As many of you know, I have a pair of in-canal earphones that I “wear” most of the time. By wearing, I mean that it isn't a trivial task to take them off and away from me, because the cable is wrapped around and behind the MP3 player holster on the belt; when not listening to music, I just take the earphones off the ears, wrap them around my neck and lock the ends behind the neck, rather than untying/unknotting the cables off the belt then stuffing the earphones (along with their 4-foot, not-so-thin cable) into a pocket on the jeans or something.
Because of this, it is quite awkward to put yet another Bluetooth headset on. In fact, a separate Bluetooth headset turns out quite inconvenient. Let's say I was listening to music, when all of the sudden the phone rings. What I have to do is:
Take the earphones off and knot them behind the neck;
Run off to somewhere quiet because my ears are used to the low background noise level (thanks to the in-canal earphones);
Pull the Bluetooth headset out of the pocket;
Put it on;
Press the Talk button on the headset or on the phone;
Start chatting away.
Oh, it doesn't end there; when I get off the call, I basically have to undo each of these steps in the reverese order to resume listening to music. -_- You see, at this point it becomes almost pointless to have a Bluetooth headset, because this whole process can't certainly be said to be simpler and more convenient than, say, just pull the phone from the pocket, flip it open, press Talk button then chat away.
The root cause of this problem is that my ears are already occupied by earphones. Well, I could find myself a pair of Bluetooth stereo headset and a Bluetooth-capable MP3 player, then I would be able to share the headset between the phone and the MP3 player, but no, I won't settle with a stereo Bluetooth headset for a number of reasons: I won't ditch my Shure E5 and settle with el-cheapo quality of sound that the headset has to offer, and my choice is further limited by the fact that I would prefer in-canal earphones. Furthermore, what's the point if I had to buy a Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player just for this purpose? Moreover, the only thing that I could find was iPod with a Bluetooth adapter, and unfortunately, iPod doesn't work with MelOn, the Korean digital music subscription service where I regularly get DRM-enabled music files.
Having come to realize all these problems, I was about to give up the search, when this thing caught my eyes: [ Tekkeon myTalker ET7000 ]. As you can see in the picture, it has a stereo headphone plug on one end of the white cable, and a Bluetooth “remote”-looking thingy on the other end, with a built-in microphone. And, although it is not shown on the picture, it has a standard 3.5mm earphone jack on the top side of the remote.
… A-ha. So it's a “half-headset” that sits between an MP3 player and earphones. Normally it would just act as a pass-through device, directly bridging the MP3 player with the earphones. However, when there's an incoming call, it overrides the MP3 player and reuses the same earphones for the call. The remote controller thing has a small collar clip, so it can be attached on the collar, or even on the earphone cable itself, so that its built-in microphone can remain close to the face and mouth.
I decided to buy and try one, after seeing that it cost mere $50 (plus tax and shipping) on eCOST. And it arrived in the mail today.
Having seen loads of positive online reviews about it, I was quite sure that it was right up to the task, but I still had a concern: Sound quality. There'd better be no loss of quality in that pass-through process (from the MP3 player to the earphones). And with E5 and an audiophile-grade MP3 player (Cowon iAUDIO X5), such loss of quality would be painfully obvious. I couldn't wait to find out whether it was a real problem, so I set it up with my E5, paired it with the cellphone, and started using it right away.
Guess what? I could not tell the difference in the quality of sound, with or without the myTalker in between! Even the volume was exactly identical, which implies that there is little to no circuitry in the pass-through path. This tiny dongle is not just up to the expectation, but actually well exceeds it. I am thoroughly impressed—most impressed by its ingenuous concept, features and audio quality, and also by its usability and design.
10/10. A+++++++. An excellent product. Will do business with aga… no, not this. XD