Recently, circumstances (read: work) have led me to wake up at the unearthly hour of 4am and travel for an hour or so on a bus that is filled with an odd mix of post party poseurs, louts, hobos and non-english speaking foreign workers. The common thing between the lot, including the bus itself, is that they’re all fucking noisy. The ride is always bumpy and the chatter typically higher in the decibel and frequency.

Bottom line was that I was suffering through lack of sleep, physical tiredness and irritation. My solution of sorts was to withdraw unto myself all the more, by purchasing a pair of in ear headphones. Previously, I’d been using the fancy schmancy B&O A8 I got as a pressie one X’mas. Now I’ve swopped those lovely, albeit none too lovely sounding, objets d’art for a pair of cans that cost a tenth of the price and come nothing close to the Grados that I would love to have.

I present to you ladies and gents, the JVC Marshmallows. These are like the best pair of cheap in ear headphones. The operating word being cheap, of course. I followed advice from the Head-Fi forums and modded/kramered them. The result now is that I can still hear the odd bit of chatter but thank god its muted. I can still hear the drone of the bus but its no longer an overwhelming torrent of sound. My eardrums are also thanking me for allowing the volume to be turned down considerably yet still hear everything clearly. Another side effect, strangely enough, is that I actually think the sound quality on these post mod, is better than the B&Os. Now I know the Bangers weren’t great to begin with but these JVCs cost me $30 off the bay. Which is amazing.

That said, I still love the B&Os. They’re probably the most elegant earphone design I’ve ever come across and they’re incredibly lightweight but well built and extremely comfortable. Pity about the tinny sound. Also, the Marshmallows aren’t that great either. I’ve heard way better. Both sets are decent, if non ideal.

Using the Marshmallows is weird. They’re the first pair of in-ears I’m using, so I’m still getting used to pinching the memory foam before placing it into my ear, then waiting as it expands to fill up the space. I feel like I’m underwater, I can hear myself breathe through the bones conducting and I can hear the cables as they sway, although this is not that big an issue when the music plays.

Thank the Marshmallow Man for inventing memory foam to save my sanity.