I’m not built for distance or endurance – largely because the thought of a 2-4 hour run or even a 6 or 7-hour hike is miserable, but the thought of doing it without music is even worse. Enter the Jaybird Tarah Pro. The latest wireless headphones from Jaybird which proudly boast a whopping 14-hour battery life for the adventure junkie.
Now, I’d argue if you’re ever needing 14-hours of charge in one work-out you’re pushing yourself far too bloody hard, but the long-distance market is growing, and these headphones are tapping into that. You only need to look at things like the City2Surf in Sydney, or the Boston Marathon to see that enduro is very much in at the moment and Jaybird wants a slice of that.
If the recent Jaybird Run’s were the intense workouts answer to the iPod, this is the answer to the question that I had never asked – which is ‘What does the extreme adventurer need to wear?’
The Tarah Pro’s are sweat-proof and wireless-ish. They are connected ear to ear by a heavy-duty, braided lead that runs along the back of your neck, and then connect via Bluetooth to your phone. Those familiar with the BeatsX would be familiar with this kind of braided cable, while those who have tried the Jaybird’s earlier X4 can rest assured it’s far less obtrusive cable and less rubbery than its predecessor.
The two main questions any headphones need to answer if they’re to be recommended are around their design, and sound quality.
In terms of the latter, the Tarah’s deliver an above-expected performance. It’s my experience sound quality is often sacrificed for the durability of the device, but I’ve tested these with songs ranging from AC/DC, Beethoven, Elton John and Calvin Harris, and with each it delivers a rich and warm noise with impressive bass. For the tinkerer – the EQ can be modified in the JayBird app if you want more bass or cowbell, but I found their default settings the mostly fine.
I was surprised at how effectively the earbuds shut out environmental noise, almost to their detriment. Simply because if you are out and about adventuring it would perhaps be helpful to hear any ambient noise to recognise danger. Plus the fact the earbuds are tethered to each other means you don’t have the single-ear freedoms you do with other wireless options.
In terms of control, there is a thin-controller on the cable that has three buttons which rest along the back of your neck. The controls are simply for playing and pausing and to use the voice assistants; you can modify these to your liking quite easily through the app. Speaking of said app, the MySound app is a nice addition, without being essential allowing both iOS and Android users to modify bass and treble where desired.
The silicone earplugs are built to outlast even the sweatiest of ears (which is not a sentence I’ve said before). The plugs have extended wings that tuck into your ear and hold them tightly in place and I can assure you the suction is solid. I have major reservations about these designs as they never seem to have the adequate suction, but the thicker wing and silicon finish has presented no issue.
And as is common practice with Jaybird products – it’s not a one size fits all solution. You have several different earbud and wing sized options that come in the box, and a durable pouch to carry those as well as the USB powered charger, so you can find the device you want.
But the marquee feature of these headphones is its battery life – 14 hours. In the spirit of full journalistic disclosure, I did not go on a 14 hour run, walk or ride to test just how well they performed over this amount of time. What I did do, was use them continuously without charge over two weeks and still haven’t outlasted them – and that’s pretty impressive for less than $230. For those who are more likely to need a simple 1 or 2 hours charge for a more regulation work out, they have a fast charge feature which will see you get 2 hours power off just a 5min zap.
The other nifty little design feature is the magnetisation of the earbuds, so you can hang them around your neck after use, or during a break without having to stuff them in your pockets or put them down.
Overall – the marketing slogan for the Tarah Pro’s is ‘Designed for Athletes Built For Adventure.’ I am certainly not the latter, and despite my own beliefs probably not the former – but I can recognise both when I see them. I can also recognise a product that hits its target when I see it as well. If you find yourself starting a work out or adventure, and like to still be going more than 2 hours later, these are absolutely for you.