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Great Sound at a Great Price: Amazing Budget Earphones

Sick of cheap earphones? Nowadays your newest smart phone most likely comes packaged with a pair. iPhones come with a pair of the ubiquitous white earphones. Windows phones come with a pair of black ones that actually fit quite snug compared to the iPhone ones and even come with a few choices of ear bud tips. However, don’t expect anything amazing with these free earphones; yes they get the job done but if you appreciate a better quality sound or fit, you’re going to have to fork over a few extra dollars for a decent pair.

The Apple earphones sit slightly inside the ear but do not provide any cushioning or noise isolation. [Photo Credit CNET]
Windows Buds
The Windows earphones provide some decent noise isolation but fell apart after about a year of use.

Although I love music, I was never a stickler for sound quality. I remember using the crappy over ear headphones that came with my old Walkman until the foam covers disintegrated and the plastic band snapped in half. My old apple earphones that came with the first version iPod nano also played countless hours of music until they too fell apart. Then one day I went to Best Buy with a friend and he purchased a pair of Shure e2c sound isolating earphones. I still remember sitting in his car, popping the ear buds in, and not being able to hear anything but the music! His mouth was moving but I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. Not only that but the music was more vivid than anything I could remember. The bass felt fuller, the medium and high notes also came through clearer. I was hearing new instruments and new notes that were previously hidden in my favorite songs. I know, the Shure e2c earphones are nothing compared to the top of the line ones that sell for a couple hundred dollars but they absolutely blew me away. I ended up getting a pair for myself.

Shure E2c Earphones with silicone tips

Fast forward about 2 years, the lifetime of my pair of Shure e2c sound isolating earphones, and the wires started fraying and eventually they stopped working. The problem was that these earphones cost me $99. I had never spent that much on a pair before and started to wonder if it was worth it. Were there lower cost options out there that provided great acoustics and sound isolation? Enter the Brainwavz Delta IEM Noise Isolating Earphones.

I did some research and it sounded like the Brainwavz Delta IEM Noise Isolating Earphones were a bargain while providing great sound for the price so I decided to pick up a pair. Here is what came in the package:

• Earphones
• 3 sets of silicone ear tips (small, medium, large)
• 1 set of Comply Foam Tips S-400
• 1 Shirt Clip
• A Brainwavz sticker

Brainwavz Delta

These earphones come in two types depending on your operating system, Android or Apple iOS Device. There are also a few colors to choose from including black, red, and silver. I decided to go with the silver.

After about a month and a half of use I must say the reviews were spot on as these are pretty solid earphones for about $20. The earbud casings are metal and don’t look cheap. The remote is located on the left ear wire and has the standard 3 buttons, volume up, volume down, and play/pause. There is even an adjuster where the wires split that allows you to change how far up or down the left and right ear wires are apart. Also this may be overlooked but the plug in jack is in a semi L shape. I think that L shaped jacks last longer since it doesn’t jut straight out causing unwanted bends and snaps. It may even slow down the fraying of the wires at that part of the earphone. One small gripe may be the color of the wires. They are off white and remind me a little of the old yellowing computer plastic of the 1990’s. Not that bad but definitely noticeable, especially when the remote portion is significantly whiter than the rest.

In addition to the 3 sets of silicone ear tips, there was also a set of medium Comply S-400 premium earphone tips. These tips reminded me of the orange foam ones that came with the Shure e2c. When inserted, they mold to fit your ear canal providing great comfort and noise isolation. When I searched for these earphone tips I was surprised to see that they were listed for $8.95, essentially half the price of the earphones! I’ve been using these since I opened the package and I can barely hear the noisy New York streets when listening to my podcasts or music. Just be sure to look both ways when crossing the street.

Brainwavz Delta IEM Noise Isolating Earphones with the Comply S-400 tips
Brainwavz Delta IEM Noise Isolating Earphones with the Comply S-400 tips

All in all I think the Brainwavz Delta IEM Noise Isolating Earphones are a great pair of cheap budget earphones. The build is solid and the sound quality improvement is very noticeable compared to the ones that come with the iPhone and Windows phones. The bass is nice and full, isn’t overpowering but can be a little muddled when listening to some rock music. The medium and high tones are crisp and clean. I would definitely recommend grabbing a pair for yourself as your go to travel earphones.

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