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View Full Version : Is Bluetooth technology practical for listening to music or other media, at least an hour every day?


Spectre of Pithecanthropus
04-20-2011, 12:49 AM
As I believe I've mentioned, I've had a smart phone for some time now. Not being an avid telephone conversationalist I would say that I use it far more for listening to audio content, either streamed, or downloaded, or ripped from CDs.

When it comes to ear buds I had always imagined that they were called that because of a vague physical resemblance to a young flower just ready to burst into bloom. How wrong I was! A month or two after getting my first pair, I learned that they are called "ear buds" because they are about a sturdy as a clover blossom. Or maybe one of those dandelion things that you blow on and send the little seed pods scattering in the wind. Yes, I know that the technology requires each side to have a copper wire that is, I suppose, a couple of Angstroms thick, but couldn't they at least try to make the sheathing stronger? No, I suppose not.

For some reason, it's always when I'm walking home that a pair of earbuds fails. I use them on the way out, and they're fine. I stop listening whenever I get to where I'm going and start doing whatever it is I was planning to do. Then, heading homeward, I plant them back in my ears and start up my media stream, and I discover that it's happened yet again: the sound now comes out of one side only. Great. Almost all of my music collection is now unlistenable. And while I do listen to NPR, and German radio a lot, it becomes physically painful if I try to listen to it on one side only...not to mention that all of the musical fillers between segments sound lousy.

So, I'm thinking maybe I should pop for a bluetooth stereo headset. This would eliminate the continual problem of the wires failing in regular ear buds. Even better, it would obviate the need for the headset adapter which this model phone requires, and which itself fails after six months or and has to be .replaced. On the downside, however, a Bluetooth means--another battery, one that I would be charging up and running down, probably, every single day. Can the type of battery used in such a headset stand up to such heavy use? Up to now I've only used Bluetooths for short conversations, otherwise having it on standby. Just the fact that any Bluetooth probably has a blue LED, sucking power from the battery whenever it's in use, makes me uneasy.

SeaDragonTattoo
04-20-2011, 01:22 AM
If you're only using them an hour a day, I use these Motorola S7HD's (http://reviews.cnet.com/headsets/motorola-rokr-s7-hd/4505-13831_7-33664949.html), see the cnet review that's not great, but I love these. (I have a review in there) I bought them from Amazon and it looks like they're not available any more.

New models are coming out all the time, though, and I may even go back into the market for another style. I can't wear earbuds. They hurt my ears and fall out, so I wanted to find an over-the-ear model. I've had these for a couple of years.

You'll want to research what you prefer in style, over-the-head, behind-the-head, and earbud styles are all out there. Length of battery life pretty much in that order, too. I get 8-10 hours out of mine, though, with weeks of standby, so I'm sure newer sets have better battery life.

You will probably only need to charge yours once a week to 10 days if you only use them an hour a day.

dzero
04-20-2011, 01:39 AM
Here is what they have in stereo bluetooth headsets at Newegg

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&IsNodeId=1&Description=bluetooth%20headset&bop=And&SrchInDesc=stereo&Page=1&PageSize=20

Check the ratings and the comments to get a feel for how they perform, battery life, etc.

I think it's a smart move as long as you don't want or need audiophile cans. Things like Grados are going to be hardwired.

Reply
04-20-2011, 04:34 AM
I think you're confusing "wireless" with "high quality". They are not the same and there are cheap, crappy Bluetooth headphones the same way there are cheap earbuds. Bluetooth is no guarantee of durability.

Why don't you just get some nicer-quality headphones (wired or wireless), preferably backed up by a good warranty or something like Costco's return policy?

ETA: To answer your question directly, yes, there are stereo Bluetooth headphones designed for music and many phones these days support that, but check to be sure. The battery life will probably be fine at an hour a day, though you will be draining your phone battery more than a wired headphone will. Higher-quality Bluetooth units probably use lithium-ion batteries that will last two or three years before needing replacement; others may take standard AA/AAA batteries, in which case you should opt for high-quality rechargeable NiMh batteries like eneloops.

aruvqan
04-20-2011, 04:50 AM
My first smartphone [motorola Q music 9M (http://www.techshout.com/mobile-phones/2007/23/motorola-moto-q-music-9m-smartphone-launched-by-verizon/)] came with one of the wrap around the back of the head bluetooth headsets that was geared to either listen to music or function as a bluetooth for chatting on the phone.

I never bothered with the fucking thing because firstly, when you wear glasses, the back of the head headsets pinch my ears purgatorially, and secondly I detest blutetooth because all the boops and beeps are counterintuitive to me at least, and trying to remember which point you squeeze for which boop and beep to either listen to music or chat on the phone sucked ass. I do not want a device with a learning curve like a cliff. I should not have to keep the instruction guide open to the boopbeep section to tell me what my damned headset is trying to tell me.

caveman
04-20-2011, 10:04 AM
I enjoy my Plantronics P590 bluetooth headphones on a daily basis. They sound good, pair up easily, and you can even answer and talk on your phone through them. My only complaint is that if I had designed them, the next track/last track and volume buttons would trade positions.

