Last month, after I blogged about how my cat destroyed my headphones, FPF reader Andrea suggested I check out thinksound headphones. She wrote, “They’re ridiculously expensive, but maybe they would send you a pair to review on your blog.” So I contacted the company, and they did just that.
PVC-free wooden headphones
Now, no headphones are plastic-free. But some plastics are worse than others. And most electrical cables are insulated with PVC, one of the most toxic plastics. thinksound headphones are unique. The cables are PVC-free, and the housing is made from wood (the company is working on getting FSC certified) and aluminum instead of plastic. In fact, these headphones probably contain the least amount of plastic on the market. Even the ear inserts are made from silicone instead of petroleum-based plastic.
Least Plastic Packaging
But what about the packaging? You know I’m all about waste-free plastic-free packaging. Well, it’s not exactly plastic-free, but almost. The headphones were shipped in a cardboard shipping box with shredded paper as packing material.
The thinksound box is made from recycled paper. There is a plastic window, which I could do without. The box itself is sealed shut with two tiny plastic stickers. But the insert inside is made from cardboard rather than plastic blister or bubble material. And the carrying pouch is made from unbleached cotton.
Inside the pouch are alternative ear inserts in a tiny plastic bag, as well as a tiny plastic clip. The web site says, “Please use the supplied cable clip when doing rigorous activities to limit cable noise and possible tangling of the cables.” But I’m not sure how to use it. Do you know?
If that were all there was to them, I would give away this pair. I had intended to clean out my ears really well, try them out, and then clean the headphones really well and offer them for free on this blog. But that all changed after I put them in my ears and started listening. Holy crap! These things sound great! No wonder they’re so expensive! (Yes, they are expensive. We’ll get to the price further down.)
The web site says that the wood housing makes the sound “less digital and a little more natural than what you’d get from standard earbuds made of metal or plastic.” I believe it. As for the technology, “Passive noise cancellation minimizes ambient sounds. Dynamic driver features 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response.” I don’t know what that means, but I guess it’s good.
The price is high, but like organic food, sometimes good quality eco-friendly products just cost more. I realize not everyone can afford to pay so much for headphones. That’s a fact of life. But I feel that for those who can afford it and who need headphones, investing in the least toxic, best quality choice is important. I’d rather have a few nice things than a lot of crappy stuff.
But what do you think?