QuietOn 3.1 sleep earbuds review: tune out the noise
We all know that getting enough quality sleep time is important. But that is not always so easy. QuietOn 3.1 noise cancelling ear buds are a product designed to help you wake up refreshed every morning.
Environmental sounds are always there. During the day we hardly notice them but this changes at night. These types of sounds make it harder to fall asleep and decrease slow wave and REM sleep. They can also cause elevated heart rate and blood pressure.
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I am unlucky in that my upstars neighbour has odd sleep hours. Everything is quiet during the day, but after midnight the noise typically starts. And lasts for a couple of hours. At times I’ve used an industrial strength headset to get through the night. Which works well at blocking out noise, but is extremely uncomfortable to wear.
This is why I was keen to test out QuietOn 3.1. They are dubbed as the smallest active noise-cancelling (ANC) earbuds in existence. The gizmo comes with the ability to tune down sounds up to 40dB which includes a lot of the environmental noise.
How well does QuietOn work in practice? Read on to find out.
Look and feel
How to use
The bottom line
QuietOn3.1 review: Hardware
Look and feel
Officially unveiled today, QuietOn3.1 represent the new and improved version of QuietOn 3. The comany says the product delivers improvements in both design and underlying tech.
As can be seen in the images accompanying this review, the earbuds are tiny. This is important for something you are meant to wear at night. They look like Bluetooth headphones, but QuietOn are not headphones. You might be concerned that they might come across as hearing aids. But they don’t.
I’ve worn all types of headsets, earbuds and the like. The one thing they have in common is that they are uncomfortable to wear during sleep. This is because they all have protruding parts.
You don’t get this problem with QuietOn as the buds are small enough to fit entirely inside the ear. Squash the foam with your fingertips and do a twist motion when putting them in. This will ensure that they are firmly in place. In about 15-20 seconds the earbuds will expand to form a complete seal. If you don’t squash the foam, you won’t get such a tight seal.
Even side sleepers will be happy. Once in your ear canal, you will not feel the buds against the pillow or any other parts of the bed. And they will stay in place. I found that with headphones, they have the tendency to fall out when you sleep on the side. I always end up wasting time trying to find them in the morning.
The Finnish outfit says, QuietOn3.1 come with new build material that provides even more comfort than before. This comes in the form of upgraded memory foam that is softer and features less bounce than on predecessor versions. The buds also provide better acoustic abilities and won’t change shape if they come in contact with water or sweat.
As before, in the box you still get a few different sized foam ear tips to choose from. Simply slide them onto the buds to attach and pull to remove. It is important to pick the appropriate size from the four tips that are available, as this will help with noise cancellation. So play with different options until you find the one with the best fit. You also need to make sure you put the left and right plugs the right way around.
Charging, under the hood
Like most earbuds, QuietOn arrive with a small charging case. Rest them inside when not in use. Not only will the case charge them, but it will make sure you don’t lose them. It will also help keep the buds clean.
The case provides a total of 28 hours of use on a single charge. Which is enough to charge the buds about three times. As far as the individual buds, they should be good to get you through the night before needing a top-up.
On the front of the white case is a set of six lights. This is used to indicate each earplug’s current charge level. There are also three lights in the back to indicate the charge status of the case. Its takes about 3 hours to fully charge the case and about 2 hours to fully charge the earbuds.
Are they safe to wear all night?
What about safety? This is an important consideration for something you are meant to wear for hours at a time.
I would not blame you if you are worried about electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation. After all, the United Nationals and World Health Organization has identified EMF as a health concern. The good news is that QuietOn has zero such radiation as it does not contain any transmitters, receivers or connectivity options.
As far as tech that is inside, the new earbuds pack improved microphone technology. This enables a better ANC experience. The noise reduction is able to deal with low frequency sounds that ordinary passive earplugs are not able to address. But more about that later.
QuietOn3.1 review: Technical specs
Includes: earbuds, eartips (XS, S, M, L), charging case, charging cable.
Plastic (PC-ABS, PMMA, polycarbonate) polyurethan rubber, stainless steel and gold
Active noise cancellation technology and passive acoustic attenuation to reduce noise.
Weight of an earplug / Charger
1.8 grams / 59 grams
28 hours with case, Lithium-ion 17 mAh in each bud; Lithium-ion 200mAh in case
QuietOn3.1 review: How to use
While QuietOn 3.1 remind very much of headphones in terms of looks, it is important to note that they do not transmit audio. So there are no relaxing sounds to help you drift off to sleep or option to listen to music or a podcast. The buds also do not generate white noise. That’s not what this product is about.
