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DrumrPete
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May 16, 2017

Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial.


Lots of thoughts on Hearphones after 30 days.

 

ERGONOMICS:

Some negative things, right off the bat, I don't love the feel of the earpieces, they feel loose no matter which size ear tip I use, they feel bulky, like they are in danger of falling out, and they DO get knocked out of my ears.  The neck piece continually rotates toward the side with the controls, and tugs on my right ear.   The rubber coating seems loose, off/on button, very hard to push, I have to use a fingernail, and I am concerned about my nail cutting the rubber, over time, and if the off/on switch should be THAT hard to push.

 

The looks, of the neckpiece...I don't mind the look of the entire outfit at all, it's perfectly in style these days, hardly anyone asks me what  that is around my neck, and why.  I like the free carrying case, top notch.  The app looks and works great.


On to the real stuff...

NOTE: I generally run at World volume of 31-41, tone centered, or up to +7 or so.
This is when I am really just trying to hear people at my workplace, and understand them.  At home, or in quiet places I can run down around about 25-30.


I have moderate (2Khz range)hearing loss and tinitus from years of drumming.  Hearphones amplify the full range, and though EQ can boost certain high frequencies, it is not zeroed in at my loss point, and there is a loss of bass when you do boost the highs. This statement is simplistic, but one should be aware that Hearphones might not be a viable REPLACEMENT for hearing aids, or just to save the $4500 over buying, say, a nice set of Starkey Halo 2 aids.   

My old Starkey behind-the-ear (RIC) hearing aids are over four years old, my remote is dead, and they are close to dying.  The new, made of iPhone, Halo 2 are much better than the old, and I'd love to have them, and, no doubt, will eventually.  I am hoping the combination of my old hearing aids, and the Hearphones could buy me time to wait, and see if hearing aids can ever achieve Hearphone-level sound quality, noise cancellation (not just reduction), music streaming, AND  have full Android app control, like the iPhone has, not just volume and program.

I would have liked the Hearphones TO BE a replacement for hearing aids, AND in-ear monitors for my live band, but they are neither. I had intended to return them to Bose by today, on this last day of my trial period.
 
AT WORK:


NOT great, I can NOT hear voices nearly as well as I do with my old hearing aids, but hear MYSELF really loud, and physical actions, like weighing nails in a metal tray is super loud.  I do a lot of that all day.  Eating too...crunchy stuff is montrously loud.  Yet, still, voices at work evade me, I feel a "disconnect" from the noise cancelling (I'm guessing), from my customers.  Hearing aids are transparent, smoother, and more consistent.  A/C rumble is very distracting, I can EQ some of it out, by moving towards treble, but voices get thin.  Battery runs out before the end of my work day, a deal breaker in as far as them "replacing" hearing aids.  They take 2-3 hours to recharge, not 30 minutes like I have seen someone allege in a Youtube video.

SOMETHING I REALLY LIKED when at work though, when running a table saw, I MUTED the Hearphones, and the noise cancellation made the screeching saw blade seem very pleasant, compared to when I would mute my hearing aids and got no protection.

WATCHING TV:

At a volume that works for my wife, who is a bit hard of hearing, it's too quiet for me, I have to turn HPs up high, and add treble (for voice clarity), and then the music quality is not great, lacks bass.  However, as the days passed this month, I have gotten more used to the Hearphones for TV, and I am running them a bit lower.  It's also nice that I can
hear my wife while watching.  I also found that if I run the TV's (bottom-of-the-line Bose) soundbar system, then the thinness I experienced goes away.
 
PLAYING MUSIC - LIVE:


This is THE MAIN REASON I wanted to try out the HEARPHONES.
I had hoped to play a real gig with one of two bands I play with, during my trial period, but that didn't work out.  So, sitting at my drumset, in the garage, playing quietly, the hi-hat cymbal and ride cymbals caused the Hearphones to POP, Click, and crackle.  The drums themselves rarely set off this problem, only on the loudest bashes, and I am not a basher.  It was only the cymbals that were an issue.  I was very sad about this, but maybe Bose will make something for that down the road, they are very close now.

