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January 31, 2011 5:58 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a durable in-ear iPhone headset with reasonable passive noise cancelling and decent sound. Any recommendations?

My 2G finally died a few months ago, and I lost the Ultimate Ears headset I had last week. Now that work has given me a 3G, and I don't have to worry about the sunken jack on the old phone, what headset should I buy?
I use it for listening to podcasts and music for about three hours a day on British public transit, so some kind of noise isolating tip on the earbuds is a must. I probably spend a couple hours a day on conference calls as well, so a good mic is a must too.
I don't mind the Ultimate Ears stuff, but I've had five or six of their headsets die on me in the last three years, and I'd like to find something that'll stay functional for more than a few months.
posted by Kreiger to Technology (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: For all my listening needs I head on over to Head Room. I can't speak towards mics, or if any are on the site, but their research into the different options of headphones/ear-speakers/ear-buds is fantastic
posted by zombieApoc at 6:21 AM on January 31, 2011

Best answer: I love my Etymotics. They have the best noise isolating of all the ear-buds/in-ear monitors I've ever tried. I have the h2fs.

You might want to also check out HeadRoom. They have some pretty decent reviews as well.
posted by Radiator at 6:22 AM on January 31, 2011

I have a pair of Klipsch Image S2m earbuds. I use them with an Android phone but they are supposed to be iPhone compatible as well (with inline mic/button like the Apple earbuds have). The sound quality is great and I'm very happy with them.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 6:38 AM on January 31, 2011

I have had Ultimate Ears die on me as well. They had great sound, but were never super comfortable and then one of the phones died. It's probably the wire which is replaceable so I haven't ditched them yet but I am so happy with the Etymotics that I may never replace the UE wire. I think I have the ER-4 type. They don't come with a mike but you can get a mike adapter which will transform any of your favorite stereo phones into a set of stereo phones with a mike for phone use.
posted by caddis at 7:11 AM on January 31, 2011

I was going to post a very similar question today and want to tag along with one extra sub-question: Apple's headphones seem to be very sensitive to static, and in the winter here in Minnesota that is a constant problem. Anyone who has experience with these models, and I'm interested in the Etymotics and the Klipsch specifically: are these as easily susceptible to static problems?
posted by norm at 7:45 AM on January 31, 2011

I haven't noticed any problems with static in my Klipsch earbuds, here in New Mexico (dry, frequently static-y climate). Specifically what kind of problem have you had, norm?

I should've mentioned in my other post, these earbuds slide much deeper into the ear than Apple's model. Even so, I find them much more comfortable. I could see how the depth could be a concern for some folks though. Also the button isn't as satisfyingly clicky as Apple's, and the clickable area is only a portion of the surface of the button bump thing (on Apple earbuds, you can easily click the whole thing; on these you have to find the button, but it is marked with a little nub like the J and F keys on your computer keyboard).
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:03 AM on January 31, 2011

Whatever you do, don't buy Maximo. I just had my pair of in-ear headphones RMA'ed for the third time in two years, exactly the same issue every time (wires to one earbud stop working).
posted by Gortuk at 8:04 AM on January 31, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, caddis, it was always one of the phones that died on the UEs. On two of the sets I'd lose about half of the volume in both phones intermittently, too. It was definitely a wire/connection issue, but my skills with a soldering iron are pretty poor these days, and I wound up throwing them away rather than attempting repairs.

I've ordered the Etymotic MC3s on the strength of the MC5s appearing in HeadRoom's Top 10. Thanks for the link zombieApoc and Radiator.
posted by Kreiger at 8:14 AM on January 31, 2011

I've been using Westone's for years and have never had any quality issues. I've had two pairs, the UM2's and the UM3x's, and the only reason I replaced the 2's is because I wanted to upgrade. My daughter is still using them roughly 10 years after I purchased them. They now offer a miked version -- I don't know anything about them, but I'm sure there are pleanty of reviews over at Head-Fi's forums.
posted by rtimmel at 8:17 AM on January 31, 2011

When wearing the Apple earbuds with static-y clothes, they get a lot of static fuzz in the sound. I've noticed that the entire cord will be pulled towards-- and stick to-- clothes when it gets like this. I've used Static Guard but the effect very quickly fades, and it's an annoying problem. My next earbuds would-- if possible-- have some kind of static resistance built into the cord or plug.
posted by norm at 8:57 AM on January 31, 2011

You could try "a-jays four" which come with a remote for about £50. I've had the older versions and have liked them simply because I have very small ear canals.

I've no doubt that the Etymotics are great, but they're over £100 and, like the Shure headphones, may not be best suited to everyone's ears (like mine, they're too painful).
posted by mr_silver at 10:59 AM on January 31, 2011

Check out the Head-Fi Forums. I personally like my Phonak Audéos (regular version in white here, "perfect bass" version here; the "perfect bass" is apparently basically the same earphone, but with a different sound from different filters, and fewer accessories in the box).
posted by klausness at 3:01 AM on February 1, 2011

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