You have a few good sounding options for great earbuds under $50. These in-ear headphones, which I’d like to feature in this article, will provide noise canceling to isolate the outside world. But they have to keep a great beat, as well. We may not be audiophiles, but we do like tight, accurate bass and clear treble!
Although these in-ear headphones may be less than 50 dollars, you will see the top name brands like Klipsch and Etymotic Research in this list. To me, these manufacturers produce great audio equipment and use trickle-down technology to improve their low cost electronics. Big-name brands such as Sony and JVC do this, too, but I don’t think their units have the quality and clarity of audiophile headsets.
Klipsch IMAGE S4 review
For the price, the Klipsch S4 earbuds are one of the best buys on the market today. Sure, there are more expensive headphones out there. But as an overall package, looking at comfort, sound quality, and durability, these are great earbuds under $50.
Like all good audiophile ‘phones, these in-ear headphones will need time to break in and burn in. The Klipsch Image S4 burn in and break in period lasts for about 60 to 80 hours before you begin to hear the full dynamic frequency range of these monitors.
During that time, you should break in your headphones by playing music through them continuously at 25 percent to 50 percent above normal listening volume. Keep in mind you won’t be listening to them during this time.
The Klipsch Image S4 build quality is top notch and rugged, capable of providing you a high fidelity listening experience while running or jogging. Although the cable wire is thin, it is very sturdy and just the right length — not too long and not too short.
The bass is full, not tinny, and the sound is balanced. You will be able to hear instrument sounds that you may not have heard before. It is these nuances, like the pluck of a bass guitar string or a singer’s breath in between vocals, that make these good earbuds for the money. This musical accuracy makes them great to listen to.
If you have never had in-ear headphones, you might not be attuned to sticking something in your ears. But fear not: The Klipsch S4 has soft, flexible eargels that fit well and come in two different sizes. This allows you to get a good comfortable seal and enjoy noise isolation.
Etymotic Research MC5 review
Etymotic Research has roots in acoustic research and hearing aids, so they know about constructing high quality sounding in-ear electronics. Their earbuds are no different.
The Etymotic Research MC5 has a dynamic high frequency response range and features high noise isolation — 32 decibels to 42 decibels. This type of isolation is really good for going to the gym, where the overhead music may be blaring. You won’t even hear that loud music because these have the same kind of sound isolation and protection as earplugs.
But you will hear every detail, with musical accuracy, in the music you listen to when using these earbuds. You will have to break them in before the crystal clear highs sing and accurate bass doesn’t sound thin. This takes about 50 hours, but then you will be rewarded with great sounding earbuds.
Comfort is built in to these in-ear earphones. Etymotic Research offers at least 5 different eartips to ensure you will get the best fit and will have good comfort with these great earbuds under $50. Although the cord is thin, it is Kevlar reinforced to be durable.
Best earbuds for the money
For me, the Klipsch IMAGE S4 and the Etymotic Research MC5 in-ear headphones playback high fidelity sounds at a good price. I think both are musically accurate, durable and comfortable. In short, they are great earbuds under $50.
Photo by Rob Ellis’ via Flickr | CC BY 2.0