1. No ad-hominem
2. No spamming or shilling
Of course it never takes long before commercial enterprises move in to earn a buck or two and the target market became the sports fraternity. Runners, cyclists, hikers all like to have music on the go - but it helps if yuor headphones don't entirely block out the sounds of approaching cars or other hazards - so lightweight models have been created for the leisure market. Being of an inquisitive nature and wanting to try everything for myself I have picked up a pair of Aftershokz Sportz Titanium phones to test.
These are about the cheapest bone-conduction phones out there (50 pounds or so) because they use a wired connection (no bluetooth) and have no inbuilt mic to make phone calls with. The little box in the lead contains a rechargeable battery that should give about 12 hours playing-time. Every review states clearly DO NOT expect audiophile-quality sound from this type of headphone - bone conduction just isn't that sensitive for the subtle acoustics that your average hifi-nut is going to demand.
I had (accidentally) tried a pair of the expensive bluetooth version in a shop and was surprised simply that it worked! So it was time to get hold of this modest pair to see how they feel. Loading some music into my Huawei smartphone and playing via Foobar the results are interesting. Acoustic music works pretty damn well - I have the debut album by folk-rockers America playing at the moment and the guitars are reasonably defined, voices pleasantly tuneful - even the imaging isn't too bad. Major cons are that the overall sound is a bit flat and 'cardboard-boxy' and it doesn't really make any difference if you are listening to crummy MP3's or HQ WAV files. No tiring and piercing treble though which is a plus. An odd sensation comes when you crank up the volume in order to get some bass - the transducers start to vibrate in a rather uncomfortable way against your jawbone, weird!
Like I said - artists like Joni Mitchell and Nanci Griffith come over pretty well but I played 'The E.N.D' by The Black-Eyed Peas which relies on heavy synth-bass and that didn't work at all. Complex and heavy rock doesn't fare too well either. Watching a bit of Star Trek on Netflix, the Aftershokz worked really nicely - and for spoken word, like audiobooks, you won't need anything better. If you are doing outdoor activities or need to be able to listen out for your surroundings then these might be handy.
This is a niche audio product that is good for listening to tunes in specific circumstances (you can also use them whilst driving!) also they are apparently very suitable for those who have certain types of hearing problems as they bypass the auditory canal.
Interesting and fun - Yes!
Audiophile - No!
(but the technology is new and improving)
Digits: RPi 2B / Allo DigiOne / Volumio / Tomanek ULPS / AQ Jitterbug
CD Transport: Cambridge CXC DAC: Metrum Acoustics Musette
Cans: AudioQuest NightHawk Digital i/c: Oxypure OCC coax & optical
DACs: Arcam Delta Black Box; Grace m9XX; NuForce Icon HDP;
AMPs: NVA AP10H + DoubleBBPSU [one case prototype ], NVA AP70 SA, NVA AP20,
Speakers: Cubettes, Royd Envoy (Half Doc Modded);
Headphones: Hifiman HE-6, Hifiman HE-400i, Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (250ohm), Superlux HD681 EVO,
And northwest of Pegasus
Flew into the light of Deneb
Sailed across the Milky Way
Sonore microRendu/McRU PS, AQ J-bug, Wirewold Ultraviolet, Chord Qutest, NVA P50SA, NVA A80sMk2, NVA Cube 3s, NVA LS6, NVA TIS mk2, NVA SSP mk2, Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, NVA Phono 1, NVA BMU, Grado SR 325e, headphones, Chord Mojo.
Arcam Miniblink Bluetooth DAC, Marantz pm 5004, Wharfdale Diamond 121, NVA LS2.