Ear buds review: Etymotic hf3's
Etoymotic hf3 review:
No problem with full faced helmet for me. As good or better noise insulation as 3M orange foamies earplugs.
Using with iPhone 4S 64g downloaded cd's with apple lossless transfer.
If sound quality is important, far better than mc3's in etoymotic range. Same isolation but much better sq in all areas. I, regrettably, bought the cheaper mc3's and was unhappy. Mc3's also drained iphone battery quickly. Hf3's did not do this.
Compared to the mc3's, the hf3's are much more transparent, resolving and insightful.
Don't know the bit rate for Internet radio, but so far, sounds pretty good.
On highways or higher speeds (+100kmh), I cannot hear clearly unless higher volumes - which I am uncomfortable using due to risk of hearing damage. But for all else, the volumes I use are comfortable for an entire day.
The hf3 are not the last word in hi fidelity. The mid range is slightly less full and do not give the sense of all encompassing, spatial interpretation, and L R speaker disappearance, or top imaging qualities. But this may also be partly due to source, as I did not test with other than iphone.
The treble could use a little more detail and separation of instruments and sounds. The bass is very tuneful and is easily followed, giving nice rhythm, if again, slightly recessed. Much better than slow, blurry or indistinguishable, though.
Whatever these ear buds lack in ultra high fidelity (or my source), I'd imagine and expect to cost much more. For a $100 bucks or so, online (USA), they are a superb audio value and not just for motorcycling. For less, the mc3's are available but I wouldn't recommend if musical enjoyment is important.
The cabling does transmit some noise but with shirt clip, I found mostly to be a non issue. On bike, I was worried but I guess because there are so many and much other noises, it wasn't noticeable or bothering for me at all.
For some reason, the mic on hf3 much better than mc3. No complaints for those on other end of phones call, even in car (didn't try on bike). Everyone complained when using the mc3 in all environments (including quiet).
I was previously using helmet speakers and was great to have music on ride. But also wore ear plugs and required volume at or near distortion level. The musical enjoyment of the hf3's are in a different league.
Some might find ear buds on bike is dangerous but it's very individual. I personally find good tunes helps motivate me to do and look and watch for the little things. Things that gets boring looking out for but can be deadly. Ie. for deer. On long stretches, with limited side vis, it's easy to open it up and get the straight done with, but in certain situations, that's risky, preventable and not fun hitting deer at high speed in the middle of no fuck where. Or in traffic, only where and when it makes sense to stay in a spot with room and uncrowded - boring but infinitely safer.
For a little thing (iphone) that's fits in front pocket and with hf3's, to get this good of sound is astonishing, IMO.
Again, don't expect the nuances of audiophile hifi to suddenly come through on a smartphone with the hf3's. But it is easily enjoyable and good enough to not not want to listen. For 2 or 3x or more $, many earbud choices are available, but I find these good enough to not go there.