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Etymotic MC2

RH Numbers

This headset, targeted at non-Apple smartphone users, looks quite unappealing. Do I really put those things in my ears? They look like parts from the Moonraker laser gun.

The longer-than usual earpiece, can feel awkward in the ears unless slotted perfectly into the fold of your inner-lugs – but they stick out like a sore thumb. There are many tips though, and you could always opt for the company's personalised ear-mould scheme should you wish for the ultimate bond. Yet, when they're in place they stay there and cut out a lot of outside noise.

The M2Cs also impress with a warm sound. They features 8mm dual-magnet moving coil drivers that deliver a dominant midrange and smooth bass. The output is clear but sometimes a little flat and could benefit from a touch more top-end. Still, listening to music is comfortably delivered and as a hands-free kit, conversation is clear.

Thanks to a small omni-directional mic, speech is captured cleanly, but it does pick up louder background noises too, which can be distracting. The in-line control box – which could be placed better – is pretty basic too, with a standard multifunction button geared up for Android. Alternatively, iPhone users can look at the MC3, identical earbuds compatible with iOS.

Etymotic MC2

Reg Rating 75%
Price £75
More info Etymotic

Jays a-Jays Four

RH Numbers

This headset steps up to the plate like a helping of fettuccine. Its 5mm-wide flat pasta-like cable does a good job remaining tangle-free, although it doesn't retain a smooth shape when squashed for a while. The cable does succumb to a fair amount of contact noise, but even so, I prefer this design to cheaper and thinner alternatives.

The overall sound is very good, delivering a punchy bass and a slightly more pronounced midrange – which seems appropriate for a headset that claims to be "optimised for voice". When listening to music, vocals sound fantastic. Indeed, tonally, it is rather coloured, but it is nonetheless sonically appealing and quite a comfortable setup.

As a hands-free setup, the Fours are pretty good and come with a three-button remote built into the righthand side. The company boasts that its "MEMS silicon microphone" is less prone to RF noise and the annoying chatter associated with mobile interference. While thse claims seem to hold true, I have to admit I didn't experience interference issues with any of the other headsets tested either.

The buds don't offer complete noise isolation, which is probably a good thing when out and about. There are also five pairs of different sized silicone tips to choose from. Yet for half a ton, they're definitely worth checking out.

A-Jays Four

Reg Rating 80%
Price £50
More info Advanced MP3 Players

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