Electro-Harmonix are best known as a manufacturer of guitar effects. Recently, however, the American manufacturer has also been trying their luck in the growing headphones market. We take a look at their Bluetooth in-ears, the EHX Sport Buds from Electro-Harmonix, designed for Work-out & Co.
The small box in which the EHX Sport Buds arrive contains the in-ears themselves, along with three pairs of earpieces, a USB charging cable and an unassuming cable adjustment clip. The design of the headphones is simple, with a subtle colour scheme. Matt black dominates, complemented by silver trim. These in-ears are conditionally waterproof according to IPX7 protection standards. This means that they can withstand being submerged in water for a short time. So even though you can’t go swimming while using these in-ears, their function is not affected if they come into contact with large amounts of sweat or if a fitness drink is accidentally spilt over them. Indeed, these headphones should even be able to withstand a short shower.
Hours of continuous connection
What is at first surprising about these headphones, which are advertised as “True Wireless”, is that they are connected to each other by a black loop. However, it does not contain a sound conductor, but simply ensures that the headphones do not get lost if they accidentally fall out of your ears. Unfortunately, Electro-Harmonix does not provide any information about the construction of these in-ears and their corresponding technical data. However, it’s clear that the wireless technology is based on the 5.0 version of Bluetooth, which allows a range of ten metres as well as multi-device connections. The built-in lithium-polymer batteries allow continuous operation of nine to twelve hours and are fully recharged in a speedy two hours. Both in-ears together with the cable weigh just 23 grams.
Complex, but simple to operate
These in-ears can be inserted sufficiently deep into your ear, and with a slight turn the ear hooks can be fixed behind your ear. The fit of these headphones is good because it is secure. The Sport Buds are therefore ideal for activities such as fitness training, spinning and lifting weights. Their low weight makes them comfortable to wear. The control buttons on the right in-ear housing are large enough to be easy to press. In addition, they are far enough apart to make them distinguishable from each other. Thanks to the smartphone controls, you can answer, reject, hang up, dial the last number, adjust the volume and skip music tracks back and forth with just three buttons. The EHX Sport Buds acknowledge the switching on/off and pairing/coupling/uncoupling of the wireless connection with voice feedback. Like! In addition, a multicolour LED provides information about their connection status. Last but not least, the Sport Buds can be used to connect two Bluetooth devices in parallel, such as a smartphone and a tablet or even two smartphones. In the latter case, you can even switch between calls from the two devices.
Two little things to mention: Changing the ear moulds is effortless. They are made of silicone and have an internal rubber ring that gives them stability and guarantees a firm fit in the ear. The only thing that does not seem to be so well thought out is the small cable adjustment clamp. Since it is made of relatively soft rubber, it yields at the slightest pull on the cable, causing the cable to be released from the clamp. An adjustment which – especially during sports – cannot be calibrated seems to me simply pointless.
Loud, bassy, powerful
One word that describes the sound of the EHX Sport Buds is easy to find: Bassy! These in-ears really give you power in the bass range, to the extent that when used with a smartphone at low volume and especially at full volume, the use of an equalizer is absolutely necessary to balance the sound. This is especially true for current pop, R&B and dance music. Here, the low bass comes into its own, but recedes slightly behind the rest of the bass range.
The mid-range reproduction of the Sport Buds is also strong, and in combination with the immense volume of these in-ears, listening to Rock and Metal will certainly blow your ears off. On top of everything else, the sound of these headphones is well-positioned in the treble range so the high volume is likely to make some ears get tired quickly. Not least because the EHX Sport Buds are capable of whipping out transients with such pointed precision that it can become really painful at high playback volume. This sounds like a negative, but this is really top and very rare to come across in this price range. The sound quality of the built-in microphone was also convincing to me, so there’s really no reason to complain about these in-ears (except for their bass-heavy basic sound).
Hype or not: The Electro-Harmonix EHX Sport Buds offer so much value for money for their price (about 35 Euros!) that I can hardly believe it: They deliver full power, have a strong bass and are also well positioned in the mid and high frequencies. Not only their volume, but also the conciseness of their transient reproduction puts many much more expensive devices in the shade. In addition, there is a built-in microphone with good sound and, for smart devices, an extensive remote control that is easy to get the hang of using. The Sport Buds sit securely in your ears, offer multi-device connectivity, are waterproof, recharge quickly and are comfortable to wear thanks to their fit and light weight. If there’s one thing seriously wrong with these in-ears, it’s that they require the use of an equalizer, regardless of playback volume and music genre, to produce a balanced, less bass-heavy sound. But if that’s exactly what you’re looking for, the EHX Sport Buds are the right headphones to really blast your ears during sports activities.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight with cable23 g
- Weight without cable21 g
- Cable length54 cm
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of ear tips in S, M, L
- USB charging cable
- BT codecs: SBC
- BT version: 5.0