An MP3 player is mostly a personal music device, but it also provides a great way to share music with others or even--in a pinch--satisfy your home stereo needs. To satisfy both the personal- and public-listening experiences, logic dictates you need two separate gadgets: a pair of headphones and a set of speakers. Or you could pick up GoStereo's Tune In Tune Out Headphones, which combine the two into one handy (and simple) device. The headphones sound about average and the speaker quality is only so-so, but the super fair price of $50 for a 2-in-1 product makes the whole concept easy to swallow.
On first glance, the Tune In Tune Out Headphones don't look any different than your average full-size set, although it is immediately apparent where costs were cut. The adjustable headband is constructed of cheap plastic, has no padding, and feels prone to breakage after minimal wear and tear. Despite this, the headphones are reasonably comfortable, with cushy earcups that don't put an inordinate amount of pressure on the jaw base. A single, super thick cable descends from the right cup and terminates in a gold-plated, 3.5mm straight plug.
Closer inspection of the Tune In Tune Out will reveal two external speakers: one built into the outside of each earcup. A battery compartment that takes two AAA cells (not included) is built into the left earcup, while the right houses buttons for volume and powering on the speaker. When the power is on, music comes through the speakers; when off, the unit functions as regular headphones. Simple as that.
As mentioned, performance is a bit of an issue with the Tune In Tune Out Headphones, but it is by no means a deal-breaker. Sound through the headphones has a muted quality to it; in fact, we found that we had to turn up the volume of whatever audio source we were using significantly when compared to another set of full-size headphones. Also, high-end detail has a tendency to get lost on fast tracks, and bass response is lacking. On the plus side, music had an openness to it that is sometimes hard to find in headphones, and mids come through reasonably warm.
As you might expect given the speaker design, there's a fair amount of sound leakage even in headphone mode. The speakers themselves sound pretty tinny and hollow, and the positioning of them isn't ideal: they face away from each other. However, there's no distortion and they get reasonably loud for their size. All in all, the Tune In Tune out is a reasonable investment, given the fair price tag.