Look further if: your main emphasis in on sound quality, pure and simple. While the Yurbuds dramatically improve the sound of stock earbuds, they nevertheless come in for some very stiff competition from dedicated in-ear headphones priced at (or just a little above) their price (two examples would be Skullcandy’s Titan in-ear headphones at $34.95 or NuForce’s NE-7M in-ear headset at $49)
Ratings: (relative to comparably price earbuds/in-ear headphones)
There is a night/day difference between the sounds of stock earbuds vs. the sound of those same earbuds fitted with Yurtopia’s Yurbud adapters. Sonic improvements appear in four important areas.
Bass: upper, mid, and lower bass frequencies all sound deeper, more full-bodied, and much, much better balanced once the Yurbud adapters are fitted. Instead of thin, anemic and ill-defined bass you’d hear from stock earbuds, the Yurbuds offer bass with real depth, power, and a measure of textural finesse. The improvement throughout the bass region is downright shocking.
Mids: midrange frequencies sound noticeably smoother and less brash with the Yurbud adapters in place. The stock earbuds exhibit a kind of false (but overly edgy and raw) midrange clarity, while with the Yurbuds fitted the sound, though still somewhat midrange forward, becomes significantly more relaxed and less abrasive.
Upper Mids/Highs: stock earbuds sound almost painfully splashy and “overheated” on upper midrange and high frequency transient sounds, while the Yurbuds smooth things out to a point where, if anything, some might find the highs sound slightly too recessed or “dark” sounding. But trust us on this one: gently subdued highs are infinitely preferable to the almost unbearable sizzle you’d hear from the stock earbuds.
Noise isolation/efficiency: the Yurbuds fit the contours of your outer ears quite closely, yet without imparting the airtight, “hermetically sealed” feel of traditional in-ear headphones. In the process, Yurbuds block out a lot of external noise while at the same channeling more of the output of your earbuds directly into your ear canals. As a result, you can enjoy very satisfying listen sessions with your iPod or iPhone’s volume controls set to about half the levels you might use with stock earbuds. Noise isolation may not be as good as with properly fitted in-ear ‘phones, but the tradeoff is that the Yurbuds do let you hear at least some external sounds, and are arguably easier to remove or re-insert than in-ear models are.
One record that underscores the improvements the Yurbudsearbud enhancers yield is Larry Coryell, Badi Assad, and John Abercrombie’s Three Guitars [Chesky], which showcases three master guitarists teaming for delicate and at times very intricate ensemble performances. A particular favorite is the album’s final track, “Timeless”, which features the distinct voices of each of the instrumentalists’ guitars, plus delicate hand percussion played by Assad. This is precisely the sort of track that highlights the shortcomings of stock earbuds, because they tend to reproduce picking and fingering noises as well as high frequency harmonics much too aggressively, making them sound somewhat hard and “spitty,” so that they detract from the overall performance. Stock earbuds also fail to capture the depth and weight of the lower registers of the instruments in play.