I did a lot of research before buying a Bluetooth headset for use in my Miata and settled on the Etymotic EtyBLU2. It’s been a few years since my last convertible and back then I was using Jawbone. The problem with the Jawbone was that although the person I was talking to could hear me pretty well, I couldn’t hear a thing because the eartip sat in the ear and not into the ear canal. I bought a third-party eartip that did, but I could never get the volume to work comfortably.
The EtyBLU2 is a totally different experience. First off, people I talk to don’t even know I’m in my car…and that’s with the top down! It also sits comfortably in my ear and I can hear perfectly. You couldn’t ask for more. It’s perfect.
Now, I will admit it looks like something a telemarketer would wear, but ya can’t argue with the results. You can take the windscreen off the boom mic, but I settled for the smaller of the two provided ones. It also comes with an assortment of eartips as well.
If you’ve got a convertible and need a Bluetooth headset, this is the one for you!
I drive a 350Z Roadster and like to listen to podcasts. Sure, I can pump it through the radio–I added an Aux jack, but you really have to crank up the volume to understand the conversation over the roar of the engine and road noise. Now, you can find plenty of Bluetooth headsets that have outbound noise-canceling–so others can hear you, but try finding one that has inbound noise-canceling–so you can hear your phone. I’ve found none. The best I could do was the Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth headset which is an in-ear canal headset and, therefore, does a reasonable job of blocking out road noise. Still, I often had the volume at or near 100%, which can’t be very good for my hearing. I also considered the Plantronics Voyager Pro, perhaps, with a custom molded ear piece from AverySound, but I just couldn’t convince myself that this behemoth wasn’t hideous. Besides it didn’t support A2DP or AVRCP so you can’t remotely control a media device.
I got a pair of Audio-Technica ATH ANC3BK noise-canceling earphones and found they did a superb job of canceling out road noise. Initially, I plugged them into the Nokia headset adapter that came with my N97. This let me remotely control volume, make phone calls, etc. albeit with a wired connection. Unfortunately, with the ATH ANC3BK’s bulky control box (including AAA battery), I looked like a Christmas tree when everything was all hooked up.
Searching for a better solution I stumbled upon the Sony DRC-BT15. It has a built-in mic and media controls. Basically, it turns standard wired headphones into a wireless stereo Bluetooth headset. (I’m pretty sure Nokia made a similar device, but I could not track it down.) The Audio-Technica earphones work great with it. The set up is still a little bulky, but eliminating the wired connection to the phone makes it much more palatable.
So until they make an in-ear canal, inbound noise-canceling Bluetooth headset, this is the best solution I’ve found. I can drive with the top down on the freeway with the volume very low and clearly hear callers and understand my podcasts. It’s probably saving my hearing as well. Of course, I only have one side plugged in, so the other side of the earphones dangles. I haven’t been brave enough to cut one side off yet :-)