Earbud Education – Skullcandy vs. iPod

Several weeks ago I asked for a recommendation on which earbuds were best for running, since my iPod earbuds had completely worn out. I got multiple recommendations for Skullcandy earbuds, which I got, and which I liked…at first. But after using them for the past month or two I’ve run (no pun intended) into some problems with them. It isn’t anything to do with the brand, as I suspect many earbuds out there have the same issues, but rather the specific product design. The diagram should help me explain:

skullcandy_vs_ipod_earbudsProblem #1. The Skullcandy earbuds kept falling out. Granted, the iPod earbuds weren’t perfect either, but I got along with them for two years without getting so frustrated that it wasn’t manageable. But the Skullcandy earbuds have required constant adjusting. Part of the reason for this is that the cord is a lot longer, and therefore heavier, than the iPod earbud cord. The long cord also tends to get hooked on my bike, since a loop of it dangles from under my jacket or shirt, and if I stand up on the pedals it will get caught on something and then when I sit down again one or both earbuds will get violently jerked out of my ears.

The second part of the problem is, I believe, the larger space between the stem of the earbud and the side of your ear, as shown by the red arrows on the Skullcandy earbud. No such space exists on the iPod earbuds, and this means there’s less wiggling around since the earbud is stabilized somewhat by the stem hugging your ear. In the case of the Skullcandy earbud all stabilization is based on the rubber pad of the earbud that is stuck in your ear canal, so if you have a little wax in there or the pads are the wrong size then the movement of the cord can quickly and easily destabilize the earbud and out it comes.

However, I have solved this first problem for the most part. I took two of the earbud “pads” or “covers” or whatever they’re called from my H2O Audio waterproof iPod case earphones, which are heavier-duty and really big, and put those on the Skullcandy earbuds. Now those things are stuck in my ears and I could probably lift a small child with the cord and they wouldn’t come out even if I haven’t cleaned the wax out of my ears in two months.

Problem #2. The second problem is represented by the gray arrows, and unfortunately this one can’t be fixed except by buying a different pair of earbuds. The issue is that because the earbuds stick so far out of your ear (represented by the dotted gray line) they don’t work well if you’re wearing anything on your head that covers your ears. I didn’t become aware of this problem until the weather started getting cooler, and as I started wearing beanies and skullcaps I started knocking out the earbuds putting the headwear on, or once on, the headwear would push the earbuds uncomfortably deep into my ear canals. In addition, during use if the headwear moved at all it would move the earbuds which would require me to adjust them to make them comfortable again. While using any sort of head-covering headwear with these earbuds I feel as though I’ve got the big things sticking out of my ears, whereas I never noticed any such thing with the iPod earbuds because they have a much lower profile outside your ear.

Well, at least the Skullcandy earbuds were only $10, so it’s not like this was an expensive lesson to learn.

Solution. So I’m on the search for new earbuds once again. I do like the in-ear earbuds. They are much more stable than the iPod earbuds. But I need in-ear earbuds that are much lower profile on the outside. Once again, I’m open to any recommendations.

  • Darrell Burns

    Still like the philips surround sound earphones. They are low profile, fit well, don’t fall out, and they sound great. They are a little more expensive ($20), but it’s worth it.

  • http://bob.com bob

    how about the kind that go around your ears into your ear canal?

  • http://www.familyfanclub.net Paul

    If you find something you recommend let me know (or post), I’m looking for something new too. I’ve been using Bose ear buds and they’re ok. They also have a long cord, fall out a lot and are $99. They’re now falling a part, looking for better value.

  • http://todobefore30bostonironmanandbeyond.blogspot.com/ Lance uppercutt

    You should try Nike Flights. I’ve been using them for about 3 years now and they are great. They will feel loose at first but they will not fall out. Give them a chance

  • katie

    if you go to any audiologist they can make you custom ear phones. They’ll cost you, but its well worth it and i’m so glad i spent the money. they fit perfectly to my ear and i never adjust them

  • Mike

    You should check out http://www.yurbuds.com
    They are custom fit earbud enhancers that work with the Apple headphones as well as others to make sure that your earbuds never fall out. I wear them and they are awesome. I hardly even know that I’m wearing earbuds when I’m running and they sound great. Plus they are only 20$

  • Joshua

    Those look interesting. They should send me a pair so I can try them out and review them here on the blog (hint, hint).

  • Mike

    It’s worth a shot contacting them to see if they will send you a pair.

  • Joel

    Old post I know but if you are still on the lookout for ear phones pick up a pair of sony over the ear buds. MDR-J10 is the model number they are only around $15 and work pretty well. They are not sweat proof and will need to be replaced about once a year but for the price you can’t beat em.

  • http://none dillon

    prolly cause your an idiot. ipod headphones are garbage. the worst you can possibly get. skullcandy actually have a form of decent audioquality. they didnt work for you cause your too afraid to stick it deep in there!