This iPhoneless Life #4 – Tangling with earphones

March 19, 2009

iPod One of the biggest drawbacks of using a Windows Mobile PDA-phone as your media device is that you end up with a tangle of wires that makes you look like you’re on life-support.

My HTC-manufactured phone (TyTN II) doesn’t have a 3.5″ headphone jack socket. The device was designed more as phone than media player so the audio connections are geared around being able to make and receive calls.  So it comes with a phone-controller dongle which plugs into the phone via a mini-USB port.  There is a 3.5″ jack socket but it is in the dongle, not the phone.

You can use the supplied earphones, which have a wire of the right length when used in combination with the dongle. Unfortunately the quality is dreadful.  I wanted to use my Sennheiser in-ear headphones but the cable is much longer, because it is intended to plug straight into say an iPod.

The result is a mess.  You have the phone in your pocket, with the dongle plugged in and clipped to your jacket or shirt. The cable is quite long and flaps about.  You then have the further wire from the Sennheisers which plugs into the dongle, but which dangles and flaps around even more. The overall effect is hardly neat and the wires catch on everything.

When you get to wherever you’re going, you put the assembly of wires in your pocket. When you later come to fetch dongle and headphones out you find they are so tangled together it can take several minutes to tease them apart without damaging them.

My Sennheisers are now playing up.  The left hand channel has lost volume; it plays at half the volume of the right. I know it’s not a case of sudden one-sided deafness because I tried switching the earphones round, and also plugged in the supplied headphones. The channel balance was fine, which also confirms that it wasn’t a problem with the phone or dongle.

The deterioration in the Sennheisers is probably the result of wear and tear on the wires due to the incessant plugging in, unpglugging, wires getting caught, wires getting tangled. I have been through a surprising number of earphones in the last few years.  The attrition rate is huge and always due to the constant bending/unbending of wires, eventually causing a channel to fail. The Sennheisers have been more robust than most but I am getting fed up with the wires and fed up with the regular loss of channels due to wear and tear on the wires. I would far prefer to go wireless.

So, if the Sennheisers are on their way out, I may as well replace them with stereo bluetooth earphones.  Thankfully the HTC supports the A2DP protocol so can stream good quality stereo over bluetooth. I like Sennheiser in-ear phones so a set of MM 200‘s would seem to be a sensible bet. And no more tangles.

Previous “This iPhoneless Life” posts.

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