Cool gifts for geeks, 2011: Portable entertainment

Presenting the gems in portable entertainment.

Page 6 of 11

EP-100 earphones, by dBLogic (division of Harman)

How loud do I like my music? Let's just say the neighbors have stopped talking to me and more often than not I could hear faint ringing in my ears through most of my weekends. These days I find myself relegated to using headphones on regular basis. They say it's good for a person to know their limits, but if you're like me there is always the dBLogic EP-100 earphones to offer a helping hand.

At first glance the EP-100s look, feel, and seem to perform like any other set of ear buds you might come across, but with one major exception. The EP-100 features patent pending technology known as "SLP2", which stands for Sound Pressure Limiting. Basically SLP regulates volume pressure levels in the ear canal to a maximum of 85 dB, to put this into perspective; 0 db is the sound of silence while roughly 125 db is the volume you would expect from a large venue rock concert. Why the 85dB limit? Prolonged exposure to volume levels above 85 dB can lead to permanent hearing damage (now they tell me). Ask yourself this; do you really know how loud 85 dB is? Don't feel bad, I didn't either.

The EP-100s take a on a smaller than normal factor for an ear bud, but the sound that emanates from them is crisp, clean and with the right ear canal adapter (the package comes with small, medium and large) the bass is more than adequate to vibrate the ear drums at safe levels. The ear cone adapters are a unique design sporting a dual-layered system to seal off the ear canal. This design helps maximize the pressure feedback needed for SLP to function and limit outside noise.

The SLP technology is most prominent at the start of each new audio track - you can hear the adjustment performed as the earphones automatically regulates a normally loud song to fit under the 85 dB cutoff. The only drawback to SLP is the inability to drown out ambient noise (despite the dual layered adapters). For example, it couldn't drown out the clomping of sneakers on a treadmill or a louder-than-average co-worker's rants (you know who you are). Overall the Db logic EP-100s provide quality sounds at safe volume levels and sports a moderate price tag to round out the package. 

Cool Yule rating: 4 stars
Price (Amazon) $34.95
Reviewed by Armen Brown

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