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As I’m wont to do, I spent the last few days listening to an endless barrage of house and electronic music loud enough to jar several fillings loose. Thus I quickly blew out the stock iPhone earbuds and decided it was a good time to put the Scosche IDR400M noise cancelling headphones through their paces.
For a variety of reasons, Scosche has joined a handful of manufacturers (Timbuk2 and Mophie come to mind) we’ve recently come to love. Their entire line is well designed with great build quality and construction. We found the IDR400Ms to be no exception.
According to Scosche, the IDR400M noise cancelling headphones feature:
- Oversized 10mm drivers for Increased Dynamic Range and a balanced soundstage
- Integrated microphone for handsfree conversation and audio control
- Single and dual flanged silicone inserts provide unparalleled noise isolation and comfort
- Machined aluminum construction
These ear plug style phones are only a tad larger than the stock iPhone earbuds. But the sound quality is in a completely different league. Rich bass and crisper high end (read: vocals and horns) provide a thoroughly better aural experience.
As I type this, I’m seated thirty feet from the engine of a 757 over the Atlantic Ocean (I’m inside the plane though, don’t worry) with the IDR400Ms tucked snugly in each ear. Save for a dull, almost inaudible hum from the otherwise deafening turbine outside, the only thing I hear are the sweet sounds of Morphine’s Mark Sandman softly discussing his prescribed Cure for Pain. Just to remind myself of how damn quiet these things make the outside world, I remove them. Suddenly, it’s like every passenger is simultaneously running a commercial hair dryer at full blast. Headphones back in, Morphine back on. And all is peaceful and right the world.
That “deadening of the world” effect is the good and the bad – something that’s noticeable in most ear plug style buds. They’re so damn quiet, I have to remove them every time the Aer Lingus flight attendant stops to ask if I want yet another beer. (“Yes. For the love of God, Toots, yes! Keep bringing ”˜em every 10 minutes until I pass out. Then make it every 20.” She scolded me for the “Toots” bit, but somehow her Irish lilt still made it sound intoxicatingly sexy.).
I even contemplated leaving my hunting-quality earplugs at home and substituting the 400Ms instead. Unfortunately the choking hazard that the cord would inevitably present while I unknowingly toss and turn in the middle of the night was a little too frightening for me.
The only downside I’ve yet to uncover is the distinct lack of mid-range. This is an issue I’ve noticed in many earplug style headphones though and, to be honest, something to which I quickly grew accustomed. My guess is it’s something to do with how the sound is conducted into the ear canal under such an air-tight seal. Perhaps the bass is so heavy that it essentially overrides much of the middle range? I’m sure audiophiles can school me on the finer technical points in the comments below.
Available now for $59.99 retail; $29.99 via Amazon and other online retailers.
In short, I’m in love with the Scosche IDR400Mheadphones. They’re the best ear plug style headphones we’ve ever tested and the price, size and quality are all right in the flashpacker sweet spot. Highly recommended.