Sunday, January 15, 2012

RJ Review: One Good Earbud

Like a lot runners who sometimes take iPods out on their long runs, I like to keep one of my ears bud-free so I can keep some semblance of alertness to my surroundings.  The problem with this is that some music - and even podcasts - are recorded in stereo, some heavily so.

This led to one of the more vivid memories I have of the 2009 Big Horn 100.  Coming out of the Footbridge aid station just before dawn, I began the steep and sloppy grunt up to Bear Camp - around mile 68.  And what made it so memorable wasn't the shoe-sucking mud, the hands-on-knees steepness, or the breaking dawn of my first 100 - it was the stereo-recorded Beatles' Back in the USSR playing irritatingly without any vocals in the one ear bud I had in my left ear.

Since then, I've kept an eye out for a way to shunt two stereo channels into one bud. Surprisingly, there's no "mono" setting on iPod audio output (at least not on my old school Nano), but I came across a more mechanical fix when I read an article on One Good Earbud.

One Good Earbud is a single, one-ear bud that mixes the stereo output into one channel.  They cost about $20, and the sound quality is as good as any other at that price point.  Like a lot of ear buds these days, they suffer from a bit of cord noise when it rubs or knocks against things, but it's no worse than any others.  The real bonus - apart from the stereo-to-mono conversion - is the simplicity of the single cord. No more trying to find a secure, un-irritating place for that unused ear bud.

No.  One Good Earbud won't likely be an indispensable part of your ultra gear, but in my book they're a nice addition, and the next time I find myself with waning energy in the last third of a 100 miler, I'll have to focus on an irritant other than than poorly mixed music.


Unknown said...

Hank, love your blog! Very clean design and incredible photos you have. Keep on truckin'.

Hank Dart said...

@Cole. Thanks a lot. Will do.