Wooden earbuds? What? It sounded a little funny to me as well when I first saw the Facebook ad for LSTN Sound Co’s new line of premium headphones & earbuds. I immediately clicked on the ad and began perusing the website. The look of these headphones and earbuds (and their positioning) is upscale and sleek, with a high performance and unmatched sound quality. They explain their positioning much more eloquently:
Historically, wood has provided outstanding acoustics in world-class instruments such as guitars, violins, and pianos. High fidelity audio equipment is also made out of wood, so why not headphones?
If you have gone through as many pairs of earbuds and headphones as I have, you really appreciate when you buy a pair that is built well. The wood is actually real wood; yes, I know they told me that, but I was half expecting fo-wood.
The earbud’s have a great weight to them. They are not overly heavy, but I am not worried about dropping or sitting on them either. The other thing I really love is the Nylon cord of these headphones. The nylon, not only makes them very durable, but it also adds enough weight that when i run with these earbuds in, the cord is not flailing all over the place. Anyone who has ever accidentally ripped their earbuds out while running will tremendously respect this feature.
To me, the mark of a good earbud is one that can produce the necessary bass without killing the other sounds that are meant to be experienced at the same time. A lot of earbud manufacturers stay away from allowing too much bass to come through a simple earbud for just that reason (that, and the higher cost of making things correctly, of course). I was pleasantly surprised at the bass in these headphones. I tested them with a wide variety of music types from country, rap, hip-hop, dance and classical; the bass was excellent and did not overpower the music.
One thing I did not expect from this earbud was how well it kept other noise out! After putting them in, I noticed that strange sensation you get when one of your senses have been deprived while choosing my first song to test. I turned to my buddy and asked him to hurl insults at me to see if I could hear anything. You will be happy to know that none of his insults reached my ears.
The LSTN Sound Co earbuds I received did come with a microphone. I use the Bluetooth in my car all the time but I have never found a pair of earbuds or headphones that, I feel, provided a really great phone experience (this is coming from a guy who personally owns 4 pairs of Beats). Needless to say that when I tested out the microphone, I had a very low expectation. Unfortunately, my low expectations were met as the experience while on the phone with the Bowery headphones was not the best. I could hear the caller on the other end fine, but the caller repeatedly asked me to repeat what I was saying due to poor sound quality. In LSTN’s defense, I believe that it is a fundamental problem with trying to get a tiny microphone on a earbud wire to work well in any case, not just theirs. I would rate the experience with their microphone pretty standard.
Overall I believe that these earbuds provided an excellent experience. In the beginning I was semi-reluctant to review these headphones for fear of being jilted by both my over-the-ear headphones and studio quality headphones that I use on a daily basis (spoiled brat, I know).
If it’s one thing I can always rally behind, it’s a socially responsible company. LSTN Sound Co. has teamed up with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. A portion of LSTN Sound Co’s profits goes towards helping underprivileged children hear for the first time. According to their website:
Our goal is to change lives through the power of music. That’s why for every product sold, we help give hearing aids to those in need through Starkey Hearing Foundation. In just 3 short years, we’ve already helped over 20,000 people, and that number keeps climbing every day.
I used to have the mentality that spending more than $15 on earbuds was not worth it because I would eventually lose them or they would die/break (I still feel this way about sunglasses). However, once you buy a great pair of earbuds or headphones (providing you love music, like me) they become an extension of yourself in a way. Before I go to work I check to make sure I have my phone, wallet and keys, both laptops, tablet, chargers, and now, my Bowery earbuds. The pair of Bowery earbuds without the microphone will run you around $39.99. If you want the version with the microphone, you are looking at $49.99. It’s important to note that, regardless of how you feel about the price, a portion of it is going to help people