About the deceptive impermeability of headphones


Recently, the site published an article by Konstantin Ivanov about one of the pressing problems of wireless

headphones. If you have not read it, then I will not ruin the intrigue. Check it out here:

Wireless Headphones: Spending You Didn't Sign Up For

Most wireless earbuds don't last more than a couple of years. Why aren't we reminded of this when expensive models are recommended?

After reading, I honestly took part in the surveyin the telegram channel, indicating that my headphones do not live longer than six months. Today's ones have slightly crossed this line, but I think this is just a happy exception. In my case, the cause of the breakdown does not depend on the design of the headphones and is always the same. Workout sweat. However, as it turned out, there is another insidious problem that is successfully disguised, and I was able to reveal it only by chance. Let's see what, in my opinion, is actually the main problem with headphones. Let's start.

But before jumping directly to the problem, let's take a quick look at some types of headphones that are at the peak of their "training" popularity today.

I don't think I'm wrong if I assume thatmost people looking for workout sound will choose between in-ear and in-ear headphones. Of course, I met the fair sex with Apple AirPods Max, but there is more yoga, as a rule, quickly flowing into selfies and instant messengers. So either "inserts" or "gags". The illustration above shows us the first option, but this is what the second looks like:

To be fair, it should be mentioned that forsports use not only TWS headphones. You can often find Bluetooth headsets with a rubberized headband or neck wire. Until recently, they were the only option if you needed a record autonomy. This is how the version from Huawei looks like:


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However, development does not stand still, and optimizationpractically equalized miniature "beans" with massive "collars" in the time of work. The sound may suffer, but the gym or the stadium is more about cutting noise and creating rhythm than about savoring classical symphonies. Largely for this reason, I use exclusively in-ear headphones. Even before the advent of active "noise canceling", they provided good passive noise isolation thanks to properly selected ear pads. In addition, I noticed that in-ear headphones, in contact with the auricle directly by the case (more often it is plastic), after listening to music for a long time, provoke pain when removing the earphone from the ear. For myself, I concluded that the microvibrations of the body, transmitted to the skin and, accordingly, to cartilaginous tissues, are to blame. I did not observe such an effect with intracanal. I think it's because of the natural silicone "shock absorber" in the form of ear cushions, on which the earpiece rests. But these are just my speculations. I do not claim to be the ultimate truth. As a result, "plugs". Traditionally, they look like this today:

Directly the headphones themselves and the charging case.There will also be a minimum of wire in the kit, and if you buy a model for sports, they can even put some additional anatomical attachment so that you don’t drop the coveted earpiece into the storm drain while running.

By the way, about fastenings. We published an article where we talked about the most convenient form of these same mounts. Might be interesting:

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In-Ear Headphone Housing Optionalshould be the same as in the illustration above. There is another option with the so-called "leg". Manufacturers put the microphone closer to the mouth in the design of such headphones. Laughter with laughter, but even these one and a half to two centimeters can give a significant improvement in speech transmission. Such headphones, selected for sports, can also have the most anatomical shape of the ear cushions for a secure fit in the ear:

However, many manufacturers still preferone massive body, without thinking much about how it will look in the ear. But, as a rule, the sound of such headphones is better (as far as I can tell). Below you can see two options for such headphones. Someone is trying to create an anatomical shape for them, someone is guided solely by how to fit into the case those components that are taken into account in the design:

To have an idea of ​​​​how such a dimensional little thing in the ear will look like, just mentally place it on the following illustration:

But, as I mentioned earlier, not only the formcase is important for sports TWS headphones, but so are the ear pads. They are necessary both for passive noise isolation and to prevent the penetration of sweat. After all, if the size of the ear pads is chosen incorrectly, then there is a high probability that the device will simply slip out of the ear from moisture trapped between the skin and silicone. I think that everyone would like to avoid such a scenario. That is why it is very important that the shape of the ear pads is comfortable and sized:

The illustration above shows us just one ofpossible implementation options. In fact, there can be a great many of them. Moreover, even the materials from which they will be made will differ. So, along with silicone ear pads in the box with headphones, especially if this is a model for audiophiles, there will certainly be “foam” ear pads. They are made of a material that means that before inserting the earpiece into the ear, the nozzle must be squeezed. After that, already in the ear canal, she will again try to take her original form, thereby filling the canal and filtering out all the noise. The solution is short-lived, if not disposable. An analogue of such a seal can be a shape in the form of a "herringbone":

