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Cheap (<$60) IEMs for the gym, jogging, etc.

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Hey guys. Long time lurker, first time poster. Decided it was time since I'd never seen this specific issue addressed.

There are many "best IEM under <$50" threads, or "Best cheap IEM" threads. I've searched them, and I've read them. I'm looking to narrow down those candidates based on another set of criteria.

I belong to a 24/7 gym that I love. But can play some pretty crappy music, especially when they let some of the girls there choose it. As a perk, all the treadmills/stairclimbers/etc there are newer kind where you can bring in your own music/movies/etc and plug in a headset to listen to audio. This is what I want IEMs for, this and probably some HIIT at the local park. I need something relatively inexpensive, since I'm going to be pretty hard on these, but that block outside noise fairly well, are durable, have a durable cord and are appropriate for working out.

So I'm looking for:
  • Good sound reproduction for under $60 (shipped)
  • Isolation
  • Decent cord for activity wear. IE, should be robust enough to take a yank or two, and shouldn't introduce "rustling" interference while I move.

Here are the candidates I've culled so far:
  • Koss KEB24s - I already own some cheapo Koss SB-40s (with a Zalman clip-on mic) for online gaming. For the money, I find them quite good, and at less than $20 shipped these little babies are easy on my wallet as well.
  • NuForce NE-7m - Never heard of NuForce until recently, but they come highly recommended. Pushing the price-range a little, its probably worth it for a good set.
  • Sennheiser CX300-B - At just over $20 shipped, this is another set that works well within my budget. Isolation is specifically mentioned in more than a few reviews.
  • J-Buds J-2 - Within the target zone, well-reviewed on Amazon, but I haven't heard too much about them here. Thoughts?

And/or anything you'd like to suggest.

As far as sound preferences go, I'm not a huge audiophile. Almost any decent set sounds pretty good to me, and it's worth noting that "the Treadmill at the gym" probably isn't a much better audio source than my iPod Nano. My preference is for clarity over bass.

Anyways, thanks in advance for any thoughts or recommendations! I'm looking to buy within the next 2-3 days, and if there's interest I'll go ahead and post what I went with and what I think of them after a week or two of use.

post #2 of 30
- Koss - no experience at all
- I have the NE-7, which is my workout IEM. Gets good isolation, sounds pretty good, especially for the price. I don't experience any microphonics.
- From reading about these, bass heavy. Some people really like them, most here don't think they are the best in the price range.
- I used to own the J2s, no bass. I mean no bass below 60Hz, not even EQed (and I did have a good seal). They are mid forward and fairly detailed in the mids for the price. The included silicon tips are very thin, so isolation isn't great. The NE-7 is more detailed, has better isolation, and has bass. The NE-7 is, to me, a little mid recessed, so opposite sound sig.
post #3 of 30
If you can try to find the CX400 or CX500 for under 60$ because the CX300 has too much cable noise for running, imo. Unless, you plan on wearing the the CX300 around and over the ears. However, it is obvious that this is not a permanent solution to cable noise because the vibrations can make the earbud fall down into the normal hanging position that causes cable noise, when moving.

You do not get a cable clip with the CX300, I know you do with the CX500 but am unsure about the CX400. Since the cable clip would also help reduce cable noise.

If you live in North America www.techdepotcanada.com has good prices for sennheiser phones. Specifically, the CX500 are 80$ CAD that would convert to 62$ USD +shipping.


If you are American then you can try froogle for the best price (ie. http://www.google.com/products?q=sen....00&lnk=prsugg )
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
Oh man, I thought they killed off Froogle! I noticed I couldn't just type in, say, "Buy Sennheiser CX300" anymore and get a rundown. I thought that seemed kind of fishy. Like people got together and said "dude...you Google guys are making it too easy to price shop! Here's some cash, now knock it off!"

Yeah, I'm an American. I'm from Florida.
post #5 of 30
Consider jvc marshmallows.. I use them while I lift and HIIT on the treadmill and elliptical. Dirt cheap, very durable and only about $10 around my way so they're easily disposable. Seal is perfectly fine with the stock tips for me.
I used to have the cx300. They would slip out of my ears at times while I ran and they broke after 2 months of service. Good luck.
post #6 of 30
i would say getthe nuforces for working out i use them for working out
post #7 of 30
NE-7M, the FF feature is the best.
post #8 of 30
NE-7M all the way.
post #9 of 30
I've got the same need. It looks like the NE-7M's hang down from the ear while the NE-8's go around the ear. I'm concerned about them falling out while running like my old ones did. Can anyone here compare the 2?
post #10 of 30
I say pass Senn CX300, Koss and J-Buds, which are really not that great and get something more decent like the NuForce, Senn CX400/CX500 or maybe ATH-CK7 if you can find them for around that price.
post #11 of 30
Originally Posted by blag View Post
I've got the same need. It looks like the NE-7M's hang down from the ear while the NE-8's go around the ear. I'm concerned about them falling out while running like my old ones did. Can anyone here compare the 2?
If the cable length is OK for you (won't know until you get them, I guess), you can run the NE-7 cables over your ears.

The difference between the 2 is:
- NE-7 has more bass and a tiny microphone, which doesn't get in the way, but a few people have reported issues. NuForce does have excellent customer service, though.
- NE-8 is a more detailed, bass light IEM.

They have different sound sigs, and the NE-8 is a little pricier. I personally don't think I wouldn't like the NE-8 due to their sound sig, and for working out I don't need the extra detail.
post #12 of 30
cx380, its the job it was made for
post #13 of 30
Don't have any experience, want to buy a pair for swimming, but what about H20 Audio earphones? They are waterproof, which you need because you sweat while you run last time I checked.
post #14 of 30
My gym is really noisy, so sound isolation is important and I use Ety4s or q-jays, both of which are out of your price range. Try the Nuforce 8. May be a good compromise for sound isolation and quality. They don't block out the sound like some earphones do, but that may be good if you are running outside. But they should give you enough isolation for the gym. You don't want to get into a volume war with the radio or your hearing will go south quickly.

Also, the Nuforce have an around the ear design so they should withstand the odd tug. Microphonics are not too much of a problem either.
post #15 of 30
the thing about IEM's and gyms for me is that it's hard to keep a good seal when you're moving around a lot. Sure IEM's are good for stationary machines and hand weights but jogging for me.. is kind of a chore.

From personal experience.. i would recommend Koss ksc75's or some nice pk3's.. Isolation at a gym isn't really needed and gyms are loud enough for people to not hear your music unless you blast it to eleven (which i don't recommend)

If you really want nice sound while on the run and need isolation.. NE-7M's that were mentioned above are a good choice.. I'm just not sure with the In Ear seal.

Anything else that costs more should be at the gym.. I would be too scared to drop my headphones and accidentally step on them.. :S
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