Updated: October 1, 2021 11:33:18 am
A few years ago there was a brand that sold headphones which could be reloaded with music at their kiosks in airports. The brand, Xone headphones, was quite popular, especially down south. But those were the days before 4G and streaming, much before products like this lost relevance.
Tarbull’s Musicmate 550 tries to do something similar by offering a neckband earphone which is preloaded with a thousand Hindi songs. The Musicmate 550 has a neckband design that is slightly old fashioned as it has largish pods on both sides to accommodate the battery and storage. The controls are on the right — power button also lets you change folders.
The controls can be a bit confusing. Long press powers on the earphones and a small press of the same button lets you skip from one genre to the other — soulful music to romantic and so on. Double tap let’s you go from bass booster to balance mode. The + and – signs let you move from one song to the other.
The earphones have a sport design with silicone fins that keep them in place even during workouts and jogs. These don’t have noise cancelling but the silicone tips can keep out most ambient sound when you are listening to music.
Unlike the Carvaan playlists, Tarbull’s mix is more contemporary with a lot of late 1990s and 2000s from Kailash Kher and the likes. The mix of songs is pretty good but not the kind of nostalgic stuff I would pay for. This will most probably tap into the nostalgia of a much younger crowd. But will they log in to a preloaded device is what I’m not really sure of.
The audio quality is quite good, especially in the balanced mode. When I tried to switch to bass booster the audio stopped playing. With another tap I was in balanced again. And I just abandoned the idea of getting more bass.
The MusicMate 550 can be used as a regular Bluetooth headphone connected with your smartphone if you want more control on what you are going to listen to next. Also you can easily take calls using the earphones.
With a box price of Rs 5,999 I’m not sure of the target audience of this product. I would have thought someone like my mother who is not very tech savvy but loves her music. Then this does not have the music mix to interact her. And the younger crowd who will like this mix might not want to be enslaved by a preloaded set of songs. Then then next set are those who don’t really have access to a smartphone or internet at all times. Yes, they will find value in such a product. But for an urban crowd this product will take some selling, especially at this price.
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