Best In Ear Headphones Under £50SoundMAGIC have again pushed the boundaries of what can be expected from an entry level earphone with the SoundMAGIC ES20, which makes this model a strong candidate for the title of best budget in ear headphone. The sound is a quantum leap up from the cheap earbuds supplied with most MP3 players, with warm deep bass and plenty of detail in the trebles. While you might expect an inexpensive earphone to be poorly made, the ES20 is a part aluminium construction and comes fitted with good quality braided cabling (normally reserved for high end in-ear monitor earphones) with strain relief that is built to last. The quality of the product is truly commendable. The ES20 is like the baby brother of the award winning SoundMAGIC E10 which adds a full metal body and even higher sound quality - for a little more money. Supplied with a neat carry pouch that is very usable and three size ear tips to get a good seal, the SoundMAGIC ES20 is a very well thought out package. If you have a little more to spend, consider the SoundMAGIC E10 or SoundMAGIC E50 - also both amazing value at their price points. HiFi Headphones Verdict: In times past the Sennheiser CX300 was the first choice for entry level in-ear earphones, but the ES20 has just stolen that spot. Sound quality compares with earphones costing two or three times the price. Shure's addition to the sub £50 earphone range is very impressive. They are very well built with a tough cable and solid speaker housing. The sound rolls off slightly at the top which takes away any harsh frequencies and the bottom end has plenty of punch! The Shure SE112 are a great alternative to the award winning SoundMAGIC E10 – especially if you prefer a mellower presentation. For a more professional in-ear monitor design we also recommend the Shure SE215 – tight bass, crisp mids and great soundstage. HiFi Headphones Verdict: The Shure SE112 has punchy bass and smooth top end detail. They are very comfortable with great isolation and they are tougher than most.
Best In Ear Headphones Under £100The AF45 is an impressive pair of earphones. We think the AF45 is one of the highlights of the Audiofly premium range and one of the best in ear headphones available at this price. The AF45 successfully marries fashion conscious design with excellent sound. The earphones are sturdy and the sound is big – full bass and crisp detail. The cable on the AF45 is made from Audiofly's Audioflex braided technology and is covered in a Cordura fabric outer sheath for extra durability. There is also an option of an in line microphone with the Audiofly AF45M. HiFi Headphones Verdict: The AF45 is a truly superb earphone that excels all round. Big bass and crisp highs makes them ideal for someone looking for big sound and great looks from their in-ears. Final Audio's Adagio III is sleek in design and gives a more refined sound than many of it's competitors. The earphones are very well built with a tough cable and airplane engine like design to the earphone body. Thanks to the balanced air movement internal speaker design the bass is big yet not bloated and the upper detail is crystal clear – this gives an exciting and refined sound. Some reviews complain that bass is too powerful, but after running in (this earphone changes a lot during the first 50 hours) we think the Adagio III offers plenty of clarity and detail for the price. Final Audio Design earphones come with excellent eartips, but as with many better quality earphones they benefit from upgrading with Comply tips. HiFi Headphones Verdict: If you like powerful bass, but want a more refined sound then these earphones are for you. Tight and full low end, cracking mids and the top end has real sparkle.
With the RHA MA750 earphones you get a lot for your money. The build quality is extremely solid and you get a 3 year warranty – this shows how confident RHA are with their products. You get a good amount of ear tips supplied and a very nice leather carry case.
The overall sound is warm with great bass quality and lots of energy in the upper frequencies. The soundstage is large and separation is very good. There is also the MA750i for those of you wanting iPhone controls.
HiFi Headphones Verdict:
If you're after a great all rounder then the MA750 could be the one. Solidly built, comfortable, 3 years warranty, lots of accessories and great sound – a lot for under £100!The new Westone range of 'UM Pro' headphones come with a varying amount of balanced armature drivers to suit all ears and pockets. The UM Pro 10 model has one balanced armature, so a good seal with the ear is important to benefit from the full frequency range. The sound is extremely accurate and fast-paced, with superb soundstage and imaging. Some may find the design more ergonomic than similar single balanced-armature designs by other makers, as the UM Pro 10 rests in the bowl of the ear as opposed to protruding out of the ear. Hifiheadphones Verdict: Sometimes the best designs are the simplest and I really think there is something to be said for single-driver IEMs. Makers may be able to tune the sound signature a little more with multiple drivers, but this risks muddying the sound with possible phase/imaging issues as the audio from these different drivers reaches our ears at different times. In short - choose the simple life and get the UM Pro 10! The Heaven II replicates the intense auditory sensation of fast-paced live music with accurate speed and harmonious stereo separation. A truly high end sound at a bargain price. Final Audio Design's special Balancing Air Movement mechanism optimises air movement inside the housing that eliminates unwanted sibilant high-frequency sounds. Proprietary balanced armature drivers developed by Final Audio Design (one of only a few manufacturers in the World who make these micro-drivers) deliver concentrated bass performance and perfectly balanced spatial separation. To replicate the auditory sensation of live music ambiance with speed and accuracy Final Audio Design have crafted the housing of the Heaven II from solid stainless steel. Final Audio Design's Heaven II is a handmade product, made by Japanese sound engineers with a full-focus on ideal sound with no compromises. HiFi Headphones Verdict: It will be hard to find an in-ear headphone that can challenge the Heaven II's sound quality for under £100. They use a balanced armiture driver, which is uncommon for sub £100 earphones. This gives you great clarity and separation as well as superb soundstage. Using the supplied tips you also get full and rich bass which completes the well balanced sound. Shure's SE215 personal monitor earphones are designed to meet the demanding requirements of your audio lifestyle. It features a Dynamic MicroDriver for a detailed, warm, sound with improved bass. With the Shure SE215 you can concentrate on your music, whether you are on-stage, in a train, on the street or working out Shure's SE215 earphones features a durable Kevlar reinforced cable that allows easy replacement or customisation. The formable wire ensures secure placement, and over the ear configuration keeps cables out of the way. The gold plated stereo connector has a lock-snap mechanism allowing 360 degree rotation for comfortable fit Because every ear is different, the Fit Kit of the Shure SE215 includes an assortment of foam and silicone sleeves in different sizes. Experiment with the size and style that creates the best fit for you. A good seal is key to optimising sound isolation and bass response as well as maximising comfort during extended wear HiFi Headphones Verdict: For under £100 the Shure SE215 give you the most for your money. You get well detailed sound with crisp highs and tight bass, a removable highly durable cable, a wide selection of eartips including Shure's own Foam Tip and to seal it off a tough carry case.