My Koss R/200’s died a few weeks ago, the right hand cup broke off. So I’ve been without headphones at work for a while. Its sort of been ok as a failure to pay power bills (apparently we never have received a bill and no company would let us pay them, sounds a bit pathetic to me) in the second office caused me to move to the other office I just stayed there for a while with a small set of speakers.
As the air conditioning in that office isn’t working and the weather is heating up I needed to do something about the headphone situation. I’m too lazy to have gotten around to mailing my good head phones in for a replacement, so I needed to pick up something to tide me over to I do get them replaced.
The cheapest set of canal phones I could find were by JVC. Why the cheapest you ask? I was unsure if I was going to enjoy wearing canal phones so wasting $40 seamed better than the $200 I like to spend on audio gear.
And waste was what I did. These phones are crap. I’ve been wearing them solidly for the last 2 hours, and I haven’t found them to be uncomfortable, its just that these are bad canal phones.
The underlying principle of canal phones is that they form the closest possible perfect connection of your ears to a audio driver. They do this by sealing them selves to your ear canal leaving nowhere for sound to escape. Normal sealed headphones also do this, but they waste a lot of sound into themselves and your head. Canal phones are meant to be able to deliver all the sound into your ears.
Also this sealing is meant to give them excellent isolation: very little ambient sound/noise is meant to make it into your ears to disturb the music. Now isolation is a good and bad thing, it helps you hear the music that you want to hear, but stops you hearing the policeman trying to get your attention.
In their infinite wisdom JVC decided that isolation was bad, so they designed a set of open (aka: not sealed) canal phones. So these phones make it easy for me to hear back ground noise, such as me typing on my keyboard and the people in the cubicle next to me talking.
Personally: Long live isolation.
Also the sealed nature of a headphone helps them generate low frequency sounds, without that they have essentially 0 bass. This is a terrible thing. The JVC canal phones have 0 bass, this is a terrible thing. I can’t cope.
I will keep wearing and listening to these canal phones for no other reason than to determine if I enjoy wearing canal phones. If your looking for some canal phones to determine if you should buy some real ones, please don’t buy the JVCs I doubt there is a worse canal phone.
Summary: All the disadvantages of canal phones and ear buds, with none of the advantages.
<Will edit soon with model number>