs as "knockarounds." I baby these things. I know exactly what you are saying though, I've been scouring eBay for a cheap pair of used E5cs, SE420s, etc. That's my ideal route, but I guess I need to be patient on that front.

Sennheiser CX500 - Concerning these, I was just expecting more from Senn. Maybe I need to give them another listen, but my initial reaction was disappointment. For a company that's so good at neutrality in their dynamic headphones, I was shocked to hear veiled treble and bloated bass. But, as you said, bass heavy is pretty desirable for working out and I listen to rock, techno, and rap, so I might end up using these for the short term until I get my used Shures from eBay. Plus, at this price, I won't cry if they get busted up or if sweat ruins them. I don't know if you've read about the Sennheiser IE series, but if you haven't, take a look. The IE8s look to be more of a return to Sennheisers neutrality and detail. They will be SE530 priced though, so you should expect that. The over the ear design will knock out the microphonics too. I'm excited to see what those babies can do.

Etymotic ER-4P - If I ever get these, its just going to be a gadget purchase. They don't have enough bass for me, but their isolation is truly impressive. Their weight is pretty good for running, too. Ultimately, lacking in the bass department killed them for me, for this purpose.

Yuin OK2s - These might be more of a purpose built selection. I've fighting with whether to get a good sound isolating IEM or something more open. For running, I know hearing what's going on around you adds a safety factor, but with all the wind and care noise in Baltimore, I'd like a little isolation, I think. If I decide to go with a serious earbud though, these pretty much stand alone as the hi-fi choice. Still considering...

Jays q-jay - This is a heavy contender for me, as many people feel this is the bastard step-child of the Shure SE530. At less than half the price, I have to STRONGLY consider these. I haven't heard them myself, but I've heard the bass is respectable. I'm really thinking hard about these...
 
Jul 14, 2008 at 8:55 AM Post #13 of 31

green_avanti

Head-Fier
Joined
May 30, 2008
Posts
87
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by DARKHAVEN /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Wonderfully thoughtful analysis green_avanti, thank you. I had a few comments based on yours that I wanted to share. As for your recommendation of the Sony's for knockarounds, I would fall toward the Sennheiser MX760s if I was going to go that route (which I might). I will admit straight-off that I'm a shamelesss Sennheiser fanboy (and a Shure fanboy since the SE530s...).

As for your recommendation with the SE530s, call me cautious, but I just can't use $500 IEMs as "knockarounds." I baby these things. I know exactly what you are saying though, I've been scouring eBay for a cheap pair of used E5cs, SE420s, etc. That's my ideal route, but I guess I need to be patient on that front.

Sennheiser CX500 - Concerning these, I was just expecting more from Senn. Maybe I need to give them another listen, but my initial reaction was disappointment. For a company that's so good at neutrality in their dynamic headphones, I was shocked to hear veiled treble and bloated bass. But, as you said, bass heavy is pretty desirable for working out and I listen to rock, techno, and rap, so I might end up using these for the short term until I get my used Shures from eBay. Plus, at this price, I won't cry if they get busted up or if sweat ruins them. I don't know if you've read about the Sennheiser IE series, but if you haven't, take a look. The IE8s look to be more of a return to Sennheisers neutrality and detail. They will be SE530 priced though, so you should expect that. The over the ear design will knock out the microphonics too. I'm excited to see what those babies can do.

Etymotic ER-4P - If I ever get these, its just going to be a gadget purchase. They don't have enough bass for me, but their isolation is truly impressive. Their weight is pretty good for running, too. Ultimately, lacking in the bass department killed them for me, for this purpose.

Yuin OK2s - These might be more of a purpose built selection. I've fighting with whether to get a good sound isolating IEM or something more open. For running, I know hearing what's going on around you adds a safety factor, but with all the wind and care noise in Baltimore, I'd like a little isolation, I think. If I decide to go with a serious earbud though, these pretty much stand alone as the hi-fi choice. Still considering...

Jays q-jay - This is a heavy contender for me, as many people feel this is the bastard step-child of the Shure SE530. At less than half the price, I have to STRONGLY consider these. I haven't heard them myself, but I've heard the bass is respectable. I'm really thinking hard about these...



I'm very interested in your considerations.

Re the Sony's. I wasn't recommending the 888's in particular, and wouldn't anyway (there have been a lot of advancement since then), but was talking about 'buds in general, eg the Yuin's perhaps.

Re the Ety's. They are popular for good reason, and though I have the SE530's I wouldn't sell my Ety's for quids. If you get the chance you might try and audition the ER6i's - they may work for you and could be a good buy s/h.

Re the SE530's. I am the same as you, the SE530's are just too expensive and precious to risk damaging through sweat, ripped cables, etc. It wouldn't hurt though to try running with them once or twice to see whether that style of IEM could be the answer. I'd be interested in how that works out. I'll give it a go myself (with triple-flanges, the only tips that are comfortable for me) if you don't.

Re the Senn CX's. I find them dissapointing too, but if all you want is a good strong beat then they work for that, and are enjoyable enough, and I like their fit (semi-IEM's).

You mention others that I have no experience with, but I like your idea of picking up a good midrange IEM or whatever s/h and I think that is the way I would go too in your situation. I wonder if perhaps semi-IEM's (sim to the Senn CX's) offer the most promise, but I don't know what else is out there, you seem to have a better idea.

Very interested in your discoveries as you try and find something suitable and I can see myself buying whatever you end up with for my own use
smily_headphones1.gif
.

An interesting thread..

Kind regards

g_a
 
Jul 14, 2008 at 12:51 PM Post #15 of 31

green_avanti

Head-Fier
Joined
May 30, 2008
Posts
87
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by david21 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I mentioned this in another post but the CX300 can be had for $15 after rebate @ newegg (rebate requires you to send in your old old or broken ear/headphone to them).

-fwiw, no I don't work for newegg, I'm just spreading the word on a good deal
smily_headphones1.gif



Brilliant buy for $15..
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top