Yurbuds Ironman Review

001 4 520x781 Yurbuds Ironman ReviewOne of the more difficult types of headphones to find on the market are ones for training and gym use.  There are high end buds for analyzing music, and full size bass heavy cans for pumping out thundering levels of low end to leave your body shaking.  But finding a good quality set of headphones to sound great, stay in place, and be durable for some light running or intense workout sessions is a chore.  There simply aren’t many to choose from on the market.  Enter the Yurbuds Ironman series earbuds.  While I and most people here stay far away from “marketing” claims and endorsements, these had me intrigued.  There wasn’t a big name behind them, and the focus was on the fit and comfort for grueling training sessions.

Can they keep up with a grueling training schedule, or do they fall flat like most others?

  • Yurbuds Ironman Specs
  • Magnet Type-Neodymium Iron Boron magnet
  • Frequency Response-20Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity-110db/mW sensitivity
  • Impedance-32 ohms
  • Cord Length-46.8″

Design and Specs

When you look at the retail packaging for the Yurbuds, you start to think that these guys might be serious.  There is nothing overly flashy or showy with the cardboard box packaging, but you are greeted with someone wearing the Ironman’s that looks like it’s from a Nike commercial.  The male on the front cover has “FOCUS” written on his face with war paint while a woman on the back has the same look going with “INSPIRE” across her face.  It definitely causes someone to take notice and either chuckle or have their interest piqued.  Rounding out the inspiration style packaging, Yurbuds aren’t shy telling you who developed the sport buds…a marathoner and triathlete.

In the box we are supplied with a couple of accessories that don’t really add any value to the headphones.  Continuing with the inspiration themeyou get not one, but two playing cards of the cover models!  Oh joy.  On the back of one of the cards, it states “Don’t wait for inspiration to come find you.  Become it.”  At this point their marketing team is starting to go a little too far.  Also included though is a soft and thin carrying pouch that can fit most players as well as the headphones and of course your new trading cards.

Now part of the marketing behind these earbuds are the tips.  According to their marketing team, these tips have a “patented ear-lock technology” that is designed to never fall out.  They use a funnel type medical grade silicone tip to channel the sound from the buds straight through to the ear canal.  The design is similar to the Bose in ear models, but the difference being the silicone material that helps secure these buds in place during workouts and exercises.  They even claim the “sound funnel” improves the sound quality, and it’s clinically proven.  Yeah, they wrote that on their site.  But you have 2 different sizes to choose from to provide the best fit.

The buds themselves look similar to some white earbuds you find in teenagers attached to their iPods.  A little more gussied up for sure with a longer stout, and the Ironman logo on each side, but the same design.  The cable seems pretty durable with a solid amount of thickness and a good rubberish material that doesn’t stick.  They would definitely not be affected by sweat and moisture and should hold up great after much use.  However, they use the standard Y cable splitter which splits about halfway up my torso.  I’m a bigger guy at 6’3″, so it seems a little unnecessary to have the cables split that low as there was simply too much flopping around during training.  I wore them on the inside of my shirt (usual position when training) and they were still all over the place.  I would have liked to have seen a “slider” on these like the Panasonic HJE900′s have.  If they had this, it would certainly improve the comfort when wearing these.  Another design flaw on these phones is the headphone jack.  Yurbuds decided to use a straight inline jack as opposed to a 90 degree jack.  Any manufacturer making athletic headphones simply needs to take advantage of a 90 degree jack.  Whether using a Clip+ or an iPod Nano, the 90 degree plug will protect better than a straight plug.  My Clip+ has a side mounted headphone plug, and using the Yurbuds with them exposes them to more harm, wear and tear.

In training use though, I never got comfortable with these headphones.  I have been using the Sennheiser mx 75 sport headphones for years, and have been extremely happy with them.  The neon green is definitely going to put people off, but they never budged when you put them on.  The Yurbuds never seemed to get comfortable with me.  The Sennheisers provide a nice seal during use, and these don’t even come close to that.  These feel like they just sit in your ears and they’ll fall out, they just don’t.   I kept checking during use to see if they were sliding out, but they were fine.  They didn’t fall out when I used them during runs, lifts and plyometrics, but when my wife took them on a 10 mile run, they fell out from the wind.

Sound

Now these are Yurbuds’ first attempt at producing their own headphones.  They are new to the industry and have received a lot of praise for their ability to stay in place.  You can find these at Best Buy, so they have definitely been able to get their foot in the door.  Thats a great thing for them, but hopefully they keep their “focus” on improving the sound quality of their buds.

While the fit is sometimes subjective, and I will admit that they weren’t as comfortable for me to use, they did what they said and didn’t fall out.  But, another area that you have to shine in this industry is sound quality.  There really is no clear sound signature from these headphones.  When paired with my Clip+ (EQ flat), there is no life or enjoyment from the music.  They simply spit the music out.  They by no means sound awful, but they miss the mark.  For starters, there is no low end coming through these drivers.  Boosting the equalizer produces minimal depth and no punch at all.  Perhaps this issue stems from no real seal in the ear canal, but the Bose (love em or hate em) in ears provide adequate bass using a similar design.  This to me is a big let down because a lot of the life in music comes from being able to accurately reproduce the bass for feel.  This life also helps power through workouts.  Throwing the Sennheiser’s back in, or the Panny’s and you can be blown away by the bass coming from these.  Those 2 phones aren’t meant for bassheads either.

