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Thursday, 9 September 2010


For most people, the quality of their ear/headphones is measured by the sound they emit.  Yes it’s nice to have a stylish and somewhat quirky set, but ultimately, they’re for hearing justice being served to your favourite sounds, which vitally includes the often overlooked prevention of sound pollution from your surroundings. 

Headphones, unlike these, with additional (or as I refer to them, unnecessary) features have never appealed to me, after all, I just want sound to travel to my ears, with at least a hint of depth and clarity.

The UKs own Radiopaq have recently released their ‘Dots’ metal earphones, and just in time for me to replace my long-serving but tired Sony set, which (making them comparable with these Dots) cost me around £15 around 2 years ago.

Utilising nano-acoustic technology and described as ‘the tiny earphones with the big sound’, Dots seemingly held great promise, despite being ‘around 50% smaller than most standard earphones’.  I found this claim a little odd, given that in-ear phones are generally sized in the same ball park, right? 

Anyways, the first thing I enjoyed was being spoilt with the choice of colours.  I chose purple over the optional pink, blue, green, red, black or white ‘soft rubber silicone, tangle-resistant’ cable, which pleasingly measures 1.2m and looks great as it vibrantly catches the eye!

The in-ear cushions, which come in 3 sizes per pack (s/m/l), offer ‘superb, bi-directional sound isolation’. (I should highlight the fact that you really do need to find which size best fit your ears.  Using the size already fitted, I thought the earphones sounded empty and held no depth at all, but thankfully this changed after I swapped the cushions over). 

My initial fears of the earphones dropping from my ears were thankfully allayed, and actually proved to be very comfortable when I came to wear them.  So then let’s get down to the nitty-gritty shall we… what did I find upon plugging in the gold plated jack?  Did the dots live up to the hype and kick-out those all important jams? 

In order to conduct a proper test, I listened to the world’s best ‘travelling on a train CD’ (‘Giant Steps’ by the sorely missed Boo Radleys).

The sonic buffet was beautifully served, as the album shifted and soared between extremes of peace and panic, the Dots held their own!  The sound remained clear throughout, with no hint of distortion or distress.  What I did notice was the remarkable level of sound being held at bay from all around me; just the fact that I noticed was enough to convince me!

So, to summarise… you’ll do well to find a better looking, better sounding set of ear-goggles for your money.  And as redundant as it sounds, the only downside to these earphones is the colour.  It saddened me somewhat to learn that black or white are the most sensible colours (I know, they’re actually neutrals) to opt for, as they allow for a wider range of accessorising!  They’re an undeniably impressive product, which will prove somewhat disappointing to most when they learn that they’re incompatible with the IPOD Shuffle.  To most, they’ll prove to be a great purchase.    

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