Playing in my church band though, a trio with 2 acoustic guitars, my Cajon drum, and three part harmony, the Phones worked very well as on stage in-ear monitors, there is the typical "disconnect with the adience" of traditional in-ears, as is the case at work.  But what we played musically, is what I heard, including the audience/congregation singing along.

 

Of the six or so times I played with the trio, I only had one day that didn't go well, where I actually had trouble hearing everything.  I heard my Cajon just fine, but the vocals eluded me.  Again, that 2Khz loss that I have cannot always be fixed by turning up the highs. Still, it's workable, I just need to learn, and adjust. 

LISTENING to a LIVE BAND:

Only got one opportunity, outdoors, not a loud band, but one at reasonable volume, the HPs worked well, sounded REAL.  Hearing aids don't sound "real", digitals have a "swirly", Comb Filter type of sound.  What I DO like about the HPs is that music sounds normal, good, the aids can't do that, but the HPs can't reproduce voices like hearing aids do.  So
what's more important?  A toss up.

STREAMING CELL PHONE MUSIC:

Is very good, but I am red lining the phone's volume control, and maxing the Hearphone vol as well.  No distortion.  The Music Boost makes mild differences, about 2-3db per boost.  Boost seems to be lows and highs (not mids).  I wish it could be a bit louder (for riding motorcyle), but probably best they don't, or I could further damage my fragile hearing.

CONVERSATION AROUND A TABLE IN A NOISY RESTAURANT:

Around a table at a noisy (outdoor) restaurant with a musician (thru a Bose L1 Compact) 25' away.  This is one place where the Hearphones SHINE!  I used Omni, 180, and 45 focus for varying situations and all worked as expected, helped a lot.  I did have to listen intently, but I could hear well, and noise was greatly reduced.  At times during this test I would drop the World Volume down, from boosting to Noise cancelling (below 0).  Noise went away, and I could still make out the voices,  though again, I had to REALLY listen.

CELL PHONE CALLS:

Phone calls are a joy!  I can hear beautifully, and am learning more about it all the time!  When World volume is at my normal level, a phone call is clean and clear, I understand every word(almost), something that I could NEVER do with hearing aids on, and it was worse with NO hearing aids.  Streaming phone calls is awesome.  I learned last night that by reducing World volume, and really clamping down the Noise cancelling, the voices are even better!  I can make phone calls again!!  It has put me back in touch with my out-of-town, adult children, and that is a blessing!!  THIS is probably the best reason I have for keeping the Hearphones.

So, if some of you musicians and/or hearing aid wearers are considering the Hearphones, I hope this has been helpful to you.  I have to say I would recommend them to both groups, depending on individual circumstances.  There is definitely something to love about them.

 

EDITED:

Update, I am really enjoying the Hearphones on my motorcycle, the Noise Cancelling is great, and I can hear the music well enough, especially with a (half) helmet, with a wind skirt, on.  Wind noise still comes thru anything that sticks out of your ear, and NC can't kill it, but that's the way it is with simple ear plugs as well.  The only thing better is using my Westone In-ear Monitors, they lay flat inside the ear, and they kill noise SO much that I might not hear a truck come roaring up behind me.  Hearphones will be safer, I can hear outside sounds, but they are softened just about right.

 

- Pete


 


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bhyde
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Sep 14, 2017

Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial.

Author Accepted Answer selected by DrumrPete

 

 


DrumrPete wrote:>> "Lots to think about, but in my opinion, buy them, it's WAY better than nothing, ...."

 

And I just did!  Thanks for the all the info and answering my questions.  Looking forward to their arrival!!

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13 REPLIES 13
bhyde
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Sep 14, 2017

Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial.

Pete -

 

Did you eventually decide to keep the Hearphones past the 30 day period?

