Back in the days, nobody would imagine taking any sort of electronics near, let alone into the water for fear of damaging the device’s internal circuits. But thanks to advancements in technology, waterproof electronics are now available on the market and for a very affordable price. No longer are headphones relegated to home or gym use only, as even swimmers can now enjoy listening to music while in the pool. One such pair of waterproof headphones is the Swimbuds.
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When it comes to headphones that can perform underwater, check any website online and chances are the Swimbuds rank at the top of the list. Obviously, the audio quality cannot be compared to regular headphones, but they sound decent enough for music and audio. The fact that you can listen to tunes underwater is already a huge plus point.
Done in an ‘earbud’ style, their small and compact design holds a 10mm driver unit which produces clear and well-balanced stereo sound. With a frequency response of 20Hz to 20,000Hz, the headphones are able to play across all ranges, from lows to mids and highs.
2nd Generation HydroBeat technology means that they handle bass and trebles well. However, users will probably find them more suited to modern music rather than classical or acoustic where detailing is crucial. They have a sensitivity of around 102dBs, with a maximum input power of 30mW. Since they are made for use with similarly waterproof devices such as the underwater iPod series, the headphones have a low impedance of just 16Ohms.
One great thing about the Swimbuds is that there is minimal distortion or muffling, even while underwater. While there are no worries about bothering other people with loud music in the pool, these headphones do keep sound leakage to a minimum, so that users can enjoy a full and private listening experience
For general use, the Swimbuds lose out to regular headphones, lacking punch and clarity. Sound appears tiny and forced, since the opening on the top of the earbuds are a miniscule 0.07 inches – a necessary feature in order to keep them waterproof. Most regular earbud style headphones have openings that are much larger to allow more sound to escape, but this spells death when exposed to water. Even so, they work just like regular headphones outside of an aquatic environment, and can be plugged into any device with a standard 3.5mm jack.
Design and Build
Swimming, especially for professional athletes, is all about fluidity and speed. This is why most swimming equipment is designed to be ‘ergonomic’ and ‘aerodynamic’, allowing swimmers to slice through the water with minimal resistance. The same goes for the Swimbuds .For one, they are extremely lightweight. Weighing just 0.5 ounces, users will barely feel them inside the ears, so they can be worn for long training sessions at the pool. If you’re still sceptical about water getting in to damage the circuits, the company claims that they are 100% waterproof., with an IPX8 waterproof standard rating.
Preventing water from getting in is just one feature. The headphones also have to be made from anti-corrosive material, since chlorine or other impurities in the water might corrode the items over time. While the plastic body and rubbery cable makes them corrosion resistant, the most problematic part would be the plug. The Swimbuds have resolved this by using a gold-plated stereo jack.
The buds come in a simple white color and are as discreet as earbud style headphones go.
For underwater headphones to work well, a tight seal is needed to ensure that no water gets into the ears and interferes with your listening experience. As swimming can be a vigorous activity, there is a constant worry of the headphones shifting position or popping out while performing back flips or strokes. However, rest assured that the headphones will stay in place – provided users have the right tips in.
The Swimbuds come with flanged ear buds, which expand to seal the ears and prevent water from entering. They offer a customized fit, with three sizes that mold to different ear canals, whether big or small. There are also ‘round’ tips that don’t seal the ears, so you can use these for other water activities such as kayaking or paddle boarding.
The tips are small, which makes them easy to lose in the pool, but they can be easily replaced and are sold separately. The headphones also come with removable ear hooks to secure them into place while doing active aquatic sports.
Taking into account the need to be as unobtrusive as possible, the headphones have a very short cord – measuring just 10 inches. The cord tucks easily under a swimcap or around a google strap, ensuring a hassle-free experience free form annoying tangles. For above water use, the headphones have an audio extension cord of up to 39 inches.
For safety reasons, they are not recommended to use below 3ms (10ft) in depth, as water pressure can cause irreversible damage when you have a tight seal in your ears.
Pros and Cons
- 100% waterproof, can be submerged no deeper than 10 ft
- Small and compact
- Lightweight and unobtrusive design
- Short cord for convenience
- Decent sound quality underwater
- Three differently sized tips for customized fit, and round buds for regular use
- Can be used for swimming and water activities, such as kayaking
- Audio lacks punch for above water listening, tiny sound
If one can have headphones at the gym or while working out, it’s only natural to want to have them while swimming – and the Swimbuds offer that at an affordable price. The audio is not the best above water, but they weren’t made for regular use anyway. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones to listen to tracks underwater, then these are the ones to go for.