Budget wired earphones comparison

10 October 2021
We test some of the most popular entry-level wired earbuds under $30.

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I pick Oraimo Atom any day anytime

I don't get the impression that decent "Chi-Fi" is cheap. Cheaper than A&K perhaps but...
Take Moondrop for example, a relatively new brand that's gained some status, their flagship was once ~$200, now it's...$1000, IIRC, if not more. It's incredibly costly both in terms of time and money to try to sample even a handful of apparently comparable earphone models, let alone pair them with different cable, and when it comes to audio, nothing substitutes for sampling with your own ears.

  • sorin

For traveling/work i use the Pioneer SE-CH3T earphone, which is suprisingly decent.
For music/gaming i use the Takstar HD2000, it's more balanced than the Creative Aurvana Live, although not as detailed.

  • Truther

A majority of portable audio users are using wired. TWS is just a fad~

  • diablo2424

I LOVE my Meeelectronics M9 headphones, they cost ~$10 USD and sound amazing for the price, and have a high quality coating over the braided cable!

  • No jack no buy

I am sure majority of y'all wants headphone jack on the phone, but majority of you use TWS.
LMAO!!!!

KZ's cables are garbage, and the rigid injection-molded plastic bits will make sure that the wires break in a couple months. Use some soft heatshrink or silicone as a reinforcement while looking for a proper replacement cable that is durable.

And yes the white noise is annoying but you'll learn to tune it out.

If you can afford it, get a Moondrop Starfield instead.

Pier Paolo Pasolini, 10 Oct 2021Idk lol... Maybe if you listen to music while sitting compl... moreGood luck replacing the battery of your earphones when they fail, and I hope for your sake that the Lithium battery doesn't catch fire.

  • XefoxMusic

A mistake not to mention RevoNext

  • WooflezWoofy

The zsn pro x aren't one to go for,the moondrop quarks, tanchjim hana and tanya are ones more suitable for comparison, with the sony wh-750 being a good option sometimes if you can find an original pair
Higher up you either head to the blon bl03 and swap the cable
you buy tin t2 at 50$ or gun it straight to 100$ with the er2se/er2xr since the moondrop aria don't perform that well compared to the etymotic er2

for dacs the apple dongle and meizu dongle for europe are the best value options so far it seems
meizu dongle for the eu since apple ones are limited in power

  • Anonymous

They all look very ugly. Even my very cheap Remax wired earphones look cool.

I tried kz zsn pro with PlayStation 4 and switch, it's really good, the dynamic driver and v shaped signature emphasise excitement and va va voom, so far not shrieking treble as well, really good iems for gaming

  • Satwik

The BLONs are not comfortable at all, for me atleast. I do not know how you came to that conclusion, probably did not wear it for a long stretch

I have just purchased kz zsn pro, very impressive for the money, definitely awesome value and best aspect, great sound quality at bargain prices, obviously it has it's limitations when compared to my astell and kern Michelle limited (that sounds so awesome), but hey at USD 20/hkd160, that's very impressive for the money, if you care about sound quality get them and you might find your audio heaven, I am using sony NW-zx300 high resolution audio player, but these iems is really for PlayStation 4 usage.

Machiavelli, 10 Oct 2021You are missing the point here. These are sub-50, even sub-... moreMy criteria is sound quality and then preferably product quality. Advices are upon what I consider deacent, I don't make the gear nor determine prices.
Wouldn't pay for hedaphones more than 150€ (for instance AKG K702), bogat an power amplifier/net streamer (N402D Yamaha) for 300€ couple months ago. I don't use EMI's for a discomfort, instead I use open earbuds.

  • Eh

Qimchi, 11 Oct 2021You missed out on the CoolerMaster MH752 a.k.a Takstar Pro8... moreZ reviews isn’t the one to go for reviews. Ha blabbers most of the time without critical analysis. If you’re to watch youtube reviews, watch Resolve’s reviews from headphoneshow, metal571, crinacle, dms, max settings, precogvision from headphoneshow for iems.

I was talking about open backs.

  • Eh

kevinmcmurtrie, 11 Oct 2021The 1MORE Tripple Driver are my current favorites. They�... moreHave you tried iems like Moondrop Starfield, aria, Kxxs, Tanchjim hana, oxygen, Thieaudio legacy 4, fiio fh1s, fd3, etymotic er2xr, er2se. If you haven’t tried one of these, it would be indecent of you to say there’s scarcity of good iems within $270.
And 1more is more bass forward consumer centric earphones. You may wanna try one of these before commenting.

The 1MORE Tripple Driver are my current favorites. They're a little attenuated above midrange but nothing that a slight amount of EQ can't fix. More importantly, they cover the full range without any noticeable nulls, resonance, or dulling reverb that would make long-term listening tiring. They're borderline budget at $70 but they sound better than many big-name earbuds costing $150 to $250. The only defect is that their dust screen may come loose or soak up oils. Carefully clean it periodically.

skimbleshanks, 10 Oct 2021these are better than Bluetooth earbuds if you dont care ab... moreSome do care about wires. The KZ AZ09 and the TRN BT3s are nice accessories.

Pier Paolo Pasolini, 10 Oct 2021Idk lol... Maybe if you listen to music while sitting compl... moreYou do realize that the KZ/CCA and Blon included in this comparison have detachable wires? There's also something called the KZ AZ09 which makes them True Wireless or the TRN BT3s which also makes them wireless. With that if the cable breaks you just buy another cable or bluetooth module and still get the same sound you might like out of these IEMs. It's not hard. It's not even $100 or more. The IEMs themselves are also durable. I sleep with them on sometimes and dropped them a few times. No problem. For reference I have the KZ ZAX.