There are many many personal audio products available today; the most popular being mp3 players and portable gaming devices. The problem that many of them have are the incredibly cheap and uncomfortable earbuds that come with them. You’ve just shelled out a few hundred dollars for the latest gadget, and you still have to spend more money on earbuds that don’t fall out, or don’t hurt your ear canal.
We’ve reviewed several in-ear headphones that have much better grip and stay secure, like the SteelSeries Siberia in-ear headset (reviewed here). Earbuds like these come with several customized silicone ear grips, which is what actually keeps them snug. I remember thinking that someone should come up with an ear grip for standard earbuds…
Someone did. Acoustibuds are add-on silicone adapters that can be slipped over generic earbuds. Not only does it prevent your earbuds from slipping out, but it makes them more comfortable, too. Regular earbuds are “one size fits all” and remain snug by pushing your ear’s cartlidge around hard plastic. After a while, your ears start to hurt. With Acoustibuds, the hard plastic is out of your ear, and replaced with a soft, rubbery silicone canal with fins.
The box is very simple and contains two “size 5” and two “size 6” Acoustibud adapters, each in their own clear plastic baggy, along with a slip of paper that shows how to install them. Acoustibuds come in either black or white colors, and we received a black sample.
Installing the Acoustibuds are very easy. All you have to do is slip them over the top of regular earbuds, like pulling on a sock. Acoustibuds are slightly slippery, and can be repositioned around the earbud until you the canal has the proper orientation for your ears. The Acoustibuds stayed tightly on the earphones, and never needed repositioning even after several workouts.
WIth Acoustibuds on, you can now wear your earbuds in different ways. You can wear them with the wires hanging directly down from your ears, or you can orient your buds so the wire can wrap around the back of your ear. I find the second method helps prevent accidental evacuation through tugging.
Acoustibuds claim that they actually improve clarity. I’ve tested many, many different brands of headphones and earbuds, and these were tested on the earbuds that come standard with iPods… they do an ok job but do not excel in the midrange or bass department. With Acoustibuds on, the iPod earbuds have exactly the same clarity as they had before, but now they have additional passive noise reduction. My wife says that she can hear herself chewing gum while wearing them.
If you want to get the most out of your existing earbuds, then the Acoustibuds slip-on ear adapter is highly recommended. In the comfort and anti-slip department, Acoustibuds absolutely work as advertised. They make regular earbuds much more comfortable, and prevent “premature evacuation”. In the audio department, they don’t really make crappy earbuds sound better, but they do add passive noise reduction, which can make your music more enjoyable.