So, we refreshed our memory a littleTWS-headphones, which are optimally suited for sports, touched on the ear cushions, the appearance of which can contribute to both a good hold of the earphone and sufficient noise isolation, it remains to say a few words about the protection class. As I mentioned, sweat has killed quite a few of my headphones and Bluetooth headsets. Most of them were not intended for sports and "died" with approximately the same symptoms. Either they stopped turning on, or one earpiece sagged sharply in volume. But what was my surprise when even seemingly waterproof headphones began to play at different volumes. Usually I just go and buy the next ones, but at that time the warranty period had not yet passed, and I decided to puzzle the seller with my problem. I sent him a “defective” product by mail and, confident that I was right, went to a local store for new ones. “When they recognize the marriage, they will still return the money,” I thought. And now, having been enjoying the new headphones for a couple of weeks, I receive a call from the store operator: “Sorry, it was not a marriage, but a blockage. The case is out of warranty." I became very curious. I paid for the cleaning and, upon arrival, gave the headphones to my wife to use. A few months later, history repeats itself. And coincidentally, the headphones I bought to replace them similarly began to play with different volumes. This time I did not rush to buy new ones, but took up a little research. It allowed me to highlight another very important element in the design of headphones (not only TWS), which must be paid attention to when choosing. Filters.

As it turned out, the fact that TWS headphonessignificantly more technologically advanced and more expensive than wired ones (we don’t compare the upper segment from wired and TWS mass market), for some reason it puzzled far from all manufacturers to think over the issues of filter clogging with sulfur. The fact is that sulfur adhering to the filter mesh, after shaking off, can get into the smallest particles between the fibers of the same mesh and, like plasticine, close up the space between the threads of the mesh. Visually it will be imperceptible, but it will affect the sound.

In the photo above - the fabric filter of AC Robin headphonesMist. And I must admit that cleaning it was not so easy, since cleaning only the outside did not lead to anything. I had to completely remove them and remove all the sulfur according to the instructions. It's good that he's filming. But what if the filter is not removable? For example, like this:

Yes, it was these headphones that clogged up with me already duringsecond time. Here, wiping sulfur from the surface of a stainless grate is generally contraindicated, since the holes will instantly clog and it will be possible to remove the blockage from them only by pressing it inside the case.


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However, there is a filter design that allows you to avoid adventures with independent “jewelry” cleaning, and with sending it to the service.

No, it's not about combining the twothe above types of filters. It's about their replacement. It is clear that the first filters can be changed. However, for this you have to follow on AliExpress. When buying TWS, you want to have them (filters) in the kit right away and preferably without having to look for some special glue in the shops.

The picture above shows the included wired headphone filters that simply screw into the case while still being water resistant.

However, this solution is too costly.If you think about it, the manufacturer is not so worried about the short service life of the device that it does not even care about realizing the possibility of replacing the battery. And here suddenly it is also necessary to make replaceable filters. The most elegant problem is solved in the Galaxy Buds Pro headphones.

Here, the grids that cut off sulfur are made by onewhole with ear pads. Easy to remove, easy to rinse, and you don't even need to pick up a needle to remove the filter. AirPods Pro, by the way, also seem to have such a design.

This is what I'm all about.The problem with the battery raised in Konstantin's material is certainly more important. The physical obsolescence of a device is a pain. Getting used to something, it is sometimes difficult to adapt to new solutions, especially when there is no alternative. Often because of the banal reluctance to spend time learning or setting up. However, the situation with filter contamination is far from being so obvious. You can regularly wash blockages from them by rubbing a dense layer between the fibers of the “insulator” of the sound produced by your own ear. And then because of this small problem, we can easily send a working device to a landfill. Moreover, manufacturers nowhere indicate that such a situation generally takes place.

Here's what I thought:But what if the question of cleaning the headphones is from the category of tricks for artificially slowing down old smartphones? After all, in reality, all cleaning instructions stem from the expanses of forums, and not at all from manufacturers, who, of course, are aware of all these problems. Why do you think they are not puzzled by the issue of supplying such trifles as replaceable filters, leaving it at the mercy of AliExpress?

Bold ideas, great inventions and successful products. Good luck!

Wireless Headphones: Spending You Didn't Sign Up For

Most wireless earbuds don't last more than a couple of years. Why aren't we reminded of this when expensive models are recommended?

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