 

-BH

DrumrPete
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May 16, 2017

Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial.

Hi BH,

Sorry to have been unclear, my mind is a bit scrambled these days, but YES, I kept the Hearphones.

I didn't decide until the last day, had still hoped to try them with a drumming gig, but it didn't happen, and hasn't yet.

 

I have wound up using them three or four times since then, it's been almost three weeks since trial ended.

Really enjoying them for motorcylcle riding, the noise cancellation is almost as good as ear plugs(@-50), and when I get off the bike, I don't have to do any switching from ear plugs to hearing aids, I just turn up the World volume, and I'm in business.

 

I went to see a great (not loud) rock trio last week, sat right next to them, guitar/vocal, Keys, and drums/vocal.

Things started out well, but  the drummer's hi-hat began to make the phones POP as they got louder, so I had to roll World volume down to -43 to -50 before it stopped.  Not surprising, as I was sitting RIGHT next to them, almost as close  to the drummer as to my own drumset when I play.  But it was fine, with NC on, it was pleasant, better than ear plugs. Here's a cell phone video  Youtube clip.

 

I later moved further back in the bar, to have a conversation with a fellow drummer,  and turned up World to around +20 and the sound was perfect.  I could hear my friend perfectly as well.  He also gave me feedback on my own voice level with the Hearphones in,  said he heard me well.  Can't wait to go see Dream Theater next month and see how they work there, in the middle of that acoustically near-perfect venue.

 

Is there anything I have not hit on that you are interested in knowing about?

bhyde
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Sep 14, 2017

Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial.

Pete -

 

Thanks for the follow-up!   As I noted, can't find any real reviews from end users except here.  Lots of Dec 2016 tech announcements, then nothing.

 

The additional info about easily using/adjusting the Hearphones to changing environments sounds like a win for me.  When I walk into a noise intensive environment I tend to flinch from the overload.  Usually happens with crowd voices/machinary/resturants/etc .. but not usually with music.  Not a constant condition - some days better than others so I never know until I experience the noise in the environment.  On bad days having a meaningful conversation is not likely.

 

The bike bit is really interesting.  Have a Ultra-Classic HD and the Hearphones might be perfect as you described.

 

The battery issue is nagging me a bit, though.  If used daily for the full 10 hours then the unit is pretty much at the end of it's service life in about 2 years.

 

 

DrumrPete
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Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial.

Hi bhyde,

You Said:

Thanks for the follow-up!   As I noted, can't find any real reviews from end users except here.  Lots of Dec 2016 tech announcements, then nothing.

**********************************************************

You are welcome.  I am a freak about information, often offering too much, too soon.  Glad to be of any help.

 

You Said:

The additional info about easily using/adjusting the Hearphones to changing environments sounds like a win for me.  When I walk into a noise intensive environment I tend to flinch from the overload.  Usually happens with crowd voices/machinary/resturants/etc .. but not usually with music.  Not a constant condition - some days better than others so I never know until I experience the noise in the environment.  On bad days having a meaningful conversation is not likely.

 ********************************************************

It takes a bit of getting accustomed to, but the World Volume, above and below "0" can do lots of interesting, and not readily apparent things.  As you decrease the fader below 0, you get noise cancelling, and reduction in overall volume, and in some cases it makes hearing voices harder, in others, easier.  I am not sure of answers yet, as to what works best for hearing voices.  Experimentation is the key.  The ease of tweaking things is quick  and handy, and I love experimenting. 

 

You said:

The bike bit is really interesting.  Have a Ultra-Classic HD and the Hearphones might be perfect as you described.

