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JLAB JBuds EPIC Control and Fit

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In-line controls are fairly standard practice these days and it is almost an anomaly when they aren't included on a headphone. The JLab EPIC headphones have an in-line control and mic unit on the right headphone cable. The mic works with an acceptable level of resolution (meaning no one complained that they couldn't understand me when I was on a call). The controls, on the other hand, were a completely different story. I spend the majority of the review period thinking there were no in-line controls. 

But there are.

epic_button

How could I miss that?

The first time I put on the EPICs, I pressed on the control unit and, feeling no movement and hearing no click, figured there wasn't any in-line controls. Much later I read on their website that they did have a single button control and sure enough, it was true. The small, raised JLabs logo was, in fact, a button that was resistant to pressure. In the end, that really doesn't make much difference as it isn't impossible to use, you just need a little extra pressure. The controls are basic but work with both Android and iOS devices. Single presses connect/disconnect calls or start/stop music. Double press forwards a track and triple clicks skip back a track.

EPIC Fit

Of course, with in-ear monitors fit is where it is at. No matter how good they may or may not sound, if they aren't comfortable then they won't be of much use. While this is true of any headphone, is is doubly so of in-ear monitors. JLabs has provided six different sizes of tips in two styles - single and double flanged. The single flanged come in extra small (really, these are tiny), small, medium, and large. The double flanged come in extra small/small and medium/large sizes. You can mix and match these as you see fit.

epic_tip

Pictured: Medium tips and small fins

The second part of the fit equation is the cush fin. As mentioned, there is a small channel around the outside of the enclosure for the fin to rest. The fins come in four sizes (extra small to large) with the smallest being little more than a rubber ring and the largest looking like a shark fin. There are cutouts (I call them crumple zones) on one side of the two largest so that you can press it into your ear and it will deform and hold tight.

The channel for the cush fins is a brilliant design in that it works just about as perfectly as you might hope. The channel keeps the fins connected to the headphones even when you hook the cable on something and it rips from you ear (ouch!). At the same time, it has enough friction to keep the fin in the proper location without so much that you can't adjust it. JLabs instructions for fit are - attach the fin pointing up (relative to your head), insert the EPIC earphone, and then push the fine toward the back of your head to lock in the headphone.

epic_naked

Channel for the fin works well though is very far from the end of the post

For the most part, this works. I found that I didn't really need to slide the fin back all that much if I chose the right size. I ended up with the single-flanged, medium tips with the small fins in both ears. The double flanged tips were too uncomfortable to use no matter the size. I played with different fins and alternated them a number of times. The key is to get one that is just the right size but not to big. Too small, in this case, is better than too big. Too big and the fin would actually pull the headphone from my ear. With the right combination of tip and fin and there was no way the EPIC headphones were coming out without considerable effort.

In this, the JLabs headphones were extremely successful. Once they were in and were set, they felt as if they were a part of my ear. I had no problems exercising with them as the only fear I had was hooking the cable on something and tearing them loose. Falling out wasn't an issue at any time. For most, this will be selling point enough and they've already left this review to make their order.

epic_fin

Large fin with crumple zone

For those that have stuck around, comfort, for me, was a problem. The EPIC headphones had a fairly long post. Inserted on their own they were fine and the EPICs were light enough that weight was never an issue. The fins, however, pushed the posts so deep in my ears that I found more than an hour of listening was unbearable. I tried reducing the size of the tips but that didn't help and made the sound quality worse. I could wear the EPICs for longer periods without the fins but then they would have the falling out problems that the fins were meant to prevent. I can't fault the EPICs too much for this, however, as it is impossible to please every ear. For buyers, you can rest assured knowing that either the fins will work for you (and if the Amazon reviews are any indication, they work for most people), or they won't and you can still use them as you would any other in-ear monitor.

 

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