Let’s start with with the facts… You can’t add a subwoofer in the traditional sense to your earbuds because a subwoofer typically consists of standalone driver in a wooden enclosure with separately powered amplifier. But when Fusion Electronics, the parent company of Atomic9 told me their new $50 rumble-vibration gaming earbuds pack the punch of a subwoofer without the need for power I was intrigued.
To test the headphones they sent me, I used an iPhone 4 to play More from Usher as well as Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major from Beethoven.
What I found was earbuds which actually produced vibrating bass. It actually takes getting used to. The earbuds are larger than typical buds and and I had to squeeze mine into my ears. But once they are in, when you hear a symphony, the highs and lows are much more vibrant.
The downside is that the buds may not fit in all ears. Typically in fact I find all earbuds come loose in my ears but the Rumblebuds didn’t in my casual testing while sitting at TMC HQ. In addition, the vibration may actually become annoying to some who aren’t able to adapt. And I was able to turn the music up so loud that one of the drivers popped out of my ear.
The company says it uses dual speaker drivers to achieve dynamic range of 20-20KHz but I would find it hard to believe speakers of this size can reproduce sound of 20 Hz so take the claim with a grain of salt.
Will you be able to leave your over-the-ear headphones at home as a result of this new product innovation? No… If you rate Bose QuietComfort III headphones at a 10 out of ten then these buds rank 7 or 8 while the Apple buds are closer to 5. So I do recommend these earbuds to people who love music and don’t want to deal with a bulky headset but yet want more than the tinny sound produced by most earbud drivers.