Friday Feb 03, 2023

The Verge’s favorite audio gear for 2022 – The Verge


It’s been about a year since we first asked the staff of The Verge to tell us about some of their favorite audio gear. As we said in last year’s piece, the people here spend a lot of time listening to a variety of music, podcasts, and other interesting sounds — and that hasn’t changed. Many of us have used music to get through the ups and downs of the past year, and our audio devices have made it possible not only to lose ourselves in our tunes but to communicate with remote friends and relatives and to get work done via Zoom, Slack, and other apps.

But that isn’t to say that we have the same tastes in music or tech. The Verge is an assembly of distinct personalities, and our tastes in music — and the tech we use to listen to that music — is distinct as well.

So here is this year’s rundown of our favorite audio gear.

The KZ ES4s — and KZ’s headphones in general — are often praised because they sound very good and are very inexpensive. And I’ve found that to be true — I think the ES4s have a very pleasing sound for the type of music I listen to, and they’re comfortable to have in for extended periods of time. But if I’m honest with myself, the main thing standing between me and enjoying music isn’t sound quality (unless I’m using absolutely bottom-of-the-barrel equipment) — it’s the amount of attention I’m actually giving the music. If I’m just sitting and listening to music and not scrolling Twitter or working, I can enjoy my favorite songs almost just as much through a half cat-chewed pair of EarPods as I can through expensive headphones.

That’s why I like keeping an iPod around. Yeah, I’ve got it loaded up with lossless files from Bandcamp, but the best thing about it is that it can’t do anything but play music. It reminds me to put my phone away, close my laptop, and treat music as a thing to do, rather than just something that plays in the background. And for that, $19 headphones are more than enough. — Mitchell Clark, news writer

KZ ES4 earbuds

Inexpensive but high quality wired over-the-ear earbuds.

I know how I look wearing these, but hear me out: running was never meant to be a stylish sport. I’ve tested a lot of fitness earbuds, many of which promise excellent ambient modes but then utterly fail to deliver. That’s important because the last thing I want when training for a race is to get flattened by an errant driver or a kid zipping by on a scooter. I tried AfterShokz’s bone conduction headphones, but they just don’t deliver the thumping bass I need to stay pumped during my long runs. The Tempo sound good for open-ear headphones, let me stay attuned to my surroundings, and help me see better on really sunny days. And I don’t have to worry about chasing after earbuds that fall out mid-run. I’ll admit it’s a really specific use case for a $250 pair of ugly …….


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