Best Noise Isolating Earbuds
You may not want to hear it, but the cold, hard truth is this—noise is all around you. It’s the annoying clock that wakes you up in the morning, or the sound of car horns blaring loudly as you saunter off to work. Noise can be any loud, non-harmonious sound that you can hear, but don’t necessarily want to listen to; like chalk screeching across a blackboard, or a Justin Bieber concert. Okay, so maybe the Biebs is an exception. But all jokes aside, noise can be described as anywhere from annoying to plain disruptive, especially if you love music or if you need to talk to someone on the phone. So if noise is everywhere, how can you deal with it? The best noise isolating earbuds is what you need.
How exactly do you counteract something that surrounds you—sometimes, overwhelms you—and has been around for as long as man had ears to listen with? You silence it with noise control, that’s how. It can be as simple as putting your hands over your ears, or as sophisticated as using advanced audio technology to fight fire with fire, so to speak. Or in this case, fight noise with noise. A large percentage of all the audio equipment available on the consumer electronics market today, such as speakers and headphones, make use of one form of noise control technology or another.
What Is Noise Control in the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds?
Noise control is defined simply as the process of reducing the amount of unwanted noise present in a given audio signal. You reduce noise because it interferes with how your ears perceive the sound that you want to hear, like music, or the voice of a loved on calling from across the globe. By limiting the amount of noise in a particular audio signal, you’ll be able to hear a cleaner and less diluted sound. Generally speaking, reduced noise often results in a better listening experience overall.
Active Versus Passive Noise Reduction
There are two ways by which noise control is primarily achieved. The first is via active noise control, which is also commonly referred to simply as “noise cancellation”. This method involves the use of microphones that pick up noise, which gets sent to an integrated processor for analysis. The noise cancellation process then generates an equal but opposing audio signal called an “antiphase”, which neutralizes the noise, leaving you with as much of the original audio signal as possible. Active noise control works especially well if you want to get the best low frequency response possible from your headphones or speakers.
The second primary method of noise control takes a more passive approach. Often called “noise isolation”, passive noise control uses the audio equipment’s physical attributes in order to efficiently seal out noise and prevent it from getting within audible range. Speakers and headphones that feature passive noise control capabilities often incorporate noise-isolating materials such as sound-absorbing tiles and mufflers into their design. Even though this method does not cancel out ambient noise with the same efficiency as active noise control, it does provide the natural sound preferred by audio purists and professional musicians.
In short, powered noise control is active, while noise control that uses no power is passive.
Benefits of Noise Isolation Technology
Active and passive noise control techniques each have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, but here are a few reasons why you might want to lean towards noise isolation rather than cancellation.
- Natural Sound – As mentioned earlier, passive noise control often produces a more natural sound. By not completely zeroing out ambient noise, there’s just enough room for the desired audio signal to propagate. Of course, you do have to consider the environment that you are trying to listen in. If you more often find yourself jamming out to your music outdoors, or in any loud area like on a bus or on the subway, then noise-isolating equipment might not be your best choice. But if you pop your best noise isolating earbuds on in the library, or in the sanctity of your bedroom, then by all means, go for them. You’ll get better sound quality without the overwhelming bass that active noise control devices provide.
- Better Comfort – While there really isn’t a clear-cut answer to whether one noise control technique is better than the other, the lack of noise-cancelling electronics to weigh them down tend to make passive noise control earphones lighter and more comfortable to wear, at least in principle. Besides, most manufacturers will tend to focus more on improving style, noise-isolation, and comfort during their product’s development phase, making sure that consumers get the best sound quality and the most comfortable fit that they can feasibly offer.
- Compact Size – Because there are no batteries or noise-cancelling electronics to take up space in their design, passive noise control devices tend to be smaller and more portable. Unlike their bulky, noise-cancelling counterparts, noise-isolating headphones are more compact. Their diminutive size makes them the perfect accessory to go with your portable media.
