Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Better Living Through Sound Isolation

A few weeks ago, I accidentally cut the wire on the headphones for my Zune and today I finally got around to replacing them. I dropped by Fred Meyer on the way to work and browsed the headphone section and noticed that almost all the headphone models sport an “in ear isolation design” that is basically a soft rubber insert that seals off the ear. A friend of mine had something similar years ago and swore by them. The difference was that his pair was hundreds of dollars and I managed to find a pair for only 8 bucks! (Coby CVE31’s if you care to know).

The isolation was so good that I did not notice that I had left the radio on for several minutes after I started listening to my Zune. Normally, I have to turn the volume all the way up to 20 while freeway driving, but during this commute, I was able to turn it down to 11 (!) and it was still plenty loud enough for the road.

Well, the reason I am writing this post is that the sound isolation had a transformative effect on my commute, which was totally unexpected. The ride felt much smoother and my mind felt alert. It was very easy to listen to music and spoken word with little distraction, yet I still felt like I was paying attention to the road. It was like I had a new brain and a new car all for the cost of a lunch! How sweet is that?

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