Recently the folks at BassBuds offered to send me set of their premium ear-buds for review.I know ear-buds aren’t exactly photography related, but I use my iPhone on photoshoots all the time, and I sometimes use ear-buds for sound editing on videos and slideshows. So I said, sure, why not?A few days later a nice box arrived covered in the BassBuds logo. I think they might be taking a page out of Apple’s playbook, because the packaging was elegant and inviting.
The ear-buds were carefully arranged inside the box, displayed exactly the way premium ear-buds should be. In addition to the buds themselves, there were a series of different sized molded tips in white and black. There was also a nice drawstring pouch emblazoned with the BassBud’s logo.
I received a set finished in platinum gray, one of the seeming endless colors offered by BassBuds.
Swarovski Crystal Bling in the Ear-pieces
I was slightly taken back by the crystal ornament in the end of each ear-piece. I’m not really a bling-type of guy, my tastes run more toward North Face and LL Bean instead of Tiffany. But I got past that quickly. Through a deal with Swarovski, the earpieces actually incorporate genuine Swarovski Crystals.
The BassBuds exude a quality look and feel. They are made from machined aluminum, not plastic, and the connector plug is gold-plated for superior connectivity.
High Quality Sound
The sound is amazing. I’m not an audiophile, so maybe I am not the best person to evaluate audio quality. That being said, listening to some of my favorite music, I heard notes and tones that I had never experienced before. I expected quality sound, but I didn’t expect my music to sound that good.
Even phone calls seem improved. I do some contract work inside a large conference room with several other programmers. Everybody uses ear-buds for phone conversations, because there is too much noise other-wards,
I found I could hear phone conversations better with the BassBuds and people on the other end seemed to hear me better a well.
Another nice feature is the Tangle Free cord design. All too often, the OEM ear-buds ended up in a tangled nest inside my pocket. The cords on the Bass Buds are stiffer and thicker to resist tangling. That doesn’t mean you cannot tangle them, but even if you wind up with a twisted pile of cords, the BassBuds seem easy to unscramble.
Nothing is perfect: a few gripes
While the sound reproduction is the most important feature of any ear-bud system, there are areas where the BassBuds could be improved.
When I place the ear-buds in my ears, the microphone controller is located about six inches above my belt buckle. This is also where my torso fits against my desk. Several times I found myself enjoying music while working, only to have the music stop when I unconsciously trapped the controller between my body and the desk. I would prefer that the controller was higher up on one of the individual wires — the way Apple and other manufacturers make their sets. This would avoid the problem of changing tunes with my chest.
That problem is fairly easy to rectify, by arranging the wires so the controller so it is not at the same level as my desktop.
A second issue is not so simple to correct. For some reason, the BassBuds engineers left out a volume control!
How could such an elegant, high-class piece of technology lack such a basic feature?
On my iPhone, the controller allows you to start and stop playback, skip to the next and previous songs and answer and end calls. But you cannot change volume with the ear-buds.
Thus is a disappointment , because I use the volume control on my Apple ear-buds all the time. Some of my music is recorded at different volumes, sometimes outside noise causes me turn up the volume and sometimes I encounter an annoyingly loud piece of music that hurts my head. Of course you can still turn the volume up or down on your device, but that isn’t as convient as changing the volume from you ear-buds.
If you have a newer iPhone, you can use the Apple ear-buds (or any third-party buds with volume controls) to snap a photo. Apple added the ability to use the volume up command to fire the camera. Without a volume control, however, the BassBuds can’t serve as an iPhone cable release.
They work for sound checks as well
While I use an iPhone and all my testing has been down with Apple’s phone, the BassBuds should be compatible with most phones and music players, including the Blackberry.
I also use the buds with my Zoom H1 voice recorder. I use the H1 to record sounds and speech for slide shows, and I often use ear-buds to determine if the recording level is correct. The BassBuds work perfectly in this capacity.
Should you buy a set of BassBuds ear-buds? If you are looking for excellent sound — and can live without a volume control — you probably will enjoy a Bass Bud set. They are available in over 20 color combinations, so you probably will find a set that fits your personality.
I compared the BassBuds to the standard Apple ear-buds, and the Apple offering definitely came off second best. I will soon be adding an iPhone 5 to my technology collection. The iPhone 5 comes with Apple’s newest ear-piece, which are suposed to be quite superior to the old style ear-buds. When I get my iPhone 5, I will test the BassBuds against the new Apple Ear-Pods.
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