Earphones / Headphones: Where to try, what to buy?

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  • Personal guided walking tours?

  • I think that's a bit of tin foil hat thinking there....
    No way in hell a brand like Bose would force ads on users. They'd disappear within a year.

    It appears that they're trying to use it for gaming (pokemon go etc) & events / experiences:

    Walc - Using landmark-based directions and the power of Bose AR, instead of telling you to turn left in 0.3 miles, Walc might say, "Turn left at the McDonald’s."

    Komrad - An evil computer is intent on taking over the world. Wearing a Bose AR-enabled product, you’re a secret agent — and the only one who stands in its way.

    Audiojack - A story told without words and pictures, only sound — with the plot changing based on how you’re moving.

    Golfshot - Wear a Bose AR-enabled product to hear a virtual caddy guide you to your best round of golf on over 45,000 courses worldwide.

  • I think that's a bit of tin foil hat thinking there....


    I run a per-app DNS firewall on my phone... I can tell you that my Jabra earphones attempt to send analytics remotely, that there's a call out to Baidu (China), and they attempt to send such data at fairly regular intervals. I also see that my Bose QC35s do this.

    So headphones sending listening analytics, location data, and other things to third parties is already provably happening.

    The only question is what they're going to do with it... and the Bose 700 is the first to basically say that this data will be used to do "something", without defining what.

  • It appears that they're trying to use it for gaming (pokemon go etc) & events / experiences

    Actually you confirmed what I was saying anyway :)

    Content experiences only have two revenue models: paid and/or advertising.

  • I assume neither give you opt out abilities for sharing this data? If not, that's a GDPR breach for PII privacy and data sharing outside the EEA.

    Definitely also an android issue. iOS, for all its faults, is a lot more restrictive around its data sharing and app call homes.

    Wouldn't be surprised if someone like Ogury have root access buried in the Ts&Cs of the bose / jabra apps or other apps you have and they're the party collecting the data.

    Bose definitely aren't selling the data openly, they're not on dv360 as a data partner for example. Assume it's via a 3rd party data broker like Ogury if at all.

  • It's been proven before that apps on iOS do much the same as apps on Android. iOS just doesn't provide a way for you to see this :shrug.

    But yeah... I like the look of the Bose 700s, and may buy a pair. But if I do I will want them to be fully functional without installing the Bose app.

  • I run a per-app DNS firewall on my phone

    Which app is that? I use blokada which does the job but doesn't provide much in the way of logging.

  • What was the outcome of that 2017 lawsuit against Bose where they had already been collecting user data via the app?

  • Cheers. Will have to decide whether I want to pay for that functionality. Is there an option on there to filter via hosts files, I couldn't really see any options for that.

  • Filtering via hosts file requires root, and the author of NetGuard used to approach it that way. But if you don't have root then the VPN route is all that's available. NetGuard uses internal tools to determine which app is the sender of network traffic, and that is what allows for the per app restriction and logging, but this is quite advanced in terms of a VPN app. To be frank, it's not actually a VPN, that is just the only way to modify DNS without rooting a phone.

  • Yes, sorry I wasn't clear. That's the way Blokada works but it lets you choose which hosts file to filter on whereas I couldn't see that kind of option on Netguard.

  • so I picked up a pair of Acoustic Research AR-E10's for dirt cheap, since AR have basically stopped doing headphones it seems. Really liking them, but has anyone played with 4.4mm TRRRS balanced connectors ? I see that there's the FiiO Q5 which will have them, but was wondering if there's no cheap USB c->4.4mm cable.

    For now just using the BT AptX cables which work really well with the Pixel 3XL (sounds better than the 2018 MBP dac via cabled)

  • I had a try of the Bose sunglasses in Best Buy yesterday. They look a bit plasticky but the sound quality from them was surprisingly good. Much better than the Trekz bone conduction headphones I have.

  • Anyone got or tried the AKG N60 NC. They look perfect for what I need them for - smaller, more portable and cheaper than sony / bose. Reviews are good but they seem a bit difficult to get a hold of. There's quite a few going cheap on e-bay so either TK Maxx got a drop, they're fakes (is that likely, they seem a bit niche) or someone just went bust.

    Wondering whether to take a punt on them as I have a longish flight coming up soon.

  • Or a set of 2nd hand bose QCs off ebay for a bit over 100 quid? My main issue with the bose is that they look so bad - I know that doesn't effect NC performance.

  • I'm with you, Bose look janky AF

  • I'd say out of all the ones I've tried the Bose have the best noise cancelling for flights.

  • Whats the best sub £30 headphones, must be;

    gym friendly

  • Can someone recomend some budget wireless over ear headphones. Will be listening to music and podcasts round the house mostly.

  • Got a 2.5mm balanced cable for my Westone W40's. Wowza. Quelle surprise. Am always very skeptical about cables and the myths that come with them, but for $20, it's great. If you've got a balanced output on any of your devices and aren't using it, use it. For me, the already good stereo seperation is now even more separate and it's opened up the already huge soundstage and it sounds more 3D, rather than just wide. Other than that, everything also sounds a bit less muddled. No instruments get in the way of one another anymore.

  • I’d love to know how an objectively worse design improves separation and the soundstage in headphones (I’m assuming the equipment wasn’t deliberately nobbled when using a standard cable).
    Not to be rude but are you sure it’s not just slightly louder?

  • In what way is a balanced cable design objectively worse?

    I am sure :-)

  • Also interested as to why headphones is in italic?

  • There is no issue with outside noise/interference to be solved (the point of balanced cabling) and you double the thd and noise floor with the extra amp per channel.
    You need 4x the power for the same volume and you might run into issues with the amp driving too low an impedance.

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Earphones / Headphones: Where to try, what to buy?

Posted by Avatar for will @will