In-ear Headphones

In-ear Headphones

I'm a big fan of in-ear headphones when outside. I wear them when going for a longer walk, when using public transport, and when cycling I usually have one bud in on low volume for a little background music. So far, nothing revolutionary about that, many people do that. Over-ears are not a feasible alternative for me, I've tried it a few times.

Many years ago I discovered the perfect in-ear, but I don't really remember how. Maybe someone posted a link to a sale on IRC, maybe I read a review.

I am talking about the Xiaomi Piston V3 from around 2015.

Last time I checked I couldn't find them to be ordered anymore, but I still had one working pair (I'm not saying they're not sturdy, but using them 5-6 days a week, and folding them at least twice takes its toll, and I didn't actually wear out that many pairs...) and didn't need them a lot the last two years and I seem to have misplaced it. So I grabbed a HTC one I had in my "backup headphones from phones and whatever" box and used that for a bit.

Two weeks ago or so I went to Mediamarkt to buy something else and checked the headphone aisle, didn't see anything interesting, but near the checkout they had some JBL T160 and because they were cheap and I was kinda happy with JBL in the past (I have a small Bluetooth speaker made by them) I grabbed a pair.

And boy do these sound shit. No bass at all, the cable is very slim and flat and a little awkward, and the controls are in a weird place. Like directly at your collar. Also they fall out of my ears easily, but I might just have to try the other plastic nubs.

So yeah, I know I shouldn't expect great sound for 13 EUR (although the Piston V3 have that), but come on, sounding worse than the HTC ones they give you for free on a cheap/medium phone line? (Could have been the Tattoo from 2009 or the Desire Z from 2013ish).

So I guess I will put them in my bag as the new "backup in case I forgot to bring some" headphones and continue using the HTC ones and see if I can track down a few more pairs of Xiaomi Piston V3. Sad as it is.

Between writing this and publishing it I actually found one set of the Pistons in my drawer, so I guess I'm good for 1-2 years...

Update 2023-09-06: Around November 2022 I bought a pair of Panasonic RP-HJE125 for around 10€ on a trip because I'd forgotten mine at home and they seem to sound better than the JBL ones.

When I "upgraded" my phone to one without an audio jack I needed Bluetooth ones, I went for the Teufel Airy Sports - deliberately choosing the ones with the neckband. They're fine, but I'd still prefer to use some cheaper ones that don't run out of battery. Oh well.