We've said it before, and we'll say it again: the stock earbuds that came packaged with your MP3 player are not going to help you recognize the full potential of your device. (Unless, of course, you happen to own one of these players.) No matter how many times we say it, we still see countless individuals rocking white iPod earbuds. Perhaps people want others to know they own an iPod, or maybe they balk at the idea of spending even more money to make the most out of a device on which they've already dropped a healthy chunk of change. For the latter, there are options such as the JVC Gumy Air earphones, a set that retails for just $15. However, although these phones offer a touch of style and good, clear audio for those who can get a proper fit, they're definitely not one-size-fits-all. In other words, they may not be an upgrade for everyone.
If nothing else, the JVC Gumy Air earphones let you add a touch of personal style to your listening experience. The set is available in seven colors--black, blue, green, pink, red, silver, and violet--which start in a metallic hue at the earpiece and continue in matte down the 40-inch Y-cable. At the Y, JVC has included a slider to help prevent tangles while the headphones are not in use. There are no other features to speak of: no case, no adapters, no sound-isolating capabilities. But for $15, we really can't complain.
What may cause complaints for wearers of the Gumy Air earphones is fit. The Gumys are designed similarly to stock earbuds in that they sit just inside the outer ear. However, these earphones feature a contoured gummy sleeve that wraps over each bud. The sleeve is certainly cushier than your average foam fitting, but it can still put some pressure on the cartilage of the ear. Plus, there is only one size of the sleeve, which limits the fit. Another minor gripe: they're a bit sticky and so have a tendency to tangle easily in long hair (ouch).
The main issue with fit is that if you can't get the buds in far enough, and as in our case, the sound quality suffers. We had to push and hold the Gumy Air earphones into our ears to really hear what they offer for audio quality, which is reasonably good. In general, music sounds clear and open with a hint of bass. If you cannot get a good fit, music sounds weak and deficient with no bass.