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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones

I really like my PSPgo PSP-N270 Bluetooth headphone remote, it's good quality and compatible with all my BT devices, but it still needs a wired set of headphones. Sure, they don't have to be tethered to the device but they're still tethered to the remote... and they get in the way sometimes. I've been looking for a true wireless BT headphone solution for some time.

I saw the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones [listing at The Source] on sale at The Source... I tried to research them to see if there was any review information out there but all I could find was Marc Saltzmans' Youtube video (which I will post at the end of this review).... apparently The Source has a no-return policy on headphones, so I ended up taking a chance-- plopped down my $39-something (including tax) to try them out and give a review!

What's in the box:
  • Headphones
  • proprietary power adapter-to-USB cable
  • 2 sets of rubber in-ear bud thingies
  • instruction foldout
  • nylon carrying pouch which feels really gross & smells funny

Product specifications (from the instruction foldout):

  • Bluetooth V2.1+EDR
  • Support profiles: Headset, Handsfree, A2DP, AVRCP
  • Operative range: Class 2, 10 metres (approx. 30 feet)
  • Battery: 170 mA rechargeable lithium
  • Talk time: up to 9 hrs
  • Music time: up to 8 hrs
  • Standby time: up to 16 days

They have a really small form factor. They fold up nicely, I could see these being very pocketable and in that respect even more convenient than my PSPgo bluetooth remote... I usually clip that to my shirt and wrap the headphone cord around my neck. With these, just take them off & slip them in my pocket.

The yellow stripe separates the 2 parts of the "cup". The outer side has a bit of a soft rubber feel which is comfortable when touching, say, while operating the controls or whatever. The inside of the cup that faces your head is hard plastic, but it doesn't actually touch your ears so it doesn't affect comfort.

I thought the band that connects the ear pieces was just a regular cable, but it's not-- it's a stiff flexible band that pulls the ear pieces toward your head keeping them in your ears. This is the direction of the pressure when it's stretched as if wearing it:

Despite that squeezing, it's fairly comfortable and feels very secure on the head.

As mentioned, the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones come with 2 sets of (medium & large size) rubber in-ear buds that you place over the actual headphone speakers:

They are soft rubber, but they kinda stab into your ear canal... like if you take a single sheet of paper, it's soft & flexible, right? But if you roll it up into a tube and push the end against something, it's quite rigid. That's sort of how the tube part of the buds feel.

Even though the rubber buds do a fairly ok-to-good job of outside noise isolation, for some reason the audio quality through the headphones is not as good.... it is amplified though.

So I've been using these foam covers I got from the Dollar Store years ago, for my PSP-1001(!) headphones.

They feel a lot more comfortable, the audio quality seems a bit better but there is no outside noise isolation.

I like the stylish control buttons, they kinda remind me of the Sony Walkman logo...

The buttons are easy to press, and are very clicky. In fact, they are a bit too clicky-- it's good that they are tactile enough to know you pressed them without being able to see them, but as they're right up against your ears, the clicking of the button presses is quite loud. There's also a lot of travel to them-- as in you have to press down on them quite a bit to register a press-- so you can't just press them with an index finger alone, you need your thumb to pinch the headphone cup when you press a button.

The bluetooth light flashes very infrequently, it seems like every 10 seconds or so. I suppose that's good for those that don't necessarily want to be a big flashing beacon while walking down the street or whatever. The instructions say that when the battery is low, it will flash red once every 15 seconds... once every 15 seconds??? Like who's gonna even notice that?? Not that you can even see the light while wearing them... so it may be difficult to tell when the battery runs out before it's too late.

Hold down the POWER/PLAY/PAUSE button for 4 seconds to turn the headphones on/off. Hold it for 7 seconds to pair the headphones with a device. I've paired them with all 3 of my BT devices: my Toshiba NB-205 netbook, Sony PSPgo, and my HTC Legend Android smartphone.

The right side has a port for a proprietary power adapter-to-USB cable. There's no wall adapter, you can only charge via USB out of the box. I suppose I may need to get a USB wall adapter some time, but for now I'm using my PC to charge it. And don't lose that proprietary cable... or uh-oh!

The power port on the headphones has a flimsy rubber stopper to cover it, but it never seems to stay in. I also think it will break off after a short time. It feels cheap.

