When you’re out shredding the slopes, hiking, biking, at the gym or just working, you want your tunes as crisp as hearing a live show (that conference call maybe not so much, but you still need to catch the high points). That’s why you drop some major coin on high-res earbuds or headphones, and they’re worth every penny.
But are you getting the most performance out of your audio gear while protecting your investment? Many adventurers don’t give their sound technology the care it deserves. Here are five quick tips to get the maximum sound and life out of your equipment.
1. Keep ‘Em Clean
Even the cleanest ears are eventually going to gunk up earbuds and headphones. And with enough gunk, that dampens the clarity of your audio and can damage the driver and electronics. Nobody wants that.
The go-to checklist for maintaining earbud and headphone cleanliness is:
- Wipe down your equipment after each use with the items covered in tip #2.
- Don’t let anyone else use your audio gear, because you don’t know what’s in their ears!
- Routinely inspect the driver unit. If there’s earwax or debris present, whisk it away with a gentle brush.
- Never put earbuds in your pockets – the lint and dust in there is bad news.
- Make sure all audio components are dry before use or storage.
2. Use the Right Stuff
The cleaning supplies needed for proper earbud and headphone care are pretty simple.
- Water with a little dish soap mixed in is the perfect cleaning solution.
- A microfiber cloth is ideal to prevent any scratching.
- Q-tips come in handy for getting inside contours.
- Spend a few bucks on a cleaning tool designed especially for the task. It has a small wire loop on one end for extracting earwax; and a soft brush on the other end for flicking away debris.
- Some folks use mounting putty to get earwax out of their AirPods.
3. Stay in Charge
Whether your sound preference comes from wired or wireless earbuds or plug-in headphones, they all rely on sound connections in wiring. So take good care of your cords with these tips.
- Alcohol wipes work great for keeping your wire connectors clean.
- Use canned, compressed air to blast debris out of charging ports and headphone jack contact points.
- Plug and unplug all wiring by grasping the jack or prong base. Never pull on the cable.
- Unplug headphones when not in use to keep the jack’s internal springs stronger longer.
- Coil your cables in soft loops to avoid kinks that can damage internal wiring.
- Avoid cable tangles and never put cables in your pocket to prevent damage at the wire-plug joint.
4. Pack Smart
A great tip for packing and traveling comes from Andy Parry, one of our Outdoor Tech Athletes. He recommends, “Always have a pocket in a suitcase, bag or backpack that’s dedicated to audio and power while traveling. Keeping everything in one spot ensures that you won’t constantly rip apart your bags to find what you need.”
ODT Athlete Will Wesson adds, “I’m definitely guilty of not always taking time to properly store my earbuds. In the past, I’ve learned the hard way that taking the extra second to put them back in the case is well worth it, because it’s easy to lose the foam or rubber piece that forms to your ear if it’s rattling around in a bag or suitcase during activity or travel.”
5. Safe Storage
Even if your earbuds or headphones are not in use, it doesn’t mean they’re out of the woods in terms of damage.
- First things first, store your gear in the protective cases that they came in, or in a suitable aftermarket case.
- Never store your audio equipment in overly hot, cold or humid environments. A scorching car under a summer sun is no place to risk damage.
- Always put your earbuds or headphones to bed clean and 100% dry.
- To protect against moisture damage, throw one of those silica gel packets into each one of your cases to absorb moisture.
Here’s the End Game
Whether you own a set of our PEARLS, MANTAS or RAVENS earbuds or a pair of KOMODOS or SEQUOIA headphones, we want them to last and sound their best for you. Plus, all of these tips work great for our in-helmet audio gear as well! So take care.