What do you do when you only have one iPod and one set of headphones, but you and a friend want to listen at the same time? The common solution is for each person to take one bud and listen in dreary mono. Sure, people do it, but it's just doesn't sound good.
Well, Mida Interactive has taken the dual-listening experience to a new level with its ShareBuds MX Twin Stereo Earphones, which offers two pairs of earbuds integrated into one product. The good news is they fit comfortably (you get three rubber tip sizes to choose from: small, medium, and large) and sound OK. While they're not going to blow you away with rich tonal qualities or tight, deep bass, they deliver sound that measures up to what you'd get from basic soft-tipped earbuds that cost around $25. So, in that sense, the ShareBuds aren't a terrible deal at $39.99. Alternatively, of course, you could buy two sets of earbuds and a cheap $2 headphone-jack splitter for dual-listening, but the ShareBuds are clearly designed for serial music or movie sharers.
Mida makes two versions of the ShareBuds. One has built-in, dual retractable cord mechanisms that are designed to keep tangles to a minimum; however, we felt they didn't work as well as they should have. The model reviewed here, which costs $10 less, doesn't have a retractable element, so you just wrap the cord up when you're finished using the headphones. The cord does end up getting tangled if you don't wrap it carefully, so you'll probably end up spending some time untangling the cords when you go to use the headphones again. However, that's par for the course for most earbud-style headphones.
In the end, we can see how this product could be a good fit for kids who like to share their music with friends or a family who doesn't want to carry two sets of headphones on a trip for one DVD player, especially when you consider the ShareBuds' overall size when retracted is fairly compact (we would have appreciated some sort of carrying case at this price, however).
At their list price of $39.99, the ShareBuds are tough to recommend. But if you find these guys for $25 or less, they're worth considering if dual-listening is your thing.