Dry Buds are a headphone/microphone combo from the manufacturers of DryCASE (the submersible waterproof case), and they are a great compliment to that product. They too are waterproof and can be submerged up to 10 feet while still playing, although without an airtight seal in your ear the audio is going to start sounding quite distorted quickly. They’re not particularly designed for scuba, but they are good if you’re expecting to get drenched occasionally, such as with kayaking or owning a baby.
Dry Buds sound and feel great
The Dry Buds earbuds are great-sounding, claiming a 102dB sensitivity and a 20-20k Hz bandwidth being pushed through a 10mm speaker. The fit over my ear was perfect, and the buds adjust angle to be just the right fit. They also come with various sizes of ear pieces for replacement, so you can make that airtight seal if you want to.
Where Dry Buds fail
I sort of hesitate at where to start, as I don’t really have another waterproof product to compare them to directly, but let’s start with the assumption that any other headset I own is waterproof and then compare to that.
First off, there is no indicator of which is left and which is right anywhere on the earbuds. I went with the assumption that since every other set I own has the microphone attached to the left earbud that this was the case, and as far as I can tell it is. While you may not find yourself listening to a broadcast of The Dark Side of the Moon while watching the Wizard of Oz very often, it is important you know which way the helicopter is heading.
Secondly, we come to the tangle control portion of the headset – that little box-like thing you slide up to prevent the cords leading out of the buds from becoming tangled in other things. In the picture to the right, I’m pointing at the highest point you can move that. For me this meant there is a good eight inches worth of loose cord before it gets pinned together.
It appears this is the case because the microphone is in the way. However, it also seems as though they could have put the tangle box above the microphone and let me reduce my snag factor.
Third, let’s talk about the microphone itself. It picks up way too much ambient noise because it’s located pretty far from the mouth, thus sounding a bit terrible when wet (I can’t really fault it though). It also produces some tinny audio, although that might be a function of my phone and ROM, so this might not be a valid concern for other people. I can only comment on what I was able to test it on.
Lastly, the wires feel cheap. I feel like with much use you’re going to break one, and they’re so thin that attempting to reair them is going to fail unless you strip them excessively. I’ll point out these might be made of titanium composite materials and be nigh indestructible, but they don’t feel like it.
Where Dry Buds missed it
Dry Buds were meant to work the DryCASE, or in any situation where you would be expecting to get wet. During these times your phone is going to be protected by something and you’re probably going to be soaked, so if you’re receiving a phone call or want to change the volume, it would be nice to have one of those inline remotes.
As it stands, to change the track, switch volume, answer the phone, etc., you’ll need to dry off your phone enough to register touch, then do it from there. With the inline remote out there for so long, this seems like it would have been a natural no-thought addition to the thing, but it’s not there.
For a sport headset, the looseness of the wires coming off the ears just bugs me to no ends. I despise wearing something that can get easily tangled in what I’m doing by activities such as rowing or diaper changing.
I guess you could run the wiring under a shirt or behind your back, but then you lose the microphone.
Setting Dry Buds out to dry
These are not a product I would purchase for their advertised intent. The sport factor seems to have been overlooked, the little details that make a great headset seem to have been misplaced, and the price they’re requesting for the product seems to be the price I would pay for a product that was perfect, which this isn’t.
I appreciate the audio reproduction, would skip the mic, am saddened by the lack of a remote, and feel the thing will get tangled or attempt to strangle me – but at least the wiring feels cheap enough that I think it would break.
I very much appreciate the actual DryCASE, but the buds are not for me. I’m actually saddened a bit by the missed perfect potential pairing for these two DryCASE offerings.
In any case, if you’re still interested, the DryCASE Dry Buds are available from Amazon for $33.46.