Relatively affordable sports earplugs plagued by comfort issues

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Indian audio company Noise has been successful in creating waves in the audio industry thanks to their range of affordable and efficient audio solutions. The company has a range of true wireless and cordless earphones, all reasonably priced, that aim to play among the industry’s heavyweights. Most of the Noise products we have reviewed in the past have given us more than satisfactory results. The company’s audio products have become something of a go-to, especially in India, for those who want a pleasant aural experience without breaking the bank. The Noise Shots Rush is one of the company’s latest true wireless offerings for those with active lifestyles. Priced at Rs 3,999, these sports earphones come with bells and whistles such as full touch controls, access to voice assistants, an IPX5 rating and more. So let’s see how the budget true wireless earphones performed in our tests.

Build and design

Noise has branded these earphones as sports earphones, specifically aimed at people with a more active lifestyle. The earphones are equipped with something the company calls “sports ear hooks.” These are basically large silicone earplugs that wrap around your ears and tuck behind your ear for a better fit. The ear hooks are flexible and fit easily around most ears, but if you have small ears, the ear hooks may protrude above your ear. Either way, you still get a pretty secure fit thanks to the ear hooks and angled ear tips that sit securely in your ear.

Unfortunately, the snug and secure fit of these earphones tends to hinder overall comfort. Something about the shape of the earplugs and the degree to which they are angled creates extreme pressure and discomfort in the inside of your ear. To make sure this wasn’t just an issue because of the reviewer’s smaller ears, we passed these buttons on to another person with bigger ears, and unfortunately they experienced the same pressure and discomfort. About 15 minutes of use is enough to make your ears feel uncomfortable and an hour or two after the listening sessions the discomfort turns into full-blown pain. We suggest you to try these earphones before buying if you can to see if you face the same issues as it may seriously hinder your experience.

Aside from the obvious comfort issues, the earphones are mainly made of plastic, yet feel quite robust and premium. The earbuds extend into the earphone stems which then connect to the earhooks. However, the ear hooks are not detachable. The stem portion of the earphones houses the touch panels that allow users to control playback and calls. They have a matte texture over the plastic earphones and the silicone earhooks. The earphones are also available in three colors: Charcoal Gray (almost black), Quick Silver (true gray) and Wine Red (more like magenta). They are certainly attractive earphones to look at, if only they were as comfortable as they were attractive.

Due to the fairly large footprint of the earphones due to the elongated stem and large ear hooks, the charging case must also be huge to accommodate these earphones in it. The charging case is one of the largest, if not the largest, we’ve seen with true wireless earphones. The charging case has rounded edges and has a smooth matte texture that feels great. However, the case is far from pocket-sized and will certainly stand out prominently on most pants and jeans, if it even fits in the pockets. They certainly won’t fit in the pockets of women’s jeans, which are notorious for small pockets.

The back of the charging case features a micro USB charging port. *sigh* It’s not wrong to expect Type-C to be charged with a pair of earphones costing around Rs 4,000. Inside the case you can see huge notches for the earphones, along with gold magnetic tips to hold and charge the earphones. The case also uses a magnet to hold the lid shut, which clicks in an audibly satisfying way.

Overall, the Noise Shots Rush true wireless sports earphones miss the mark when it comes to comfort. The huge charging case isn’t all that useful either, but we can let this one go as the huge sport earphones require a larger-than-normal case. Nevertheless, the earphones themselves look aesthetically pleasing and if the fit is not an issue for you and you have an active lifestyle then you should consider buying these earphones for a snug and secure fit even when you are running or exercising.

Functions

For a pair of affordable true wireless earphones, the Noise Shots Rush packs in quite a few features. First, they come with an IPX5 sweat and water resistant rating, meaning the earphones can easily catch sweat and even light rain. However, do not immerse it in water. They are also powered by Bluetooth 5.0 and support the AAC codec. The Bluetooth range, according to the company, is about 10 meters or 33 feet. We couldn’t fully test this due to the lockdown, but they kept the connection going just fine when we moved to another room.

The Noise Shots Rush also comes equipped with full touch controls, as mentioned above. The controls are as follows: press once on either earbud to pause/play music, double tap the right side to increase the volume and left to decrease it, long press the right side to skip to the next song and the same on the left will take you to the previous song, and a double tap on either side will also answer calls. Long press on either side will also reject incoming calls.

