As more and more people own iPods, Zens, and Zunes, and use those players in noisy environments, in-ear-canal headphones—commonly known as “canalphones” or “in-ear monitors”—have become increasingly popular. As a high-quality option for replacing the cheap headphones included with portable music and media players, the selection of canalphones has, over the past decade, evolved from a few expensive models to a wide-open market with dozens of choices across a wide price range.
I bought my first pair of ear-canal headphones a couple of years ago – Shure E3Cs. Once I’d got the hang of how best to wear them (over the ear, but with the cord hanging down under my chin), I’ve found them to be really comfortable to the point of not being aware that I’m wearing them. The sound is generally excellent – though the sub-bass of Dubstep and Jungle does get rather lost, however I suspect the same would happen to other types of headphone as well. Needless to say, I’d love to hear what the top end ear-canal versions sound like. Even before buying my Shures I used what the article refers to as canalbuds, but the difference in the general richness of the sound is really noticeable. I did notice when getting friends to try out the canalbuds that the sound took a little while to get used to – particularly when swapping from the iPod default headphones which although woolly and undistinguished sound initially a little fuller. Once acclimatised there was no way of going back though.
Link: Playlist article
There’s another shorted and less detailed introduction just been published at MacWorld.