Underwater Mp3 players are often times incredibly hit or miss. I’ve used ones that offered horrible sound but were comfortable, ones that I couldn’t get to stay in for more than a 25-yard doggie paddle, and models so bulky and intrusive they made me feel as if I was in some sort of underwater science experiment that happened to have a soundtrack.
I wasn’t always a big fan of listening to music while swimming. I’m kind of old school that way. However, last year I started doing some pretty big open water swims and stand-up paddle boarding, and I’ve since learned how beneficial music can be while training.
The AudioFlood iPod is quite amazing in it’s simplicity: it’s an iPod shuffle that has been sealed completely. The main difference between AudioFlood waterproofing and the methods used by other companies is the lack of air between the electronics and the sealant. AudioFlood’s sealant leaves no voids or gaps of air, making the iPod shuffle look exactly like a regular iPod shuffle, and not like a device that has been coated in anything or placed inside another waterproof package. This also means all the regular functions of an iPod shuffle: on/off switch, volume, headphone plug, etc. can be used whether or not you are underwater or not. The iPod has a depth rating of 250 feet, is impervious to chlorine and salt water, and comes with a 2-year warranty and a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee. Clearly, they are confident that their device can withstand the elements even over an extended period of time.
In testing various underwater Mp3 players, I’ve discovered that the headphone part of the device is really what makes or breaks the whole set-up. Many devices group the actual Mp3 player with the headphone, making it one unit. I’ve found that this can make it seem bulky, particularly if you are wearing the device while doing anything other than swimming (for example, paddling or surfing), and while attempting any other stroke than freestyle. The AudioFlood’s True Short Cord Waterproof headphones look and function just like regular headphones. They are the perfect length (a coiled wire keeps them short enough so you don’t have to stuff a ton of wire around your goggles or inside your cap). The earpieces come in a variety of sizes, but they are designed to stay in no matter how hard you might be swimming. I’ve even used the included headphone extension provided with the headphones so I can use them while running because the earpieces are that secure and comfortable.
I tested the AudioFlood in three separate situations: on my paddleboard, during a Masters workout, and while open water swimming on my own. In each situation, the iPod and headphones stayed in place incredibly well. I did have some slippage while doing an IM set, but all I had to do was stick the headphone earpiece back in my ear mid-stroke and tuck it back underneath my cap and I didn’t have any more issues.
The AudioFlood is now available with the 5th generation iPod shuffle, which is a huge improvement on the last iPod shuffle model because it has a built-in clip so you can very easily attach the iPod to your goggles, and then stick any excess wire underneath your cap. As with the regular 5th generation iPod shuffle, the AudioFlood model has 15 hours of battery life and 2GB of storage, which is enough for roughly 500 songs.
As with any other underwater Mp3 player, a secure positioning of the device on your goggles and the headphone earpieces in your ears is key for the most enjoyable experience. Here is a video demonstration of how they recommend you do this: