07 Jaybird Tarah Pro aIn an era of extreme sports and extreme holidays, I guess extreme earbuds are a natural. And judging by the company’s website Jaybird’s Tarah Pro Bluetooth buds seem set to survive anything short of a head-on smash with a midnight freight train. To quote from the website: “From local training missions to the outer limits of your potential, we designed the all-new Tarah Pro to deliver when it matters most. The Tarah Pro is inspired by the demands of ultra races and out-there adventures.”

Only one problem. The pair they sent me didn’t work.

Maybe I’m being unfair. They did work in as far as one channel played. By jiggling the cables I was able to get both channels going, but only momentarily. Then again, if I held the cables just right I got nothing at all. Maybe the fine wires inside the beautifully braided cables were damaged or maybe there was a dodgy connection somewhere. Given these were fresh out of a factory-sealed box, either possibility would suggest these are rather more fragile than Jaybird asserts.

07 Jaybird Tarah Pro cLots of manufacturers package buds with the cables enclosed in shrink-wrap plastic channels and I wonder if pulling them out of these could stretch and break the thin wires inside. Whatever, it’s the first time I’ve struck damage like this in buds straight out of the box. I’d suggest not winding the cables up ultra-tight when putting them away.

Anyway the folk at Jaybird sent me a second pair and they performed to specification.

Talking of specifications, IPX7 seems to be the new Specification De Jour in portable audio and Tarah Pros are IPX7 rated, meaning they can survive half an hour submerged in a metre of water. Humans are not IPX7 compliant so anyone using them won’t last as long down there without surfacing for air at odd intervals, but the point is that you can take these swimming. Indeed, put on an inspiring burst of John Philip Sousa and you could stroke in time to the music.

07 Jaybird Tarah Pro dSwimming, however, does not seem to cut it as an extreme activity, it doesn’t score a mention in the Jaybird video. This shows happily entertained people cantering to the peaks of craggy mountains in runs that start before dawn and finish after dark, underlining the 14-hour playtime of the battery. Indeed one of the still pictures shows a woman seemingly in the act of doing a Thelma and Louise from the mountaintop. IPX7 only scores a mention when she refreshes herself in a sparkling stream.

Ah, marketing. I suspect very few Tarah Pro buyers will gallop up mountains but all of them would like to think they can. For the more recumbently inclined a 14-hour battery life (after just two hours of charging) is pretty impressive, almost Sydney to LA. Or, if you’re a Tarah Pro believer: ‘Enough for the most epic adventures’. Except maybe test cricket. Or the Ring Cycle. Charging is dead easy with the supplied magnetic cradle.

Comfort is acceptable and the Tarah Pros remain in place through the most challenging of gym activities, even when you’ve got a good sweat going.

But I couldn’t get excited about the sound. There’s nothing wrong with the definition, the highs and lows are accurately reproduced and the imaging is pretty good. But the sound is dull and lifeless. It’s basic Bluetooth and even FLAC files coming in at CD quality sound like MP3 at maximum compression.

The Jaybird Tarah Pros are $249.95 and come with a carry bag that takes the charger as well as the buds.

First published by smh.com.au March 2019


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