Until quite recently I could never have called myself an audiophile or anything of the sort (still wouldn’t for that matter).
For the most part, I used the wired ear buds given to me with a new phone, or unravelled a pair of workhorse Sennheisers that I bought in Uni a depressingly long time ago and that most definitely owe me nothing.
But working in this role gives you something of an insider scoop on what’s hot and not, and the opportunity to test those theories.
Enter Skullcandy’s Jib True wireless ear buds. I’d never had a pair of wireless buds before but had experienced the noise cancelling features of my sister’s airpods which made it feel like I was being sucked into a void of deafening silence.
In actual fact, my only real engagement with Skullcandy prior to receiving these ear buds was through my personal laptop – a Toshiba with built-in speakers from the brand, and a damn fine sound they create too. Even now, five years after I bought it.
Anyway, I digress.
The Jib True offering is designed as a budget option for audiophiles. Retailing at just under 80 bucks, you’re not going to find a well-known brand for much less than that price.
Opening the box, you get the buds themselves, a nifty little charge/carry case, a few rubber ear bud options, a USB charge cable, and a pictorial setup guide but, really, there’s not much to the operation that you won’t find with a bit of tinkering around.
It’s a little fiddly in places as the buds actually require a firm touch that serves to jam them into your ears – not so good if you’re sensitive. I often found, if I was skipping a song, I just took that bud out to hold the button for the required two seconds. Ideal? No. But not the end of the world either. Volume control was the most finicky – tapping the button twice quickly sometimes got reinterpreted as ‘pause’. So I tended to set the volume from the off and not touch it again unless absolutely necessary.
Pairing is a simple procedure through Bluetooth and, for the most part, subsequent pairing to my phone took about five seconds. There’s also the option to use just one pod which is handy for phone calls (there’s a mic built into BOTH pods), especially for me as I can never tell how loud I’m speaking with two in place!
There also seems to be pretty decent range on the Bluetooth connection. My apartment is long from living room to utility room (I’m no judge of distance but I’d guess 18m) and I was able to walk more than half that distance from the phone before the buds panicked and admitted defeat.
Battery power too is impressive though it is hard to tell whether the pods, the case or both are low on battery. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible unless I missed a section in the user booklet. Either way, the pods hold about six hours with the case holding another 22 so even plugging them in for half an hour before hitting the road is probably going to keep them plugging along for hours.
But the most important aspect, of course, is the sound.
As I write this, there’s a bunch of painters on a cherry-picker bombing around my apartment, scraping paint off windowsills. There’s no noise cancelling feature on these pods but they do create something of a noise vacuum just by popping them in.
Thereafter, I can have no complaints about the buds’ performance – sound is balanced and even more bass heavy tracks like Sebastian Böhm’s brilliant instrumental version of ‘Blue Monday’ kick along nicely with good definition.
In all honesty, since getting these ear buds, I’ve used them every single day. They’re handy to slip in and out on the go, and you can carry them in your pocket. In my mind, the only thing budget about these is the price – the connectivity and sound quality, well, I can’t personally fault them and in the few weeks that I’ve had them, they’ve well earned their keep, as we’d say in Ireland.
A big thumbs-up from this listener.