Durable, good sounding and iPhone compatible in-ear headphones, do they exist?

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by kasakka, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    So for the last few years I've been using NuForce's NE-7M headphones. I've been happy with the sound quality, feel (ok, the first version had a really ****** mic button) and looks. However, I've been severely disappointed with their quality. The first ones I had the mic button broke after several months of normal use, got a new model (thumbs up to their customer support!) but now the mic button doesn't function and the right earpiece crackles. The old ones? One of the earphones is coming apart because of a failed glue joint.

    So, I'm in the market for new in-ear headphones. Is there anything on the market that is

    1. actually DURABLE, meaning it will last more than a year of totally normal, non-abusive use
    2. has a balanced sound, none of that exaggerated bass bollocks.
    3. iPhone compatibility, meaning a mic and a button to answer calls/change tracks
  2. oakie macrumors 6502


    Oct 16, 2008
    etymotic hf3.

    ive had the hf2's for over a year and a half and they never did me wrong. granted, i take care of my stuff, but it should last you a long time... if not, then they're being abused. if you follow the manufacturer's recommendations, they'll last. they're also very good as far as sound quality, a completely different league compared to NuForce. honestly one of the best iPhone headsets you can get for under $200 and much more compact than the equivalent from Shure.

    since i dont know where you draw the line for "abuse," but tugging on the cord is considered abuse by most manufacturers as it puts stress directly onto the connector's solder points.
  3. TimShady macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2011
    I've been using the Klipsch Image S4i earbuds for just about a year now and I really like them. They come with a 2-year warranty and have been holding up nicely for me. Might be worth looking in to.
  4. SR Steve macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2010
    They are light but well-made. I've had mine a few months and love them; the sound is very open & natural. The controls work as-designed and are placed at the yoke where they are easy to access.

    There's a newer model, the S5i, with more robust construction made for active lifestyles if you are concerned about durability:

  5. FriarNurgle macrumors regular


    Jan 2, 2011
    I picked up a pair of the a-JAYS Four headphones. The ribbon cable adds some nice durability. They sound nice and the controls work as expected.
  6. SchneiderMan macrumors G3


    May 25, 2008
    X2 on that.
  7. Blingdar macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2010
    A-Jays Four! I love em, super durable, great remote, and great sound. My only gripe is that usually headphones of this quality (75$?) have gold coated jacks for better conductivity and less distortion. This has the standard finish. Does anyone else who has a pair of A-jays get some distortion when "turning" (spinning?) the jack while it is plugged in? Not really a problem. But buy these! You won't regret it.
  8. kasakka thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    Gold plated plugs are of absolute no use unless you live in a swamp. They also have no bearing on audio quality. In consumer electronics they are pure marketing because gold = "ooh shiny" = quality in people's heads. The physical fit of the plug will matter more.

    I'd define abuse as constantly throwing the headphones around, tangling them, pulling the cord etc. I don't do that, my headphones have been used completely normally and the lifetime has been generally just about after the 1 year warranty runs out.

    The a-JAYS Four looks really good as does the Klipsh. The Etymotics are too expensive, I wouldn't use an iPhone for music listening if absolute sound quality was my goal. Decided to order the a-JAYS since they were easily available over here.
  9. labman macrumors 604


    Jun 9, 2009
    Mich near Detroit
  10. walie macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2010
  11. E3BK macrumors 68030


    Mar 15, 2008
    I really liked my ajays 4 for the week I had them. I've had plenty of crappy headphone literally until they died in my ears. The ajays 4 just fell out of my coat pocket when I was walking around one day. Yes, total fail on my part. I need to replace ASAP. I loved the flat cable. I just wish they included something to wrap them in/around or a case.
  12. kasakka thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    The Ajays 4 arrived. Initial impressions:

    • Bass is nowhere near as good as on the NuForce. Will have to see if extended use makes them "open up".
    • Volume is lower than on the NuForce, I guess it's the 0.4mm larger and more sensitive (rated at 100dB @ 1kHz vs 96 dB on the Ajays) drivers.
    • The replacable ear bud thingies are not as good as the ones on the NuForce. They're softer material all the way so they're much harder to fit on the earphones. The NuForces seem to be a bit more rigid at the center so they just clip on easily. Not really a big deal since you do the bud swap only about once.
    • The mic button thingy is more bulky than needed. Apple's own is much smaller and inconspicuous.
    • I prefer the looks of the NuForces. Since they have gold colored sides they have a similar effect as an ear ring, which can be good or bad depending on your outlook. With the Ajays the most noticeable thing is the cable and mic thingy.

    So overall I'm not super impressed on first go. The flat cable seems nice, doesn't tangle.
  13. Rattle&Hum macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2011
    Agree with your assessment of the a-jays 4. Same reasons I sent them back (too bad, too - I REALLY wanted to like them as I LOVE the design and fit).

    I tried the Klipsch s4i and liked the sound quality a lot, but didn't like the fit or the cable quality.

    I've landed on the V-Moda Vibratos available at the Apple store. GREAT balanced sound (reports of bass enhancement are dramatic and inaccurate - it has nice bass, but not at the expense of clarity at all). Plus, the metal construction and cloth/kevlar cable seems quite durable. They are heavier than others I've tried, but seem quite solid. I'm very pleased with them.
  14. whiteyanderson macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2007
    Hollywood, California
    Try the Woodees Vintage or Woodees Blues. Nice, durable, detailed and balanced sound, on cable remote works great (FF, REW,Volume, Pause, etc) wood if you care. Around $70 for the Vintage and $80 for the Blues on Amazon. Both sound pretty much identical, Vintage are a sunburst style color and the Blues are black and gold. I own the Vintage. The cables are wrapped in cloth ala vintage guitar cable style. I like them alot.
  15. iVeBeenDrinkin' macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2008
    I am using the UE 170vi. I've only had them a month, but happy with them so far.

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