Checking out CCrane’s Solo Earbud

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

The marketing email from CCrane intrigued me. “The cable is Kevlar™ reinforced for maximum durability” it said. The product in question was the “CC Buds Solo In-Ear Single Earbud for Radio, Audio Books and Podcasts.”

Sadly, many of the headphones and earbuds that I have owned and liked had to be tossed out because of a breakage somewhere along the cable. As a result, a more durable cable sounded like a great idea.

After checking out the Solo Earbud on CCrane’s website I decided to buy one. I was in the very act of pulling the trigger on the purchase when I noticed the deal: buy two, get one free. Well, heck, I thought, why not?

I revised my order, clicked the button, and a few days later three solo earbuds arrive.

We’ll get to how well the solo earbud works in just a moment, but I can almost guess what you’re thinking right now: “Listen with one ear? Why?”

There are a bunch of times when listening with just one ear is the best strategy. For example, when you are out and about or engaged in some sports activity and want to be situationally aware of what is going on around you. Or when you are listening at home and you want to be able to hear things going on in the household (for example, dinner is ready . . . don’t want to miss that! . . . or someone in the house needs something). Well, you get the idea.

The Solo Earbud is small and well-made. It has a four-foot cable with a clothing clip that terminates in a stereo to mono 3.5 mm plug. According the C.Crane, the audio is tuned for “superior voice quality.” I liked the sound it delivered from my shortwave radios, scanners, and even audio books and I found it helped me to pick out faint signals. In addition, I found that using a Solo Earbud was less entangling with smoother operation than using just one earbud from a stereo pair of wired earbuds . . . that unused dangling earbud seems to always get in the way or get caught on things.

The Solo Earbud comes with three silicone and three compressible foam covers – sized small, medium and large. After a little experimentation, I found one that fit my ear very comfortably. The Earbud even comes with a small drawstring bag for storing the Earbud when not in use.

I have saved perhaps the coolest use for last. Frequently I rise well before dawn to monitor the airwaves. With a pair of Solo Earbuds, I can plug one into a scanner and another Earbud into a shortwave radio. With one Earbud in each ear – voila! – I can cruise the HF bands and monitor a scanner without interrupting the peace of the early morning household.

Bottom line: I found the CCrane Solo Earbud to be a useful and worthy piece of gear for general listening or DXing.

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15 thoughts on “Checking out CCrane’s Solo Earbud

  1. Robert Richmond

    While noting the topic of earphones, it reminded me to order a couple of more pairs of Panasonic Ergofit earbuds. Decent sound quality (IMO ;p ) for typical HF/SSB under 10KHz, good sensitivity rating for low-impedance devices like portables, and three sizes of ear tips included. Around $10 each at Amazon, eBay, etc.

    The Panasonic Ergofits are not exactly on par with my preferred Etymotic ER3SEs, but I am not inclined to take $100+ earphones just anywhere I go, especially for listening to low-fidelity sources like AM/SSB via a portable radio anyway.

    1. TheZ

      Thanks for the comment on Panasonic. I have ordered a pair to try. Panasonic is one of the few Electronics conglomerates that will sell replacement parts to their end users, so a soft spot in my heart for them.

  2. Stefan Hauschild

    I could not find any hint which plug it uses. Mono? Stereo? So two or three pins ? Or even four? For smartphones?

    It would be cool to use as a replacement on older devices from the seventies but then it needs mono (two-pins).

    73 de Stefan

    1. Jock Elliott


      “It has a four-foot cable with a clothing clip that terminates in a stereo to mono 3.5 mm plug.”

      Cheers, Jock

  3. Bob Colegrove

    “…when you are listening at home and you want to be able to hear things going on in the household (for example, dinner is ready . . . don’t want to miss that! . . . or someone in the house needs something).”

    Jock, dinner notwithstanding, you have just provided me with the best reason I can think of to continue using my over-the-ear, noise-cancelling headphones. 🙂

    Actually, many of the early AM transistor portables shipped with single, high-impedance “earbuds.”

    1. Jock Elliott


      I remember those early “earbuds.” One-size-fits-all and hard plastic.

      Turns out, I wasn’t one of those sizes. Ouch!

      Your other remark reminds me of something that Canadian writer Farley Mowat once said: “My grandfather could not near my grandmother in the same room, but could hear the word ‘whiskey’ if whispered three floors below.”

      Cheers, Jock

  4. TheZ

    I have tried this earbud since many have broken for me over the years. I switch a single earpiece from ear to ear during the work day as I listen to news & talk while I work. So I use an earpiece at least 6 hours a day. This earbud developed connection problems after about 4 months. I tried another two of these buds with the same result. The cord holds up, but either the earpiece or phone plug ends up with an intermittent connection. Also, if you try to clean the foam earpiece with alcohol, it will dissolve, so only the silicone tips should be used if you like to sanitize with alcohol. (I sanitize daily every morning, or when it might hit the floor)

    I can recommend for light duty use, but for a daily grind, this is not the earpiece to use.

      1. TheZ

        Yes, I know. I am the person that first contacted CCrane about the alcohol dissolving the foam problem when the earpiece first came out a few years ago, and they quickly added it to their web writeup on the earbud. Looks like it made it into a later version of the manual. The warranty was for a year, but after 2 more tries under warranty, I felt that CCrane was losing money & I went off in another direction.

        Again, the earpiece is great for light duty use…and really, who reads a manual about an earbud anyway….?

  5. Mark

    I’ve never understood why single earpieces exist when Humans have 2 ears ? same with computer headsets, how in the world are people supposed to hear properly in an office environment when one ear is fully exposed to the noise ?

    I could never use a single earpiece, they drive me nuts in any environment.

    1. Jock Elliott


      In my opinion, if you are in a place where situational awareness is a good idea, then I think a single earbud might serve well. If you are in a situation where you are sure that you do not need to be aware of other things going on around you, then block out the environmental sounds and use earbuds or headphones on both ears.

      Cheers, Jock


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