Ear Buddy

Annoyed by hisses and pops from your earphones? Feel like your music is just not at its best?

The iFi Ear Buddy is a simple plug and play device that puts an end to unwanted noise and breathes new life into your audio.

Your new best friend

Do you find that your headphones/IEMs often have a background hiss from your phone or source? Or do find yourself listening really loudly to try and get the full ‘impact’ of the music?

Well, time to say hello to your new best friend – the Ear Buddy.

Simple but effective

The Ear Buddy is a simple 3.5mm adapter that fits between any headphone and audio device.

It filters out background hiss and bursts of sudden noise that can damage your ears.

The Ear Buddy makes music clearer and allows you to crank up the volume to the max without painful consequences! Great for your kids too.

The perfect travelling companion

The Ear Buddy works with smartphones, DAPs, computers and in-flight travel systems.

A top tip – take it with you when you fly – no more painful soundtracks to inflight movies. It works wonders.

And for good measure, we’ve added memory foam earplugs (they really do work!), an aeroplane adapter and travel pouch.

The Ear Buddy is the perfect travelling companion for you or your children.

IEMs

IEMs stands for In-Ear Monitors.

These fit inside your ear. You’ve been using them for years. You just called them something else.

You will also see these referred to as earphones, ear buds and CIEMs. CIEMs are Custom In-Ear Monitors – IEMs made specifically to fit your ear shape.

DAP (Digital Audio Player)

A DAP is a device like an iPod or an MP3 player that stores and/or plays back music digitally.

Bits

In digital audio, a value called bit depth describes the resolution of the sound data that is captured and stored in an audio file. A higher audio bit depth indicates a more detailed sound recording.

So, the higher the bit depth, the higher the quality of the audio. Bit depth is usually 16 bits on a CD and 24 bits on a DVD.

If you ‘lose’ bits, the quality of your music will deteriorate.

Turn up the digital volume to restore lost resolution and improve sound quality.

Normal listening levels usually result in a loss of 2-Bits of resolution but increasing the digital volume and using the Ear Buddy to attenuate the volume level, brings these Bits back.

Too much power heading into your headphones causes irritating noise, hiss and buzz.

Our solution is to ‘attenuate’ or adjust the signal that cuts out the hiss and puts the enjoyment back into listening.

ConstructionHigh-Gain (-16dB) sensitivity adjustment
6N copper matrix wiring
Gold-plated printed circuit board with audiophile components (eg MELF resistors)
Gold-plated 3.5mm male/female connectors
Input Impedance> 16 Ohm
Output Impedance< 2.7 Ohms
Amplifier Loading~18 Ohm
Conditions16R headphone/iem connected < 1R Amplifier output impedance
Compatible Headphone impedance: 16 Ohm to 600 Ohm rated impedance
12.5 Ohm minimum impedance
Weight6.0 g
Total Length116mm
Warranty period12 months
iEMatchEarBuddyiEMatch2.5
Primary useSensitive headphones ($150>)Sensitive headphones (<$150)Digital Audio Players
3.5mm BalancedYes--
3.5mm Single-EndedYesYes-
2.5mm Balanced--Yes
Ultra (-24dB) / High (-12dB) SensitivityYes-Yes
High(-16dB) Sensitivity-Yes-
6N silver / copper matrix wiringYes-Yes
6N copper matrix wiring-Yes-
FINAL 6063-T5 aluminium-magnesium alloyYes-Yes
Input impedance>16 Ohm>16 Ohm>16 Ohm
Output impedance< 2.5 Ohms (High-Sensitivity)
< 1 Ohms (Ultra-Sensitivity)
< 2.7 Ohms (High-Sensitivity)< 2.5 Ohms (High-Sensitivity)
< 1 Ohms (Ultra-Sensitivity)
Compatibility16 Ohm to 600 Ohm rated impedance
12.5 Ohm minimum impedance
16 Ohm to 600 Ohm rated impedance
12.5 Ohm minimum impedance
16 Ohm to 600 Ohm rated impedance
12.5 Ohm minimum impedance
Weight12.2g6g12.2g
Total length116mm116mm116mm

Best Value Audio Tweak Not Mentioned In Audio Magazines

“As a delighted customer purchasing a second Ear Buddy for my 1999 JBL speakers to improve my PC audio, I highly recommend this product, particularly to those considering a costlier pair of headphones.”
Read the full review here…

Amazon

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Works as advertised

Very good value, quality sound.

Amazon

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Simple and effective

“If you need to reduce a signal that is too hot, then this is for you.”

Amazon

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What the doctor ordered

Sound Devices warns that the headphone output of their SD 702 recorder can damage hearing. For some reason, they designed that output so hot that just barely nudging the volume knob from the zero position results in full normal listening level with my Beyerdynamic headphones. These have a sensitivity of 102 dB for 1mW, only a bit more than typical.

So I looked for a decently-made plug-and-play inline headphone attenuator. This Ear Buddy seemed tailor-made for the job. Received it, tried it out: perfect. Normal listening level is now at least 1/3 turn up, and plenty of headroom remains should conditions warrant. The sound seems unaffected but the benefit of a wide range of subtle adjustments to the listening level is definitely a winner.

