Recommendations for sub £100 earphones please

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by GregP, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. GregP

    GregP New Member

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    Hi - I am looking for some help in choosing my next set of earphones. I will try and give as much info as I can and would appreciate any suggestions. There are so many options!

    I am looking for something that provides a warmish sound with decent, but not excessive bass. I listen to a variety of music, quite a lot of rock and indie, but also a fair bit of dance, reggae and classical too.

    Ideally I would like some earphones that are easy to pop in and out, since I will be using them at work and sometimes get a lot of interruptions. Over-ear designs would be too fiddly I think.

    Finally a basic one button inline control would be very useful, and a mic even better - but I am prepared to forgo these features if necessary.

    Any recommendations would be gratefully received - I hope I'm not asking for "the moon on a stick"!

    Cheers
    Greg

    PS. I forgot to mention that most of my music is 256k mp3 format, plus I listen to Spotify quite a bit too. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi GregP

    What is the budget?
     
  3. GregP

    GregP New Member

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    Hi Robin

    My budget is up to £100, but that is the absolute limit.

    I have previously had some SoundMagic PL21s which were tremendous value, and the inline controller worked well with my Android device, but they only lasted 6 months before breaking. I guess the cheapness has to show one way or another. Mrs P has some AiAiAi Pipes, but they are not much better than the PL21s - bass is fine but overall they are a bit "muddy" to my ears.

    If I am paying £100 I would hope for a significant improvement on the PL21s, is this reasonable?

    Thanks.
     
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    I think it is reasonable to expect an improvement, as you pointed out the SoundMAGIC PL21 and MP21 are pretty amazing value for money though. At the sub £60 price point it is hard for manufacturers to get bottom end and some decent detail into them. Your budget allows you access to the next layer where slightly more exotic components can be used.

    All three of these give an improvement over the vast majority of sub £60 earphones and have that all important mic - obviously you need to check compatibility with your current phone.

    Klipsch Image S4i Isolating iPod Earphones in Black (S 4i)
    £89.95 - These still have quite a soft bottom end but a big warm sound, the sound is spacious and airy but at the expense of focus.

    Beyerdynamic MMX 101 iE Isolating Earphones with Mic (MMX101iE)
    £99.95- These are a little more sculptural and solid sounding, the bass is a little tighter but the sound stage is a little more drawn in.

    Audeo PFE 022 Perfect Bass Earphones with Mic in Black (PFE-022)
    £99.95- Different to the other two - A single balanced armature driver produces a cooler, brighter sound. Much more detailed, more natural sounding with a better more convincing sound stage. It is cooler though and warm is the dominant sonic taste.




    SoundMAGIC E10 In-Ear Sound Isolating Earphones Black & Silver
    £34.99 - We are told these will be getting a mic and controller but no date yet. These are pretty incredible for their price - a big step up for SoundMAGIC!
     
  5. GregP

    GregP New Member

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    Thanks for your ideas.

    I have a couple of questions regarding your suggestions.

    1. I have read that Klipsch are bringing out an S4a designed specifically for Android devices "soon". Pictures are available on the web. Do you have any idea how when this might be.

    2. The Audeo's are very tempting, and sound technically superior, and are probably better value than the others, but I'm not certain that they will be quite right for my personal tastes. Do you think that the MMX101 iE's occupy a middle ground between the softer S4i's and the more clinical Audeo's.

    Thanks.
     
  6. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Answers!

    1. Klipsch are bringing out an S4a, I suspect we will see these in around 4 - 6 weeks.

    2. You are correct - I think the Beyers are in the middle ground between the other two. Technically the phonaks are superior but it is probably not possible to get the detail and the power through the audiable spectrum from a single balanced armature driver. This is why they sound a bit cool, too cold for some.
     
  7. GregP

    GregP New Member

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    Thanks - it looks like the Beyers for me. Only one thing concerns me about them - the cables look terribly slender. That was the problem with my PL21s - the thin cable eventually broke. What is the build quality of the Beyers like?
     
  8. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    This is the biggest problem with in ear headphones, the cabling has to be thin because of the weight. Just the cabling for full size headphones is normally 10 times the weight of a pair of IEMs. This is made even worse by the fact that the best metal for the cabling is copper which is really brittle, as counter intuitive as this seems the good cabling goes quicker as cheap cables are steel. All of our headphones have at least a years warranty and the cable is covered against an internal cable break or bad connection:)
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
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