Saturday, August 8, 2009

Skull Candy Ink’d Earphones Review

Do You Ride with Ear Plugs or Earphones?

Being a music aficionado with extremely eclectic tastes, just a few months after getting my bike I wanted to be able to enjoy listening to music when I rode on my daily commute. I had acquired an Apple IPod Nano a short time back which I had won in a contest at work and did not use very much. I had filled up the Nano’s four Gigs with great music including Oldies, Classic Country, Classic Rock, Contemporary Country, Blues, Disco and, Jazz genres. I still have a hard time keeping just my top favorites on the Nano’s limited storage space, there are still other music and genres I would like to include.

One of the things I did not like about the IPods was those uncomfortable ear buds that came with them. They are large, bulky and extremely uncomfortable. Since I ride with a half helmet I decided to look for some comfortable earphones so I could listen to music during my work motorcycle commute. I had heard of earphones with active noise cancelling and since I have Cobra exhaust I figured that feature would be helpful. I found some at Wal-Mart and they did have active noise canceling that required a double A battery to power.

I rode with them on to work and home one time before I donated them to one of my teenaged sons. It was not that they did not work; it’s that they worked way too well. I cannot even remember what brand they were. The problem I had with them was that I could not hear anything. I couldn’t hear my exhaust nor could I hear the sound of the vehicles on the freeway coming up along side me. My motorcycle, a V-Star 1100 Classic does not come with a tachometer and without the sound reference I could hardly tell when to shift.

Part of the problem was at the time I was a fairly new rider. Not being able to hear the traffic around me really scared the beJesus out of me. It almost scared me as bad as the time on the way home late in the day on a two lane freeway. A vehicle passed me on the left lane and its shadow followed it on my right. I happened to be passing an onramp on my right at the time. I about jumped off the bike catching the shadow to the right in the onramp lane in my peripheral vision, overtaking me.

It’s been a year and a half now and I decided to try again with non noise cancelling ear buds. I guess you figured out I live close to a Wal-Mart now. I picked up a pair of Skull Candy Ink’d Earphones. Here is the description with specs from their website:

Ink adds permanence. It forces the visual representation of an idea, concept, ideal or experience, and tangibly commemorates it. Like a tattoo, graffiti, or stretch marks. Until you're really ready to commit, go with the INK'D ear buds. Big sound, little price, no visible scarring.
Speaker Diameter: 11mm
Magnet Type:
Frequency range: 20 -20K Hz
Impedance: 16 ohms
Max Input Power: 100mw
Cable Length: 1.3m
Plug Type: 3.5mm Gold Plated

Accessories: 3 Silicon Gel Sizes

They came with three gel ear bud sizes and the middle size worked perfectly for me. I had started off with the larger size but they kept the body of the speaker housing out too far. This distorted (lessened) the sound and made the wind rush around them louder. The gel part makes cleaning the Ink’d earphones easy enough. Just hold the gel ear cup upside down, slightly squeeze and shake. I cannot believe I’m writing about earwax.

Sound quality is not too bad for MP3 files playing through small earphones. I did have to turn on the IPod’s bass boost setting, found in the EQ section. This helped with the trebly tinny sound inherent in small speakers. Then I dialed in the sound level to the desired comfortable level. I have the level set to where I can enjoy the music and still barely hear the traffic and Mistresses Mighty V-Twin purr.

I am fairly sure I would not want to ride a motorcycle with all the sound blocked out by ear plugs. I feel you need to use all your senses when guiding a metallic rolling horse down the rode. Skull Candy did a real good job with these Ink’d earphones. They are small and compact, extremely comfortable, size adjustable, and sound good. On top of all of that, they come in numerous colors and are inexpensive on the pocketbook. Torch gives the Skull Candy Ink’d Earphones a M.M.M. rating of 8.

Ride on,

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