But slip on a set of Yurbud adapters and things immediately become much better. The guitars all sound smoother, more full-bodied and richer, with greater depth. Transient sounds such as picks sweeping across strings or fingers gliding into position over frets, suddenly sound more balanced and much smoother, so that they remain clear yet lose the piercing, hard-edged quality that the stock earbuds exhibit. Granted, some listeners might wish for a bit more high frequency extension and “air” surrounding the instruments, but apart from this minor deficiency, the Yurbud-equipped earbuds do a very nice job.
Another revealing track is “You Have Loved Enough”, from Leonard Cohen’s Ten New Songs [Sony], which presents a variety of challenges. Cohen, of course, has a famously low voice that makes up through rich textures and subtle inflections what it may lack in actual range. The track, in turn, relies both on female backing vocalists, deceptively simple keyboard and percussion instrumental support, plus a deep, rolling bass line that helps drive the song forward. Through stock earbuds, the sound is simply a mess. Percussion sounds loud and splashy yet lacks definition, sibilant vocal sounds (and there are a lot of them on this track) are so overwrought that they’ll make you want to turn the song off, and both the bottom end of Cohen’s voice and of the rolling bass line are more or less missing in action. Not good.
But again, the Yurbuds transform the sound of the earbuds, making significant, across-the-board improvements. Percussion smoothes out, transient sounds remain clearly audible but lose the hard, "pingy" edges they previously exhibited, while sibilant vocal sounds are tamed to a point where they no longer sound painfully overcooked. The biggest change, however, involves the lower register (come to think of it, the only register) of Cohen’s voice and the bass line down below; with the Yurbuds in place, both take on appropriate, depth, weight, and richness, representing a major improvement over the sound of the stock earbuds.
The Yurbuds fit firmly within your outer ears, yet without applying excess pressure. The outlet “nozzle” of the Yurbud adapter channels sounds to your ear canals, yet without inducing the “Help, my ears are being attacked by giant Q-tips!” sensations that some in-ear headphones entail.
You can order Yurbud adapters as a standalone product, or with aftermarket Apple-type earbuds (which Yurtopia calls Yurphones).
If you’ve been dissatisfied with either the sound quality or ergonomic of box-stock earbuds, help is on the way in the form of Yurtopia’s affordable Yurbuds earbud enhancers. You might think it would be impossible for such simple devices to make a big difference in performance, but in practice the Yurbuds work exactly as advertised. They literally transform the sound of stock earbuds while making it possible for you to listen happily at lower volume levels. They also improve fit and wearer comfort (especially for athlete/listeners), while offering a level of customization unprecedented at this price.
Yurtopia Yurbud Earbud Enhancers
· Semi-custom fitted left/right slip-on earbud adapters.
· (Optional) Pair of Apple-type earbuds, called Yurphones.
· Nylon carry pouch with zipper closure.
Price: $20 (adapters only), or $30 (adapters plus a set of Apple-type earbuds).