Tag Archives: earphones


Various Updates

Ultimate Ears 5vi

The link to the previous post is here. After spending more time with the 5vi, I like them very much. Contrary to my original intentions, I really haven’t played much with the foam. Even after weeks of use, the silicone tips continue to feel like small acorns jammed into my ears; they don’t annoy me as much as they originally did but it still isn’t terribly pleasant.

Magic TrackPad

The link to the previous post is here. There is no question, the Magic TrackPad, combined with BetterTouchTool, has become a huge time-saver for me. Not once since my original posting have I missed my old faithful Logitech MX Revolution. Here are my favorites:

  • Four finger slide left or right to bring up the app switcher, then two fingers left or right to select the app, then four finger tap to activate. Standard drivers.
  • Three finger tap to send ⌘R, primarily for refreshing websites. BetterTouchTools.
  • TipSwipe Left Finger Left to send ⌘⇧[. With three fingers on the pad, slide the left-most finger to the left a bit. This moves me left one tab. BetterTouchTool.
  • TipSwipe Left Finger Right to send ⌘⇧]. With three fingers on the pad, slide the left-most finger to the right a bit. This moves me right one tab. BetterTouchTool.
  • Five Finger Tap to show the desktop. This is one command that I’ve missed from Windows and BetterTouchTools makes it easy to bring to the Mac.

Magic TrackPad for Windows

Go here for instructions on how to extract the Apple Magic TrackPad Windows drivers from the BootCamp installer that Apple provides here: 32-bit or 64-bit.

The instructions will tell you to find the Bootcamp3135* folders. You can ignore the #Bootcamp3135* folders. I have to say that this did not work with my POS Dell Latitude D620. It proves nothing, though, since the Dell was able to locate my Mac on Bluetooth but could not discover the Magic TrackPad OR my Plantronics Voyager Pro headset.

Magic TrackPad for Ubuntu

In VMware Fusion, the Magic TrackPad works just fine as a standard trackpad. Two fingers to scroll in FireFox also works. Here is information on pairing with Ubuntu. Since I’m using Fusion, I did not have to do any pairing. Here is another page that includes a link to patches (it’s in the main body of posting).

Airport Extreme

The link to the previous post is here. There have been no complaints from the family about web access since installing the Airport Extreme. It does provide more reliable iTunes streaming to our Airport Express, which is about as far from the router as you can get in our house. By more reliable, I mean that we don’t get the cut-outs and buffering lags that we would get in nearly every song using the DIR-825. Unfortunately, as anticipated, it has NOT resolved my problem with losing my Internet connection. It’s no longer a daily event (more like every 2-3 days), but it still happens. The issue is that my Internet connection will just disappear. Adium stays connected but web traffic completely disappears, as does the Mail connection to my ISP’s e-mail. If I have VMware Fusion running Ubuntu, it retains its connection. This has been happening since I upgraded to Snow Leopard. Based on feedback on the Apple forum I have tried:

  • Changing my DNS server to OpenDNS or Google
  • Flushing the DNS cache
  • Renewing DHCP

Only a reboot resolves the issue. This seems not to happen with the MBP’s in the house but they aren’t on all the time like the iMac, so I guess I’m not surprised.

Sharing USB Drive with Windows

As mentioned in the original posting, connecting a USB drive to the DIR-825 was pointless. The software that D-Link provides for OS X was worthless. Going back to the original developer version helped make the drive recognizable but it still couldn’t be used reliably. Files of any size bigger than a few hundred KB would time out. The good news is that sharing the USB drive with Windows from the Airport Extreme was extremely easy and seems to be quite reliable so far.

  1. Go into the Airport Utility and find the IP address for the Airport Extreme.
  2. Go to the Windows machine and run Windows Explorer.
  3. From Windows Explorer, go to Tools->Map Network Drive.
  4. Select an unused drive letter.
  5. In the “Folder” field enter \\IP_address\USB drive name. Example \\\My_HD.
  6. Check Reconnect at logon if desired.

