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photoAs often in things techno, Jonathan Margolis, the tech writer in the FT’s ‘How To Spend It’ put me on to Snugs – a new generation of custom moulded in-ear headphone.

They offer a really convenient custom moulding service and the end product is soft, relatively easy to fit and truly sensational sound.

The great advantage compared to other players in the field is that they will create  the moulds to fit virtually any existing in-ear headset you may already be using or prefer. I already had a set of the excellent Etymotic HF-3s and Snugs made a set of earpieces to fit those.main_link2

The moulded earpieces do take a bit of getting used to inserting but once you get the hang they are pretty simple to place. Because they are so snug (see what they did there with the name!) you end up playing at a much lower volume and really can hear more of the detail in the music than you’d imagine.

The other thing about Snugs is the level of service they offer – they made an appointment to take an ear mould the day after I ordered, got the completed earpiece back to me in 48 hours and have been really caring in follow through.

While I was researching Snugs I came across a clever site that help you break in new headphones. Headphone diaphragms and drivers, although small, do like larger speakers improve with use. Audiophiles reckon that about 40 hours  steady use will optimise the sound. So you could just get on with working through your music collection as you commute or fast-track using this cute little tool developed by JLab Audio. Hook up your headphones to their little noise generator while you’re working on the computer and their looped combination of white, pink and radio white noise sensitively ‘burn-in’ the headphones for you. I’m currently trying it on a set of ear-phones I never really liked the sound of… so I’ll see if burn-in makes a real difference.