mk5 Isolator Earphones by Etymōtic
The newest addition to Etymōtic’s line of isolator earphones, mk5 Isolator Earphones are designed to tune out ambient noise so that you can hear every detail of your music. Use this for your commute as you listen to your music; or plug them in when you’re recording for your in-ear monitoring.
While noise isolating sounds the exact same as noise cancelling, there is a distinct difference. For one, the mk5 doesn’t rely on electronics – instead, it seals the earths in the ear canal to provide 35dB of isolation (when properly fitted). This method is called “passive isolation” and has some benefits over active cancelation. The first being that no batteries are needed (a great thing in this day and age when it seems like everything needs battery power of some sort)! The second is the compact design; noice cancelling headphones tend to be bulky and sometimes uncomfortable. Finally, noise isolation, when done right, is more effective at blocking out noise across the entire frequency spectrum.
To find out just how effective these earphones are at isolating noise, Quench contributing editor Tod Stewart tested these out during a flight. Here’s what he had to say:
“It’s been shown that engine noise during flights can really cause fatigue…but I could certainly tell you that without scientific proof! I’ve never been able to sleep on airplanes and, combined with the jet lag, I typically off-board feeling like a complete zombie. The Etymōtic mk5s have been a bit of a godsend. They’re light, comfortable, affordable – about $65 [USD] – compact, and sound great. They cut out ambient noise considerably and, unlike noise ‘cancelling’ headphones, they don’t need batteries. Getting off an Air Canada jet after a 13-hour flight to Japan having worn sound-isolating ear buds, I was amazed that I actually felt refreshed.”
Quite effective, these little earbuds are a comfortable alternative to the standard headphones on the market. They’ll let you listen to your music without having to turn the sound up super loud. A bonus for anyone who likes a little background music while they travel.