- Less Pressure – Active noise control helps bring out the low frequency bass sounds, which is great, as long as you don’t have sensitive eardrums. The human ear can only take so much low frequency sounds, and passive noise control ensures that air pressure doesn’t build up in your ear canals too much. If you have delicate hearing, it might be best that you stick with noise-isolating earbuds.
- Easier On the Budget – There are only a handful of passive noise control products that cost more than active ones. Generally speaking, the cost of making noise-isolating earphones is significantly less than what it would take to make a pair of noise-cancelling headphones because the electronics responsible for providing active noise control will simply add on to the total manufacturing cost.
So consider your specific needs. You might be in the market for a simple pair of earphones that sound great and won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Or you could have been saving up your allowance for that pair of active noise control headphones you’ve always wanted. Either way, knowing what characteristics to look for in an audio product should get your search started in the right direction. Oh, and so will the list below, if you’re on the hunt for the best passive noise control earbuds on the market today.
The 15 best noise isolating earbuds – the ultimate chart
|1. Shure® SE846-CL Sound Isolating™ Earphones||$$||4.8|
|2. Symphonized NRG Premium Genuine Wood In-Ear Noise-Isolating Headphones||$$||4.6|
|3. MEE Audio M6 PRO In-Ear Monitors||$$||4.6|
|4. SoundMAGIC E10 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Earphones||$$||4.5|
|5. Klipsch Image S4i Premium Noise-Isolating Headset||$$||4.2|
|6. Brainwavz Jive Noise-Isolating In-Ear Monitors||$$||4.1|
|7. GranVela® ATE High Performance In-Ear Noise-Cancelling Earbuds||$$||4.1|
|8. AudioMAX EM-7 Premium Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones||$$||4.0|
|9. Sound Intone® E6 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Sports Headphones||$$||3.9|
|10. Westone® UM Pro 10 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Monitors||$$||3.8|
|11. MEE Audio M9 Classic Hi-Fi Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones||$$||3.8|
|12. MEE Audio Sport-Fi M6 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones||$$||3.8|
|13. Etymotic Research MC5 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Earphones||$$||3.8|
|14. Monoprice 8320 Noise-Isolating Earphones||$$||3.8|
|15. JLab Core Noise-Isolating Earbuds||$$||3.7|
Featuring transparent earbud housings and a pair of different-length detachable audio cords with wire form fit, the SE846-CL from internationally trusted microphone and audio electronics manufacturer Shure® combines high-end sound precision with outstanding low-frequency performance. These sophisticated noise-isolating earbuds come with removable filters that tailor the sound according to your liking. The SE846-CL is equipped with four custom-engineered, balanced-armature drivers and a groundbreaking low-pass filter that delivers an incredibly deep low-end performance akin to that of a true subwoofer. The SE846-CL has a frequency range of 15Hz – 20KHz, and comes with noise-isolating sleeves that block out up to 37dB of ambient noise. Its patent-pending design is both stylish and functional, and the transparent housing provides you with a clear view of the earbuds’ internal precision engineering. But if seeing the inner workings of the SE846-CL doesn’t tickle your fancy, then perhaps a little bit will do you good. Aside from the clear version, the earbuds also come in blue, black, and bronze.Just holding the SE846-CL tells you that the earbuds are absolutely well-made. The sound quality is amazing, and the passive noise control features help create a well-balanced audio profile. You also get two separate audio cords in different lengths—46 inches and 64 inches—both of which are reinforced with durable Kevlar™ material.
This is definitely not your average pair of the best noise isolating earbuds. As amazing as the SE846-CL is in terms of design and sound quality, it isn’t as impressive when it comes to value for money. High-end audio products don’t always have to be expensive; it’s a pity that Shure® didn’t seem to get the memo. The SE846-CL costs a buck under $1000. But it really does sound incredible. So if you have the money, and you know how to take good care of your stuff, the SE846-CL is still worth checking out.
