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Technocel Ear Vibe

Looking for a little more than just sound from your ear buds? Check out the Technocel Ear Vibe which provides crystal clear sound and vibrates with the bass in the music.

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Introduction

Looking to add a little spice to your music or gaming? For quite a while now Dolby speakers have utilized large Bass speakers to add a little oomph to games and the right amount of bass makes music sound even better. We especially like the Bass effect in games when the bass is close enough to feel the sound pulsate when explosions go off in close proximity.

Sometimes you just can’t crank up the Dolby setup because it disturbs the people around you or you’re on the go. So how do you get a little of the Bass effect when you need your music fix or are on the road? Technocel has released the Ear Vibe ear buds that vibrate with low frequency bass giving you a peaceful environment for those around you yet provides a little of the Bass cannon thrill through vibration.

Compatible with any Laptop, MP3 player, phone, or computer with a 3.5mm female sound output the Ear Vibe is a unique product that provides the portability you need. Not only do you get portability you get that little extra vibration during low frequency Bass music and game sounds that adds a little extra to the experience.

Specifications

Well for specifications we don’t have very much formal information. Technocel isn’t even selling the Ear Vibe yet and details are sparse on the home website. If you’d like to check out the current Ear Vibe page you can find it here. The Ear Vibe page has already changed once since we received the product and it’s pre-launch so it may change again. Then the product we received doesn’t look like the posted image so we may be looking at a beta version of the Ear Vibe.

Here’s what we found about the Ear Vibe on the Technocel webby.

The Technocel Ear Vibe™, the first stereo headset that vibrates to the beat of your music, providing you  with the ultimate music listening accessory. The Ear Vibe™ will literally vibrate when your tunes hit the low frequency bass, taking your listening experience to the next level. It features high-fidelity stereo sound and includes a microphone for hands free voice calls for clear conversation and music. The Ear Vibe™ is compatible with most mobile phones that have music playing capability, as well as all mp3 players including the Apple iPod.

From that all we can really tell you without assuming anything is that the Ear Vibe vibrates with low frequency Bass, is a high fidelity stereo ear bud and has a microphone for hands free calls and gaming. Like we mentioned earlier, it has a standard 3.5mm sound jack, so it should work with any device with a 3.5mm female jack. To get stereo sound, that jack will of course need to be capable of stereo output.

Pictures

Being pre-launch we didn’t recieve retail packaging and the Ear Vibe arrived in a plain small plastic baggie.

Here’s a shot of what we found for the Ear Vibe on the Technocel webby and you can see they look dramatically different than what we received.

For all intents and purposes, the Ear Vibe looks about like any other set of ear buds we’ve ever seen that don’t use the soft rubber sound dampening ear plug type design. The little white bulge on the right ear buds wire is the microphone.

Technocel uses a fine wire mesh over the 15 hole ear buds and the 3.5mm jack is outfitted for stereo sound. From our experience trying to push Dolby onto a set of ear buds is short of useless and straight stereo 2.0 without all the channel splitting and simulated Dolby pumped at the ear buds just sound better.

Looking at the side profile of the Ear Vibe you can make out the Vibe name on the ear buds but that’s about the only resemblance to the picture we found on the Technocel webby.

The Ear Vibe is about the same size as most of the high quality ear buds we’ve come in contact with and we put a dime next to them for scale.

The Ear Vibe is just a hair or two smaller than the dime and as far as comfort went we used them with no discomfort for several sessions lasting from 1 – 5 hours both gaming and listening to an MP3 player and phone music.

For comparison purposes we listened to the same music and played the same games on a set of Apacer ear buds that came with our 1GB Apacer MP2 player. The Apacer 1GB MP3 player has a 1.2 inch 320×240 screen and provides sound that rivals the iPod it replaced. Our iPod went the way of so many other MP3 devices and the rechargeable battery sprang a leak ruining it. The Apacer has held up to the rigors of the lab for a couple of years now and provided many hours of enjoyment during long benching sessions.

