The Gear Junkie: Wicked Little Buds

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By Stephen Regenold

On the hunt for a set of workout-ready earphones, I came across anunlikely candidate. The Wicked Little Buds, made by Empire Brands Inc.of Lindon, Utah, are touted as "noise-isolating earbuds that providean edgy look and great sound."

With blue metal earpieces, a fiber-like cord, and rubbery tips, theWicked Little Buds have a sleek but stand-out design. They cost about$30 and fit tight and comfortable in each ear, almost unnoticeableonce in place.

 I have been wearing the Wicked Little Buds (www.empirebrandsinc.com)for running and listening to tunes. Though they are not intended as sports-specific earphones, the buds have worked well for me.

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The Wicked Little Buds come with small, medium and large earpiecetips. You swap them out for fit. The soft, flexible ends stay in placeas I run. They are so lightweight that they hardly move.

The cord, which is almost four feet long, has a rough cloth- orfiber-like coating. This texture on the cord prevents tangling. Theextra length is nice when my iPod is stashed in a backpack.

Audio quality is good enough for an exercise scenario. The audio rangeand general sound was above average for tiny, bud-style earphones.

One caveat: The noise-canceling feature does indeed block off ambientsound. Be careful at road crossings or on bike trails where shouts,horns, or other important audio cues might not be heard.

--Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

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