Airdrive Headphones Review

Post by blogger | February 13, 2008      

Lou got these things as part of some PR “seeding” project a while back. He doesn’t listen to tunes as a way of life like everyone else in the world, so turned the product over to me.

As stated before here on WildSnow, “the idea with these things is they don’t plug up your ears” and allow external sound to enter the ear unobstructed. What can I say, the do what they claim. I’ve been very happy to cruise around town and hear someone shout my name from across Main Street all the while enjoying the soothing sounds of Kenny G or John Tesh. Or taking them skinning and know that my skinning partner is stopping behind me to take a break. Okay, I lied. I’ve never been in front of anyone skinning up anything, but if that ever happens, I’ll hear them!

I think these will come in especially handy during the sunny seasons while mountain biking. With the ability to hear upcoming bikers and hikers and avoid a singletrack collision.

The over-the-ear setup keeps them on my head more and dangling by a cord less. My iPod earbuds barely stay in during a jaunt across town to WildSnow HQ, and in cold weather, they require at least three adjustments for the 1 mile ride (picture a Colorado highway, no shoulder, icy, and a biker swerving into the northbound lane just to hear the climactic end to…). And the inline volume adjustment is perfect for those times when you don’t feel like pulling your valuable mp3 player out into the snow/rain but need to turn it up to jam over the noise of your elderly friend’s mobile-pollution-generating-snow-access-device (grin).

The biggest negative for the Airdrive’s is slightly less musical “depth”. Sometimes they sound a little muted. And if you get caught on the bus near a crying baby, you will hear the bleating and there will be no escape.

Overall, Airdrive Earphones are a great addition to anyone’s portable audio quiver. Mine are definitely making a regular appearance with my iPod. So, a Wildsnow thumbs up and the ubiquitous shopping link that supports the blog.


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6 Responses to “Airdrive Headphones Review”

  1. Mikemcee February 13th, 2008 9:16 am

    I’m sure the headphone review was great but he lost me at Kenny G and John Tesh. Please let Louie do the headphone reviews from now on!

  2. EZE February 13th, 2008 10:19 am


    Great review, but I’m with Lou: when in the backcountry I love to hear the sounds of nature, including that wonderful silence after a fresh dump of snow!

    Later, EZE

  3. Thomas February 13th, 2008 12:36 pm

    wouldn’t the same thing be achieved by having regular headphones at a lower setting?
    Lou, headphones aren’t BC gear,unless they’re for an old beacon….or maybe to drown out the sled noise!

  4. Alex February 13th, 2008 12:09 pm

    I must say, I have difficulty with the idea of utilizing anything which may remotely diminish my ability to hear while in the backcountry. I typically will not ski out of the area with my alpine helmet (which covers the ears) for this reason. Long winded story below:

    On a recent foray into our snow drenched mountains, I was wearing my helmet for whatever reason. My partner and I had decided to ski a pitch, requiring us to break protocol and loose sight of one another for a hundred or so vertical feet. He skied first. Low and behold, as soon as he dropped out of sight, I heard a muffled scream. Seconds later, the air-born avalanche thundered to the valley floor.

    Pausing for a moment to gain composure, I was certain of his doom. Spotting a safe zone just above the convexity, I skied the dozen or so stressful turns to gain a vantage point. Peering over the roll, I spotted my buddy on his skis, unharmed and hauling ass away from the belly of the beast. Panicked by the slide, he continued his traverse to a ridge, out of sight. I was able to catch him on his phone to check-in: He was okay and in a safe spot about a quarter of a mile away. I on the other-hand was now alone, part-way down the pitch leading directly to hell.

    In the end, it all worked out. I was able to navigate the remaining pitches safely and we lived to enjoy the incredible snow as of late. What I learned later that day cemented my opinion on the headphone, ear covering, sense disabling matter: Once the slide had cleared, my partner was yelling up to me that he was okay and to absolutely not put myself in any danger by skiing the first part of the pitch. I really wish I had heard those words before skiing.

    I will likely never know if I would have been able to hear those calls had I not been wearing my helmet. One thing is for certain however, I will never consciously hinder any of my senses while playing in our marvelous backcountry.

  5. dave downing February 13th, 2008 8:57 pm

    Ok, so the Kenny G wasn’t taken as a joke, but it was. If you must know, I would probably be listening to Operation Ivy or Pennywise. Shheesh:)

    As for the wonderful sounds of the backcountry, I agree, a silent snow fall, running water, etc is what we get out for. Whoever, you must remember that many people end up skinning up the resorts during High Avi Danger, or only have time to bike a quick lunch loop (in the summer), both of which often sound like amusement parks and barking dogs. So a little audio distraction is nice. Or a good rhythm to get your pace going up a long slog. I definitely don’t wear head phones all the time, but these are good when I do.

    As for simply turning my headphones down (as suggested by Thomas) still doesn’t account for the fact that I basically have an earplug in (or earmuffs on). You can mute your music and still have audio issues. The Airdrive’s do NOT cover your ear canals at all. so when muted, you hear everything.

    Finally, regarding Alex’s story, that’s the reason that I pretty much always mute my music once at the top of a mtn, b/c backcountry communication is key.

  6. David P February 14th, 2008 12:02 am

    Another potential problem that in his beacon test an iPod Nano disrupted the beacon signal. I don’t remember if it was in search or transmit mode, but although this might not be too much of an issue on a low angle approach in non-hazardous terrain, forgetting to turn the thing off could have very unpleasant repercussions.

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