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Headbanger Ear Subs
Score: 92%
Developer: Headbanger Audio
Device Type: Audio


With its built-in amplifier, the Headbanger Ear Subs are for those PSP owners who are not content with the standard sound coming from games, MP3's or movies. These ear-phones not only pump up the volume, but with the form-fitting ear-plug designed ear buds, block out almost all external sound. The Ear Subs also comes with 2 different ear-bud sizes to help you find the best fit for you.

Though the model I have is designed to look best with the PSP (because of the ear phones' black look), they use a standard headphone jack so it can be used with anything from your i-Pod to your computer (it just might not match quite as well).

Since the amp is in-line and weighs a few ounces, Headbanger Ear Subs also come with three different carrying options. You can clip the small box to a belt loop with the small carabiner clip (a secure metal loop), snap it into the cradle clip attached to your belt (like a cell-phone case) or attach it to the "neck lanyard" -- a strap you put around your neck that can easily attach or detach from the amp. Though I used all three of these choices, I found myself using the lanyard most, but they all have their issues (more on that later).


So, how well do the Headbanger Ear Subs handle? Well, it seemed like no matter what I was listening to (whether it was a game or something from the MP3 playlist), the sound was excellent, clear and crisp. I found that I could really immerse myself into what I was doing, though I'm sure the Ear Subs' ability to block out almost all noise had a lot to do with that as well. How much noise-cancellation is involved? Let me put it this way - while driving to work, the Ear Subs completely cancel out the sound of my engine... mind you, I drive a 1973 VW Beetle that's about a month and a half overdue for a tune-up and oil change.

The amp's 2 'AAA' batteries (included in the pack) last several hundred hours making the little black box's power supply something that you rarely have to worry about.

  • Battery Powered Amplifier
  • 2 Interchangeable Pairs of Ear Inserts for Optimal Comfort
  • Reduces External Noise
  • Speed Chamber Technology Focuses Sound for Accuracy
  • 1 Year Limited Warranty
  • Removable Neck Lanyard
  • Carabiner Clip
  • Cradle Clip
  • Colored Black to Match the PSP
  • 2 'AAA' Batteries (INCLUDED)

Drawbacks & Problems::

I don't really have any problems with the Headbanger Ear Subs' audio capabilities. The sound is great and the ability to drown out (or cancel) external noises works wonderfully. The biggest issues I had with the package were with the various ways to attach the amp to your person. Normally I would say this is something that is beyond the function of the device and shouldn't really count against the piece of hardware, but since the amp adds weight to the Ear Subs and if not secured, has a tendency to pull the ear-buds out of your ears -- these carrying utilities are a necessity.

First the carabiner clip. It is the most secure of the three options and makes it easy to reach the amp's on/off switch, but if you need to break away from the audio device (for whatever reason), it becomes a hassle unclasping it from the metal ring and can't really be done quickly. As for the cradle clip, its problem was the exact opposite. I found that half of the time, the amp wouldn't stay clipped in and would fall out on a regular basis. Between that and the fact that when "secured" in the holster, the amps' power switch was mostly covered.

I said earlier that of the three options, I used the neck lanyard the most. That's because, of the three, it seemed to fit my needs the best -- though it isn't perfect. The amp clips to the neck strap with a simple plastic clip, making it very easy to just take off if and when you needed to get away from your PSP for a little while. Using the black box as a pendent also makes it easy to flip the power switch. Unfortunately, if you are planning on using this -- don't plan on having it hang off of your neck for any real length of time. Even though the amp weighs a couple of ounces, that constant strain can cause a little discomfort after a while.

Provided you find a good place for the weight (I recently discovered that my shirt pocket is just about perfect) and heed the warnings attached to the Ear Subs (which includes things like not turning on the Bass Boost feature on your PSP since it could damage the Subs and/or your ears), these ear phones can quickly replace any other models you might have laying around. Just give them a try.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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