 ********************************************************

The only issue is the size of the Hearphones, sticking out of your ears, that creates windnoise that is quite noticeable, BUT other earplugs that have removal posts sticking out of them also create windnoise.  The Noise Cancelling quiets the bike greatly, but the wind is still there.  You have to turn the music up more than you might now.  I often use musician's in-ear monitors, and they are custom fitted, nothing sticks out of the ear, so they are VERY quiet, and you don't have to turn the music up much AT ALL to hear it.  My Galaxy 7 is plenty loud on 3-4 (out of 18).  The Hearphones require me to turn the cell up to the maximum safe level recommended, and the Hearphone Volume all the way, to hear it as well, over the wind noise.  A helmet makes the experience better all around.

 

You said:

The battery issue is nagging me a bit, though.  If used daily for the full 10 hours then the unit is pretty much at the end of it's service life in about 2 years.

***************************************************************************

EXACTLY!  The BIG drawback, and the big snag for me in the beginning.  Replaceable batteries like hearing aids use would be way better, but I'm sure there is a space issue that makes that impractical for Bose.  I heard it said that the Hearphone battery should charge up to 80% after 500 chargings.  So if you charge it once a day, then two years is about right.  $250/yr.  My Starkey aids, at 4-1/2 yrs old, average out at $1,444/yr.  They might make it another year or so, but my remote died years ago, and is only replaceable for $250.  No cell phone app remote.  So the Hearphone is by far cheap, even if you replace them every year.

 

With Hearphones only, to help with your hearing, you have to plan your charging around your neediest scheduled events in your life.  It's bad when they go dead, and you need them.  I get about 8 hours if I DO NOT stream music, less if I do.  The Hear app runs down your phone quickly too, if you tweak a lot.

 

Lots to think about, but in my opinion, buy them, it's WAY better than nothing, and they are fun to tinker with.

Maybe buy another set, down the road, so you always have one charged.  Still cheaper than hearing aids.

 

bhyde
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Sep 14, 2017

Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial.

Author Accepted Answer selected by DrumrPete

 

 


DrumrPete wrote:>> "Lots to think about, but in my opinion, buy them, it's WAY better than nothing, ...."

 

And I just did!  Thanks for the all the info and answering my questions.  Looking forward to their arrival!!

View solution in original post

DrumrPete
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May 16, 2017

Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial. With update

Gig Report

Finally got to use the HearPhones for a live gig, a country trio, bass, guitar, and drums, 3 voices, nice volume.

The phones worked ONLY in full-on Noise Cancelling mode, World Volume at -50.

Sounded much like it does when I use ear plugs, but maybe let in just a little more sound, not a bad thing.

Any higher on the volume setting, -49 and up, and the cymbals caused them to choke up (Pop).

As in my garage trial, the drums themselves did not cause the issue, only the cymbals.

 

 

DrumrPete
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Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial. With update

4 months down the road, I still loves seeing the Hearphone case on my desk, but I rarely use  them.

When I do, it's usually for long distance cell phone calls, and I love them for that.

 

Occasionally I will take them out-for-dinner at a nice place, and one with live music, they work well.

I have been letting my wife use them more than myself.

She loves them for dinner & music dates.

She does not like having to recharge them, nor troubleshoot when they don't come right on, or lose connections.

She still needs me for that, and that is a good thing.

 

I have still not gone on to buy another (more advanced) set of Stakey hearing aids.

Having the old ones, and the Hearphones, has held that at bay so far.

 

 

 

Xyz987
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Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial.

That makes two of us as hearing challenged drummers.

DrumrPete
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Re: Hearphones and the hearing challenged Drummer - A 30 day trial.

Hi jimgfitz,

 

I hope my post helped you with a decision on the Hearphones.

Did you buy a set?

 

While I'm here, I'd like to tell folks that I have started using the Hearphones more often.

In the morning during my excersize period, I use them for music listening, while still being aware of family.

I connect them to my Macbook and iPad Mini.

It's nice walking the eliptical, listening to music, and being able to hear when my wife gets up.

 

Nice for relaxing and browsing Youtube on the Macbook too, never miss a word or a note.

Also nice that connecting to great quality music does NOT disconnect me from people around me.