Asymmetrical headphone cords. Blaaargh!

My favorite workout headphones, a 10 year old water resistant Sony sports model, bit the dust. Well the left ear did, anyway, and I’m calling it game over.

I’ve picked up two pair of highly rated sport headphones to see which I’d like better. Both have asymmetrical cords. In other words, they are designed so the weight of the cord is concentrated on your left ear, putting it in danger of being torn off of your head, while the overly long right cord flops maddeningly against the back of your neck. Any ipod or MP3 player can only be worn left of your line of bilateral symmetry, but I like to switch it up after a few miles.


I can’t blame the reviewers on ilounge or Amazon. They tend to be trogs barely able to bang out a sentence or two on their keyboards. And they don’t owe me a review that contains full disclosure of the cord situation. By why can’t the packaging be clear on this? If a pair of headphones has an asymmetrical cord, it should be clearly labeled: “Danger! Lop-sided cord inside. Wearer my experience psychotic rage.”

I mean… really. I have the Sony EX81 package right in front of me, so don’t tell me I missed it. They are “ultra secure”, have “premium sound”, “superior bass”, and are “comfort fit”. They are “bud style” and include a “supers small 9mm driver” and a “compact case”. No mention of ludicrously uneven cords.

I’m going for a run now. I’ll be the one with no left ear looping lazily to the left.

Get a pair like this:

Get a little clip to clip the main cable to your collar, and throw the longer right-hand cord over your head so it sits behind your neck. Also, wear the cable underneath your shirt.

They look nice, but I don’t think they’ll work. Hell, even the Sonys, with their malevolent geometry, are comfortable until you get moving.

I should explain. I don’t walk or jog with my ipod. I run. I think it’s a bit more jarring, and probably longer distances than most people. I need something light; approximately 10 grams light. I just took my EX81s on a 10 mile run. I was wrong, by the way, they didn’t rip my left ear off. The just bent it over uncomfortably before slipping off entirely. I’ll need a larger, sturdier, left ear if I am to have any hope of liking this set of headphones.

I can honestly say that I’ve never noticed them, running or walking. They don’t bounce in the back, they pretty much are part of your head. True, that may not hold true for you, but in my experience, I really would say that you should give them a shot first.

I hear ya. Nothings screws up a good run more than jacked up ear-phones that either: Don’t stay in; aren’t loud enough; have a screwed up cord that hangs funny; have ear bud foam that constantly falls off; etc, etc. I tried a dozen or more models before I discovered my perfect set of earphones, made by Philips.

As a matter of fact, my current ones have finally worn out, after about a year, and I bought two more pair today at Targhét. $10 ea.

I wonder how wireless headphones would work?

Probably not what you have in mind

I don’t run, but when I ride my bike I use my shuffle and these headphones. They’re great because they’re retractable. I don’t think they’d be good for running though.

I like >10mi runs as well. I simply buy the cheapest crappy headphones that I can and wear the wire inside my shirt, as was mentioned by beast above. Right now I wear the Sony in-ear kind with the top strap. Sure, I could go for a fancy pair, but I sweat buckets, so after two miles they are going to be wet anyway.

The wire-down-the-shirt trick is excellent for other headphone activities such as mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and shoveling snow, where wires just get in the way.

One more tip: if you ever need hearing protection (e.g. mowing grass, weed whacker, edging, leaf blower), get a pair of the cheapest foam headphones you can, rip them from the headstrap, and stuff each headphone in the cavity in the hearing protectors.

My other running tip is to get a cell phone that plays mp3’s and stuff it in a pouch somewhere (I like a belt pouch). I take a 2GB card full of tunes with my Treo on a long run and I have lots of music, my wife can call me if need be, and I can call for help if I break an ankle five miles up the trail.

And bugger the earphones that absolutely must come with little plastic beads on them for holding the wires together, the kind that drag the ear pieces out of your ears or knock against your clothing/body and send that knocking noise up through the wires to your ears. Its cheaper to make them without this plastic crap, but for some reason companies insist :confused:

The Treo is a bit too heavy to be comfortable, isn’t it? A full size ipod is about as about as heavy as I’d want to get. I wear it in a neoprene belt pouch at the small of my back. I really don’t want to be reachable by phone anyway.

Moving thread from the Pit to MPSIMS.

I just bought a pair of 'phones a couple months ago because my old ones from 10 years ago also bit the dust.

