Earbud recommendations?
April 18, 2016 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Straightforward question: I need new earbuds. Snowflake details inside.

For a while, I had the stock earbuds that came with my HTC One M8, which I loved very much until they died. Then, after doing some research without really knowing what I want and don't want out of earbuds, I bought a pair of these Symphonized earbuds, and I don't love them at all. So, now I'm in the market for new earbuds. Here's what I'm looking for:

1. Tangle-free cord. This is my #1 pet peeve with the Symphonized earbuds - they have cloth-wrapped cords that are super-easily tangled.
2. Cord of decent length. I actually like that the Symphonized earbuds have a 48 inch cord, and would love something similar or just a bit shorter
3. Sound that is not bass-heavy. I know I can EQ that, but I also don't like to mess with EQ settings all that much if I don't need to.
4. In-line mic/controller button(s). These earbuds are going to be almost exclusively used with my (android, if it matters) phone.
5. At or around $50. Less would be better.

That's basically it. Anybody got any favorites that meet these criteria?
posted by pdb to Shopping (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The best way to avoid cord tangling problems is to eliminate the cord. If Bluetooth is an option, look at the LG Tone series. Tone Pro is near your price online, or about $80 at Best Buy and its ilk. They have several different models at lower and higher price points.

I used to use a Plantronics (Voyager 855, IIRC) headset that was around $40 on Amazon, but they stopped making it years ago, so any old stock you find will have terrible battery life.
posted by wierdo at 1:33 PM on April 18, 2016

Sound Magic earbuds
posted by KateViolet at 1:34 PM on April 18, 2016

Response by poster: Not to threadsit, wierdo, but I'm not looking for bluetooth - in most of my tech, I want to minimize potential points of failure, and a corded headset is the way I do that in this instance.
posted by pdb at 1:45 PM on April 18, 2016

I liked my RHA earbuds; the cords are wrapped in aluminum. (The only reason I don't have them anymore is that I dropped them one day on the subway.) The cord was also suuuuper long. They're a bit above your price range -- I think I paid around $100 -- but I figured I'd throw it out there.
posted by holborne at 1:47 PM on April 18, 2016

For corded earphones, I'd look for ones that have heavier, flatter cords. I have a pair from Sol Republic and the cord design does seem to help reduce tangling, though you still have to be a little careful.

I can't say much about the sound quality of these earphones in particular. They are the "beater" pair that I buy fully expecting to have to replace within a few years, usually because of cord issues. They're still kicking after 2+ years.
posted by AndrewInDC at 1:47 PM on April 18, 2016

They're more than you want to spend, but Sennheiser Momentum in-ears sound great and meet your other requirements.

As usual, The Wirecutter also has some good possibilities.
posted by box at 1:54 PM on April 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

For good basic buds, I've had good luck with Sennheiser (they make some in your price point) and Sony. My main earbuds with mic/control button are currently a pair of Sony buds I bought at Best Buy. Probably paid $35-45 for them.

Cord is nothing special, but they don't seem too prone to tangling or kinking up with due care.

This looks pretty similar:


posted by randomkeystrike at 2:05 PM on April 18, 2016

I really like the Xiaomi Piston 3 Earphones. Only $20 and have inline controls.
posted by the biscuit man at 2:07 PM on April 18, 2016

I have Urbanears Kransens. I believe they satisfy your requirements for $39. They sport a neat "cable loop" that lets you quickly loop 'em up into a little bundle. Great design.
posted by /\/\/\/ at 2:50 PM on April 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I like the Sol Republics too, but they get tangled with my other cords and earbuds.

However, this hack has kept everything straight in my messenger bag.
posted by elmay at 6:39 PM on April 18, 2016

I love my Audiofly 45Ms. They have a wrapped cord that even my workbag hasn't managed to tangle up, and the sound is great.
(I use the Devil's Horns wrap on cheaper earbuds too - works brilliantly).
posted by liss at 4:48 AM on April 19, 2016

The Wirecutter has pretty exhaustive research on what you are looking for. My wife has the Panasonics listed in the article, and I've got the Brainwavz Delta. The latter has the same type of cord material found on Macbook Pro power cords, which I find a little weird, but is specifically and effectively designed to not tangle.

The most important thing for me being happy with a pair of earbuds is that they must have comply foam tips. The Brainwavz listed above come with a pair, otherwise they can be had for about $15/3 pair. Highly, highly recommended.
posted by mcstayinskool at 5:28 AM on April 19, 2016

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