If it’s good value for money you’re looking for, then you’ll want to give the Symphonized NRG Premium In-Ear Headphones some serious consideration. Developed by one of the leading global manufacturers of affordable, high-quality earbuds, the NRG sounds great for an audio product that features a rather intriguing design concept—these earbuds take advantage of the natural acoustic properties of wood.Much like the other products included in the Symphonized brand’s roster, the NRG is made with handcrafted natural wood, which is an acoustic material often used in the design and construction of loudspeakers, amplifiers, and various musical instruments. It delivers a superb audio performance, with a frequency range of 18Hz – 22KHz. It has dynamic, 8mm neodymium drivers and soft silicone ear tips that create a tight but comfortable seal over your ear canal and provides outstanding noise isolation. The earbuds are connected to a 1.2m braided nylon audio cord that terminates with a gold-plated 3.5mm jack, which gives a stronger and more reliable near-lossless connection.The NRG is easily one of the better-performing products in its price range. It costs $25, and delivers virtually the same exceptional sound that other pricier earbuds offer. Noise isolation is good, with the silicone ear tips blocking out ambient noise while simultaneously providing a comfortable fit in your ear that will allow you to keep wearing them over extended periods of time.
While wood does offer natural acoustic enhancements, using it in a product that could often be exposed to sweat and moisture might not be the best design choice ever made. And like most noise-isolating earbuds, the dearth of its low frequency bass sounds can be a real turn-off.
Delivering a professional-grade sound that is counted upon by musicians, recording artists, and audio professionals, the M6 PRO from trusted audio equipment manufacturer MEE Audio combines a world-class audio performance with intelligent product design. It features dynamic 10mm drivers and a frequency range of 20Hz – 20KHz, ensuring that you get the clearest sound possible from a pair of high-quality noise-isolating earbuds. The M6 PRO also has a comfortable in-ear design and soft, silicone tips that significantly reduce ambient noise, allowing for a more natural, evenly balanced sound profile.Like most high-end earphones, the M6 PRO comes with two detachable and interchangeable audio cords. One is the standard 1.3m stereo cable that you can listen to music with, while the other is a fully tricked out headset cable that has a built-in universal volume control, microphone, and remote. It lets you take calls and control media playback without having to take your phone or tablet out of your bag or pocket. The M6 PRO also has an IPX5 water resistance rating, which means you can safely take it with you on your morning runs or whenever you work out at the gym. The best noise isolating earbuds sells for around $50, which is fair considering how well it performs.The M6 PRO offers great value for money. Not only do you get an exceptional audio product for such a reasonable price, you also have peace of mind knowing that the manufacturer has made a lifetime warranty program available for it. Its sound quality is truly impressive, and the detachable audio cords make it more flexible and easier to maintain.
There isn’t much to complain about with the M6 PRO, except maybe for the memory wire, over-the-ear design that does take a little bit of getting used to. Other than that, the M6 PRO makes for a pretty solid pair of the best best noise isolating earbuds.
Offering precise musical detail, a powerful bass, and an all-metal earbud housing construction, the E10 from headphones and audio equipment manufacturer SoundMAGIC is arguably one of the more robust and better-performing noise-isolating products on the consumer electronics market today. It has dynamic 10mm neodymium drivers that allow the E10 to deliver an amazing audio performance, with a frequency range of 15Hz – 22KHz. It has several pairs of silicone tips in different sizes so you can customize how the earbuds fit in your ear. Doing so also creates a tight but comfortable seal that enhances sound quality and prevents ambient noise from ruining your personal listening experience.As good as the E10 performs, it also does a pretty good job in the visual appeal department. These earbuds may look and sound expensive, but at $40, they only cost about half or even just a third of what other similarly spec’d earbuds are asking for. Complementing its all-metal housing design is a 1.2m tangle-resistant audio cord, which terminates in a gold-plated 3.5mm jack that establishes a stronger connection with little to no signal loss. The earbuds are available in different colors—silver, gold, red, and purple—that pair nicely with black to create a beautiful two-tone finish.The metal finish definitely gives the E10 a more high-end look than the plastic models that you see today. The earbud housings have an open design that allows for more natural reverberation, and the resulting sound gives you a much better sense of space.
Sound tends to become a little harsh. especially at high volumes. But generally speaking, the E10 does deliver a pretty solid and well-balanced audio performance.
