As someone who has logged in miles and miles of travel on the road and on the air with earphones in tow, I’m quite well versed with the challenges of indulging the need for portable audio on the go. One involves how easy it is to end up with a tangled mess of cords after a hurried trip through the TSA security line (all the while praying that your pants don’t fall off after surrendering your belt). Another is the fact that earbuds tend to fall out from my apparently mutant ears. As a result, I usually end up depending on bulkier full-size headphones such as the V-MODA Crossfade LP or something like the stickier Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Pro when in the mood for a lighter travel option. Given my issues with earbuds, it’s understandable that I initially viewed CordCruncher’s headphones with a healthy dose of skepticism. Originally debuting as a crowdfunded project on website Kickstarter, the CordCruncher generated enough interest to meet its funding goal. Having tried it, I can say that I now understand why.
What sets apart the CordCruncher from other earbuds is a rubber housing that lets users extend or store their cords at will, allowing the earphones to deliver on their promise of tangle-free wiring. But how does it perform overall? Sounds like its time for another gadget test.
Unlike many of the earphones I’ve tried that come in fancy packaging, the CordCruncher comes in a no-frills plastic bag. Factor in its $25 price tag and it’s obvious that the CordCruncher is more focused on value than cracking the luxury segment for earphones. The earphones’ cords themselves are initially housed within the CordCruncher’s trademark rubber housing. You have to pull them out and actually manually separate the left and right cords yourself as they start out stuck together. On the plus side, this allows you to customize length a bit while further minimizing the possibility for tangled cords by only separating them to a certain length. Once you’ve got that all settled, storing your cords is as easy as pulling the rubber housing on its opposite ends. Getting the last piece of cord in can require some extra pulls but it works out pretty good overall.
Fitting is also quite good. Not only are the earphones light, the way the earbuds’ backing is shaped also helps the buds to rest more securely on your ears without falling off. As someone who typically has trouble keeping earbuds in place, the CordCruncher actually stays in place fairly well. The addition of several bud sizes also give you additional fitting options. Sound, meanwhile, is relatively solid with a healthy amount of bass. It leans toward the muffled or muddy side, though, so you’ll need a player with a good equalizer to get the most out of the CordCruncher. It also emits a strong rubber smell out of the package thanks to its rubber housing for the cords and I’m not quite sure if folks with latex allergies will react to this or not. The wire housing itself is chunky and a bit cheap-looking — at least in the black trim that I got. As with any earbud-style earphone, ear fatigue after extended use can be an issue as well.
Despite its faults, the CordCruncher actually delivers on its promise as far as getting rid of those tangled cords. You can even spool it around your wrist or arms if you want easy access while traveling. Sound quality also isn’t too bad, especially if you use an EQ to adjusts your music quality. Add the fact that it’s only $25 and it’s certainly worth looking into if you’re looking for tangle-free earphones on a budget.
FINAL RATING: 3.5 stars out of 5
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