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Old 08-21-2013, 09:19 PM   #1
HapHazard OP
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Earbuds - Inexpensive AND Sound Good?

I listen to a Sansa MP3 player/radio quite a bit around the house/yard/bicycle, and go through earbuds fairly quickly.
The original earbuds sounded good, and lasted the longest, but it doesn't take long for one side to start to drop out, you jiggle the cord, it cuts back in, it gets worse, then totally dies.
(People smarter in 'tronics tell me that this is usually caused by the enamel coating separating the common + and - breaking down and shorting).
I have gone through most varieties found in the Dollar store, and some are almost worth the dollar in that you can listen to the news, but the tonal quality is crap, and the sensitivity is so low you have to crank the player to near max to hear anything.

The Sansa came with foam covered drivers that sort of wedged outside your ear canal. They sounded good, but were uncomfortable pretty quickly.

I got a pair of Skul Candy Ink'd buds on sale at Staples for $7, and they had decent sensitivity, so-so tone and lasted fairly well. They are the rubber tip ear canal style.

Most recently, WallyMart advertised iFrogz (no shit) for $10. (This is approaching my upper limit). They have 3 different sized rubber ear tips, they are very sensitive, have good tone (and bass with the proper tips fitted) and are comfortable.
Amazon has them (shipped) for about the same $.
http://www.amazon.com/ifrogz-Polluti.../dp/B001OBXV2S
One of the positive reviews there, said that they liked them so much, they tried to buy another pair as a spare, but 3 other pairs sounded tinny. They suggested V-Moda Bass Freq's (which at $40 are too expensive for how long they'll last me).

Anyone have a recommendation for inexpensive earbuds that don't sound like crap?
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:37 PM   #2
josjor
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Spend some money. You'll get great sounding buds that are comfy. My favs in the lower price range come from a company called OSP/Elite Core. They cost about $100 but have lasted through some pretty intense use for almost six years Nd sound really good.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:56 PM   #3
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I guess your definition of inexpensive and mine are pretty different.

I have a pair of Sony MDR-EX38ip for probably 10 years and while not the best sounding they have never failed to work. They were about $40 IIRC

If you're not satisfied with the sound quality and durability of dollar store offerings maybe you should step up a couple of notches and see what you're missing.

Now headphones are a different matter entirely and I would spend hundreds on those to get the sound and build quality that I want.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy the Heater View Post
I guess your definition of inexpensive and mine are pretty different.

I have a pair of Sony MDR-EX38ip for probably 10 years and while not the best sounding they have never failed to work. They were about $40 IIRC

If you're not satisfied with the sound quality and durability of dollar store offerings maybe you should step up a couple of notches and see what you're missing.

Now headphones are a different matter entirely and I would spend hundreds on those to get the sound and build quality that I want.
I concur that the Sony MDR-EX3x series is great. $30 for good midrange, alright highs, and non-muddy bass. Make sure you get one without the volume control in the wire so it lasts longer before the inevitable wire break.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:48 AM   #5
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I've got an older set of Creative something-or-others that were $35-$40 at the time and sound great. I thought I'd lost them awhile back, so decided to get some cheaper but good-sounding earbuds. After some research I ended up buying a set of MEElectronics M9s. I've since found the Creatives and in my opinion the $10 MEElec buds are nearly as good.

http://amzn.com/B0038W0K1Q
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:02 AM   #6
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Here are the ones I was referring to. Durable, great sound, and so comfy that when I was in India at a noisy hotel, I actually fell asleep with them in. $80.00, but as they say, you get what you pay for.
http://www.amazon.com/Elite-Core-EU-...ds=osp+monitor
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:37 AM   #7
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I've always been pleased with Skullcandy

http://www.skullcandy.com/shop/headp...es-and-earbuds
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:55 AM   #8
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I would never spend more than $25 on a pair unless they were specifically for on the bike.
I also use my MP3 player constantly and it takes a lot of abuse. Everything from the cord getting caught on a door handle and yanking out the buds (which really hurts btw) to the player being in my pocket and sat on.

Koss makes a decent pair for $24. Lifetime warranty - trick being you have to spend $20 to send them in and get them back

but they sounded good and fit my earholes well. My left canal is larger than the right so it's tough to find a range of tips that work.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:36 AM   #9
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Here are the ones I recommend:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

JPuds. J2 have higher quality, better bass and are more rugged than the std model:

http://www.amazon.com/JBuds-Hi-Fi-No...ref=pd_sim_e_2

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Old 08-22-2013, 09:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josjor View Post
Here are the ones I was referring to. Durable, great sound, and so comfy that when I was in India at a noisy hotel, I actually fell asleep with them in. $80.00, but as they say, you get what you pay for.
http://www.amazon.com/Elite-Core-EU-...ds=osp+monitor
These are hopeful for me, as the picture and reviews show twisted pair wire going to each bud.
This means that at least there is hope of fixing the wires WHEN they screw up.
Mostly positive reviews on Amazon, but ADV reviews carry more weight with me.
I'll think hard about these. Thanks.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwboomer View Post
I would never spend more than $25 on a pair unless they were specifically for on the bike.
I also use my MP3 player constantly and it takes a lot of abuse. Everything from the cord getting caught on a door handle and yanking out the buds (which really hurts btw) to the player being in my pocket and sat on.

Koss makes a decent pair for $24. Lifetime warranty - trick being you have to spend $20 to send them in and get them back

but they sounded good and fit my earholes well. My left canal is larger than the right so it's tough to find a range of tips that work.
Your interactions with earbuds sound just like mine!

I successfully managed to tear one bud off the cord while sitting in my chair at home.

I've had Koss around-the-ear headphones decades ago that were great - the $20 to service $24 phones is kinda weak.

I'm trying to work up to spending more, but I have so much history with quick destruction, that's why I'm looking primarily on the "low-end". Reading reviews (which are all admittedly subjective), it seems possible that the build and sound quality, at least on some of the cheaper units, is inconsistent.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HapHazard View Post
Your interactions with earbuds sound just like mine!

I successfully managed to tear one bud off the cord while sitting in my chair at home.

I've had Koss around-the-ear headphones decades ago that were great - the $20 to service $24 phones is kinda weak.

I'm trying to work up to spending more, but I have so much history with quick destruction, that's why I'm looking primarily on the "low-end". Reading reviews (which are all admittedly subjective), it seems possible that the build and sound quality, at least on some of the cheaper units, is inconsistent.
yep. I could literally drive down to Milwaukee and back cheaper than mailing them. I even bought a second pair (first one came apart, second one no sound in one ear) so I could keep them in rotation. They just sit in my cupboard though.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:09 AM   #13
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I always use amazon or new egg and follow user reviews. The top rated cheap earned on amazon is a set of Panasonic around 8 bucks. I bought them and they sound great. My old favorite are senheiser cx300 s.

sent from my perfectly sized do it all galaxy note
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 32x20 View Post
I've got an older set of Creative something-or-others that were $35-$40 at the time and sound great. I thought I'd lost them awhile back, so decided to get some cheaper but good-sounding earbuds. After some research I ended up buying a set of MEElectronics M9s. I've since found the Creatives and in my opinion the $10 MEElec buds are nearly as good.

http://amzn.com/B0038W0K1Q

I'll probably try these - under $10 delivered with Prime is in my "comfort zone".
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:19 AM   #15
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These look even better....
6.40

http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-RPHJ..._bxgy_e_text_y
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