Earbuds vs headphones for metal detecting

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headphonesMany detectorists are wondering which one is the best for metal detecting: earbuds or headphones?

In this article, I’ll discuss the different point of views, I’ll give you my opinion about the subject and at the end, I’ll give you a tip to make hunts even more exciting comfortable.

Headphones pros

  • Using headphones, you’ll be able to hear the faint signals of deep targets that you can’t hear with the onboard speakers.

You can try this by metal detecting an area without them. You may think it’s hunted out to death.

However, you can plug in the headphones and scan the same area you’ll probably find more buried items.

  • They can reduce the ambient noise and let you focus on the tones. This is very important in noisy places like parks.

However, this could turn to be a con in some situations (see the next paragraph).

  • In the winter, they’ll warm your ears very well.
  • They’re, usually, equipped with an inline volume control. You definitely need that if you can’t adjust the volume from your metal detector.

Headphones cons

  • Headphones rest on your outer ear. Depending on their sizes, they could cover most or fully enclose it.

It will overheat your ears in the summertime and you won’t feel comfortable at all.

To solve this problem, some detectorists prefer to wear them around their necks and tune the volume as high as possible.

  • If you are wearing glasses (like me), your ear could be pinched between the glasses’ temples and headphone.
  • They’re bulky, you can’t put them in your pockets.
  • As mentioned in the previous paragraph, headphones, especially the ones with the noise canceling feature, can reduce the ambient noise letting you focus only on metal detecting.

But this could be a problem. You need to know what’s going on around you and you need to be able to listen to your pinpointer.

For some brands like the Deus or the Garrett Z-lynk, you can pair the pinpointer with headphones and the problem is solved.

For the rest, you have to move the headphones a little bit away from your ears, put them around your neck or knee or wear only one earpiece (swap the sides after a while for more comfort) then you’ll be able to hear the pinpointer better.

Earbuds pros

  • In the summer, earbuds are the way to go. Your ears will have enough room to breathe.

earbudsAnd if you’re worried about keeping them warm in the in the winter, you can simply wear a beanie.

  • They’re compact and they can be put inside your pocket.
  • You can hear what’s happening around you clearly

Earbuds cons

  • One of the problems of earbuds is that they usually lack volume control.

This could be a problem if the volume isn’t adjustable from the metal detector’s side.

The sound may be very loud which is not good for you ears especially if you keep metal detecting for a prolonged time.

However, there’s a simple fix for this problem. You can buy a separate volume control.

In addition to the ability to adjust the volume, it will extend the overall length of the cable by few inches.

  • Earbuds, mostly, have 1/8 inches connectors. Metal detectors are usually equipped with a ¼ inches plugs. Therefore you need a 1/8 to ¼ inches adaptor.
  • They’re not good at soundproofing. They’re not suitable to hunt a noisy area.

You’ll have to max the volume to be able to hear the beeps in this kind of places which is not a good thing to do for a long period.

Earbuds Vs headphones: Which one is the best?

After listing the pros and the cons of each, it’s time to find out who the winner is?

First, let’s summarize the differences between the too.

Headphones are not suitable for summer use because they’ll make your ears extremely hot. Earbuds don’t have this problem.

Headphones reduce the ambient noise and let you listen to the weaker signals and they outperform earbuds.
However, in some cases being able to hear your surroundings is a necessity. And earbuds will be better in this kind of situations.

Earbuds are smaller than headphones and can be placed inside a pocket.

I think you now see that there’s no real winner. Each one of them is suitable for certain situations like forks and spoons.

Use headphones in the winter and earbuds in the summer. The latter can be kept as a backup if anything goes wrong with the headphones.

On one hand, earbuds are better if you need to stay aware of your surroundings. On the other hand, headphones can reduce ambient noise.

A tradeoff can be made by using the Walkman type headphones, they’re smaller than the regular ones and they don’t cover the whole ear. This could be better in the summer.

What about my opinion?! Which one Do I think is the best?

For me and for people who wear glasses, headphones are a No No…

Because the ear will be squeezed between the temples and the earpads.

What about wireless ones?

I’ve listed the pros and the cons that each competitor have and the other doesn’t.

This way, we can compare and choose the best one them for metal detecting.

However, they do share one boring con…

The wires…

They keep snagging on branches. Whenever you kneel down to dig a target, they will annoy you…

You can easily solve this problem by using wireless headphones like the Garrett MS-3 Z-Lynk.

But I prefer the Garrett Z-Lynk Wireless System because you can choose freely what earpiece you want to use.

You can plug in earbuds or use your favorite headphone.

The Z-lynk wireless system is composed mainly of a wireless transmitter WT-1 and a receiver WT-1.

You plug in the WT-1 into the control box. Place it on the shaft using an elastic strap.

On the other side, plug in your earpiece to the receiver. Pair WT-1 and WR-1.

And you should be good to go. No annoying dangling wire anymore…

Both the transmitter and the receiver should be charged using USB cables.

The charging could last somewhere around 5 hours and the batteries can hold for 30 hours.

This is more than enough to enjoy the hunt. Moreover, the battery indicator will start blinking if there are less than 3 hours remaining.

There’s a delay of 17 milliseconds which is not noticeable. And the signal can travel from the transmitter to the receiver almost instantaneously.

The wireless devices are water-resistant but they’re not submersible.

The transmitter WT-1 is IP 64 rated which means that it’s protected against heavy rain

However, the receiver WR-1 is IP 52 rated so it can only withstand light rain.

So keep the WR-1 in your pocket if it’s raining.

For more details, you can read this post. You’ll find a full review of the wireless systems and headphones available on the market.

It’s worth reading, wireless is the way to go.

Common advantages

Headphones and earbuds also have some benefits in common.

They extend the battery life because the onboard loudspeaker consumes more energy than the small speakers in the earpieces do.

If you’re hunting in a public place like parks, you don’t want to annoy the bystanders by the detector’s repetitive beeps.

The noise will attract some curious people especially children and you’ll be distracted.

If you’re hunting in groups, the audio signals will interfere when using the onboard speakers.

Wrapping up

It’s better to use earbuds in hot weather and headphones when it’s colder. The latter is better for spotting to weak signals.

The Garrett Z-lynk system is a game changer because it allows you to use an earbud or a headphone of your choice wirelessly.

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