Best in the Ear Headphones Guide
1. Bose FreeStyle
Bose has been in the audio community since the late 1960s and has earned a rightful reputation for quality sound performance and, more importantly, its visual approach to product design. Bose recently released the FreeStyle, a pair of earphones with quality performance as well as youthful and colorful design. The FreeStyle is Bose’s successor to their already existing IE2, SIE2i, and MIE2i in-ear headphones and so existing Bose users should be familiar with many of its features. Although not built from a scratch as a whole new product, it is not simply a rebrand but comes with a number of design improvements – Give the dog a bone!
2. Shure SE425
Shure has been successfully releasing impressive quality headphones to the audiophile community for 15 years and now for on-the-move people who are constantly searching for high-quality sound performance from their in-earphones, there cannot be a more accommodating piece of kit than the Shure SE425 which delivers a combination of replaceable parts and exceptional noise isolation with sonic detail to die for. Woof! Woof!
The SE425 is Shure’s latest dual-driver offering in the mid-range market. Like the other models, the SE425s share a lot of functional similarities with previous Shure headphones. What are the significant design modifications and developments that make the SE425 really stand out from its predecessors? Firstly, no more bulbous teardrop-shaped earpieces.
3. RHA T10i
After the initial success of their RHA M450i, Scottish headphone manufacturer RHA have now released the RHA T10i. These uniquely designed in-earphones are a well-crafted and great-sounding product, engineered to reproduce and respond to all music genres with a high level of accuracy and fidelity, a great step up for those who are using iPhone earphones.
The first thing to note about the RHA T10i design is its metal construction. The injection-moulded, stainless-steel shells not only look intricate and delicate but provide an ultimately sleek and expensive appearance.
4. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear
Sennheiser Momentum In-earphones are available in two versions so both iPhone iOS users and Android users alike can enjoy the sleek, elegant design and high-quality sound provided which is simply, universally, tail-waggingly good! In keeping with their previous Momentum headphone models, Sennheiser delivers well on performance and the red/chrome or black/chrome makes a reappearance in the Momentum in-earphones.
The stylish, active design features incorporated in the red and black detailing include subtle metallic shading and a glossy texture giving it both a sporty and sophisticated look.
5. Sony XBA-H1
Sony continue to bring out quality in-ear headphones in the face of quite severe and controversial criticism from some members of the audiophile community. Woof! Woof! Good for Sony we say because, if you’re seeking a great listening experience at a good price then the Sony XBA-H1 is perfect for your needs – it’s a triumph of simple and straightforward production with all the hallmarks of Sony’s no-frills approach.
Well built throughout, the XBA-H1 in-ear headphones are lightweight and feature shiny, metallic-colorer plastic buds that have the Sony brand name on. On the underside, color coding indicates left ear/right ear. For any anarchists out there, you’ll be delighted with the flat cabling which is red on one side and black on the other.
6. Etymotic HF5
Reputedly the best noise isolation in-ear-monitors (IEMs) on the planet – woof! woof! The Etymotic hf5 may seem a bit small on kit content but scores big on delivery. Etymonic, who established themselves first as manufacturers of top-range hearing monitors and ear protection, have brought their skills and audio-engineering know-how to this is no-quarter asked, no-quarter given, high-performance product that should really get your tail wagging. The custom-built Accu•Driver™ balanced armature drivers deliver fantastic sound through the IEMs that fit comfortably into your ear canal.
7. Klipsch R6i
The Klipsch R6i in-ear monitors are unbeatable all-rounders, straightforward and efficient. They are available in an un-fancy finish of either black or white with the Klipsch brand name featured on the outer side in black on an aluminium trim which actually makes insertion to the left/right ears automatically simple. In the case provided, you get a 48 inch, flat, tangle-resistant cable with an inline mic and controls built in, finishing in a 3.5 mm braided nylon gold-plated jack. You also get a clothing clip; and four different-sized ear tips to help customise your perfect fit.
8. Beyerdynamic iDX 160 iE
Light, practical and sleek, the Beyerdynamic iDX 160 iE is a welcome addition to the in-ear headphone market. These headphones are the dogs bollocks! With their solid appearance, it’s no surprise that they are really well built – but we didn’t expect such sophistication in design. Seriously, the glossy black that is becoming Beyerdynamic’s hallmark is what sets these apart from the competition.
9. Bowers and Wilkins C5 S2
Bowers and Wilkins have a deservedly high reputation for delivering a full-panoply of audio clarity and rich bass to their range of headphones. The design build with their C5 S2 in-ear phones with its unique adjustable Secure Loop is intended for listeners who want an immersive experience delivered to their ears safely whether sitting stationary or on the move exercising. The in-cable control buttons allow the iPhone user to switch easily from making/receiving calls to selecting/listening to the track but if you’ve got an Android you won’t be able to do this.
10. Polk Nue Voe
Polk Audio have been making quality speakers since 1972 and now – give the dog a bone – like other major audio manufacturers, they have ventured into the headphone market. Nue Voe is the latest release of Polk’s Heritage collection, distinguished by the sophisticated, good-looking and stylish design from their Nue Era range but with added extra and unique audio features.
Obviously headphones hunting doesn’t usually begin with looks and it has to be said right away that, true to their reputation, Polk haven’t focused on image alone with the Nue Voe, but also on build quality.