Connecting the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones to my devices was fairly easy. I did have a bit of a hiccup when first pairing it to my HTC Legend, which is odd because it's the easiest of my devices to deal with bluetooth headphones-- the PSPgo remote had no trouble pairing with it. But it wasn't a big deal at all and eventually the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones paired with it fine. The only issue I have now is the PLAY/PAUSE button doesn't work with the HTC Legend-- it worked ONCE, but since then it doesn't seem to any more. Odd.

I paired the headphones to my PSPgo, and all the button functions work well with it. Had no problems pairing it. Of course the PLAY/PAUSE and TRACK+/- buttons don't work in SensMe, but I think that's more a problem on the PSPgo end as the other remote has the same issue.

And when I need to re-connect the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones to my PSPgo after using it with another device like my phone, when I connect it it gives me this error:

But it still connects. Go figure. I have similar/worse problems with the PSPgo BT remote after using it with other devices also, so I also chalk it up to another PSPgo BT issue rather than the headphones.

I haven't used the MIC on the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones yet, so I can't comment on the quality of it or the phone functions. In his video, Marc Saltzman says something like "there's a MIC, but these are primarily headphones" which sounds like the MIC is probably nothing to write home about. Still, with it's placement it might be better than the PSPgo remote's MIC.... I haven't used that one either but I can't see it as being very effective. At least this one is close to your face.

So the sound quality of the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones.

Unfortunately, sound quality is mediocre.

They don't sound BAD necessarily, but I've been rocking my Creative EP-630 earbuds on my PSPgo Bluetooth remote, and those sound really good. They are my favourite earbuds, I have 2 pairs of them. Maybe I am spoiled since I rarely use average sounding earbuds anymore.

The audio from the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones is a bit muffled. Yes, bluetooth audio in general is not as good as through regular cables, but I'd say the PSPgo Bluetooth remote audio has better fidelity... but it also have a bit of background hiss, like Sony's Mega-Bass system used to. The HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones don't have any hiss at least. And using foam covers rather than the supplied rubber ear buds slightly improves the audio quality.... but again, at the cost of lack of noise isolation that the rubber buds provide.

The range is advertised as 10 metres, about 30 feet. With my PSPgo, I find that the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones do work at that range (with a some audio cut outs) but with my HTC Legend, the range is much much shorter. I'm not sure why, because my PSPgo remote also has the same range and it's the same with both the PSPgo and the HTC Legend.

I bought the HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones on sale for like $34.99... apparently their regular price is $70.00? $70.00 is way too much for these, but if you're looking for some affordable bluetooth headphones in the under-$50.00 range, there's not much selection in Canada. In the U.S. they seem to have much more choice like from Amazon.com or wherever, but here in Canada I've rarely (maybe never) seen bluetooth headphones for $35.00. Don't expect too much from them, but they're compact, easy to use, fairly comfortable (when using foam covers) and work as advertised.

If you only need one bluetooth headphone device, I might the PSPgo remote over these because it's pretty good and works surprisingly well with other devices like my HTC Legend... though I haven't tried it with an iPhone/iPod touch and can't guarantee it'll work with all devices. But for a budget set of bluetooth headphones, this isn't bad... not that we in Canada have much choice.

Marc Saltzman's HeadRush Adrenaline Bluetooth headphones video overview :



Anonymous said...

I bought the HeadRush AB headphone yesturday, this is my personal review:

1) Audio quality: 2 out of 5 stars
2) Comfort: 3 out of 5 stars (without the ear silicon taps).
3) Mic quality: 4 out of 5 stars.
4) Easy of use: Yes
5) Supports Ubuntu's driver: NO

Looks pretty cool. I like the colors and shape.

I paid $40 for this headphone, but I would be ok if I paid $25.

Don said...

Good review, I agree on most of your points, though I haven't tried the MIC or used Ubuntu. Good to know about those limitations though.


Anonymous said...

Don, thanks for the review. Nice job. I just got the HeadRush BT headphones. I have been looking for an inexpensive cordless setup for a while. I found the Motorola S9 BT headphones last year and liked everything about them except the price - $160 CDN >ouch<. These were $40 and the are decent at that price. I had a little glitch pairing them with my BB Torch, but a hard restart fixed that. They are comfortable, sound is ok and they work well making a phone call - they other party could hear me just fine. Tomorrow morning I will try them while working out to see if they stay in place while walking, riding, elipticalling, etc. I am optomistic. I would recommend these headphones if cordless is important to you. Ibyte

Don said...

