Earbuds are among the most popular devices for listening to music not just because they tend to provide amazing sound quality, but because they are also one of the best choices if you want to mute all other sounds that may surround you. While normal headphones are also capable of performing the latter action, the models that excel often cost over a few hundred dollars, and not many people are willing to spend that much money on an audiophile pair of headphones.
The good news is that earbuds with a much lower price tag can achieve the same result. However, this certainly does not mean that cheap earbuds are a good option – there are many inconveniences that you might face if you end up making the wrong choice when you opt to purchase a pair of in-ear headphones.
Pick the Right Kind of Earbuds
Even you have not owned a pair until now, you have probably seen hundreds of pairs worn by friends, colleagues and random people. You must have noticed that there are two primary types of earbuds when it comes to design – a flatter version that fits in the peripheral of the ear cavity, and a longer one that gets stuffed in the ear canal.
The latter usually provides better sound insulation (since it kind of doubles as an earplug) and deeper bass, but you should keep in mind that wearing these models for longer might sometimes cause slight discomfort. Don’t forget that this is not the same for all people, so it is up to you to try and see which kind works best for you. This way you can choose the best wired or wireless earbuds for you.
An important thing to mention is that great sound insulation is not always a good thing and it might, in fact, be dangerous. Listening to music or a podcast while cycling might be convenient and make your trip more entertaining, but you should still be able to hear your surroundings in order to stay safe.
The in-ear headphones that get into the ear canal are also more stable, so they are often the preferred choice for people who tend to listen to music when they exercise, since it is much less likely that the earbuds will slip out. Making the wrong pick here might result in poor sound insulation (depending on the environment in which you plan to use them), discomfort, and needing to constantly reseat the earbuds to make sure they stay in place.
Physical Qualities to Lookout For
Although in-ear headphones might seem like a simple piece of tech, there are some differences which you should take into consideration when you make your choice:
- Cable material and type – if you plan on using the earbuds in the office, then you probably do not need an extra strengthened, Kevlar-made cable. However, you would certainly prefer investing in the latter if you plan on wearing the earbuds during exercising sessions, hiking trips, and other activities where there is a chance that the cable will be put to the test. Models with a thicker cable made from a more reliable material are usually pricier, but you can rest assured that the difference in the price will be completely worth it. A small but important details is flat cable design – this type of cable is incredibly difficult to tangle, so you won’t need to spend five minutes untangling your earbuds whenever you pull them out of your pocket.
- Volume control and microphone – having physical volume control buttons on the cable is preferred by many people since it is much convenient than having to use your phone every time you want to regulate the volume. As for the microphone, you might want to look for a model with an integrated mic in case you want your earbuds to also double as a hands-free device.
- Cable or wireless – Bluetooth earbuds can make your life a lot easier, but you should keep in mind that your audiophile needs might not be met if you opt to go with wireless in-ear headphones. While this technology has advanced a lot in recent years, the quality of the signal transmitted over a cable can’t be compared to the one transferred over Bluetooth. If sound quality is more important than comfort for you, then definitely stay away from wireless earbuds.
Be Prepared to Order Additional Pairs of Earbud Tips
Both low-end and high-end in-ear headphones usually arrive packed with a few sets of earbud tips that are easy to replace. This is meant to make your experience more comfortable by ensuring that you will wear tips that best fit your ear. However, do keep in mind that even if these earbud tips don’t fit, there are plenty of online retailers that sell high-quality earbud tips which you should look into.
These tips are almost exclusively made of silicone, but you should keep in mind that some of them might be softer while others will be sturdier (thicker silicone) – find out which fit your ears and needs best in order to avoid future inconveniences.
Final Words of Advice
At the end of the day, your purchase might be entirely dependent on your budget. There are high-end earbud models that cost thousands of dollars but you are unlikely to appreciate what they have to offer unless you an audiophile equipped with the right gear to get the most out of this pricey purchase.
Mid-tier models are usually what you should be aiming at since they can provide you with amazing sound & build quality at a fairly decent price. Just don’t forget to “keep the hints mentioned above in mind” since they might just help you make the right purchase for your needs.