Recommend earbuds for around $100

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mfacey, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. mfacey macrumors 65816

    mfacey

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    #1
    I've had a set of Sony MDR-EX71 in-ear buds for a few years now. They've been great but are getting a bit old and are starting to look very "used".

    So I'm in the market for a replacement set. My budget is around $100 (OR 100 Euros). A bit more or a bit less doesn't really concern me. I like crisp and clear sound but am also not shy of some good bass from time to time. So I'm looking for some all-round quality in ear buds (they have to be in ear!).

    I've read about etymotic and shure, but I'm guessing they're high end models are well beyond what I'm willing to pay. So I'm wondering what our resident audiophiles and other critics can recommend!

    Edit: Oh, by the way, they're really only for on the road with my iPod. I have an excellent Sennheiser over ear headphone set for home audio.
     
  2. mfacey thread starter macrumors 65816

    mfacey

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    #3
  3. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

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    Jun 14, 2006
    #4
    Bang & Olufsen A8s. Maybe a bit over your budget, but they are really, really spectacularly good!
     
  4. sthpark7791 macrumors regular

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    Apr 20, 2006
    #5
    Shure e2c's are really nice.

    Also, I just ordered these, Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 for ~$80. They have a replaceable cord, which was a huge plus for me since my last pair of sonys died because of the cord.
     
  5. jamesi macrumors 6502a

    jamesi

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    Sep 13, 2005
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    Davis CA
    #6
    look at the lineup from shure. i bought a pair for like 80 bucks at the bookstore at my school and while i forget the model number, these puppies are great. they are the prolly the cheapest from shure but these sound better than my senhessier over ear headset. absolutely beautiful, you can hear everything. take a look

    those are it
     
  6. mfacey thread starter macrumors 65816

    mfacey

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    #7
    I saw those in an apple store a few months ago. They were expensive! :rolleyes:

    I'm also not a big fan of the over ear loop things. I really want in ear (isolating) buds.
     
  7. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

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    Jun 14, 2006
    #8
    You'll get used to it. I'd worn two pairs of loops before these, a pair of Sonys and a pair of Philips. Ignoring the sound (which was pants on both pairs), they were incredibly uncomfortable. While the idea is good, it really put me off them. The A8s were different though, much more comfortable, while a little bit awkward at first, they definitely felt better. Now I couldn't imagine using any other headphones at length, they are really exceptionally good...
     
  8. Mac'Mo macrumors 6502a

    Mac'Mo

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    #9
    UE, get them, good value, better than e2cs.
     
  9. buffalo macrumors 65816

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    #10
    I had heard good things about the Shure e2c, so I went ahead and got a pair from Best Buy. I would love to recommend them, but I can not get them to fit well in my small ears.

    On that note (and sorry about the thread hijack), will Best Buy take them back? I've known BB to have a good return policy, but they are earbuds which have been in my ears, and the e2c packaging is such that you can't open the earbuds without destroying the package.

    I was reading Shures website and it was saying how the e3c is half the diamater of the e2c making it better for small ear canals. I would consider forking the extra $80 if I knew they would work, but I don't want another pair of earbuds that doesn't fit.
     
  10. xPismo macrumors 6502a

    xPismo

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    #11
    I agree. Totally. I can't live without my UE's anymore. Other than my Grado SR-80's, they best $80 I've spent.
     
  11. mariahlullaby macrumors 6502a

    mariahlullaby

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    NYC
    #12
    Yes, BB will take them back. I bought the e2Cs, e3cs, and some Sony headphones (bought one pair, returned them, bought another returne them, etc) and they refunded me no questions asked. I was trying to find the perfect headphones like you :)
     
  12. Passante macrumors 6502a

    Passante

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    #13
    I like the Etymotic ER-6. Great Sound and sound isolation. Much better than noise attenuation. http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er6.aspx

    My wife has the Bang and Olufsen A8s. They do sound great but are much more than $100 and do not provide sound isolation.
     
  13. Zeke macrumors 6502

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    Greenville, SC
    #14
    Did you try the foam? I had the same problem and went with the foam and find they fit very well. Even the small plastic fittings didn't work for me.

     
  14. T-Stex macrumors 6502

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    Pennsylvania
    #15
    After reading a bunch of great reviews, I bought a pair of V-Moda Vibe earbuds in Gunmetal Black. I couldn't be happier with them. They sound great, as you'll see with any review you read. Many reviews I've seen place these earbuds above the Shures and other earbuds in the price range.

