Bike Helmet Earbud Iteration

Based on having to seal the rear vent hole of the previous earbud, I did the same for the new one:

Earbud - blocked vent
Earbud – blocked vent

The audio quality was terrible, so I tried another bud with a foam windscreen over the hole and a hole punched in the middle of the double-sided white foam tape:

Earbud - foam over vent
Earbud – foam over vent

The audio remained unintelligible, so I tried an upscale (but still cheap, because surplus) Koss earbud, first without blocking the vents and then with snippets of Kapton tape:

Koss earbud - tape over vent
Koss earbud – tape over vent

The earphone has three slits on each side, but only the middle slit has a hole penetrating the case; it must be a stylin’ thing.

That sounded better, so I’ll roll with it. There’s supposed to be a foam cover over the housing, but those things always get grody and fall off; there’s not much point.

As nearly as I can tell, contemporary earbud designs optimize for volume (dBm/mV) and thumpin’ bass, all to the detriment of actual audio quality. Based on numerous samples over the years, there is zero correlation between price (admittedly, on the low end) and audio quality (admittedly, with my crappy hearing).

I own a pair of very nice (and thoroughly obsolete) Shure E2c sound-isolating ear beetles that sound great (even with my crappy hearing), but I’m unwilling to chop them up for the bike headset …

Zinc-air Cell Corrosion

For reasons that, alas, have little to do with normal age-related hearing degeneration, I’ve been wearing Etymōtic (that should be a long o symbol) MP-915 High-definition Electronic Earplugs (aka, Martian Ear Beetles) when I need a 6 dB boost for normal conversations. The key advantage: a price 10 dB under full-throttle hearing aids.

Anyhow, each one runs for about two weeks on a 312 zinc-air primary cell, so I picked up a batch from the usual eBay vendor. These were short-dated, which let me figure out how long after the rated shelf life they’d be good for, so I know what’s the largest batch I should buy.

One cell arrived with its air vent seal dislodged:

Corroded zinc-air cell
Corroded zinc-air cell

The cell in the middle is used, with several scratches from the contact point inside the earplug. The cell on the right has a good seal.

Assuming a good seal, the cells seem to work about as well as the long-dated fresh cells included with the earplugs.

Although I found several datasheets (Duracell Energizer Rayovac), there seems to be no way to relate the actual cell you purchase to any particular datasheet; the part numbers do not correspond to anything on the package and the nomenclature varies wildly both between manufacturers and within product lines.