Offering an outstanding noise-isolating alternative to the stock iOS earbuds, the Image S4i from American loudspeaker company Klipsch Audio Technologies gives you superb sound and comfortable design rolled into one exceptional product. Equipped with dynamic 8.5mm dual-magnet drivers, the Image S4i delivers a superb audio performance at a frequency response of 10Hz – 19KHz. It has an inline mic and remote that offers full control of your iOS devices, letting you play music, adjust the volume, or answer phone calls without having to take your iPhone, iPod, or iPad out of your bag or pocket.The Image S4i provides outstanding noise isolation through its patented oval ear tips. Its intriguing design offers a comfy, flexible fit that effectively seals out ambient noise. It retails for around $80, which is admittedly a bit high for such a small product. But if you consider its superb performance, its headset function, and its bundled accessories that include cleaning tools and a handy carrying case, the Image S4i does seem to be well worth its retail price. Sound quality of the best noise isolating earbuds is exceptional, whether you’re listening to music or talking to someone on your iPhone. The useful extras are a nice bonus too. Klipsch also provides a 2-year warranty for all S4i purchases, so you can rest easy knowing that the brand has great faith in its product.
Compatibility can be an issue, especially if you own an early generation Apple device. The mic and remote will only work on 4th gen or later iPod Nanos, 120GB and 160GB iPod Classics, iPhone 3GS or later, 2nd gen or later iPod Touch, and 3rd gen or later iPod Shuffles. Android users will need to look at the S4A version in order to use all the headset features.
With earbud housings crafted from high-quality metal, and finely tuned dynamic 9mm drivers, the Brainwavz Jive offers high-fidelity sound that is characterized by its accuracy, liveliness, and wide soundstage. From the same audio electronics company that gave you the highly successful Delta line of noise-isolating earphones, the Brainwavz Jive delivers a clear and highly detailed audio performance that even has a mild bass punch. It has a frequency range of 20Hz – 20KHz, and is great for listening to just about any kind of music genre, whether you’re into alternative rock, bluegrass, or even techno.The Brainwavz Jive is able to reproduce sound in such high fidelity thanks to its dynamic drivers and its comfortable noise-isolating ear tips. Right out of the box, you get three pairs of different-sized silicone tips, plus one Comply S-400 medium foam tips. The wide selection of interchangeable tips allows you to customize the way the earbuds fit in your ear, thus providing you with optimal comfort and sound quality. The Brainwavz Jive also has an inline mic and three-button remote that gives you convenient media playback controls and hands-free calling capabilities. The earbuds are connected to a 1.3m copper audio cord that terminates with a 3.5mm gold-plated jack for reliable connectivity. It is available in red, green, and blue, and retails for around $25.The Brainwavz Jive is easily one of the better-sounding noise-isolating budget earbuds in its price range. Not only is the audio quality excellent when listening to music or watching movies, but it is also great when talking to someone via hands-free calling. If you’re a music lover on a budget, buying the Brainwavz Jive is an easy choice to make.
While there are separate versions of the Brainwavz Jive for iOS and Android devices, the remote functions may behave differently—if they work at all—on Motorola devices.
As far as ultra-budget, noise-isolating earbuds go, the ATE from Asian audio electronics manufacturer GranVela® is hard to pass up. It’s patented ergonomic design complements its outstanding sound, making it ideal for listening to music on your iPod or MP3 player, or for watching movies on your tablet or laptop. The ATE delivers high-fidelity audio, offering clear highs and mids as well as deep bass tones that are suited for different music genres such as rock, jazz, and classical music. It has a rated frequency response of 7Hz – 46.2KHz, and weighs next to nothing, tipping the scales at a mere 4 ounces.The ATE comes with a set of different-sized ear tips that are not only comfortable, but functional as well. The soft tips help create a seal over your ear canal, effectively preventing ambient noise from ruining what should be a pleasurable listening experience. The earbuds come in two color variants: translucent black and metallic silver. They are connected to a durable, high-tensile audio cord that terminates in a gold-plated 3.5mm L-type plug that establishes a reliable, near-lossless connection.The ATE performs exceptionally well for a pair of budget earbuds. Its ergonomic design and superb sound quality makes it the ideal accessory for your iOS or Android devices. It also provides good value for money, with the best noise isolating earbuds costing under $14 and the headset version—which has a built-in mic and remote for hands-free calling and media playback—going for a little over $17.
While the over-the-ear design is comfortable, the ATE is not fitted with memory wire that could’ve helped create a more secure fit. In other words, if you’re the sort of athletic Jedi master that listens to music during a lightsaber fight, these are not the earbuds that you are looking for.
Featuring an open-back design that is rarely seen on in-ear models, the EM-7 from audio electronics manufacturer AudioMAX offers outstanding noise isolation and superior sound quality in a stylish but highly affordable product. The EM-7 is equipped with powerful micro-drivers that allow it to render a wide range of frequencies with such high fidelity. It easily handles all the highs and mids, and delivers a respectable low frequency response. The product has two color variants—the red EM-7R and the black EM-7A—and retails for around $15, making it one of the more affordable noise-isolating earbuds in its class.The EM-7 comes with small, medium, and large pairs of lightweight foam tips that create a tight but comfortable fit over your ear canals. You can choose which foam tip best fits your ears, so that you can continue wearing the earbuds even over extended periods of time. The EM-7 is also fitted with a built-in mic and a convenient two-button remote that lets you adjust the volume; answer, reject, and end phone calls; and control media playback. The inline mic and remote is connected to a 1.2m flat audio cord, which is both durable and tangle-resistant. It also has an L-type plug that doesn’t easily get disconnected when you have your phone or MP3 player tucked away inside your pocket.Its affordable price, superior performance, and intelligent design easily make the EM-7 one of the better choices when it comes to budget earbuds. Its noise isolation is excellent, and its flat, tangle-resistant audio cord is definitely one of its best features.
Considering that the EM-7 offers passive noise control, it can be disappointing to know that the volume level isn’t as loud as you might want it to be, even in relatively quiet environments. Also, while its bass response is pretty decent, it could be improved.
With its extraordinary shape, its convenient design, and its impressive audio performance, the E6 from Sound Intone® is an absolute gem of a product. It looks the part too, with each of its earbuds uniquely designed and shaped to resemble crystals or pieces of jewelry. Beneath its unusual appearance, however, is an outstanding audio product that offers optimal comfort and delivers superb sound through effective noise-isolation. Equipped with 10mm drivers, the E6 gives you precise audio at a frequency range of 20Hz – 20khz.The earbuds on the E6 may look hard like cut diamonds, but the silicone tips are as comfortable as the clouds in the sky. You get six sets of soft, noise-isolating ear tips that seal out ambient noise, while also providing you with a more natural and tonally balanced sound. And with its convenient memory wire system, the E6 is virtually guaranteed to stay on whether you’re running a few miles or working out at the gym. It also has an inline mic and three-button remote that lets you adjust the volume, answer or reject phone calls, and control media playback. There is even a nifty little slider just below the mic that allows you to switch compatibility between Android and iOS devices.As great as the E6 is when it comes to performance and feature set, what might convince you to give it a serious look is its price tag. These earbuds retail for a mere $18, making them one of the more affordable noise-isolating earbuds in its category.
Being the budget earbuds that they are, the durability of the E6 can sometimes come into question. Also, the cord can stretch over time, thus exposing the wires and ruining the product.
Trading in a dominant bass presence for the flat response that discerning audiophiles and professional musicians prefer, the UM Pro 10 from premier audio equipment and hearing protection manufacturer Westone® offers a clear, well-defined sound to go with exceptional design, effective noise isolation, and a wealth of useful extras.The UM Pro 10 is equipped with full-range Knowles balanced-armature drivers that deliver a remarkable audio performance, with a frequency response of 20Hz – 16KHz. It’s as close to professional-grade studio headphones as you can get without all that bulky hardware.Available in translucent blue, translucent red, and transparent, the UM Pro 10 looks almost as good as it sounds. It incorporates the Westone® brand’s proprietary True-Fit technology in its design, to ensure that it stays securely in place every time you wear it, no matter how hard you rock.
