A neckband earphone that offers good sound and comes with preloaded music
Full marks to Tarbull for attempting something different with its Musicmate 550. The unique neckband earphone has in a way taken a concept that has become synonymous with Saregama Carvaan but the execution is pretty good.
The neckband comes preloaded with 1,001 popular songs that can be played back wherever and whenever without any help from your phone. In case you do want to stream, the Bluetooth mode takes over. Unlike Carvaan, which mostly comprises classics, the selection here is contemporary, throwing up a lot of 1990s and 2000s, cutting across various categories.
Since we are on the subject of music, the songs are not highly compressed, so the quality is not at all bad for a neckband earphone. The selection has probably been done keeping a young audience profile in mind. The control panel is on the bulkier side with biggish control buttons that lets you do all the usual things — pause, play, skip, Bluetooth pairing and so on but it does take some time to get used to the operations. The pod on the left has the battery, which is biggish, offering 35 hours of playtime while it supports fast charge.
On Bluetooth mode, the sound is powerful, taking advantage of the 10mm drivers. We didn’t face any connectivity issues and mostly used the device on balanced mode. There is also an extra bass mode.
The design may not be out of the box but there are some thoughtful design elements, the most important of which is the flat wire that has been used, so chances of tangles are greatly reduced. The silicone tips offer a good seal, ensuring ambient noises are taken care off (there is no sound cancelling here).
Priced at Rs 5,999, the question I have been asking myself is who the target audience is. Youngsters mainly like to stream music while the middle-aged may ask for a music selection that goes back further in time. Good sound, innovative and long-lasting, Tarbull Musicmate 550 has taken a brave decision by having preloaded music. Perhaps it will help if the company can come up with variations on which the song selection covers different eras.