Monday, February 1, 2010

Shop Tunes

I like to listen to my iPod in the shop. I subscribe to several podcasts, from news and current events to woodworking and comedy. I've tried a pair of Peltor WorkTunes, they are an excellent product, clear sound, and good radio reception (I worked in a concrete building). The problem I had with them is that they are too isolating, I couldn't tell if the machine was on, let alone working too hard.

For a couple of years I would let my earbuds float loose in the earmuff cup, and crank the volume all the way up. This allowed me to both hear the podcast and attenuated machinery noises. The problem with that is sometimes the bud would roll facedown in the cup and would become inaudible. It was also a bit of a hassle sticking the bud in my ear (I've got freaky ears, I can never get buds to stay in) then trying to get the muffs on.

I eventally wore out my buds and had to go shopping for a new pair. I picked up a pair of Panasonic Ear Drops for $10. Most of what I listen to is spoken word, so high-fidelity isn't much of a concern. Also, shop life is a tough life for electronics, so I don't want to invest too much in them.

These headphones have a handy clip built into the top:

The clip is intended for attaching the bud to your collar or to each other for storage, but I have another purpose.

I dissasembled my ear muffs. The outside cuff pops off, and the foam is pulled from the inside. I pushed a small plastic zip tie through the foam, zipped it into a small circle, and cut off the excess. I then re-assembled the muff, and clipped the bud to the zip tie.

Now the bud stays in the cup, pointed at my ear. I can still hear enough shop noise and I don't need to juggle the buds when I pop my muffs off. The sound quality is decent, too.

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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.