Armed with an arsenal of different-sized ear tips, the UM Pro 10 is more than capable of giving you the most comfortable, noise-isolating fit possible. It also has a detachable, braided audio cable that ends with a gold-plated 3.5mm jack that improves audio connection and minimizes signal loss.
The impressive sound profile and the myriad of useful freebies—which include ten pairs of star and foam tips, a convenient hard case shell, and a nifty little cleaning tool—should tell you that the UM Pro 10 is definitely not your average pair of in-ear headphones.
The UM Pro 10 costs a little under $150, which is a bit high considering the fact that it does not even have an inline mic and remote. But then again, if you’re after professional-grade audio, and you can look past the lack of headset features, the UM Pro 10 still makes for an excellent choice.
When it comes to getting the best value for your money, there aren’t too many noise-isolating earbuds that can hold a candle to the M9 Classic from up-and-coming audio electronics company MEE Audio. Retailing for less than $10, these earbuds can more than match up feature for feature with other audio products in its price range. Equipped with 9mm moving coil drivers, the M9 Classic delivers an incredible performance, with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20KHz. It may not be the pair of high-end earbuds that you’ve always wanted, but it does the job well thanks to its finely tuned drivers and effective noise isolation.The M9 Classic comes with four pairs of silicone tips—three standard tips and one double-flanged pair—as well as a few other useful extras. The different ear tips allow you to customize the way the earbuds fit in your ear, letting you find the perfect balance between comfort and high-quality audio. Another nice feature is the thick but flexible audio cord, which is considerably more durable than the flimsy cables on the stock earbuds that came with your phone or MP3 player. With its remarkable sound, its robust design, and its handy extras—which include a cable wrap, an airplane adapter, and a zippered carrying case—the M9 Classic is definitely better than what its price tag suggests.These best noise isolating earbuds are so affordable that you can consider buying several pairs of them; one for each of your devices. Sound quality is superb, better than some of its similarly priced competitors. Value for money? The M9 Classic is pretty tough to beat.
The bass is powerful but tends to be muddy at high volume. Also, there’s a fairly noticeable amount of microphonics. But considering the low retail price, these shouldn’t be a real deal-breaker.
The third product from MEE Audio to make it onto this list of the best noise-isolating earbuds on the market today is the Sport-Fi M6. These noise-isolating earbuds offer outstanding sound and an intuitive design that music-loving gym buffs and athletes will appreciate. Fitted with 9mm moving coil drivers, the Sport-Fi M6 pumps out a remarkable audio performance that, with a frequency response of 20Hz – 20KHz, rivals that of other, more expensive noise-isolating earbuds.A predecessor to the highly successful M7P, he Sport-Fi M6 is built with a stainless steel memory wire system that helps keep the earbuds in place while you’re working out at the gym or taking a brisk walk around the block. It comes with six pairs of soft ear tips, which let you find the fit that is most comfortable on your ears. The earbuds are connected to a 1.3m color-matched audio cable that terminates in a highly conductive, 3.5mm right-angle plug. The Sport-Fi M6 also has an IPX5 resistance rating, which means that it can stand up against potential sweat and water damage. It costs well under $20, and is available in black, white, teal, orange, pink, purple, and clear models.The Sport-Fi M6 sounds great for a pair of budget, one of the best noise-isolating sports earbuds. It comes with a number of useful extras such as a handy shirt clip and a color-matched carrying case.
The memory wire hook could use some improvement. Also, the Sport-Fi M6 doesn’t have a mic and inline remote. If you want hands-free calling convenience while you’re on your morning jog, then you’ll want the Sport-Fi M6P. It has the same features as the Sport-Fi M6, with the addition of a headset cable that has a microphone, volume controls, and a multi-purpose button. The Sport-Fi M6P retails for around $5 more than the Sport-Fi M6.
