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Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #73 in Universal Fit

Posted

Pros: Inexpensive, Exceptional clarity/transparency for the price, Fairly well balanced

Cons: Low end lacks oomph, Sound can be a tad thin,

Prelude

Apple’s stock earbuds that have been shipped with every iPod since its inception are quite possibly the most prolific and widely distributed tech accessory of all time. It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing a pair of these things dangling from someone’s ears. Casual listeners are bound to be satisfied by the decent performance of the earbuds but what about audiophiles? It’s hard to imagine that many audiophiles would be impressed with those earbuds and, not to mention, they just aren’t comfortable at all for long periods of use. So, what’s an audiophile to do?

 

Apple’s answer to this comes in the form of their revamped in-ear headphones which feature two balanced armature drivers, a dedicated woofer and tweeter, promising Hi-Fi audio quality for about $80. I was able to snag a lightly used pair for $23 on Amazon (They’re the real deal too!) to give them a thorough listen.  So, do Apple’s IEMs (which I’ll henceforth refer to as the ADDIEM) deliver audiophile grade sound on a relatively low budget? Read on to find out.

 

Design and Build Quality

Apple products are typically well designed and aesthetically pleasing and the ADDIEMs aren’t too shabby in that regard. While the housings are comprised almost entirely of white plastics, much like the Apple iBuds, the housings themselves feel rather sturdy. The front and nozzles of the IEMs are made of polished metal, likely aluminum or steel, and are very solid feeling on top of adding a touch of class.

 

One brilliant design decision Apple has taken here is to make the metal mesh filters detachable. These filters easily unscrew from the nozzles and can be dropped into a solution of rubbing alcohol and water for quick and easy cleaning (which is what I did as soon as I got them). The fact that the filters can be unscrewed so easily from the housings does mean that they could potentially be just as easy to lose if you’re not careful but as long as you are careful, you shouldn’t have a problem with them.

 

Moving on, the build quality is still very similar to that of the iBuds. The straight plug is better than that of the iBuds and feels a bit more durable and the cable is virtually identical to that of the iBuds, perhaps feeling a bit softer and being a tiny bit more durable overall but it still doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. Leading into the housings themselves is a grey rubber pseudo strain relief.

 

Overall, I wasn’t terribly impressed with the build quality of the ADDIEMs but it is adequate. As long as you take care of them, they should last a good amount of time.

 

ADDIEM-12-550x412.jpg

 

Comfort and Fit

The housings of the ADDIEMs are extremely small, considerably smaller than I was expecting. Because of this, they are very comfortable to wear. The included bulbous silicone tips will not be a great fit for everyone but the small tips fit my ears just fine and the IEMs didn’t fall out during my testing. However, I did prefer using a pair of small Sony Hybrid clones, which fit perfectly, instead of the stock tips. Isolation is average with stock tips and is slightly improved with the Sony Hybrid clones.

 

The longish stem of the ADDIEMs could make them a bit difficult for some users to wear over-the-ear but for me, it wasn’t a problem. Wearing them over-the-ears or straight down wasn’t a problem for me and the fit was mostly effortless either way. The small housings sit flush with my ears and I could wear these while sleeping very easily.

Sound Quality

Burn in: These IEMs were given 20+ hours of burn-in before testing but I didn’t notice any significant changes in the sound signature after burn in versus before.

 

Right out of the package, I was surprised by the level of clarity and transparency that’s present in the sound signature of the ADDIEMs. These can make other IEMs sound quite muddy by comparison due to their very airy and above all, analytical presentation. For the price I paid, the clarity is absolutely outstanding and, at based on what I’ve heard, is only topped by the RE0s.

 

Low end response is the most disappointing aspect of the ADDIEMs. Sure, bass is tight, punchy and doesn’t creep up on the mids in the slightest but it’s seriously lacking in terms of quantity and texture. Bass just doesn’t have realistic levels of decay or reverb, it just sort of hits and then disappears. There’s very little in the way of resonance or warmth and the low end is rather uninvolving because of it. The Sony Hybrid clones improve the low end in terms of quantity and warmth but not much in terms of detail. Extension is surprisingly good and you can hear and feel sub bass notes almost all the way down with gradual roll off as you approach the bottom end.

 

 

While listening to the ADDIEMs, I found myself continually craving more bass. The more I listened to them though, the more my brain seemed to “burn-in” to what was there. It was only when I switched back to bassier IEMs did I really notice that the bass was so dialed back in regards to the rest of the sound signature. Whether or not you’ll experience the same feeling is dependent on your tastes. The ADDIEMs are certainly bass-light but what is there may be enough to satisfy you.

 

The midrange is perhaps what the ADDIEMs do best. It is amazingly clear and instrument separation is great throughout the range. Mids are slightly forward and have a relatively natural if a tad clinical and cold tonal balance and good timbre. Very good overall, considering the price. Highs are clear and sparkly but slightly rolled off in the upper end. They seem to be positioned right where they need to be; neither forward nor recessed and never over-emphasized.