Etymotic Research hf5 vs. Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi

wpid-hf5-red-2010-07-15-11-25.jpg vs. wpid-superfi-5vi_1-2010-07-15-11-25.jpg

When it comes to earphones/headphones, my preference has been to opt for earphones. No power is required. They are much more convenient to drag onto a plane. If properly inserted, they provide excellent noise reduction and good, clean sound. And, they don’t mess up your hair if you’re flying to a meeting.

The standard Apple earphones are worthless in this regard. They aren’t comfortable and there is no noise reduction. My first pair of add-on earphones were the Shure E2c’s. I loved them and they served faithfully for two years. A year into using them, a piece of plastic broke off where the bud meets the cord. I contacted Shure and they promptly sent me a brand new replacement set. Fantastic service and fantastic ear buds.

When the Shures hit the end of their life, I probably should have just replaced them with another set of Shure. I have no complaints about the buds or the company. But, I was curious about the other options and would wait for a set to go on sale for a good price. That’s how I wound up with the ER and UE buds. I’ve had the hf5 for a little over a year and the 5vi for several months.




The hf5 case is larger and can hold everything that ships with the set. It’s also a soft case. The 5vi case is hard but won’t carry much more than the cleaning tool and the earphones themselves. If you have settled on your desired tips, this shouldn’t be an issue. Winner: 5vi.

Cleaning Tools

I’m not an expert on cleaning tools (a photo of my desk would prove this), so I’d call this one a draw. However, the hf5 comes with filters that are meant to protect the earphones from wax and also to smooth out the frequencies a bit. If you buy into the need for the filter, the hf5 wins. The difference has not been obvious for me and I try to keep the filters clean on the hf5’s. Winner: draw.



Both sets come with silicone tips and foam tips. Although the foam tips provide a better seal, I don’t use them. Two reasons: they’re not as easy to work with and they require replacement more often than I care to pay for. They are also much easier to damage if you’re traveling with them. Comparing the foam tips, the 5vi wins. The Comply foam tips are nicer. They seem like they would last longer, they seal better, and they are more comfortable. Here’s the rub for me: the standard Comply tips are $14.95 for 3 sets. Want to go with integrated wax protection? If so, you’ll shell out $19.95 for 3 sets. Damn…Winner: 5vi


The 5vi comes with 4 sets of silicone tips. The hf5 comes with 2 sets. The triple flanged tips that come with the hf5 are softer, seal better, and are much more comfortable. I really don’t like the silicone tips for the 5vi AT ALL. Winner: hf5


Both sets are well built. The hf5 have an aluminum housing, which feels more rugged than the plastic of the 5vi. The 5vi has a thicker, tangle free cord. There are two potential issues with the thicker cord. First, the thicker, stiffer cord transmits more noise to the ear phones if you tap them or they bounce together. Second, the 5vi works best when you wear the cord over the ear. This is a little more difficult with the stiffer cord. The hf5 has a thicker housing around the plug, which makes it a little tougher to disconnect the dock connect cord. It also has a clip if you’d care to anchor the cord to your shirt. Winner: hf5


The most noticeable difference between the hf5 and the 5vi is that the 5vi is considerably louder at any volume level. You have to increase the volume when using the hf5 by 80-90% to get the equivalent level of sound. Overall, the sound of the 5vi is more full. Both sets provide clean definition but the hf5 seem just a little bit muddier than the 5vi. The hf5 seems to be a little better at rendering higher pitched sounds like the crash of a cymbal. Below is a summary and a list of different pieces of music and an indicator of on which set I felt they sounded better.



Here are the specs from the maker websites.


Truthfully, they are both very nice sounding earphones. All things being equal, I would choose the 5vi. The more efficient output and the fuller sound are quite appealing and the case is great for travel. But…I truly dislike their silicone tips and can’t see myself shelling out cash for the Comply tips regularly. I’ll take them on my next trip and will see how well they wear. This will determine which set becomes the go-to set.

If comfort is an issue or you plan to exercise with them, the hf5 is probably the better choice. You should get less cord noise and the flanged tips are much more comfortable than the bulbous 5vi tips. As a comparison, Amazon is currently offering the hf5 for $123-$137 (depending on color) and the 5vi for $76.

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