I bought these fantastic Apple In-Ear headphones for my iPod 80GB several months back for $79, and found that they worked well with my Macbook. I’ve since moved on from both the iPod and the Macbook, settling on a Nokia n97 mobile phone. I found that the Apple headphones don’t work with these devices naturally and distort the sound.
The small control pod in the cable may be changing the impedance presented to the amplifier in the mobile phone, but I do not know this and have not measured the impedance; i am speculating. However, when you squeeze the middle button of the pod, the sound becomes normal, so I suspect the impedance may be changed by activating the button. Some in-line controls for various microphones operate in a similar manner, where an impedance change can signal a button press without requiring additional cabling or connectors.
These headphones have magnificent sound for playing compressed digital audio files, as well as uncompressed CD audio, and sport dual sound drivers in each headphone. For the money sunk, and the fidelity provided, it would be daft of me not to try and get them working on the Nokia. Bonus points for not hacking up the cable and removing the pod.
The solution was simple enough, if a little unsightly. Tightly wind a metal tie-wrap around the center button of the control pod to force the impedance to remain at something that the Nokia would correctly drive. It’s easy, it’s reversible, and it only takes a minute. Make sure you wind it very tightly, and it may require a little fudging to stay in the sweet spot to keep the button depressed.
This has been tested with the Nokia n97 using the in-line Nokia-supplied remote audio control. The combination of the two lengthy cables makes for a very long cable run between the mobile phone and the earbuds, and really, that should be sufficient to pack the Nokia in your briefcase or a low pocket, provided you can manage the microphone placement should you actually care to take a call.
This should also work (but has not been tested) on the Nokia n810, and any other device that expects to see “plain vanilla” headphones. I once had a gym with a treadmill that refused to accept the Apple headphones, so I suspect there are a large number of audio devices that have some sort of incompatibility with this product.
(An exact copy of this post was made to my personal blog at http://wwward.typepad.com; it’s too short to really make two versions, but it is useful info.)