New iPod Shuffle and Earphones

You may not have heard, but the new iPod Shuffle is out, and boy, it’s tiny. The only compromise is that now all of the controls are located on the earphone cord. I threw out my last pair of earphones that came with my iPod, and I only bought my iPod Classic in January 2008. They didn’t even last seven months. That being said, the cheap $40-JBL in-ear headphones that I bought sucked and needed repairs within four months.

I was amazed at the difference in sound. In-ear headphones are really good and they deliver an nice base. As someone who’s used to over the ear headphones from Sennheiser and my Sony VDJ 700s, this was pretty surprising. I have to interject that both have their plugs broken because I used them mainly on my computer. The speakers tend to fall of the table when the cable gets caught in your feet, or something like that. I’ve learned my lesson. Right now, I use a cheapPhilips pair that I’ll throw out when they break.

I’ve moved onto Shures now. The SCL3s were $80 at my local Futureshop/BestBuy. They usually retailed for $250. I got them and I have been a bit disappointed by the bass response compared to the cheaper JBLs, but have gotten better mids and highs. Naturally, I’d want to get the Shure SE530, but spending $500 on earphones isn’t within my budget right now.

Exactly. Lack of compatibility with no-button headphones is not an outrage. What matters is whether these headphone-cable controls are a good interface for controlling a Shuffle. (I’m skeptical, as are others.) It isn’t meant to be good for everyone, it’s meant to be great for some people. That’s how Apple rolls.


I agree with Gruber. The headphone interface is going to be an issue. However, since Shuffles are designed just to play songs, kind of like fire-and-forget missile systems, there isn’t much fidgeting you’d want to do. So I agree there, that it’s a minor issue. The problem would be if this were to appear on other models. We can deduce that the only reason why they did this is to save space on the device itself. The Shuffle with the controls couldn’t be as small as this one.

Anyway, this isn’t the first player with these types of headphone combo. I know that Sony used to like doing those as well. Personally, I’m sticking with my iPod Classic 160GB because it’s the only one that can almost fit all of my music. I mean literally, all of it. That used to be the case, but I wouldn’t say no to a 500GB model. Hopefully a 500GB model with a touchscreen.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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