Genius HP-02 Live
We weren’t expecting much from another set of earphones that costs ten quid, but we have to admit that we were pleasantly surprised by the HP-02. The noise-isolation isn’t great – more like noise-muffling, really – but the sound the earphones produce is clear and full. There’s no shrillness on the higher frequencies, even with the volume turned up nice and high, and the bass is more solid than we’d expected from such a cheap set of ‘phones. We also liked the tear-drop shape of the earpieces, which allows them to sit comfortably in the ear without having to jam them in too hard. There may be more expensive models that produce better sound quality, but the Genius HP-02 is as good as you’ll get for a tenner.
Like Apple’s In-Ear Headphones, Etymotic’s hf2 is a complete headset that consists of earphones, microphone and remote control so that you can use it to take calls on a mobile ‘phone as well as just listening to music. The audio quality and sound-isolating features are very good – as they should be at this price – although the ‘flanged’ earpieces provided with the hf2 need to be jammed pretty firmly into your ears and weren’t terribly comfortable. The advice to "moisten" them before insertion didn’t exactly thrill us either. Fortunately, Etymotic also include a set of soft foam earpieces that fitted us better. Our only complaint is that they still seem a little pricey compared to rivals such as the S-Jays.
Reg Rating 80%
Suggested Price £100
More Info Etymotic's hf2 page
Next page: Shure SE310
+1 for koss plugs
Cheap as chips, and don't sound bad, but the falling out is a bit of a pain. Also I am prone to wax buildup and these end up looking moderately unpleasant. I also like the CX200s (as my phone has a 2.5mm jack). Am buying some CX300s right this second to try 'em out. £14 seems like you can't go too far wrong.
But no one has followed up on someone's point above about rustling noise from cords. On my CX200s, if they rub against my zip, it's very loud.
Another one to check out
What about Koss Plugs?
My review would be: Less than £15 and incredible bass and they come with a lifetime warranty. You need to work out how to insert them properly. As soon as you do, you get the booming bass and you understand why they're good.
Negative: They fall out quite easily.
A few times I've sent them off to the UK distributor (Hama), included three or four quid, and I've got a shiny new pair back in the post. Sweet!
Anyone that spends over £50 for a pair of earphones is either very very rich, or very very idiotic.
And on a related note, very few people care how good Shure SE310s are, £170 is not affordable for a sodding pair of earphones!
Really worth spending more than £50? CX300 suit me!
Most people listen to ropey compressed MP3s through less than perfect systems like iPods and cheaper kit, so most people would be hard pushed to notice anything good after about the £50 mark. I listen to a lot of MP3 metal, a lot of old live bootleg stuff so I tend to stick to CX300s, the music source quality is dodgy at it's best anyway! Unless you are lucky enough to carry your CDs or own a very, very good FLAC player, don't bother!
CX300s are dirt cheap and reasonable quality, have scoot around eBay or Amazon new/used section, usually get a new pair for about a tenner plus postage.
On your recommendation I bought the Verbatim headphones a couple of days ago - but seriously guys, they are just dreadful!
No treble and much too much bass, almost to the point of being muffled. For the first time ever I had to use the equalizer on my machine in order to get decent sound. Did any of you try these headphones with classical music?
@ James Halliday and anybody on the fence
"I killed my Shures (2 and 4s) on a regular basis by damaging the cable"
Surely you're joking!
I've had Shure e2's for about 2 years now, same pair and they're still pumping away nicely!
I'm very surprised by your comment that the cord breaks because they use such a thick quality cord that i am confident I could strangle someone with them and not have to worry about breakage.
For any of you still on the fence and looking for a pair of in-ear canal-phones, Shures are the way to go.
They were making canal-phones for musicians and live music engineers before anyone knew what a "noise-isolating headphone" was. They are Personal "Studio Monitors" and were made for Musicians!
a) For hearing the subtleties of the music at a very LOUD live concert
b) For hearing instructions and communications at a very LOUD live concert
c) For protecting their most valuable asset (their ears) at a ........
d) For hearing the adjusted levels of your bandmates' riffs while standing next to a very LOUD acoustic drumset which can almost deafen you even without amplification.
So before most of these other manufacturers even existed, Shure was making professional studio audio equipment including the noise-isolating headphones.
I use the Shure e2 which i bought 2 years ago for $100 USD.
But if price is no limitation, there are the E5's which have TWO drivers in each ear-bud and you can go to an ear-doctor to get a mold made of your ear-canal and a silicone plug will be made unique to your ears!!! imagine having a 2-way speaker in your ear.......
oh if I only had the $$$$