While the Ear Buddy appears well-made with good materials, my impression is it’s not designed for harsh conditions or abuse. The right-angle jack is OK although I would have preferred a straight-line jack in my application.

Amazon

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My computer is now static free!!!

My computer headphone jack had background static/hisses/pops that made it uncomfortable to use. After contemplating a whole bunch of convoluted work-arounds, this popped up on a search.

Success! Now there’s no more static and I can finally listen to music/videos/etc pain-free! Sound quality sounds perfect to me with my headphones.

Amazon

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Good attenuator

A bit expensive

Amazon

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Good Product

Super easy to use. Comes with a nice case.

Amazon

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Seriously, thank you for making this

I bought a laptop that I really like other than the horrible hissing and super loud volume. I didn’t actually think this cable would do much if anything, but I was desperate.

This actually solves it completely. I really don’t like having an extra thing around, but this is so much better than the alternative (it’s not a large cable, I’m just super picky about this stuff). I can actually listen to music on my laptop again 🙂 thank you

Amazon

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IFI AUDIO EAR BUDDY AND IEMATCH HEADPHONE ATTENUATION ADAPTERS

High sensitivity headphones are great because they don’t require a lot power to drive them but the downside to sensitive headphones is that they tend to produce audible background hiss that transfers into the audio you’re playing. How much hiss you get depends on the audio source the headphone is connected to (i.e. smartphone, digital audio player, single-ended triode amplifier, etc).

One way to solve the background hissing (or humming) you get with high sensitivity headphones is by increasing their output impedance, which works great with single driver IEMs but not so good with IEMs that have multiple balanced armature (BA) drivers because each driver has different impedance so, if the output impedance of the audio source is higher than zero, you can get a change in frequency response (i.e. lower bass response).

The easier way to solve background hiss and imprecise control of volume is with an attenuator like Ear Buddy and iEMatch, which are audio attenuators that reduce the output of a headphone amplifier to minimize channel imbalances at low volume and background hiss…

Gadget Explained

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Simple. Effective. Just works.

Not much to write really. It just works. Makes everything quieter, which means it makes any hiss and noise quieter. As long as your device gets loud enough it’s fantastic.

Amazon

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Sounds transparent, which is great!

I wanted to add some attenuation to my low-impedance headphones, and this seems to have done the trick! I don’t know about some of the dubious-sounding claims in the description, but it sounds transparent to me on some mid-low range headphones, and that’s really all I could ask.

$20 is about the price of some high-quality components, and it feels well-built, so I’d say the value is good, without the incredible markup common to audiophile gear. It’s nice to be able to use the full volume range on my phone and PC, that’s for sure. Easily recommended.

 

Amazon

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The product works as advertised.

The Earbuddy is very well made and it is very simple to use. The functionality is perfect.

 

Amazon

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Good buy

Was skeptical at first but wow! It actually does make a difference in sound quality. Though it’s pretty minor so $20 might be worth it to some but not all.

Amazon

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Overview of iFi Audio accessories and filters – does filtering matter?

This article was born in my head a long time ago, mainly due to repeated questions from time to time, whether I had contact with filtering devices like iSilencer, Jitterbug etc. But since I run my humble blog, I’ve probably got used to most people to a few maxims, which I am guided in total not only in the field of audio equipment, but generally in life…

AUDIOFANATYK

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It works, it sounds great, it attenuates

I got the B&W C5 S2 earbuds for my PC, since my Sennheiser HD600’s left an impression on my hair after extended use. Sadly, after bringing my new earbuds home to listen to on my Anthem statement D2 pre-amp, there was a loud static white noise only present in the earbuds. The B&W’s are 18dB more sensitive and 32ohms while the Sennheisers are 300ohms. I never heard any static on my Sennheisers, but after roughly 30dB of gain from my Parasound Halo A21 to my Paradigm Studio 100 v3’s I have a subtle static white noise that you can hear if you get close enough to the tweeter with your ear.

Knowing this is present, I wasn’t sure that even if I got a new headphone amp and used balanced out from my D2, would I still have this unbearably loud static in my earphones? At this point I figured I’d have to get a separate amp/DAC combo for my earphones altogether, and that would cost me more than I was willing to spend. Instead of returning the earbuds or wasting money on those new components, I did some searching around. I came across impedance adapters but people said although they work, they usually ruin the sound. Then I found an article about attenuators that was advertising another company’s products. They wanted $50 for a little wire so I was thinking “yeah that’s not going’s to happen”. So I did a quick search and came across this.

The earbuds you 16dB attenuator. I figured, heck it’s two day shipping and affordable I might as well give it a try. So when I got it, I plugged my earphones in and voila! The static was almost completely gone. Now 16dB if I’m correct is a 40X difference in volume, so I was still hearing 1/40 of what was previously present (which was loud), but it’s low enough to only be really noticeable if I focus on it. Before I had this, I tried my earphones on my phone, my D2 and my Focusrite Scarlett Audio Interface. The Scarlett output was awful, a sad excuse of an amplifier for headphones. I already knew this from when trying to power my Sennheisers to directly listen to my microphone but didn’t expect the MUCH easier to power earbuds to sound so horrific.

