Enter the natural habitat for any gear head – a Best Buy, maybe, or a coffee shop in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. If you are lucky, you will soon hear the complaining call of the gear head. “But it is worth it!” someone will cry. Whether they point to a $ 900 tablet or hold a $ 2,800 camera, it’s usually right that you get what you pay for.
It can be really hard to reconcile our expertise with a normal person’s budget. Before this week, if you had asked me for a pair of wireless training headphones for around $ 40, I would have told you that the barring very get exceptions, you get what you get.
When I tried the Back Bay Tempo 30, I had to check and double check the price before I also got my colleague Parker Hall to try them. I wore the $ 40 earplugs that ran and walked with my dog in the rain and dangled my head in the climbing workout and I couldn’t shake them. They are so good, I feel bad about recommending other workout headphones.
Back Bay Audio is a Boston-based startup. Founder Jeremy Abend spent a year developing training headphones that would have a premium fit and sound without the retail markup.
From the moment I took them out of the packaging, I was shocked. The case is aluminum and tiny, noticeably smaller than my AirPods Pro case. They come with six different rubber earplugs. I have tried the rose gold version, but they also come in black.
Unlike other buds, the earplugs vary not only in size but in depth. I have extremely small and shallow ears. Fitting is usually a tedious process and I still get nervous if there is no additional ear fin or wing to hold the bud in. The low, medium sized earplugs that came on the Tempo 30 out of the box fit me securely and perfectly. To never happens.
Pairing was easy. I just selected them in my iPhone 11s Bluetooth menu. They do not have an app to tinker with EQ, but they do have active noise reduction that is quite effective. I had to take them out to hear my kids talk to me when I got home from a run.
Pressing the right button activates Bass Boost mode. It was hard to say when it was active, to press the right knob is also how to turn up the volume. You can turn down the volume by pressing on the left. I tried switching to Bass Boost several times, but as it fits a pair of workout headphones, the bass is heavy even without it.
In fact, the drums on Elle King’s “Drunk and I Don’t Want to Go Home” were so heavy that I actually took the buds out of my ears in the gym to check. It seemed impossible that no one else could hear the low end besides me.
These knobs have a lot of market-beating specifications. Battery life is eight hours and 32 with the case. After four days of using them more or less constantly, the battery is still at 80 percent. They are rated IPX7, which means they can be immersed to a depth of one meter for 30 minutes – I ran while wearing them in pouring rain (thank you, Oregon) and they felt and sounded fine.