Earphones and more!

The standard earphones that come with the iPod are in a word lousy. They don’t seat properly in the ear canal and so you have to basically crank the volume up just to hear whatever it is you’re listening to. And my earphones were pretty beat up, the little rubber pieces on the phones themselves and the sleeve on the plug disintegrated.

I had seen Shure E2C’s at Staples of all places but when I went in recently there were none to be found. There were Sony and JVC units around the same price point but to be honest they looked cheap.

Then I looked at the bubble packed Philips SHN2500’s. This employs active and passive elements. There are gasketed earphones with different sized gaskets so the phones fit snugly in the ear canal. Then it uses active noise suppression. This is particularly good for getting rid of the noise of fans that run constantly, cars on the road, bus noise, etc. It does so by sampling outside noise and then emitting that same noise except inverted or phased about 180 degrees from normal. The effect is to cancel out the noise.

I have to say since using it I’ve cut the volume on the iPod down to half or less what it was. Same is true when I use them with my PC. The system volume is down on it’s first notch yet audio quality and level is perfect. The bass response is awesome too.

The best part of it all is that the earphones and noise canceler only cost me $29 plus tax. With the difference from the Sony ($99) and JVC($79) I ordered some electronics parts for projects I want to do.

1 x Breadboard Small Self-Adhesive (SKU#: PRT-00137)
1 x LED Matrix – Dual Color – Medium (SKU#: COM-00682)
1 x Arduino USB Board (SKU#: DEV-00666)
1 x RF Link – 2400bps – 434MHz (SKU#: WRL-00872)

The most intriguing part is the Arduino USB (Decimilia). It’s an open source hardware platform and programmable in a C like language that is fairly simple to grasp.

The RF link – that’s for another part of the same project.

Got it all from Sparkfun Electronics. I like how the company started, they needed some PC boards made and that sent them on a quest to find a good PC board manufacturer which led to them doing tutorials and stocking parts for kits, etc.

The tutorials are very good. They even link the kits for the tutorial at the beginning of the article. And the topics cover everything from basic soldering to more complex things like embedded processors, etc.

{Updated 11/23/2007}
I got the parts in today. I’m just learning how to play with the Arduino board. And I found my 16F88 PIC too. So now I have three microcontrollers. Fun!

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