Anyways, after testing all 3 devices, I determined that the D2 pre-amp had amazing quality and was easy to appreciate, but the static wasn’t worth dealing with. That’s the best part about the EarBuddy, it works AND sustains that quality terrifically. If anything else, I could see it making an improvement on some sources, so long as they are not underpowered. I would certainly recommend this attenuator.

Amazon

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Does Exactly As Advertised

This device worked perfectly to remove all noticeable background hiss when my sensitive IEMs(KZ AS10, 15ohm impedance and 105db/mw sensitivity) are plugged into my phone and PC.

As a small side effect, besides needing higher player volume, the bass is slightly louder and the treble just slightly lower, but the difference is very small, and actually sounds more realistic than before. Feels pretty well put together, but I’m not so sure about the cable’s ruggedness yet since the rubber on the cable doesn’t feel too strong.

Amazon

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It works

Does the job. Excellent attenuator to avoid the evils of digital volume control.

Amazon

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iFi Ear Buddy, Headphone Hissing Be Gone!

Did you know when you’re using your headphones and a digital player there’s a good chance you’re missing out on some of your audio? In fact, not only are you not getting what you paid for, but you’re given a little extra – like unwanted hissing. iFi Ear Buddy is here to rescue us from this all too common issue.

Major HiFi

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Ear Buddy: iFi’s £20 dongle for better sound

With Ear Buddy, you can turn your device’s digital audio volume right up – so you’re not losing as much audio information – while the analogue dongle reduces the volume. Consequently you can listen to your headphones at a comfortable volume safe in the knowledge your sound quality is being preserved.

What Hi-Fi

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No more hiss from KZ AS10!!!

I was really skeptical when I ordered this thing but somehow it just works. I had really bad hissing background noise from my KZ AS10 to the point when I started to look for new earphones since it’s impossible to return KZ stuff. Now with this adapter, the hiss is gone completely I mean, it’s dead silent now and I can finally enjoy the quality sound these earphones provide. I would even say get it if you have any noise issues with any headphones or in-ear monitors. I love products that completely solve annoying issues. Well done iFi!

Amazon User

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Good product as entry level

Very good with reproduction of movies, less impressive with music via amazon. Good for when travel in aeroplane.

Amazon User

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Ear Buddy – impressions and review

What iFi Ear Buddy does:

  • Via iFi websiteaudible benefits
  • The Ear Buddy®
  • gets rid of annoying hisses and buzzes and allows you to turn up your digital volume to a higher level to improve resolution and quality without making you deaf!

expatinjapan

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Ear-Buddy – Goodbye hiss

The Ear-Buddy is well built and solved all my issues. I get much better volume control with IEM’s. It works, plain and simple. It is a well thought-out little adaptor and one that you cannot go wrong for the price.

Sound Perfection Reviews

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Sensitive Headphones’ best friend

The Ear-Buddy is a nifty device which you can plug your headphones in and its aim is to remove background noise and to make it possible to recover the ‘lost bits’ when using digital volume adjustment. I found the Ear-Buddy to be extremely useful….it deserves every praise and my full recommendation.

Soundphile

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Perfect little high quality in-line attenuator

Ear-Buddy is a useful tool if you experience hiss when using a DAP, phone or DAC/AMP. It simply performs as advertised. Reducing hiss and hence allowing for enjoyable listening sessions. It works!

Expatinjapan

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Perfect little high quality in-line attenuator

Transparent attenuation in a compact form factor with nice build quality.

I finally gave up on my Shure in-line volume control for it’s I love my fancy earphones and their exceptional sound performance, but I struggle with the sensitivity in “normal” use environments. Plugged into phones and iPods the background hiss emerges. Plugged into airplanes entertainment systems the leveling blows your head off during announcements.

For years I’ve been carrying around a Shure in-line volume contro (from their travel kit) with mixed results. They have mediocre build quality, unpredictable operation, and noisy pass-through when paired with top-end in-ears. I wanted a fixed level of attentuation with more attention to sound quality. (Bonus: this thing comes with a two-prong airplane adapter with the best build quality I’ve ever seen!)

Well here it is, this is my new go-to. The iFi Ear-Buddy has been great in initial testing. It feels great, it looks nice, it’s compact, it’s got no controls to screw up. Perfect. Perfect level of attenuation too, I drive my phone at full volume and it’s just barely too loud for casual listening.

The advertised intention is to allow your DACs to drive at higher output, pulling more bits from the data stream and improving sound quality. This has been evident on lower quality systems in testing, though I don’t honestly notice the purported jump from 14 to 16 bit sound in most of my setups.
Mostly I notice that the SPL is now way above the DAC noise floor, so there’s less background hiss in quiet sections.

Overall a very reasonable buy for improved experience over any comparable competition for in-line attenuation.

ProPlugin

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