Things improve when you venture up the sound spectrum though.  The mids are present no matter what type of music you listen to.  Listening to Outkast’s “Snythesizer,” you are greeted with clean tunes throughout the range.   However, when listening to Shinedown’s “Heroes,” you start to hear the limits to the mid range quality.  The guitars start to muddy up during some of the faster parts of the track, and the Yurbuds just can’t handle it.

The treble on these can sound a little muddy and not very enjoyable when listening with no EQ.  Luckily I can tweek this on my Clip+.  Boosting the treble a little bit and creating a more natural V sound signature brings the highs out much better.  The vocals clear up pretty nicely, and while not sounding as clear and bright as the Panny’s, they still certainly give plenty of detail and clarity.  Again, these get better as you move up the frequency.

So overall, the sound is rather disappointing.  It gets better if you like to tweak the EQ to your liking.  The mids are pleasant in hip hop and most guitar friendly tracks, but simply get outgunned when push comes to shove.  The higher frequencies sound smooth and much better than what the rest of their sound displays though.  In the end you have some headphones that don’t bring any extra life to your workout.  And for me, that’s a no go.

Conclusion

I really wanted to like these Ironman headphones that Yurbuds put out.  Even though it’s marketing, I had high hopes that a triathlete could put together some comfortable workout friendly headhphones and maybe sound pretty decent too.  But there are simply too many trade offs from what these need to be.  The comfort is never really there.  The design is average in some areas and falls short in others.  And the sound quality is better than stock iBuds, but not too much better.  Sure, you get some earbuds that stay in place better, better clarity in the higher frequencies, but that’s about it.

Hopefully Yurbuds stays focused on their mission to create the best performance headphones on the market.  It was a brave first step, but one that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.  But their foot’s in the door, so maybe we can see some improvements in round 2.  Until then, I just cannot recommend them.

price: $50

http://www.yurbuds.com/




20 Comments

Confispect on February 7, 2011 11:37 PM

Interesting to say the least…

Tds01 on February 8, 2011 12:44 AM

I guess it’s best to pass on these then,… Still a great review.

boop on February 8, 2011 3:35 PM

Why would you think these were anything but trash? They look flashy to me. IEM/earbud hybrid is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen.

So called ‘sport’ headphones are usually just a very thin band that applies more than normal pressure on earbuds. Street style on earphones would be okay too although they might scratch against the back of your ear… But really, normal earphones don’t fall out either. I’ve never had my MX560 Senns fall out of my ears while running, and they are a very generic design. I suppose it depends on the ears, but IEM/earphone hybrid is definitely not the solution.

Mikerman on February 8, 2011 4:20 PM

I always am suspicious where marketing angles are taken, rather than letting the product shine on its own.

Ryan Breeze on February 8, 2011 7:27 PM

Look at that chin! That surely can’t be real.

Chris on February 14, 2011 12:24 PM

I was looking for some headphones for running and other sports some time ago and came across some Koss KSC 75. For me and the purpose they are perfect. They are lightweight and stay in place even when performing intense head-banging. You won’t feel that you are wearing them at all even on long runs (2h and more) and they have great soudquality for the buck.

Regan on February 18, 2011 4:14 PM

Honestly, I have been using the Yurbuds for 3 months now and I think they are INCREDIBLE. I am a 1/2 marathoner and I could never find any earpohnes that would stay in my ears…these were the first ever to work. I used two different sets of Adidas earphones…fail, two sets of Sony behind the ear…not bad, but quality was crap, but since getting yurbuds, I will never go back.
-R

RF on March 3, 2011 3:17 AM

I use these for running and have gone over 13 miles in a day with zero discomfort and perfect fit. Any in-the-ear kind of setup is going to be very much YMMV.

The sound isn’t great and the isolation isn’t a strong suit, but I don’t actually want isolation while running on roads. I want to hear cars sneaking up on me or dog walkers shouting warning that their rotty got away again.

So for what I need, which is a bud that will be sweatproof during longs runs while playing my “beats per minute” music, they are the best I’ve had.

The best part is, the inserts will fit just about any bud. So if I wanted higher-quality buds, I could swap them out.

lestatar on March 6, 2011 3:13 PM

Nice review…For such a niche market, perhaps these could work for some folks…

Clifton Brown on June 8, 2011 7:49 PM

I totally disagree with this writer. I had BOSE earbuds for my ipod, however, yurbuds get GREAT SOUND. I purchase them because I asked the store clerk what headphones have good sound without the high price of Bose.

Well, guess what? These YurBuds hit the mark really high that exceeded my expectations. Not only am I getting great sound but I am also getting great value for the price.