    One aspect I will comment on, although it's not a positive nor a negative, is that they aren't as great at blocking out ambient noise. While this might sound like a downside, I've grown to like this characteristic. With other earbuds, I found myself constantly needing to take them out in order to hear what was going on around me, but with the Vibes, a little more ambient noise is let in, without being obtrusive in any way whatsoever.

    Another aspect that I liked about the V-Moda Vibes are the aesthetic appeal. Granted, this isn't a huge factor in deciding on a pair of headphones, but they do look great, whether they're being worn or not. The cord on the headphones is just the right length, without being too long, like other pairs I've used.

    Overall, I'd definitely recommend these earbuds to anyone looking for a pair in the $100 range. I think they sound great, and all the reviews I've read agree as well.
     
  15. thebrain74 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #16
    I had a pair of SHure e2c, great mids (vocals) and all Shure's have great sound isolation and really tough constructions with a wire that is thicker than normal. Shure also has excellent customer service dept very willing to help ( I have heard many stories of them repairing 'phones after the warranty has expired or simply not asking when they were purchased). I think the overall consensus with Ety phones is that they are more anylytical and more focused on the highs (treble) than the lows (bass). I have heard good things about super.fi 3's, but I think super.fi's kinda stick out of your ears more than other IEM's, making you look like Frankenstein and making them difficult to lay down with ( if you care about either of those).
    Someone mentioned that the e2c's were too big for your ears, if you are worrying about that, you might consider a pair of e3c's , since they use the smaller sound tube common on the rest of of the shure line, they are an option for small ears, and if you look around (head-fi is a place ot start) they can be had for about $100
    I personally had a pair of the e2c's and upgraded to e4c's (paid ~$190 for them new) and I absolutely love them, but I understand that you are working with a budget, however, head-fi is a great place to sell old earphones. I got a pretty good deal on my e2c's ( about 60 bucks I think) and I was able to sell them for that price and put that money towards the e4c's.

    anyway my dos centos

    Thebrain
     
  16. buffalo macrumors 65816

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    Colorado Springs / Ohio
    #17
    Of the three cap styles the foam did fit me the best, however even the smallest foam caps would not stay securly in my ears. I have not been successful in getting a "seal" that was mentioned.

    Is there anyplace that would have demo model of the e3cs. I am interested in them because of the smaller tube, but I don't want to buy and be dissapointed.
     
  17. djelite macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    #18
    shure E2C definitely!

    nothing but faith in Shure products- i use their mics day in and day out, headphones all the time.

    i also have not found a bose product live up to its price tag- cheap, mediocre products at best, brilliantly marketed. want to talk profit margins? a few sayings from people in the pro arena sum up how i fell about bose

    no highs, no lows, must be bose!

    and of course B(ring) O(ther) S(ound) E(quipment)

    heh
     
  18. Canerican macrumors regular

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    Jul 22, 2006
    #19
    As I drummer, I use headphones all the time. I that the best I have used are the Shure e4's that I have now. IEMs (in ear monitors) are the way you want to go. The Shure e2's a litte chunky, but I have used them for practice... They are still great sounding, but if you can fork out a little more look at the Shure E3 or E4 on eBay. Pretty much the industry standard for musicians is Shure... there are a few other brands that cost a little more, but are nearly exactly the same in design (Westone, namely)
     
  19. nsbio macrumors 6502a

    nsbio

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    #20
  20. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

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    #21
  21. buffalo macrumors 65816

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    #22
    I'm back in town so I'll probably return my e2c today. Should I risk upgrading to the e3c or buy some over the head headphones?
     
  22. Canerican macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    #23
    I can tell you that I love the E3c. But are you just using them for listening in fairly quiet environments? If you were a musician I would give an emphatic yes.

    This guide might help a little. I personally think that the E3 just looks sharper.

    http://www.shure.com/PersonalAudio/ComparisonCharts/us_pa_comp_char_earphones

    http://www.shure.com/PersonalAudio/Products/Earphones/ESeries/index.htm
     
  23. buffalo macrumors 65816

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    #24
    For the most part they'll be used in quite places. Some exceptions could be on the school bus to track meets, occasionally on a plane... things like that. I'm not an audiophile so I probably don't need $200 headphones. I prefer earbuds to over the head, so if I can find a pair of earbuds that fits, that would be my preference. That's why I began looking at the e3c since the e2c didn't work
     
  24. JSchwage macrumors 6502a

    JSchwage

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    Rochester, NY
    #25
    I'm gonna go with the Ultimateears Super.fi 3 Studio earbuds. They are sound-isolating and are also available in white to match your iPod (that is, unless you have a black one). If you do some research, I think you can find them for about $85.
     

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