It has been a while since I have tried out headphones with a cable. It has been all about premium sound or not a skerrick of a wire in sight. Wires are just not cool apparently, or so I thought, until I tried out the Jaybird Tarah Pro.
Yes, I was sceptical at first and have grown to love the lack of wires on my headphones. If I want premium sound either at the gym or at home I’ll get out the over the ear noise-cancelling headphones or the waterproof on-ear headphones. If I want to just listen to music for a short period I’ll grab the true wireless ear buds. Maybe not any more.
Jaybird sent us a set of their new premium in-ear athletic headphones to test out and they have changed my life — okay, a tad too strong there but I am no longer a wire-hater.
What’s in the box?
In the box is what every headphone manufacturer gives you — the headphones (funny that), three sets of ‘interchangeable fins and tips and pivoting buds’, a carry case and most disappointingly, a proprietary charging cable/dock. The charging cable/dock charges the headphones using pogo pins on the back of the inline remote which is annoying, especially when a vast majority of other manufacturers are using microUSB and USB-C to charge their headphones. The charging dock does have quick charge capabilities though with five minutes of charging providing two hours of playtime — just make sure you carry that proprietary dock with you at all times.
Design and hardware
The design is one area where these headphones excel.
It could be the way their fin/tips fit into the external auditory canal so well once the correct size is found — and it’s not that difficult to find the correct size. Very occasionally people have some weird shaped ears (yes, you know who you are and no tips will fit your ‘different’ ears) and they may struggle — but those people already know to steer clear of this type of headphone. These headphones actually set comfortable in my ears without without being jammed into the earhole so they hurt. I barely even noticed they were in which is unusual for me.
It could be the cloth/cotton weave that is on the behind the neck cable — most headphones of this variety will have a rubber/plastic cable which will often grip or stick to the back of the neck when turning the head. This can interfere with the fit and seal the headphones have in the ear as the grabbing may dislodge them from the ear.
The cloth cable can be shortened using the slider a the back so that they do not hang too far and risk being caught on something. This helped the fit even more. It did take a while to find the right length that allowed decent head movement without being too short that any head movement dislodges the earbud from the ear while at the same time not being too long that they get caught in clothing etc. Once I found that correct length though they felt great on.
Of course what piece of gym equipment would be complete without some form of waterproofing. The Tarah Pros are IPX7 sweat and waterproof but this time I did not test them out in the shower. You will have to take Jaybirds word for that one this time. IPX7 means that it is protected against heavy splashing and rain. Protected against short durations of water immersion. Max immersion for less than 30 minutes and at a depth of less than 1 meter.
Each ear bud has a magnet inside it to attach them to each other when either sitting in the carry case of when around the neck so they don’t fall off and get lost. This snap-locking of the earbuds to each other pauses the music and turns off the headphones. Disconnecting them from each other turns them back on. They can also be turned off using the power button on the inline remote — detaching the earphones after using this button to turn them off will NOT turn the headphones back on, just as it should be.
The earphones can also turn themselves off if ‘idle, not moving or snaplocked’ with the options for this function being: don’t turn off, or turn off after 15 min or 60 min. This functionality was great as I have used headphones that stayed on while not in use just because they were connected to my phone — it is hell trying to answer a phone call when your phone is connected via Bluetooth to a set of headphones that are not near you (and you don’t know they are connected).
Sound and software
I’m going to lump sound and software into a single heading because the software is what makes the sound so good — and yes the sound is good, very good.
The Jaybird app is not only used to change what each button on the inline remote does, to ‘find my buds’, to tell you the battery percentage of the headphones, and decide the auto-off timing but it is used to control the sound type or equaliser of the music.
Logging in I was able to see the favourite sound profiles I had saved from the other Jaybird headphones I own and easily check them out on the new headphones. These profiles can be edited yourself or you can choose form the hundreds of profiles within the app or in their community pages. Settling for my usual sound profile I was amazed at how they sounded.
Last time I used a Jaybird headphone was the Jaybird Run XT. At the time I was extremely happy with them saying that they were the best true wireless headphones I had ever used. It seems the wire makes all the difference though as the Jaybird Tarah Pro sounded so very much better. The sound was crisper with better and clearer mids and highs with that ‘muffled’ sound absent.
The headphones did seem to lack the bass that some of the true wireless try and have. I say ‘try’ because when listening closely to them the bass that seems to emanate from the true wireless (Run XT in this case) is more of a dull muffle than a true punchy bass.
I was extremely happy with the sound quality I was getting with these headphones — what a difference a wire makes. Sure the wire can get in the way with some headphones and even these ones do not have the freedom of a set of true wireless earbuds but the sound is so very much better, for all types of music.
So who should buy these?
Many will still think they prefer workout / sport headphones that are truly wireless but if you found a set of wired ones, such as these, that sound significantly better and the cord does not hinder (I won’t say at all but I will say extremely minimally) movement why wouldn’t you use them.
This is how I feel about these headphones. While they do not look much different to so many other wired workout headphones out there their sound is amazing, the cable does not interfere with most movements and they fit extremely comfortably. I can recommend these headphones to anyone looking for an in-ear set of sweat and water proof headphones.
Not cheap though at a RRP of $249.95 you do get what you pay for. They sound great, fit great and look great. Grab them from the Jaybird website or any decent store that sells headphones such as JB Hi-Fi (they are $20 off this week at JB Hi-Fi).
due to my manky ears it is not safe to return these