Developed by an audio electronics firm known for producing some of the most accurate noise-isolating headsets and earphones across various cost categories, the MC5 from engineering-driven research, development, and manufacturing company Etymotic Research is nothing short of spectacular. Built with precisely tuned 8mm moving coil neodymium drivers, these earbuds deliver a superb audio performance with a frequency range of 20Hz – 15KHz. Unlike most other products in the Etymotic Research brand’s roster, the MC5 uses well-designed moving coil transducers instead of balanced armature drivers, resulting in a product line that performs just as well for nearly half the manufacturing cost.The MC5 comes with four pairs of soft ear tips—which includes a unique triple-flanged model—that let you dial in the fit that is most comfortable on your ears. The foam tips also create a good seal over your ears, resulting in effective noise isolation that improves midrange performance and bass response. It also has a durable 1.2m Kevlar®-reinforced cable that ends with a gold-plated jack for a more reliable connection. The MC5 retails for around $60, and comes with an assortment of useful extras, such as wax filters, a filter removal tool, and a convenient carrying pouch.If you enjoy the signature Etymotic sound, then the MC5 presents an opportunity to have it at a much lower cost. The included accessories are also great, especially the filter removal tool that helps you keep the earbuds clean, thus making them last longer.
Sound is indeed detailed and accurate, but weak. Even with the volume turned all the way up to the ceiling, the sound still seems a little underwhelming. Nonetheless, the MC5 is still one of the more well-designed products in its class and price range.
Offering amazing audio and a stylishly comfortable, noise-isolating design in product that costs under $10, the 8320 from popular consumer electronics retailer Monoprice definitely deserves a spot on your Christmas wishlist. But it won’t be on there for long because in the time you took to jot it down, you could already be ordering it online or going to the nearest store to buy it. Equipped with huge 14.2mm dynamic drivers, the 8320 delivers a superb audio performance with a frequency range of 20Hz – 20KHz, which is good enough to match or even surpass that of other, more expensive audio products.The 8320 comes with an assortment of different-sized tips for optimal comfort and noise isolation. It has a 1.2m fabric-wrapped audio cord that terminates in a 3.5mm gold-plated audio jack that helps improve connectivity and resists corrosion better than common nickel and tin-plated connectors. It is available in four color variants; white, black, pink, and silver. You can also buy extra ear tips from Monoprice in case you lose them, or if you want more of the specific size that suits you best.Considering its performance against its price, buying multiple pairs of the 8320 is actually a reasonable idea. Not that they break down easily or anything, it’s just that these earbuds sound so good for their price that if and when they eventually break, you’d still want the same sound quality that the 8320 provides. Or you could have one pair of earbuds for each device you own.
Aside from the tangle-prone cable and the slight, but not surprising lack of low frequency oomph, there really isn’t much to complain about with the 8320. It is, hands down, one of the best sub-$10 noise-isolating earbuds on the market today.
Featuring the brand’s innovative Cush Fin™ earbud system, which allows for a near-perfect fit regardless of the size and shape of your ears, the unpretentiously named Core from award-winning consumer audio brand JLab Audio delivers exceptional sound and superior noise isolation rolled into one affordable and intelligently designed product. The Core is built with powerful moving-coil drivers that put out the JLab brand’s signature C3™ sound, thus improving the way you listen to music, watch movies, or talk to people on the phone.Costing less than $20, the Core is undoubtedly one of the most budget-friendly products out there to be fitted with an inline universal mic and one-button remote that lets you answer hands-free calls, without having to take your smartphone out of your pocket. And if the shape of the Cush Fin™ tips doesn’t make you stand out in a crowd, then the different neon colors of each Core variant will. The earbuds come in plain black; neon green and black; neon blue and black; and neon pink and black.For its price, the Core is a pretty solid product that offers reliable headset capabilities. The wealth of accessories—which includes the four pairs of silicone tips and the two pairs of Cush Fin™ tips—are a nice bonus.
While the round audio cord does feel supple, the best noise isolating earbuds has a tendency to get tangled up or frayed. Still, if you are looking for a product that sounds good for less than a fifth of what high-end, branded headsets cost, the JLab Core makes for a pretty good choice.