Fear Itself
04-20-2011, 12:10 PM
I use my Plantronics Backbeat 903+ (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00428N9OK/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B001TK3ACA&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0RBKF1AYK0J8228YQNQA) headset for music at least an hour a day, and I think it works great. I'm no audiophile though, so the relative sound quality versus expensive headphones is lost on me.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
04-20-2011, 03:06 PM
I think you're confusing "wireless" with "high quality". They are not the same and there are cheap, crappy Bluetooth headphones the same way there are cheap earbuds. Bluetooth is no guarantee of durability.


Not at all. I'm looking at it as a way to avoid the inevitable failure which, I believe, is almost entirely attributable to the flimsy wires, particularly where they are attached to the input jack, and to the buds themselves. Every time you handle the ear buds, or turn your head while wearing them, it's another increment of stress at the weak points.



Why don't you just get some nicer-quality headphones (wired or wireless), preferably backed up by a good warranty or something like Costco's return policy?


Headphones are fine while I'm out walking, and I'll probably switch to a pair I already have for that purpose. But I also like to listen while lying in bed, and headphones don't work so great there.


ETA: To answer your question directly, yes, there are stereo Bluetooth headphones designed for music and many phones these days support that, but check to be sure. The battery life will probably be fine at an hour a day, though you will be draining your phone battery more than a wired headphone will.

I don't want to stress the battery any more than I already do, so maybe the best option for me is just to stick with the ear buds. I think this time I'll say yes to the free replacement warranty. They offered it to me the last time, but I declined.

Projammer
04-20-2011, 03:42 PM
I'm not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination, but I love my Motorola S9 (http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-MOTOROKR-Bluetooth-Headphones-Packaging/dp/B000NKCO5Q) headset.

Necros
04-20-2011, 03:57 PM
I'm not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination, but I love my Motorola S9 (http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-MOTOROKR-Bluetooth-Headphones-Packaging/dp/B000NKCO5Q) headset.
The only caveat to that is to NEVER work out with them. I destroyed two sets just by using them while exercising. Sweat eats 'em up.

rogerbox
04-20-2011, 05:17 PM
Yes, I know that the technology requires each side to have a copper wire that is, I suppose, a couple of Angstroms thick, but couldn't they at least try to make the sheathing stronger? No, I suppose not.

Nothing about the technology requires the wires to be so thin, it's there for cheapness and so that they will break. Quality headsets have thick wires.

cochrane
04-20-2011, 05:26 PM
I have a set of these: Jabra BT8010 clip on wireless headset (http://www.amazon.com/Jabra-BT8010-clip--wireless-Bluetooth/dp/B000PIT02Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303337165&sr=8-1) from Amazon. It's a device that has two symmetrical earpieces which are connected by a cord that goes behind your head. They're quite clear and reach a good volume. Especially when I'm playing Twisted Sister on them. They have an adjustable volume wheel on the right earpiece, so it's easy to adjust the volume without having to fiddle with up and down buttons. They're really pricy though, at $80. I was lucky to find them on sale for $29.99, but that was a couple of years ago. I've had them for this long without any problems cropping up. And of course, you can use the phone if a call comes in while you're listening to music, and the left earpiece separates from the right if you just want to use the right piece like a normal phone earpiece.

Reviews of this device are overwhelmingly positive, by the way, with over 70% being four or five stars.

typoink
04-20-2011, 05:38 PM
Speaking broadly about BT technology, it's practical. There's an audio downgrade involved, but it's not massive, and streaming audio is already compromised so I'm going to assume you're not quality obsessive. I'd liken it to "good FM" rather than CD quality, but that's fine if you just want some music.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
04-20-2011, 09:43 PM
I ended up getting a new pair of buds today, this time accepting the replacement warranty for a few bucks extra. That should solve the problem of ear bud failure, and not being an audiophile basic buds are fine for me as long as they're the kind that you push into the ear canal, where they'll stay put.

rogerbox
04-20-2011, 11:21 PM
You're lucky, I have never, ever, ever had a pair of earbuds that would stay put in my ear. My ear feels "shallow" or something, if I move my head even an inch, every pair of earbuds pop out.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
04-21-2011, 01:23 AM
You're lucky, I have never, ever, ever had a pair of earbuds that would stay put in my ear. My ear feels "shallow" or something, if I move my head even an inch, every pair of earbuds pop out.

If you mean the kind that are shaped like tiny speaker cones and are supposed to go in broad-end first, those never stay in my ears either. They always fall out and settle in the little recessed area of my ears directly below the actual entrances of the ear canals. I could never figure out how you're supposed to wear those.

The ones I use look more like this (http://s494.photobucket.com/albums/rr308/DeathB4D_Calf/?action=view&current=earbud.jpg). These stay in my ears, no problem.


And yes, that is a cat playing with the other bud. I don't normally let them do this, but this is the pair that died yesterday, so I'm allowing it. :)