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Commuting on manky South West trains to and from work for 5 days a week does start to wear you down just a tad over the years. Mornings aren't so bad as everyone is zombified and you can pretty much sleep yourself to work, but on the way home it becomes a noisy maelstrom of personal conversations from problems with angst ridden teenagers to somebody's grandfather's irritable bowel syndrome. Nice. So in my experience the only way to block this terror out and prevent falling into a homicidal rage is music, and being the considerate citizen that I am I do this through a personal MP3 player. However, combining the fact I am a destroyer of all things electrical with practically daily use I now have a little boneyard in my room of all my dearly departed headphones.
So in having this inability to care for my headphones I always opt to buy cheaply but out of desperation for my latest pair I ended up buying the "Ross HP4M-RS Luxury Earbud Headphones (White)" for £9.99 since they were the only ones I could find on my lunch break and the thought of not having music on the way home sent shivers up my spine. Seeing them for just £2.99 on Amazon has since irked me, but hey, that's what you get when you don't comparison shop. However, despite them being an impulse buy I am surprisingly happy with them. So what you get with these headphones is a 1.2m cable with a 3.5mm stereo jack making them suitable for MP3 players, iPods and other music dispensing devices and the best part of all some ear cushions on the earbuds. There is also the claim for a high velocity sound giving deep bass. Here are the technical details for those that are interested and/or have an actual understanding of what they mean:
98dB+/-3dB (at 1Khz)
60mW Max power input
So, how good are they? All of the headphones I've previously used were very basic and just played the music with no enhancements, so the extra bass sound these headphones provide was a little disconcerting at first, as I'm not a huge fan of bass. To me it just makes the sound a little bit muffled and distant so that took a bit of getting used to, but now to be honest I barely notice as I've grown accustomed and fiddled with the equaliser on my MP3 player so it's not a huge negative from that perspective. Apart from this, the quality of sound coming through feels very natural and not at all tinny which is a problem plaguing a lot of my previous headphones so this was a very pleasing element. I've also noticed that the hubbub of background noise is practically wiped out with these without having the volume switched up dangerously high making them absolutely perfect for train journeys as people don't annoy you and you don't annoy them. However, there is of course that danger of wearing them at times when you need to be alert such as walking by yourself late at night (apologies for the scaremongering but you don't want people sneaking up on you), or all the horrible incidents you hear about when people were obliviously crossing the road or over train tracks so something to be aware of.
The most major positive for me is the ear cushions that cover the earbuds and they really do make these the most comfortable inner-ear headphones I've ever worn. Normally with the rigid plastic ones after prolonged usage I start to feel the pinch and have to give my ears a bit of a rest to recover, but with this style, the cushions seem to just mould to the shape of your ear and don't cause even the slightest bit of discomfort. One of the other problems I suffer with headphones is constantly catching the cable and ripping the earbuds out of my ear which also quite often caused a few twinges of pain. With the length of the cord for these headphones being 1.2m this is still a major problem as despite years of hypnotherapy I still cannot lose my inherent klutziness and am often catching the cable on door knobs and other outcroppings, but when these earbuds come flying out at unnatural speeds there is no pain. Result. I'm convinced it is this constant abuse that ruins all my headphones, but so far so good, I've been using these headphones for many months now and despite weekly abuse, they appear to be very resilient and the sound quality as yet remains undiminished.
It looks like you can only buy these in white so from a fashion sense you are somewhat limited (I always prefer black, me) and the trouble with white is it always shows up the grime a bit more than other colours. However mine still look as sprightly as they day they were purchased so unless I've just been very lucky they are also pretty good at repelling the worst of dirt and finger marks. So, if you are lucky enough to buy these at £2.99 you are getting a seriously good bargain - they may be very basic but these headphones are incredibly comfortable, resilient, provide a highly natural sound, have a conveniently long cable of 1.2m allowing for great mobility away from such things as laptops, and are excellent at muffling out background noise. My only real negative is having a deep bass sound forced upon you as if this isn't to your taste you probably won't have a long lasting relationship with these headphones but otherwise absolutely no complaints.