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I've been searching for a good earphone for years but they always stop working after a few months. Sometimes its cable simply tears off, disconnects from the 'head' or starts malfunctioning. There was even an earphone that sounded great but then stopped working for no apparent reason.

I want a earphone with those qualities:

  • Good sound quality - I aim to listen mostly 320kbps MP3 music files with a lot of different instruments/sounds at the same time (progressive, fusion, avant-garde)
  • Reliability - I prefer a not-so-good earphone that lasts for over a year than a great one that stops working after a month
  • Strong cable - The main reason that I want an earphone and not a pair of headphones is because of its portability, but most phones I had couldn't have their cables a little twisted without sounding worse (sometimes permanently)
  • Comfortability - I tend to use earphones for at least half of my awake time on week days so I want and need them to be comfortable that way I don't need to take it off each couple of minutes or every other hour to avoid hurting my ears

As a plus it could come with a small case to protect it inside my backpack.

How can I know those qualities just by looking at the phone specs? Is there a general way better than asking around or trying out the luck with trial and error? Where can I find a good earphone that's not so expensive?

  • 1
    By earphones, you mean earbuds? Like the ones that go inside your ear? Simple design, not those that are inside but have an outer ear attachment so that they stay in place (like the ones designed for people who go running). – Adrian Pop Sep 11 '15 at 15:38
  • I don't really mind one design or another, as long as they sound good and fit comfortably on my ear. – 0rkan Sep 11 '15 at 15:39
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I recommend: the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear phones.

They have/are:

  • Excellent sound quality
    With a frequency response of 15-22k Hz, you'll get the full range of sound. The mids are a little less powerful than in some other headphones, but not by any majorly noticeable amount.
  • Very reliable
  • Flat cable
    A flat cable, being flat, is less likely to get twisted in the sense that a cylindrical wire would. It's also a decently strong cable to boot.
  • Reasonable price tag
    They're around £65 ($100) which, while a noticeable amount of money, is worth it. They provide excellent quality and reliability for their price bracket.
  • Comfortable
  • A microphone attached
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  • I just remembered (thanks to Adrian Pop comment) that I need the earphone to be comfortable too since I will be using it a lot. – 0rkan Sep 11 '15 at 15:49
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    @0rkan - they are comfortable. I've edited that into my answer. – ArtOfCode Sep 11 '15 at 15:49
6

I would recommend the Roccat Syva earbuds. They have flat cable, good sound & bass, reliable (have them for over 2 years). Also as a side node, they look very cool.

There are some things needed to specify about them:

  • They have a microphone on the cable (which is pretty good, won't tangle, won't break)

  • They have a TRRS 3.5 mm jack (that means common jack for microphone and sound)

  • There is NO sound control on the cable

  • They do not come with a special case to protect them

The price is about $30-$40. Money well spent I would say.

And to answer your other questions:

  • Even having the specs on the box, they don't help as much, knowing the impedance and frequency... I study electronics, and still make no sense to me as how they affect the sound quality. It depends how they are built and with what components.
  • This "headphone hunt" is more as you said... Trial and error, recommendations, testing etc.

I wish you all the best in your search.

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5

Although I have chosen to take a look at Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear phones, I couldn't really buy it for a affordable price from my country.

So I've found the Philips SHE7050BK and it covers the requirements:

  • Good sound quality - Frequency response of 8Hz - 23kHz

  • Reliability - To be tested

  • Strong cable - Flat anti-tangle cables

  • Comfortability - Different ear caps for a perfect fit

  • Extras:

    • Noise isolating ear caps
    • Finely tuned 9mm drivers
    • Rubberized cable relief
    • Price range at $30
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3

You should look at Sony's MDRV6. Its very clear, very comfortable, long lasting, and has great sound reproduction. I have used it for years and is very easy on the ears and even people sitting next to you cannot hear the music so I have used it on Airplanes and subways surrounded by others.

It is widely used in sound recording studios and is currently available for $79 at Amazon. It comes with a leatherette bag that holds the headphones. The cord has never gotten tangled but they are long ( I believe 8 feet long).

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2

The xiaomi piston 2.0/2.1 (there's a 3.0 model out at the moment) out but I've never used it before.

enter image description here

The cliff's notes version

  • Price: 20-30 usd depending. Got mine for 20 singapore dollars.

  • Good sound quality - Good enough. I've tried it on my good gear on a lark and it sounds fine. My phone/whatever google play transcodes it to seems to be the limitation

  • Reliability - I've had mine ~6 months I think. Its built solidly

  • Strong cable - Kevlar reinforced cables, sleeving on half of it. Joints are protected by the remote.
  • Comfortability - Has different eartips to suit your needs

That's the model I have anyway. Reviews are decent and people tend to like it. And yes, they come with a case, rubber winding widget, and other shiny stuff.

The headphones are machined aluminium. Cable has a remote control and the length between the plug and controller's covered in a protective sheath, and are supposed to be kevlar reinforced. The headphones have great strain relief, and I've had mine for quite a while, daily use with no issues. Its built seriously solidly.

You'll get 3 pairs of smooth earbud covers in different sizes and one flanged one, which is supposed to fit tighter.

Sound quality's decent, my phone's more of a limiting factor (I'm an audio snob). They're about as good as you'd get for the price range. It comes with that lovely rubber headphone holder and 'jewel case', and street price is ~30usd.

Remote control is below where the headphone splits. Its got 3 buttons, tho the volume buttons only work on some phones.

That said, there's a lot of fakes of these so caveat emptor. I got mine from xiaomi directly.

Considering I was going with super cheapie headphones since I killed quite a few, and this has surviced me, I'd say these are a hardy pair.

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