Now Hear This!

by Jeremy O'Bryan

I’ll be rocking a new set of Sennheiser in-ear headphones soon. I’ve wasted untold hours looking for a set of headphones that I can use with my 3G iPhone; that is, a set that features a mic and a button-switch for answering calls, pausing the music, etc., like the set that comes with the iPhone. I’m getting a new set to replace the ones that came with the phone. They’re decent, but I gave mine up to my son, Mike, who lost his.

This in-ear-with-button style is handy. It allows me to listen to music; pause, play, or change songs; answer my iPhone, hold a conversation, and hang it up without touching the phone itself — handy when the thing is in your pocket or when you’re driving in a state where a hands-free device is required.

While a few manufacturers have jumped at the chance to have a dog in the iPhone fight, headphones with mics and iPhone buttons — especially headphones with decent sound reproduction — aren’t readily available to try on. Thus, I spent many hours on the interwebs trying to determine whose marketing prowess to trust. And more hours wondering why I even bothered to read the sometimes-helpful-usually-not customer reviews.

It seems like no product in the category I’ve been poring over — whether it costs $29 or $529 (yes, there are headphones that cost that much … and more. Yikes!) is worthy of universal love. Even headphones that most users gush about have one errant hater screaming in all caps, “DON’T EVR BY THEEZ!”

Finally, with props to Sennheiser, makers of the most-lauded lightweight over-the-ear headphones for under $100, the PX-100s, which I own, I ordered sight-unseen a pair of the new MM50 iP in-ears for the iPhone.

Imagine my tickledness when today I stumbled upon a review of the set on I think I had been to nearly every website except this one. Most sites have the same grainy photo and a few lines of marketing copy from the company. Not so at

HPI has a multipage teardown of products, including audio tests and comparisons to other products. Completely thorough. They LOVE the MM50 iPs, which really makes me glad I picked them.

So check out if you’re ever in the need for new cans.

UDPATE: Very happy with these new headphones. I’ll put them to the test tomorrow morning while off work and this weekend on the ferry crossing to Victoria B.C.