Ever since working from home in the pandemic, my partner and cats have gotten used to seeing me with headphones on my head for the better part of the weekdays. And living in close proximity with someone, I’ve grown to be a little more self-conscious about noise pollution. But what happens when you want to listen to your media devices and try to be responsive to your immediate surroundings? This is a problem that the Mu6 Ring can solve.
In the box you get the headphones, a carrying pouch, charging cable (micro USB), a manual, warranty card, and reflector strips for those who prefer to be active in low-light conditions.
Personally, the most important feature of these headphones is the way they’re shaped; the open-ear design allows you to be aware of your surroundings while enjoying your music. This definitely increases the safety aspect of wearing the Mu6 Ring 10-fold.
Imagine crossing the road and actually having awareness of traffic. Imagine going on a hike in the wilderness and you come across (an animal that makes a sound when threatened). Imagine running errands and having to converse with people along the way.
The Mu6 Ring is also powered by air conduction technology. You’re probably more familiar with bone conduction technology, so here’s the difference: bone conduction delivers sound directly to the inner ear without needing to pass through the eardrum, while air conduction transmits sound through the air to the ear.
In other words, it’s like tiny speakers next to your ear, but the way it’s designed, there is minimal sound leakage due to anti-phase sound. In a nutshell, it is same same but different, but the defining difference is more clarity with air conduction. Individuals with no hearing loss will definitely benefit from this.
Its 16mm dynamic driver allows the mid-to-high processing to be more delicate, and the bass will not cause discomfort due to vibration. With a battery capacity of 200mAH, you’re able to get 10 hours of play time and about 200 hours of standby time. Weighing in at only 35g, you can kiss those ear and neck aches goodbye. Also, no cable snags; it connects by Bluetooth 5.0. That means you can take it for a run or cycle while worrying less about the rain with its IP55 waterproof rating.
Since the headphones are best used during sports, I will test them out as such. I couldn’t wait to try the Mu6 Ring with its intended use. Just one little speed bump though.
The way it’s designed doesn’t really leave much room for spectacles. I have seen on the website the model does put these over his sunglasses, but as you can imagine it’s added pressure on the sides of your head and is not very comfortable. Unfortunately to me this really limits the demographic of users, so to be fair, I’ll be wearing contacts to be able to enjoy the full experience.
Practically the best use of the Mu6 Ring is if you’re a person who cycles on the road like myself. Before pedalling though, I wanted to see how it fits with a helmet on.
This is of course very subjective to the type of helmet you have, but for myself, I feel that these headphones aren’t that comfortable with a bicycle helmet on. Because it’s so snug, the helmet tightening mechanism on the back pushes the headphones down thus pulling down my ears along with it. I expect motorcycle helmet wearers to not have a problem with this, considering the lack of straps.
It’s currently the rainy season as of this writing, so I counted myself lucky to have found a window where it wasn’t pouring all day. I decided to do my day-job commute—a good 50-ish-minute cycle to the Marina Bay Financial Centre from Jalan Kayu.
This was effectively the first time I’m using the Mu6 Ring for an extended period, and I’m quite impressed with the sound quality. I definitely feel the difference when I turn the volume up; comparing it to bone conduction headphones, you don’t get the excessive vibration that the latter tends to give out.
Though the louder I go, there was a clicking sound that follows the beat of whatever music I was listening to probably due to the excess volume. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to this being a faulty set, and if you get yours like this you should look to have it replaced with the warranty.
I expect the headphones to feel more comfortable while running since there aren’t any impediments during use. Caps, sweatbands, and head umbrellas would be fine. The only concern would be how it stays on through the bouncing motions of running.
In the name of science, I begrudgingly went for a 25-minute run around my estate. To no surprise, there was little to no shifting of the headphones from my head, though these results may vary depending on how sweaty you are. But since they were resting on my ears and kept in place by rubber pads, they barely moved an inch.
In case you’re worried about your cap being in the way, again it really depends on what kind of headwear you’re wearing. My running cap posed no problem for my jaunt on the pavement.
Considering how much we’re on our devices every day, the Mu6 Ring helps when you share a space with others. I share my home office space with my partner, so having the headphones on allows me to endlessly scroll TikTok without bothering her while still being able to engage in a quick chat now and then. Whether or not those quick chats involve me showing said TikToks is not far-fetched.
I wore it at the office (also, over my spectacles) and it was a welcome addition to my workday. I’m the type who can do with a little background music while working in an open space; familiar music centres me back from distractions from colleagues, keyboards clacking, and doors opening and closing. Also when I went out for lunch with my team, I was able to bend them straight so they’re wrapped comfortably around my neck when not in use.
I was pleasantly surprised at how clear I could hear people on the other end of the call, though what they hear on my end is that I sound far away. Not that I have a problem with speaking normally or a little louder, but this is definitely not a pair of headphones that you can make discreet calls in.
Besides that, there is some noise suppression. Standing under a ceiling fan, my call recipients mentioned that there wasn’t any wind noise. So I suspect that this is the trade-off to sounding far away—the muffling of ambient sound.
Despite the small setbacks, I do believe the Mu6 Ring is worth considering. If you can get around the whole spectacles-wearing with it, owning a pair of these headphones really do change the way you consume media. And at its very competitive price point, it’ll be hard not to dip your toes in the air conduction pond.
Your new world of aural freedom awaits! Just remember to use these powers for good, not evil.
The Mu6 Ring is currently available on weareready.sg and is currently priced at S$99 (at the time of publication).
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