When it comes to audio quality, most headphones that come bundled with smartphones aren't any good. Some smartphones don’t even include a pair of headphones at all, which means you will end up buying third party headphones anyway. In India, the most popular earphones are the in-ear kind, otherwise known as IEM (In-Ear Monitors). Available in different audio signatures and at different price points, the IEM market in India offers a plethora of options for audiophiles and casual listeners alike. Here are the best IEM options available today for under Rs 1500.
These are clearly a pair of earphones much loved by those looking for in-ears on a budget. They are also good all-rounders and deliver good mids, decent lows and workable highs although the mids are the standout factor here. One issue we’ve come across with these Earphones the fit of these earphones. However, you can always change the buds given in the box.
These earphones perform surprisingly well for how little they cost. These earphones are powered by two 8.5 mm drivers and boast of a frequency response of 20 - 25,000 Hz. They sport a long 1.2 metre cable and are available in a whole bunch of attractive colours including black, white, lime green, blue, orange, red, purple and pink. While the CLR100s don’t perform as well as premium earphones, they are good all-rounders and especially for pop/dance music.
Here are a pair of unique looking earphones from Tekfusion, a company based out of Bangalore. Like the first Ecoofers, this second edition of these earphones also feature a wooden (bamboo) housing. They look quite good and you could pass these off as premium products.
Sennheiser is known for making great audio hardware for both purists and casual listeners. The CX 180 Street IIs may fall in the budget segment but these earphones impress primarily because of the great clarity with which they’re able to output music. Also a bonus? The decent passive noise cancellation these buds are able to deliver. The Sennheiser CX 180 Street IIs have a frequency response of 20 - 20,000 Hz and a 1.2 metre long cable.
The 1More Piston Fit are one of the more popular pair of IEMs out there and have a decent performance as well. These have been designed well and are meant for you if ergonomics and build quality lie high on your list of priorities (along with an affordable price-tag, of course). The 1More Piston Classic boast of a frequency response of 20 - 20,000 Hz, passive noise isolation and an in-line mic.
You would have crossed these headphones a million times in your nearest techmart without giving a second glance, but try giving the frail-looking RP-TCM125 a chance, and they won’t disappoint. They are among the most comfortable IEMs of the lot, and offer decent audio performance.
The Brainwavz Omega are incredibly sharp, and have ample bass about their sound. They’re also quite decent in terms of looks, and is surprisingly clear in terms of audio delivery. For a pair of budget IEMs, the Brainwavz Omega delivers a lot more than what you would expect for Rs. 999.
There’s a reason why the Creative EP-660s are one of the most popular earphones in the market today and it has everything to do with the balanced performance they deliver for a smart price. The EP-660s are especially good for fans of rock music, fans who are on a budget, because of the decent mids and highs they’re able to output. The EP-660s are powered by twin 9mm drivers and have a frequency response of 6 - 23,000 Hz.
If you take a quick poll of your friends, chances are you’ll find someone who swears by the SoundMagic E10C. The E10Cs are well known for their great sound output that extends to both mids and highs and not just the low-end. Plus, the earphones are also very well made and can deal with some rough treatment. The SoundMagic E10s are powered by twin 10mm drivers and have a frequency response of 18 - 22,000 Hz. They also sport a 1.2 metre long cable.
The Sony MDR-XB55 are designed for people who like an extra punchy bass. The XB55 is comfortable to wear and offer decent audio quality including warm mids apart from the warm mids.
House of Marley is a well-known brand for music lovers and the Smile Jamaica headphone offer a unique design combined with good audio. It is also one of the few headphones to feature a wooden housing.
The Skullcandy Smokin Buds 2 is designed for people who like to be noticed. No wonder they’re available in different colours and have that iconic skull logo everywhere. Even the ear tips have the logo imprinted on them. As far as audio quality goes, they are quite good and are focused towards bass lovers.