Review: Cerulean XLR Earbuds

Colorful and vibrant earbuds for any iPod (April 26th, 2007)

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Product Manufacturer: iSkin Inc.

Price: $29.99 US

The Good

  • Good price. Comfortable. Colors fit your style. Decent sound for the price. Straight connector means compatibility with most cases.

The Bad

  • May break easily if not handled properly. Ear foam rips easily.

The iSkin Cerulean XLR earbuds pack a punch for a small and inexpensive set of earphones. The Cerulean earbuds are close in size to the Apple earbuds that come bundled with every iPod but iSkin adds a dash of color to every bud. In fact, you can get the earbuds in eight different colors that match iSkin's iPod cases. The buds have decent sound given their low price, but I found a few design quirks while using these.

thin cords

The iSkin Cerulean XLRs are plastic and the audio connector is very thin. Audio devices with thin cords are susceptible to damage to the cord, which can result in tearing or just a loss of audio in one of the buds due to stretching of the connection over time. In my opinion, a thicker cord is ideal and increases the life of the headphones. I am also concerned that any item, like a book, accidentally put on top of the XLRs may cause issues for the earbud casing.

iSkin chose to make one side of the cord longer than the other. To give a visual explanation, the connection from the iPod splits into two pieces that goes to each earbud. The right earbud cable is longer than the left, which results in slack on the left hand side. While this may be convenient for you, I find the extra cord awkward to handle. I assume this is for a person that uses an armband on their left side and that extra length on the right allows for easier management of the cord. If you carry the iPod at your waist, then the slack results in unnecessary cable on one side.

Pick your music

A good set of earphones means that the sound quality is acceptable for your taste in audio content. The Cerulean XLR earbuds output classical music, jazz, and spoken content very well. The micro driver has no trouble reproducing consistent sound over time, but if you're listening to music that contains multiple tracks or is optimized for 5.1 surround, it may sound muddy. The Cerulean earphones performed well at low levels, but in a crowded school bus or a busy street, the outside noise forces you to turn up the volume and the immediate results are sounds blending, which causes distortion. These earbuds are not designed to muffle any outside noise.

Comfort and color

The earphones are comfortable to wear and employ an open dynamic driver type, which means that the speaker is open to the air with an exhaust for alleviating pressure, according to the iSkin PR firm. Basically, this protects your eardrum a little more than some of the other inexpensive earphones. Each pair comes with two sets of foam covers, one in gray and one in the same color as the earphones. The foam covers are a bit too thin and tear easily though. Colors available include, black on grey, and red, green, blue, pink, orange, grey, or purple on white.

The iSkin Cerulean earbuds fit perfectly in their price category. The Apple earbuds are $39.00 and carry improved sound with a better build quality, but iSkin's $30 price tag, color selection, sound and construction quality is better other entry level earphones.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Adam Jackson


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