Daily gear deal – $50 off Etymotic Research HF5 noise isolating headphones

Noise isolating headphones are a travelers best friend – they are compact, easy to pack, and don’t require batteries. And affordable noise isolating headphones don’t get much better than the Etymotic Research HF5’s.

Not only do these headphones look awesome, they are available in three different colors and deliver fantastic sound quality and noise isolation.

The Etymotic Research HF5’s normally retail for $149, but Amazon is selling them for just $99.99 after you apply a $50 off coupon code. After you have added the color you want to your shopping cart, simply apply coupon code CED3JMZB during checkout.

The HF5’s come complete with a variety of earpieces, a cleaning tool, shirt clip and a carrying pouch.

Product review – Etymotic Research hf2 noise isolating headset

In this product review, I’m going to give you a closer look at a pair of noise canceling headphones for your mobile phone.

The Etymotic Research hf2 headphones combine excellent noise canceling features with a microphone and call control button. What you end up with is an absolutely fantastic pair of headphones that work on your iPhone or other compatible mobile phone.

I’ve been a huge Etymotic Research fan for years. The headphones made by Etymotic Research are passive noise canceling, which means they cancel out noise by isolating your ears from the noise instead of using electronics to cancel it out. The level of noise reduction with these headphones is astounding, provided you get a good solid fit.

Included in the box of the hf2’s are of course the headphones themselves, as well as 2 different ear pieces; one set of foam fittings and one of smaller silicone rubber fittings. Also included is an ear filter replacement kit, since the headphone are “in-ear”, they’ll eventually pick up some of the wax left in your ear, so this filter kit allows you to clean things out a little. It sounds quite gross, but it’s a lot better than just leaving stuff in the headphones. Etymotic Research also includes a nice carrying pouch with room for the headphones and all the accessories.
Getting the headphones to fit takes a little getting used to, in my case, I prefer the standard triple flanged earpieces. Once you insert the headphones, you need to wiggle them around a little to get a perfect fit. As soon as they are “installed” correctly, you’ll instantly notice it, because almost all the ambient noise is gone. Another big benefit of blocking outside noise, is that you can keep the volume of your music down to a minimum.

The audio from the hf2’s is outstanding. I’m not an audiophile, so I won’t bore you with extensive descriptions of the highs and lows, but playback off an iPhone and Blackberry Curve was just great. Plenty of bass, and combined with the noise isolation means you get really rich sounding audio. I’ve tried the hf2’s on a 2 hour flight, and at no point did they become too uncomfortable. I did have the urge to remove them every half hour or so for a minute to give my ears a bit of a break.

Call quality was also great, the built in microphone did its job just fine, and on my Blackberry I had no problem picking up and disconnecting phone calls using the call button housed in the microphone unit. People on the other end of my calls never complained, and the sound is most certainly better than most Bluetooth headsets.If you plan to use your mobile phone to listen to music on a plane, you will need to enable “flight mode” (unless of course you are on a flight with wireless Internet access).

Good quality audio comes at a price, and the Etymotic Research hf2’s are no different; the MSRP is $179, but when you compare this with other brands of premium noise canceling headphones you’ll actually see that they are quite affordable. I have tested other in-ear headsets in the past, but the Etymotic Research hf2’s are miles ahead of anything I have ever listened to. You can purchase the hf2’s directly from the Etymotic Research site.


Gadling Gear: Etymotic Research Headphones

I’m a gadget junkie by any definition. When I planned my year long trip around the world, I literally spent more time considering the gear I brought with me than I did planning which countries I’d go to.

But hey… if you’re well prepared, you’re ready for anything, right?

For the first ever episode of Gadling Gear, I thought it only appropriate that I cover one of the most useful and perfect gadgets in my travel bag: Etymotic Research ER-4P headphones.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – these things have incredible sound quality. They reproduce sound nearly perfectly, a feat that would literally cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars with a home stereo system.

So, if you like hearing your music at higher quality than you’ve ever heard before, these are your headphones.

But beyond that, these just happen to be totally perfect for us traveling folk. Why? Because they block sound way better than the competition.

To do this they use a triple flanged silicone bud that sticks into your ear – way into your ear. Unlike most earbuds, these extend all the way into your ear canal. The design is the same design used by high end earplugs.

This may sound like a strange design, but most people, including myself, find it very comfortable for long periods of time. I personally prefer it to the constant pressure on the ears delivered by traditional headphones.

Have you ever seen those smug travelers with their Bose noise-canceling headphones? Besides the huge annoyance of always having to track down batteries, these overpriced gadgets can’t hold a candle to the Etymotics.

I’ve used both firsthand, but for good old scientific proof, check out this article on Engadget which covers a lower end version of these earbuds beating the competition.

In practice, the earbuds are pure magic. You can walk through the airport and feel like you’re in a movie, hearing only the soundtrack you’re playing through your MP3 player.

When you get on the airplane they knock out almost all of the engine noise. I even use mine unplugged as earplugs to take naps.

Best of all, they weigh almost nothing and pack into a tiny included soft pouch.

These earphones are the first thing I pack on every trip I take and are well worth the $300 I paid seven years ago. Today you can get a pair from Amazon for just $169.

Stay tuned for next week when I talk about the best MP3 player for traveling (hint – it’s NOT an iPod).