Methodology

There are no benchmarks or quantitative methods to give you nice charts on the Ear Vibe and charts wouldn’t translate the listening experience anyway. What we did was fire up our Apacer (AU822) 1GB MP3 player our Laptop (well equipped with music) and an MP3 capable phone. For gaming we went with HexZilla our i7 980x sitting on an Asus P6T6 WS Revolution board. Then we played a 1 hour playlist of songs on the Apacer earbuds and the Ear Vibe. Played MP3′s from the Laptop, gamed on HexZilla, and made calls and listened to music on an iPhone 3GS. We repeated each test with both sets of ear buds totaling more than 20 hours of listening.

Results

Gaming

Gaming on HexZilla we chose Wolfenstein and Dark Void and both of them sounded sharp and clear on the Ear Vibe. No notable distortion or sound corruption was evident. You could easily tell that the sound from the Ear Vibe exceeded the quality of the Apacer earbuds and rivaled the quality of the sound from our Razer Moray Gaming Earbuds. During Wolfenstein we noticed that during explosive sequences you could feel the Ear Vibe gently vibrating in the ear which was good for a small adrenaline boost that is similar to the effect you get from having the Bass on a Dolby close to where you are sitting. It wasn’t as large a startle as you get from a Dolby 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setup but it was a little startling. It doesn’t feel like the Ear Vibe has a mechanical vibrator built in it feels more like it has a resonance chamber that amplifies the sounds vibrations slightly.

The vibrations were greater than a normal set of earbuds but not enough to be annoying or more than slightly distracting. Here’s the deal though, having been in the military I can tell you that having an explosion anywhere close to you is distracting to say the least. So the Ear Vibe provides a little of that sensation but without the splitting headache and ringing in the ears. (We were blown through the back of a sod artillery spotting bunker in Germany at the Black Forrest arty range. The offending munition was 500lb bomb dropped from a plane and the pressure wave from the explosion threw me and my partner through the back of the sod bunker we had built. It was quite distracting and resulted in a splitting headache and ear ringing for hours)

Music

We often listen to music in the lab during benching but in this case we just listened to music from the Apacer MP3 player and iPhone 3GS while doing nothing. Well the television was on but the sound was muted.

During Music playback it was hard to find any songs that actually triggered any vibrations so we had to hunt for a while to find any. What we did find that triggered the sensation we were looking for was Flight of the Valkyrie by Richard Wagner. During Flight of the Valkyrie you could feel the slight vibration of the earbuds during some of the bass and percussion segments. During playback of Smash Mouth Walking on the Sun we got some vibration and during some of the songs we got momentary vibration but not enough to notice without paying attention to is specifically.

Sound reproduction was good quality and the comfort of the Ear Vibe never came into question.

Making calls from the iPhone

Well the incoming sound from calls was quite good and we could make out everything that the other party was saying with no problems. While inside the car and house the microphone worked well. While outside with a slight wind blowing the sound of the wind could be made out during the call and no noise canceling was evident so ambient sounds came through. Sound from the microphone wasn’t as good as from our Bluetooth headset or even from a Motorola hands free earphone we had leftover from an old LG phone we had. Lets put it this way the microphone on the Ear Vibe would do in a pinch but we wouldn’t game online with it or use it outside. Ambient sounds were evident and the voices coming over the microphone were somewhat distorted.

Conclusion

While sounds and music from the Ear Vibe were clear and distortion free the microphone left a lot to be desired. The Microphone would do in a pinch if your Bluetooth headset battery died but for gaming or conversations outside it’s use would be limited.

We were expecting a little more active vibration from the Ear Vibe because of the name. Ear Vibe implies that the ear buds are going to vibrate and we had trouble finding anything but explosions in games that triggered any noticeable vibrations. Still for stereo sound the Ear Vibe was pretty good without the Vibe and rivaled the sound from our high end Razer Moray gaming earbuds.

The Vibe part of the Ear Vibe was pretty minimal and if we hadn’t been specifically looking for it we might have missed it all together. We are torn on the Ear Vibe but apparently what we received was a Beta or Pre-production model and the final model might be a different story.

We would have a hard time with our conscience if we formally rated the Ear Vibe we received because we believe it is a pre-production model. We believe it’s a Beta or Pre-production model for early release at CES which is where we saw the product to begin with and it doesn’t match the pictures on the Technocel webby.

If we had to formally rate this product we would say it’s about 7 of 10 and stereo sound reproduction was good but the microphone and Vibe portions fell short.

We would invite Technocel to send a final retail product at a later date for reevaluation in the name of fairness.

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