Christen on June 13, 2011 1:47 PM

I also disagree with the writer. These have great sound quality for the price. Plus they are very comfortable and stay in place – which is a MUST for runners. I’ve been running with standard apple earbuds for a couple years now, and they always hurt and fall out of my ears every 10 seconds, which is super frustrating!!! For years I’ve been looking for a pair of earbuds that are comfortable and stay put, and nothing I found worked until I found Yurbuds. I purchased the black Ironman’s that wrap around your ear – they were only $30 at Best Buy. The wrap around part will conform to your ear, giving you a much tighter and secure hold – GREAT FOR RUNNERS!!! I highly recommend giving these a try. And like RF said… if you don’t like the sound quality… just remove the insert and attach it to another pair of earbuds.

Paul G on June 30, 2011 4:57 PM

I am in the market for new headphones for my lifestyle and have found almost every headphones has someone or a person who claims they are uncomfortable. It just matters about how your ear is or what you use them for. i personally use these while i run, play soccer, or just wanna listen to music and they are fine i have heard better but the others dont fit to what i need so if you are a athlete that likes music these are for you.

Marc on July 10, 2011 4:56 PM

I purchased the yurbuds that fasten around the ears a couple of months ago. Initially, I was impressed in how they stuck in my ears as I rode the stationery bike. Unfortunately, they did not perform so well when I boxed. Throwing punches from all angles caused the headphones to continuously slip out of my ears. Very frustrating. I went back to the around the neck addidas headphones. The yurbuds kept sweat out of my ears (I sweat a lot); the addidas headphones stayed in my ears but don’t keep out the sweat – why can’t these guys get together and get it right?

Alex on August 1, 2011 3:45 AM

Well, I’ve gone through everything from 10.00 JBL headphones to 190+ dollar studio quality Shure Headphones not intended for working out. These I have to say don’t even sound as good as my 10.00-15.00 choices in my gear bag, they didn’t stay any better than simply choosing the correct fitting in-ear factory sizes from any of the manufacturers and when riding (This is the most annoying) when climbing a hill they’ll sound fine. When descending… oh man – I litteraly got a headache from all the wind howl that the shell on these that “enhances sound” picked up. The wind just resonated through the plastic shell forcing me to just rip them out of my head out of being massively disturbed. I love descending mountain roads and I’ll usually be at one with the surroundings, my bike and the music just taking in the fun descent. Plugging my ears provides me solitude from the noise of the wind shutting everything else (be sure you’re in a safe environment and not a group ride when you do this people and keep aware of your surrounds ahead and behind you!). So these get a big ZERO set of stars. After one use I came home and gave them to my daughter who goes through headphones like I go through my nutritional supplements… They’re simply horrible on the bike. Get any speed going and it’s just miserable. Yeah – they stay put, but only so long as I don’t rip them out of my ears in shear pain from the howling!

Ed Siteman on August 31, 2011 11:57 PM

Buyer beware.

I bought the model that has a mike and volume controls. They don’t tell you that they ONLY work with the iPhone. They don’t work with my Android phone.

I have emailed their customer service department for two weeks now, but have received no responses to my questions.

I called and spoke to someone who told me that she would send me instructions on how to return them for a refund.

Guess what…she hasn’t sent the email.

Stay far away from this company – hold on to your wallet. I am filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in hopes of getting their attention and my money back.

Clarence on March 1, 2012 3:44 AM

I disagree with this review. I’ve tried dozens of earbuds and these are the only ones that I don’t worry about adjusting while working out. The sound quality is not superior but you can attach the ear piece to any standard ear bud (iPhone included) of your choice. If you are tired of fidgeting with your earbuds while working out, these are for you.

Melissa on March 9, 2012 9:01 PM

Without a doubt, the Inspire Ironman Yubuds are the BEST earbuds for running I have ever purchased and I have purchased MANY! My ears are strangely small and these fit comfortably. My first pair stopped working about 3 months after I bought them. I mailed them into Yurbuds and had them replaced in 5 days without a question. The customer service was oustanding! Customer for life!

jhg on April 10, 2012 1:21 AM

The only reason I bought a pair of yurbuds was for fit. They were great for a couple of months but then started slipping out even to the point of the earpiece comeing out of the silicone jacket. Can;t say how utterly disappointed I am with their lack of performance, I wish some mfg. would really go to work on this focusiong on fit. Most of the buds are too big for my ear even with the smallest jacket on. I open to any suggestions thanks

Loans on July 4, 2012 7:30 PM

I wasted $40 on these ‘earphones’!! Don’t buy them. They are just nearly an earphone with a rubber peice that fits over the hard earpiece. The rubber peice came off in my ear and I couldn’t get it back on properly. The rubber peice ended up tearing and they were worthless. I am so irritated I ended up throwing the whole thing out the window of my car. Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

goldson on July 18, 2012 7:48 PM

I agree with the author about sound quality. The yurbuds have no lows. And, like he said, if the ‘lows’ give you that kick you need to push your workout, your not getting it from the yurbuds.

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