Editors' note: The Timbre earphones without the mic have been updated to reflect a slightly higher score because they do not suffer from the cut-out and static issues that the persisted with some MP3 players when using the version with the mic.
Speakers made for home audio setups are encased in cabinets constructed of a variety of materials, but many high-end models stick to solid-wood enclosures. The argument is that this particular natural material offers superior acoustics, so it comes as no surprise that we're beginning to see more and more earphones incorporating wood into the earpieces. iFrogz provides one example with its Ear Pollution Timbre earbuds, an inexpensive pair that provides very natural-sounding audio and ear-vibrating bass.
The Ear Pollution Timbre earphones are available in two models: a standard MP3 player version that sells for $39.99 and an iPhone/smartphone set with an inline mic and a price of $49.99. Both options come in a choice of two finishes, either light or dark, and feature average-size cylindrical earpieces. These are ensconced mainly in wood, though the speaker end is actually constructed of a metallic plastic. Descending from each earbud is a relatively thin, black Y cable that meets 14 inches down to form one thicker cable. The cord continues for an additional 30 inches before terminating in a nickel-plated straight plug. All in all, the cable is quite thin and seems pretty fragile, which is typical of earbuds in this price range.
Although the Timbre earphones aren't overly large, they're not the most ergonomic set we've come across, mainly because the music port is fairly big around. That said, we were able to achieve a reasonably comfortable fit from the smallest of the three sets of silicone sleeves that are included in the package. Plus, the earbuds felt secure enough in our ears to withstand some moderate activity, though of course fit will be different for everyone.