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Win Walker Jr noise-canceling headphones

By • Sep 8th, 2011 • Category: new

Recently a company got in touch asking if we wanted to run a competition to win a pair of I-Mego Walker Jr noise-canceling headphones. As you might expect, we wanted to know if they were going to be any good first.

We’re running the competition (below) so as you might guess, we liked them. A lot.
Read on…

Maybe it’s just me, but earphones and myself don’t really get on. In fact, the current ones you get with an iPhone aren’t too bad, they fit better in the ears than most earbuds, but my home phones are kind of the best of a bad bunch (ancient JVC things that tend to bite at the ears after an album’s worth of listening). Maybe it’s my ears, but the original iPod phones really hurt, and as for those supposedly world class Sennheisers, they always seemed hellbent on flattening my ears down (no, they’re not sticky-outy, before you ask).

Any improvement on this situation is something I’ll gladly consider. So when the chance came to review the Walker Junior headphone came up, I was interested. And not just because they promise comfort and sound quality. Oh no, there’s much more to them than that.

But let’s start from the (very) beginning. A nicely presented box containing a chunky set of phones. Plug in the cable, pop on the phones – nice, good low levels, and snug but comfy, blotting out a good bit of extraneous noise – obviously been designed with usability rather than style in mind, though they do look the part, coming with a travel bag to boot, which the hinge on the headband allows them to fold into.

Also in the box is a battery, which slips into the concealed bay on the right ear. This powers tiny microphones located in each earphone. These record what’s happening outside the headphones, and using either science or voodoo (the box doesn’t say), play this back alongside the music from your iPod or whatever – but crucially, at “180 degrees”, thus canceling out any noise which has crept in via the phones which as stated previously, are already pretty heavily insulated from the outside world. That’s the theory anyway.

Listening at home, it does cut down – not eliminate it completely, I think that’s against the laws of physics – the background chatter from the telly, or loved ones, or passing neighbours or traffic. Out in the street they similarly cut down the traffic (and car horns) considerably – though I’m not personally into wearing full0size phones when I’m gadding about.

But on a journey – a noisy, crammed Scotrail train was our testing ground – they really come into their own. There’s a constant thrum on any form of motorised transport of course, and if you bump up the volume you can sometimes drown this out, depending on your music of choice. The Scaramanga 6’s album Curses, if turned up to ear-splitting volume, is listenable with standard iPod phones if you bury them deep enough in the ears, so with the Walkers it can be enjoyed quite happily with the phones set to off.

However, click the switch, and the train noise drops noticeably – there’s also a natural boost in volume from the power – and you’ll certainly have to take down the volume a notch. All you’ll hear is the music, the train noise and chatter from fellow passengers largely gone.

The real test therefore will be a quieter release – in our case, the King Creosote / Jon Hopkins album. Pretty much inaudible with regular in-ear phones, and even with these head-hugging phones with canceling set to ‘off’ it’s a bit of a struggle… putting them up to full volume will help, but you should be aware that there’s a bit of bleed which will potentially annoy your fellow passengers. So, click the switch to ‘on’, and that pesky train thrum is gone and KC’s dulcet tones shine through crystal clear. Quite remarkable really.

This isn’t an ad feature, but if there’s a lot of background noise in your life – and I mean literally rather than metaphorically; if you do a lot of travelling for example – then these might be just what you need.

Ok, so you’re probably quite interested now. To be in with a chance of winning a pair, simply answer the following question: Which legendary Detroit soul label was Junior Walker (see?) signed to?

Email the answer to [email protected], and we’ll draw it around the end of September 2012.

More info at andContent & Motion.

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