 

Despite the openness of the sound, the ADDIEMs sound somewhat contained within a small but fairly intimate soundstage. Imaging is decent enough and, as stated before, instrument separation is very good.

 

The ADDIEMs are among the most analytical IEMs in my collection and make the Backbeat Pros, my only other BA IEMs sound veiled and a tad muddy by comparison. The dual balanced armature drivers in these earphones can really pick out the finer details in a piece of music while still offering a comprehensive and coherent sound signature. Yes, they can sound a bit thin because of their analytical character and the lack of bass response but it’s nothing that significantly detracts from their appeal.

 

Value and Conclusion

The ADDIEMs are available from Apple’s website and Apple retail stores at an MSRP of $79. Even at the MSRP, these are among the cheapest dual balanced armature based IEMs on the market. Online retailers such as Amazon sell them for about $68 but on both Amazon and eBay, some serious discounts can be had if you delve into the used/like-new/refurbished market. I was able to get a pair of these IEMs for $23 is proof enough that there’s a wealth of great deals out there on the ADDIEMs. At the price I paid, I’m more than happy with what I received.

 

Overall, while the ADDIEMs are definitely bass shy in the grand scheme of things and their sound signature is a tad thin, for the price, I really can’t find much wrong with them. For bass addicts, I recommend using Sony Hybrid tips (genuine or clones) for boosting the low end response and perhaps even foam tips, which should eke out a little more warmth. It may seem as though I’m being overly critical of the ADDIEMs and/or that I don’t like them but that’s not true. I actually enjoy listening to them, even without any EQ or the bass boost from my CMoy amp; they’re just not great for everything.

 

At their MSRP, these are decent performers but, even considering the need for proper amplification, I’d still recommend the RE0s over them for their more musical and better balanced sonic character. However, the fact that they also perform double duty as a headset and remote for iPhone 3G and second and third generation iPod Touch users should be taken into consideration and they perform reasonably well in that capacity. Whatever your needs or desires out of a pair of headphones or IEMs, the ADDIEMs aren’t a bad choice at any price point and at the current sub-$35 price point that they float around on eBay and Amazon, they’re a very good value. Just…don’t expect them to have a great deal in terms of bass.

Posted

Pros: You can sweat all over them

Cons: They sound pretty awful

What can I say-- they do their job-- which is to protect my other headphones from use when I need to work out.  They do their job well, but let's face it--  they don't sound very good.  

 

 

Posted

Pros: Apple, cheap, light, has a remote and mic, AMAZING for the price

Cons: lots of fakes, isolation is almost non-existant, stock tips have a weird bulb shape

I paid only $30 for these from eBay. For anyone who isn't a basshead, this is the PERFECT budget IEM for you. Nice detail, controlled bass, treble that doesn't pierce your ears. If you want to try the RE0 but you're not sure if you'd like it, you should start with this. Just make sure it isn't a fake, because there are a lot of those around. Soundstage is kinda small, and isolation is only slightly better than an earbud, probably because of that big hole in the back of the IEM. Also, try some different tips because the stock ones are shaped in a way that they will squeeze themselves out, unless you have perfectly shaped ears.

Posted

Pros: Very nice design, pretty good isolation.

Cons: Harsh sound, they were overpriced and gave me poor comfort.

I had many expectations of these IEMs but unfortunately besides the great design of them they proved to be just overpriced.

 

Listening through an iPod shuffle (4G) I had, in the beginning I thought that something wrong was going with it. After using Comply Whoomp the sound was slightly better but the sound was harsh too.

 

The last try with them came through listening to a new-bought FiiO X3. LOL!!! The harsh sound was audiophiliac now!!!

 

Because I don't have many experience in IEMs or HPs overall I gotta say that a cheapo (7 and a little more pounds) Philips IEM pair of phones I have it's much better at least in soundstage (even though it's darker-sounding than the Apple's In-Ear).

 

My overall experience with them was decent but I recommend them only as a collectable product.

Posted

Pros: price, quality, extra functions

Cons: small soft rubber parts need some care to resist longer.

Very nice boxing, very nice item, the volume button and the middle button solves a lots of problems when you are using an MAC device. The MIC quality is impressive. The silicon earbud is really soft.

 

I recommend it for sure.

 

Leo Chaves.

 

Posted

Pros: tiny size, great carry case, perfect for use with iphone

Cons: standard buds not a perfect fit

Bought these from an apple reseller store so probably paid over the odds. Sound really clear at the top end, little bit lacking in bass punch, although this is improved with better fitting buds. I find a medium Sennheiser but/tip a perfect fit, but with these, the medium bud is a little small and falls out easily, and the large is just too big. I went for the highly rated Comply Foam tips which were £15 for 3 pairs and are superb. They discolour with ear wax though :( . But the noise cancelling is great, really good in flight. They are basically an ear plug with a thin plastic tube thru the middle which fits snugly over the apple in-ear 'trumpet'.

 

Easily the best sounding in-ears i've heard, and better sounding and looking than my Sennheiser MM50 and CX150s. Better seperation and more clarity. 

