Posted March 3, 2005
After I wrote about the iPod Sock Set a couple of weeks ago, I got a bunch of emails asking if I could suggest an upgrade from the standard iPod earbuds—because, in the words of one reader, “those damn things are always falling out of my ears.” So I went all the way to Japan to find the best replacement pair. Well, actually, I didn’t—but Audiocubes did. The future-is-now web retailer imports hi-fi gear from Japan way before it’s available in the U.S., and their current best-selling product is the Sony EX81SL. This elegantly designed earphone set combines the sonic intimacy of “in-ear” design (just like earbuds) with a soft, rubbery-plastic half-loop that you slip over your outer ear, so you can tug on the cords and the things still won’t come loose. The EX81SL set comes with three different sizes (small, medium, and large) of the soft grey bud parts that you stick in your ears, ensuring a snug, personalized fit that blocks out extraneous noise and deepens the bass response. (Good thing everything about this product is self-explanatory, because the packaging is entirely in Japanese.) Overall, the sound quality is superb, and you can get them in black or—of course—iPod white.
$57 at audiocubes.com.