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Around 10 years ago I was traveling enough to where I thought I deserved some fancy noise-cancelling heaphones. At the time, Bose was the king of that space so I bought the QuietComfort 2 headphones. I loved them, but I could only keep them on for maybe two hours at a time at the very most. The pressure on my ears bothered me, but I also found the sound pressure of the cancellation noise got to me after a while... Maybe that wasn't it exactly? Though they worked great on planes, even if I just had them on with no audio going that kind of quiet hiss that was always going on became unpleasant.

Recently I wanted to find new headphones that sounded great and that I could use for a few hours (or a whole day) without issues. A conversation with a friend led me to these Etymotic ER23-HF3 earbuds coupled with custom-molded inserts for my ears. I made them myself with this Radians Earplugs kit, and I was shocked at how amazing they sounded.

Making the molds actually took me two tries - the first attempt I just did not get it down into my ear canal enough for it to work well. The second ones worked out really well and sounded incredible. I used this set for six or seven months and at least a dozen flights. It was great, though I suspected the fit could still be better.

I went to a local audiologist and had professional molds made (pictured above). These were a big step up from the home-made molds I was using. I finally had what were by a long shot the best sounding and most comfortable headphones/earbuds I had ever owned. The only drawback was the fact that they were wired. Most of the time plugging them into my computer (for music or webex) or my phone in my pocket (for music or phone calls) was fine, but I still snagged the wire often enough for it to be annoying.

There are lots of Bluetooth adapters I could use but not surprisingly the cheap one I bought for $12 did not sound great. It was certainly acceptable for conference calls but beyond that, it kind of sucked. The problem was the audio codec, and none of the cheap ones support APT-X. Also I hadn't really thought about Bluetooth audio codecs until after I got that cheapie and found the quality sucked.

I had heard of adapters from Fiio and thought this comparison/review of several Bluetooth audio adapters was really good. I had already seen the Fiio BTR1K recommended multiple places and was happy to see it stood up well in the comparison.

When I first tried it out though, I could not get my machine (OSX) to use aptX codec, it kept only connecting with the SCO codec (on OSX you can see what codec a Bluetooth device is using by holding down option while clicking the Bluetooth dropdown in your menu-bar, then hovering over whichever device you want to see). Turns out because the BTR1K has a built-in microphone there was not enough bandwidth for the better codec. Switching the sound-input device to "Internal Microphone" was all it took, a few seconds later it switched to the better codec and suddenly the audio sounded nearly as good as being directly plugged in.

Including the custom ear molds (and some discounts here and there) the whole setup including Bluetooth adapter cost about $300. It's not cheap, but I don't expect to replace them any time soon. Honestly they're so comfortable and great sounding I feel like it was a pretty worthy investment.


Whats On Tap, April 2019

Mon April 29 2019 by Christopher Aedo

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Quick update to the blog about what's on tap these days!

It's been quite a while since the last update. That is mostly because I've been drinking a less lately. Busy, and watching my calories pretty closely while I try to drop a few pounds. Usually that means I don't …

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Whats On Tap, November 2018

Sun November 18 2018 by Christopher Aedo

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Sticking with my promise to update the blog when I rotate what's on tap, here comes November's entry.

The last round of beer lasted pretty long. That's due to only having one bbq party, and me drinking less beer these last few months.

First up is another pale ale. Basically …

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Whats On Tap, August 2018

Fri August 10 2018 by Christopher Aedo

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I promised to do this whenever something on tap changed but I completely failed to stay on top of that. Instead maybe I'll just do it when ALL the taps have rotated, as I am doing this time!

The Saison is tasty, but came out a little higher gravity than …

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Publish WordPress to static GitLab Pages site

Mon August 06 2018 by Christopher Aedo

A long time ago I set up a WordPress blog for a family member. Though there are lots of other options these days, back then there were few decent choices if your requirement was a web-based CMS with a WYSIWYG editor. An unfortunate side effect of things working well was …

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Whats On Tap, February 2018

Thu February 08 2018 by Christopher Aedo

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I am going to start putting up a little post whenever what's on tap at home changes. I will also make an effort to post when I brew something as well. To that end, here's the first post on that subject!

The Porter I brewed came out really nice. When …

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Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Sun January 07 2018 by Christopher Aedo

Over the last year I've been making small tweaks to my Aedo Family Secret Pancake Recipe, and I think I've finally perfected it. Rather than update the original post I thought it would be better to make a new one for reference. Ultimately the modifications were pretty small (less olive …

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Backing up your machines

Wed October 11 2017 by Christopher Aedo

TL;DR After CrashPlan discontinued their home plan I found a good solution using open source software and an inexpensive yet reliable cloud storage provider. I've got automated replicated backups now using Borg, Rclone and Wasabi cloud storage - details below.

Several years ago I started using CrashPlan to back up …

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Speaking, streaming and brewing

Fri September 08 2017 by Christopher Aedo

Science Hack Day PDX

Tomorrow and Sunday PSU is hosting Science Hack Day PDX. This free to attend avent is going to be a blast, I'm really looking forward to it. I will be there checking out what people are working on, and interviewing them on Twitch. We will likely end up editing together …

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Brewing Beer for IBM

Tue September 05 2017 by Christopher Aedo

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On Monday, September 11th at 9am PDT I'm going to brew beer live on twitchTV! I'm as surprised as anyone that I get to do this during working hours and as part of my job. Really looking forward to this :)

My employer (IBM) is trying to draw attention to some …

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