March 24, 2019

Rechargeable Headphones - When Wires Are Good

There is new article in The Atlantic about the looming problem of users who purchased Apple AirPods when they first were introduced and they are now suffering from battery issues. Of course anyone who has used a Lithium Ion battery in the past ten years knows this was bound to happen sooner or later. PiPo batteries wear out, loosing their ability to hold a charge bit by bit each time they are drained and recharged. Then there is always of the issue of LiPo batteries developing a “memory” if they are not drained fully before being recharged as well.

The article is really more about the issues that arise as more LiPo devices are discarded due to battery life issues and what to do with the waste but that is not going to be my main topic here. While the waste is a concern, as well it should be, my argument is that this type of issue is the perfect reason why consumers should go back to realizing that sometimes, just maybe, wires aren’t bad. Just imagine a world where your headphones would work for as long as whatever they were connected to would work because they were *gasp* physically connected to the audio device! Not only would we solve the issue of having to deal with LiPo waste but the days of your headphones’ battery dying before you wanted to them to would be a think of the past.

Then there is the audio fidelity of wired headphones versus wireless headphones. Don’t get my wrong, I love my 3M Workphones that connect via bluetooth so that while I am sitting on the lawn mower I can listen to some tunes without wires hanging out of my pockets. However, When I want to listen to legit music in a way that I get the best audio quality possible, I plug in my headphones to my device and listen the old fashioned way. If I really want to get fancy, I also plug them into my headphone amp as well. Generally when I do this I am listening through my pair of Audio Technica m50x, Grado, or Mitchell & Johnson headphones to get the best sound I can. While none of these are Planar headphones (some day I will spend the money to get a pair) they are all much better sounding than almost anything you can find that are wireless at this point (don’t even get me started on Beats).

So come on people, break out your lightning to 3.5mm adapters and plug in those headphones! Let’s all get back to our audio roots and be eco-friendly at the same time.