Came across a strange situation this week: A few months back I accidentally washed my stock earbuds that came with my iPhone. They were absolutely destroyed, so I bought a new pair from Apple. (I like the remote/mic combination and the sound is "good enough"). In the last couple of weeks, I have noticed that my newer pair has lost a lot of volume. The highest volume level on my iPhone didn't seem to be very loud at all, and was barely loud enough for me to hear my music or watch TV shows on the train. I was also noticing that the right/left balance was completely off. Even when I went into the Accessibility settings and messed with the balance, the earbuds still were louder and clearer on the right side. I even switched ears to make sure I just wasn't going deaf in my left ear. I also wondered if maybe there was something wrong with my phone's headphone jack or something. Just in case anyone asks--EQ effects are turned off, and I don't have the volume limit locked. So when I got home, I tried my wife's iPod Touch earbuds. Instant results. The sound was much louder and richer on those earbuds (even without any EQ effects turned on). I convinced her to let me trade her since she never uses them anyway. Unfortunately that eliminates the mic/remote combo that I actually use quite often. So my question is: a) Did I just get crappy earbuds? (I think the Apple earbuds are pretty crappy anyway) or b) Are the iPod earbuds just better? I tend to think I just got a bad pair or that maybe the remote mechanism went bad on the old pair and got stuck on a certain volume or something. Any opinions?