I think I saw the Motorola S-9s recently for $80.00... I think they're on clearance and replaced by the S-10s. But yeah, it's hard to find lower-priced bluetooth headphones.


Kevin said...

I have used the Motorola S9 HD headset for over a year and love the sound quality and bass response. The price is worth it. I use it for my Bberry dumb phone as well as I am a service tech and handsfree is of the utmost importance. My music shuts off when a call comes in and returns when its done. You get what you pay for man.

Don said...

I've always been curious about the Motorola S9. Users often have good things to say about the sound quality. The big drawbacks I hear about the S9 is that the Bluetooth signal is easily blocked because of of the behind-the-head placement of the transmitter/receiver.

Thanks for your comments.


Anonymous said...

I had a pair of Motorolas, lost them and hope they will appear again. Great sound but they did hurt close to my temples from pressure.
I now have two pairs of Headrush headphones... so I can rotate them when at work....long hours. They stay on my head much more comfortably and don't get knocked off as easily. The ear tabs did feel like they were peircing a little so I only use the small earpeices and I also trimmed back the tips a little at a time.|(look closely, see the lines, I think they may be there for this reason.)...result was much more comfort and improved sound quality|(more bass).
Maybe I won't miss my motorolas all that much.

Anonymous said...

Me again with the two headsets.... When i'm talking on the phone friends say they can hear me better and hear others around me less then before when I had the motorolas. Might be because of the mic placement.

Sharon said...

Hi Don, I realise this post is almost a year old, but I hope you'll reply to this. It's a bit of an odd question (I ask for yoga purposes), but if you turn your head upside down, do the headphones stay in place? Or would they slide down and fall off?

Don said...

Hi Sharon, sorry for the late reply, I was in China & Blogger is blocked there.

Anyway, about your question... I can't remember ever being upside-down with the headphones on, so I just tried it now. I'm happy to report that the headphones stay in place quite well! The plastic band keeps them firmly in place in my ears, and for low speed activity like Yoga they should do fine.


Michelle said...

Hi there, I am curious as to whether anyone else is having the same problem as myself. I just bought the headphones and I had them charged and was using them around the house and it seemed fine. However if I went around a wall to another room it started becoming choppy. I thought nothing of it because I initially bought these headphones for biking purposes. So I am on my bike and am pedaling and my music stats becoming very choppy in my pocket. So i put it in my hood, same issue. Is it maybe because the battery is low or is there some issue that I should get resolved immediately? I only bought these within the month.

Don said...

Bluetooth devices only work within a limited range, and it not only depends on the signal of the Headrush headphones, but the combo of the headphones + whatever device they are connected to. Some devices allow the headphones a better signal range than other devices.

I use my Headrush headphones with my HTC Legend phone, and sometimes even turning my head can cut the signal. But using the headphones with my HP Touchpad, I can go to the next room with uninterrupted signal.

If you can keep your device as close as possible to the receiving side of the headphones (it's the ear cup with the flashing blue light on it) it will work better. Try putting whatever device you're streaming from in your right side pocket, and also try keep it from touching skin as that can break up the bluetooth signal as well.


Anonymous said...

Hey Don,

Thanks I was wondering if you still had your manual? If so, would you pleeeeease help me? I can't pair my headphones to my computer b/c I don't have the manual anymore and I need the PIN for it. AND! There seems to be no online support for the head phones.



Don said...

The PIN for bluetooth devices is usually 0000 (4 zeroes)

I'll have a look around and see if I still have my manual. Good luck.


Anonymous said...

anyone have more recent experience with these headphones and ubuntu?

Ken Kozora said...

Just bought a pair of these at the Source In Amherstburg On. They were on clearance for 19.99. Don't know how well the battery life will hold up but i am impressed that they paired up with my iPhone 5 easily and all the controls actually work with the iPhone. I had a pair of Motorola S9-HD and you could not use the next and previous buttons on the headset but these ones work.. I'm sure for 20 bucks these headphones will be fantastic.