Actually I bought THREE pair before I got to the ones I currently used. My ears are apparently “special” and earbuds just won’t fit, and my head is fat so over-the-head phones don’t stay on too well. I got a set that had clips around the earbuds, thinking they’d hold the buds in place, but they were defective. Then I got a pair like Scruloose got. My ears were too “dainty” for that (the clips did nothing but fall off). So I returned THOSE and got something like this that was neither earbuds nor had a traditional head strap.

And I was also introduced to this new phenomenon as described in the OP. I actually thought they were defective. Then I figured out that it’s just now mandatory for everyone to wear their listening device on the left side of their body. Sucks for the One Armed Man :frowning:

I agree that the best thing you can do, though, is to put the wire under your shirt. Only problem with that is when you are sticky sweaty and the wire catches on your skin and yanks the phones loose. Fun.

I presently use a pair of earbuds. (The ones that came with the iPod, 'til I can get a better pair) Although they’re bilaterally symmetrical, buds are notorious for being yanked out of the ears – or just falling out of their own accord if you sweat. So I took two steps to mitigate these problems.

First, I bought a set of iBuds. They’re soft silicone IEM-simulators in that they fit over the buds and their tips fit right in the ear canal. They came in 3 sizes and I found the largest to provide the best fit while remaining securely in the ear.

Then, to alleviate the majority of cord weight and reduce the chance of yanking them from my ears, I thread the cords around the back of my ears first, then bring them around and fit them in my ear from the front… That way the cord weight is supported by the top of your ear instead of the buds themselves. Additionally, the point at which the two cords join into one is closer to the chin, making it less likely you’ll yank it accidentally or catch it on something. It takes a bit of getting used to because the cords tend to brush against your cheeks and lower jaw more, but it’s a small price.

Between these two I’ve found the buds to have been rendered not only quite sturdy in that they stay in place even under abnormally vigorous movements, but also comfortable to the point of almost forgetting I’m wearing them.

YMMV of course, and you may want a better pair of buds than the mediocre Apple brand, but it’s food for thought.

I hear you! I have mini-ears so most earbuds don’t fit. My hubby got me some good ones that fit into my ear, but they have the goofy cord. I end up tucking the slack into my pony tail and using a clip to tie the other part to the inside of my shirt.

FWIW, I don’t jog, but listen to audio books when doing tasks around the house. I have had buds ripped from my ears all the time…very, very frustrating! The worst is loading the dishwasher and having it get stuck on a rack.

I ranted, I whined, I even said ‘fuck’. Why have you MPISMed me?

Not bad at all. I carry it in the same type of belt pouch you describe, but in the front. The Treo is not as huge as it seems: I always keep it in my front pants pocket when I am not running.

As far as not being reachable, that would have been cool at one time, but these days I would like to know if my family needs me for some emergency, especially since I am running much of the time that I am not at home or at work. Besides, I have called my wife before to come rescue me when I had a bathroom emergency set in at precisely the turnaround point of a 12mi run.

However you swing it, enjoy your running!


You know, all of this is easily solved. Yes, there are some stupid American brands of the behind-the-neck headphones where they don’t have proper ear stoppers, but the SE-N7 is part of your head. They don’t fall off, fall out, nor bounce. The cord is cloth rather than rubber so it is light and can be mashed up into your pocket. It’s overall the perfect item to wear to listen to music while being active.

Reported. Just think, you could’ve gotten a classy job, like spamming for Putin!

And to respond to our bluetooth headphone spammer, I don’t believe that BT headphones are compatible with long distance running. It’s one more thing to charge, one more thing to slide off my head drenched in sweat, and one more thing to pay for when it inevitably breaks.

In looking at the posts from 10 years ago and noticed 2 things: I was suggesting getting a phone like a Treo (how quaint!) that plays MP3s, and that was when I still could get basic Sony over-the-head headphones.
Nowadays the phone part is so much better, but Sony has stopped making the headphones I like and raised the price of the ones I find bearable to a stupid level (used to be $15 on Amazon, now $35-40).

For that money I decided to try Skull Candy ear buds. These are the first ear buds that seal my huge ear canals and don’t fall out while I am running and covered with sweat. I have run with them for fifty or sixty miles so far, so they seem good to me, but I can’t say anything for the long term quality.
I still run the wires under my shirt. That trick never fails me.

Moderator Note

This is an old thread that was bumped by a spammer who has since been disappeared.