In addition, three taps on the left earpiece’s touchpad will bring up your device’s voice assistant, while three taps on the right will activate game mode. You’ll know you’ve entered Game Mode when you hear the voice of a gunshot. Noise claims that Game Mode lowers latency to a low 85ms. We played PUBG Mobile with Game Mode turned on and there was almost no noticeable delay in the sound of the shots being fired, which is commendable. The earphones also come with an EQ with three fixed sound presets – Pop, Rock and Classic. Tapping the touchscreen on one of the earbuds four times cycles through the modes. The touch controls are extremely responsive and, for the most part, are intuitive. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at the sound quality of the three EQ presets.

Finally, the battery life of these earphones is quite good. The company claims that the earbuds can be used continuously for 6 hours while the charging case can top up the earbuds three times. That’s a total battery life of 24 hours, which is pretty respectable. In our testing, we found the company’s claim to be quite accurate. The earphones lasted just under 6 hours (about 5 hours, 45 minutes) on a single charge and we managed to charge the earphones a further 3 times before the case was empty.

Performance

The Noise Shots Rush has large 12mm drivers and an overall warm and pleasant sound profile. However, their sound profile is actually split into three different ones. There are three genre-specific audio modes available on the Noise Shots Rush – Pop, Rock and Classic. The unit defaults to pop audio mode and if you tap one of the earbuds 4 times, you can cycle through these EQ presets. Let’s look at the intricate details of each audio mode individually.

Starting with the standard Pop mode, this mode is by far the weakest link of all three presets in our opinion. This mode has an A-shaped sound signature with accentuated mids and vocals and suppressed bass and treble. The idea may have been to amplify the vocals, which this mode certainly does well. Vocals in pop tracks sound smooth, structured and full. The vocals have an unmistakable intensity, which we really liked. Unfortunately, Pop mode lacks bass response. Since most modern pop music has a healthy amount of bass, this sometimes makes pop tracks sound hollow. However, if you’re listening to mostly vocal-focused songs like: Hello by means of Adele and don’t care much about the pronunciation of instruments, this is the right audio mode for you.

In Rock mode, it has a V-shaped sound profile that accentuates the bass response, bass and treble. Noise made a good choice here, as accentuated lows and highs really bring out the vitality and drive in bass guitars and cymbals. The vocals take a bit of a backseat in this mode and the spotlight is mainly on all instruments, as it should be. However, lead guitars can sound a bit muffled. And if you want to keep the volume up when you’re rocking out songs, the highs can get a little tinny and jarring, while the lows get a little distorted and muddy. in the lane Hysteria by means of Musethe electric guitar at the beginning of the song sounds rather shrill and obnoxious.

Classic mode usually has a more center-focused sound profile with a bit of bass too. In fact, Pop tracks sound even better in this mode than Pop mode, which is not intuitive. If you don’t feel like the hassle of switching audio modes, which can get tedious because you have to tap the touchpad 4 times, we recommend that you keep the classic mode active all the time. The bass is sufficiently punchy, the vocals are detailed and well rendered, while the highs are a little underexposed, but not tinny.

Instrument separation and imaging is bad on the earphones. In Selkies from Between the Buried and Me, the wide range of instruments in the track overlap violently, making the track sound even more chaotic than intended. The soundstage is not too wide, but in classic mode you do get a slight surround sound effect.

Overall, we really like the inclusion of three separate and very different sounding sound profiles in the Noise Shots Rush. It offers users the choice to either stick with one that suits them the most or switch between the presets as and when they see fit. Also, due to the snug fit, the noise isolation is fantastic on these earphones. It muffles all ambient noises to a great extent. However, the call quality on these earphones is strictly mediocre. The microphone also picks up ambient sounds and the caller’s voice sounds a bit muffled to the person on the other end.

bottom line

Conservatively priced at Rs 3,999, the Noise Shots Rush true wireless sports earphones are a decent pair of earphones. However, the glaring comfort issues prevent us from recommending these earphones to people. The discomfort seriously degraded our entire experience with the earbuds and we were forced to take a break from the earbuds within an hour, or sometimes even minutes of use. Nevertheless, if you get a chance to try these out and aren’t plagued by similar comfort issues, they become a pretty lucrative purchase due to the largely pleasing sound profile on all 3 audio modes, snug fit and good battery life. Due to the pressing comfort issues, we unfortunately cannot give Noise a thumbs up for this product.

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