What you get, instead, is something exclusively focused on cancelling out noise. Whether it is home appliances, a snoring partner, traffic and other street noise or a noisy neighbour – the buds will help tune them out. The product is also useful for travel on airplanes, cars, busses. The ultimate result is a quieter and more peaceful environment. Think of it as your own personal bubble of silence.
Using the buds is simple. There is nothing you really need to do apart from take them outside of the case and fit them into your right and left ear canals. No buttons to press, no pairing or setup is needed.
As mentioned, just make sure you’ve chosen the foam tip which fits most snugly into your ear. A tight seal will help with passive noise isolation.
The other part is the active noise cancelling tech. This works by using a tiny microphone that is built into the thing. It samples the background sound, sends the info to the speaker which then creates a phase-shifted sound that cancels out the ambient noise.
The chart above is from the QuietOn website. It shows the range of frequencies where this product makes the most difference. It also shows its greater effectiveness as compared to typical foam earplugs. Sounds under around 3k Hz (and below 40db) are largely eliminated.
Two separate modes
From the moment they are removed from the case, the transition from transparent hearing mode to active noise canceling mode will begin. It takes about 20 seconds for this to fully kick in.
What you’ll notice is interesting. I would compare it to turning down the volume on a television set. An overall dulling down of ambient sounds. You’ll immediately notice they are working.
Another comparison would be if you put your hands over your ears. The effect is a bit similar. Gradually much of the low-frequency noise will disappear.
It is not until you try a product that you realise just how much background noise there is. But we’ve grown accustomed to these sounds so hardly notice them.
To go back to the transparent hearing mode simply bring the charging case close to the buds. You’ll need to do this for each individual bud.
But even when in pure noise cancelling mode, you will still hear certain sounds because the buds mainly tune out low frequency noise. So if someone is next to you talking, you will hear them perfectly fine. It’s a good balance. It also means that if you wear QuietOn at night, you will still be able to hear the alarm clock in the morning. A good idea would be to turn up the volume of the alarm clock just to make sure. Or test it before going to bed.
For me, this type of product is incredibly useful. As mentioned, the inconsiderate upstairs neighbours have been messing up my sleep for a while now. No more industrial type headset or opting to listen to music in order to fall asleep.
QuietOn is not perfect, but the product is good enough to eliminate a significant amount of noise. Enough to make a difference between falling asleep and lying awake at night waiting for my neighbours to finally quiet down.
QuietOn3.1 review: The bottom line.
Loud noises keeping you awake at night? Give QuietOn a try.
These are not only the smallest, but they are probably the best noise cancelling sleep buds out there. But these buds do not come cheap. So it is important to know what you are getting for your money.
QuietOn are both passive and active noise cancelling ear plugs. This means they can tune out unwanted environmental sounds more efficiently than a standard set of ear plugs. Mind you, the buds are not perfect so don’t expect complete silence. For that you might want to opt for industrial strength ear-muffs. But good luck trying to fall asleep with one of those on.
The active noise cancelling works by using a microphone to test the background sound. A speaker than creates a phase-shifted sound that cancels out the original sound. The passive noise cancelling works via the soft foam tips.
QuietOn will reduce considerably low-frequency noise. Sounds coming through walls such as an annoying neighbour or rumble of city traffic will be tuned down. The same applies to a snoring partner. The buds are also good for people who travel a lot on airplanes, cars or busses. The background noise should be very faint or even completely gone.
But the device will still allow you to hear the world around you, to some degree. For example higher frequency sounds such as an alarm clock at your bedside or someone next to you speaking. You will be able to hold a conversation while wearing the buds. In that sense, this product is better than a pair of regular foam or silicone earplugs.
What also works in their favour is that QuietOn buds are very tiny so are comfortable to wear. And they will stay in your ear even if you are tossing and turning in your bed at night. Most other products are bulky. Just make sure to get the fit right by choosing the correct size tip.
If you are after something that will help you get a good night’s sleep, the $289 QuietOn 3.1 earbuds are definitely worth considering. This is a well designed product that will bring a bit of peace and quiet to your life. You can check them out on Quieton.com. You can also purchase them on Amazon (check price) in certain countries.
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