Treo headphones

Dear Lazyweb,

What's a good-sounding set of earbud-style stereo headphones that works with the Treo 700? Bonus points if the headphones also include a microphone. Triple word score if they're Bluetooth.

The phone came with a set, but they sound moderately crappy, and they fall out of my ears.

(Other than that, the 700 makes a pretty decent MP3 player. I set up Missing Sync to keep my card filled with an iTunes playlist of "3+ stars, by recently added". Battery usage seems reasonable, too.)

Update: Most people recommended the Etymotic ER-6 headphones, but I am sad to report that they have no bass whatsoever. They sound cleaner than the crappy headphones that came with the phone, and they don't fall out of my ears, but if I have to trade "stay in my ears" for "have any bass at all", I'll stick with the falling-out kind. Dammit. I guess I'll try the Shure i2c next.

Update 2: I got Shure i2c, and they're awesome! They block outside noise much better than the ER-6, and most importantly, actually have a low end. They also come with 3 sizes of tips in 3 styles, so they fit really well. (And they have a mic, and the right 2.5mm plug.)

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30 Responses:

  1. kfringe says:

    Price range?

    • jwz says:

      Somewhere in the "I am not an audiophile, but I'm not completely without standards" range.

      • kfringe says:

        Try these. It's not bluetooth, but the headphones aren't as shitty as some earbuds and the mic is pretty good.

        • They say they don't work with Treo's though.


          • kfringe says:

            I think you're reading that incorrectly. They most definitely work with the 700w. Does the 700 have some entirely different weird-ass hardware?

            • From the website -

              For most Stereo phones with 2.5mm headset jack and call/answer end function, not compatible with Treo Smartphones

              Then again, their website seems a little dated, perhaps that is some older Treo.

              • kfringe says:

                The Treo 650 and 700[foo] series are slightly incompatible with other Treo headsets, so that may be an outdated warning.

      • kfringe says:

        I'm using these for music. They have neither mic nor bluetooth, but they sound pretty good. I think they're starting to approach audiostupid price, though.

  2. dr_memory says:

    I deeply, deeply love my Etymotic isolator earbuds, and they make a version for the Treo. When I lived in NYC, they were the ultimate subway weapon: put them in, turn on the ipod, instant solitudeuntil the muggers snuck up behind me without me noticing.

    However, they are only earbuds: no mic, no bluetooth.

    • hermeticseal says:

      the isolators are awesome. i've pretty much discarded my noise-cancelling headphones in favor of them.

      but my treo 650 has enough 'white noise' in the audio system that i pretty much decided to stick with the ipod early on. that background hiss is really annoying to me.

    • edouardp says:

      Just a word about the Etymotics (and I noticed they were mentioned in a post further up too): they are not "earbud" style headphones, but rather "in-ear" style, in which the speaker is inserted into the ear cavity with rubber sheilding to block outside noise. Some people find in-ear headphones to be uncomfortable, or at least very "strange" feeling. There is also one other flaw too - physical cable noise (the cable touching your shirt or anything else) is very noticable due to the fact that the headphones are very securly jammed into your ear canal.

      On the other hand, the Etoymotics are amazing - both in terms of noise isolation, and also from the astounding quality of the sound they can reproduce.

      I have a pair of ER-4s, and they are one of my most valued possessions...

    • jwz says:

      By the way, that web page led me to believe (since I incorrectly read the fine print) that "version for the Treo" meant at least that those headphones had a 2.5mm jack on them. No, they have a standard 3.5mm jack. What "compatible with Treo 700p" means is "if you buy a big dangly, awkward adapter". That's like "the phone call is free, if you call from work."

      • dr_memory says:

        Oops, my apologies: I googled for "etymotics treo", got that page as a result, and likewise didn't read the fine print.

        That is annoyingly sleazy.

        • Sorry to interupt, I'm looking for a pair of ear buds, I don't really care about sound quality but I want the cord to be highly resistant to tangles. I had a pair of riovolt but they're eight or so years old and one of the ear pieces is finally failing. These ear buds were amazingly resistant to kinking and knoting. Any ideas?

  3. injector says:

    Does the 700 support stereo BlueTooth audio devices, and/or MP3 playback through BlueTooth? I'm still with the 650; it lacks supports for either feature.

    • dominobutter says:

      i don't think any palm treo ships with A2DP support for stereo bluetooth.

      there's at least one non-free app (Softick Audio Gateway) that will add it.

      • injector says:

        That app seems to be pretty neat. It looks like it hooks into the audio output of the Palm and captures any sound that any other program is trying to make. Then it sends that data over to the hook that it has installed in the BlueTooth stack where it hacks together A2DP packets to be sent over the air.

        I was going to say it reminds me of the tricks that another piece of software pulls that takes over the USB interface and puts the right bits on the wire to make a PC think the Palm is a mass storage device. Though it seems that Softick wrote one of those apps too.

    • strspn says:

      Oops, looks like stereo might require the 750v

    • edlang says:

      aka A2DP.

      The Treo 700 series models apparently don't natively support A2DP. However, there are programs (one example being Softick Audio Gateway) that claim to provide support.

      After that, most stereo bluetooth headsets should work. C|Net review list. The Plantronics Pulsar 590A seems to review well.

      I'm stuck in a similar situation with my Nokia N73. Too many confusing options :(

      • strspn says:

        CNET's top-rated Sennheiser RS130 headphones have a 68 dB SNR, but the reviewer said they were indistinguishable from a corded headphones. There is so much audiophile bullshit (e.g. silver speaker wire) that often audio stats get way up over the it-doesn't-matter-anymore range. Most people could probably distinguish between 68 and 85 dB SNR on a test designed to accentuate the difference, but it might just not matter for most kinds of music.

        I bet the Sennheiser's ear-cup design makes dozens of times as much difference as that last 17 dB of SNR.

  4. strspn says:

    Bluetake's BT450Rx has everything you want with a decent 85 dB SNR, far above the competition (although you won't be able to tell 96 kbps from higher rate MP3s with them; for modern encoders), for about $70.

  5. autopope says:

    I ordered a cheapo 2.5mm to 3.5mm stereo adapter for my Treo 650 so that I could plug ordinary headphones into it. (Which I promptly ignored in favour of the ipod.)

    For decent stereo earphones I first tried Etymotic ER6i's -- very much nicer than your standard earbuds, but very bright in the high frequency range at some cost to the low end. I found that a pair of (slightly cheaper) Shure E2c's sounded a whole lot better for my usual mix of rock, industrial and electronic stuff (at least, to nearly 42-yo ears).

    Neither of these have a mike, or bluetooth. In fact, I think you'll be really lucky to get decent quality stereo headphones with a mike and not end up paying $BIGNUM for something designed for a professional musician to use on stage. Most mobile phone (and mp3 player) headphones suck ...

  6. violentbloom says:

    which reminds me... do you have my white sony earbuds somewhere which were purchased for me and supposedly left on your desk?
    by chance?

  7. elliot says:

    Shure makes a pretty good headset (that includes a mic) for the treo. I have the regular headphone model of these for my iPod and I'm really happen with them.

    • thadk says:

      Why didn't I hear about those before Shure replaced my E3Cs a few months ago??! I would have cross-graded to the i3c.

    • jqmark says:

      I have been using the E3C's for a while and love them. Enough bass for me and really crisp. You have to get over the intial
      weirdness of sticking them in your ears but I don't have to have them as loud either because they block so much sound.