 

headphones (6 of 10).jpg

Posted

Pros: Dual drivers, low cost, cord length is perfect

Cons: Poor fit, poor isolation, unreliable 'clicker'

These are good-sounding 'phones at a very low price. They seem to have a split personality, however. The are more like ear buds trying to be canalphones. The tips are not well designed for they will fall out even with a little wear time. Just a hint of body warmth and moisture will quickly cause them to slip out. It is impossible to get a good seal without scrubbing the tips and washing out your ears. Even then, it won't last long.

 

I guess I should have tried third-party tips. Isolation is poor, of course, because they just don't seal well. The clicker failed pretty quickly, too. Oh well.

Posted

Pros: Comfort, Audio Experience, Packaging, Remote/Mic, Detachable Metal Filters

Cons: Color

This review is written from the perspective of the average listener, one who wouldn't have a portable amp and would more than likely use these with their iPod.

 

Packaging:

Out of the various IEMs I've tried out, these were definitely packaged the best. Everything was simplistic with a sleek feel to it. The IEMs came with a hard plastic wrap around carrier, a holder for your spare tips, and an additional set up metal filters. I was impressed with how professional everything was packaged.

 

Comfort:

When I purchased these I had very little experience with IEMs, other than cheap ones of various kinds. I wasn't expecting these to be very pleasant, similar to my past experiences, boy was I wrong. With the medium silicon tips I was able to get a fantastic seal that I had no problem keeping in my ears for hours. These are to this day one of the most comfortable IEM's I've ever worn.

 

Design:

Simple and clean, from the casing to the inline mic. My only gripe with these is that they only came in white, which quickly got discolored on daily use. As for the quality of these? These lasted me well over a year of abuse. When I say abuse, I put these through 10 miles of bike riding a day, 2 miles of running 3 days a week, and general outside use. These headphones showed the wear and tear, but never stopped working, until a guinea pig ate them.

 

The biggest thing that caught my eye about these was that they have two drivers inside of them. I had no idea that IEMs could house two drivers when I first saw these. I then found out that they are actually the cheapest dual driver IEMs on the market. It definitely made me happy I randomly bought these. I also liked the addition of the inline remote/mic.

 

Sound:

This is where the headphones surprised me the most. I remember first putting them in, not knowing what to expect. The first song I heard I do not remember, but I remember my reaction, "Music can sound this good?" As these were my first "audiophile" headphones.

 

The bass is clear, tight, strong, while not interfering with the mids. The bass doesn't extend very far, but far enough to give these a nice warm sound to them, rather relaxed. The mids are very clear, vocals are prominent and very clear. I was completely blown away by the mids. In-fact I believe the mids on these are better than most full-sized headphones under $100 including the Ad700. The highs are also clear, and certainly able to easily be picked out while not being intrusive or fatiguing.

 

The soundstage isn't huge. I would best describe it as standing in the center of a 15x15 room with good acoustics and each musician surrounding you. By this I mean that while there is not a huge soundstage, every instrument feels rather "intimate", but there's clear separation in each. Basically what I'm saying is the soundstage isn't great, but the instrument separation is wonderful regardless. Nothing feels mashed up.

 

The isolation on these are top notch. When riding my bike I was barely able to hear traffic with no music playing. Sadly the microponics didn't fare so well, when jogging these headphones needed to be worn a specific way just in order to make the music able to be heard over the cord.

 

These headphones are considered "dark" sounding by some, I consider them warm. They are fun to listen to headphones with great instrument separation. The bass is controlled thanks to the dedicated driver for it, and the mids and highs are top-notch. For comparison purposes, these sound very similar to D-Jays.

 

Value:

For the $65 they can be had on Amazon for, they may not be the best quality to money ratio if you're only considering these for music listening. As I said before many compare these to D-Jays, and I absolutely loved these compared to my RE0. I actually completely regretted buying the RE0 over these again, and this is after delving further into the "audiphile" world. One thing though a lot of people forget about when considering the price is the inline mic/controls which work with the iPhone 4.

 

I highly recommend these if you have an iPhone you also use as your DAP. If you're using them specifically for audio purposes I would compare these to Jays D-Jays and come to your own conclusion. 

 

Please keep in mind my ratings are in comparison to similarly priced IEMs, not compared to $1,000 IEMs.

Posted

Pros: 2 Drivers for a relatively good price

Cons: Horrible fit, not emotionally moving

Included earbuds were horrible for me.  Volume adjustment died and unit had to be replaced by apple (good customer service).  I never had a good seal so can't really comment to much on quality of sound, except I don't feel like they blew me away.  People would prob say that they are great for the price.

Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic
By:
Description:

Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic Headset ( in-ear ear-bud )

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandApple
EAN4547597553114
Weight0.35 pounds
LabelApple Computer
ManufacturerApple Computer
ModelMA850G/A
MPNMA850G/A
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
PublisherApple Computer
StudioApple Computer
TitleApple - Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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