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After writing my review the other day which I have only just put up, I actually managed to wash my headphones in the washing machine - after stating their importance when using the iPod Shuffle. I brought this headphone adapter from Amazon after hearing from my Mums partner that they were excellent (his son has a shuffle too).
On Amazon the headphones price varies, I managed to get mine from someone selling them for only £7, but from new they are a little bit more if you're willing to pay the price. The adapter is also available from gadget stores such as curry's and comet, also eBay.
The adapter is basically giving you the controls you get with Apple headphones, but without the ear bits. The idea is that it connects to your iPod and your headphones, giving you the ability to change volume, song, play and pause. I like that the company cleverly caught onto the fact that Apple had no adapters for the iPod shuffle if their own headphones broke - they only give you a new expensive pair of standard headphones! Belkin did well to jump in the iPod bandwagon to make these.
As you can see from the image, the adapter has a headphone end to put into your iPod and an end to put headphones into. In the middle there is a 3 button control which has a plus sign and minus sign on each of the end buttons. They are for controlling the volume of the music. The middle button is grey and if held down reads your playlists, or it can be clicked once to pause/play or clicked twice to skip song. The controls are exactly the same as with the Apple headphones so you don't need to get used to any new ways of controlling your music.
The sound quality is not affected by the adapter at all which I kind of thought it may be. The quality is only affected by the new headphones that you choose to plug into the iPod. I have used the headphones plugged into my computer without the adapter and there was no difference, but they are only cheap headphones due to the price of the adapter!
I only received them yesterday and used them on the bus to and from college, so I cannot really comment on their use long term but I am sure they will last a long time as it is such a well known brand. It may seem like a pointless purchase but when you love music as much as I do, it is a good investment if you cannot afford Apple's ridiculous prices.
-- The 'picture rating' below I have rated at poor because it wouldn't let me not rate. There is no pictures involved --
I purchased my Belkin adaptor for my ipod shuffle from amazon, after the apple headphones with the built in remote broke and I purchased some new headphones without remote controls.
The product is reasonably priced at around £10-£15 depending on where it is purchased from.
The adaptor itself is basically just a small wire with a line of 3 buttons, the same as on apple headphones, that plugs into the ipod shuffle (or other ipod) and allows other headphones to be used with the shuffle and still have a functioning control. This is great as I'm not really a fan of apples headphones and so I can use the headphones I like, with my ipod and still control what I'm listening to.
As I previously said, there are 3 buttons on the adaptor. A centre button, and 2 volume buttons. The volume buttons do exactly as you would expect; increase and decrease the playback volume. However the centre button has different functions. If the centre button is held down, the voice over function is enabled and the title of the song and artist is read to you. If it is continued to be held down this accesses the playlists available, and a further press of the button selects the playlist.
If the button is only pressed once, the song will pause/play.
Two clicks of the button moves to the next song.
Three clicks of the button moves to the previous song.
It takes a short while to get used to the controls, but it soon becomes second nature to operate. The fact that the controls are the same as the original apple controls makes it very easy to use in the first place.
The sound quality cannot be faltered, obviously depending on the quality of headphones that are plugged into it the sound quality will differ, but using the same headphones with and without the adaptor didn't seem to make any difference in quality of sound.
The only problem with this adaptor is the construction. I constantly used it for a few months and soon noticed the buttons start to stick a little and not operate as smoothly as they once had. After a short while the wires started to show and now the control can be prone to falling apart. I have yet to get a replacement to see if this happens with most of them but mine was certainly not of rugged construction.
All in all this would be a really good piece of kit for ipod shuffle owners, if the construction was better.