OK, so my endless search for my first pair of non-cheapo headphones is likely going to go on for the rest of my life, I now conclude.
Cnet reviews, and the like, do not seem to be anywhere near as realistic & useful as forum user reviews/experts on the ground - specifically here.
The difference is, though, Cnet and the like package everything so attractive and reference friendly, i.e., Top 5 Ear Buds Under $100.
Concluding that, in a year or two, I am more than likely going to end up with an entire dresser drawer dedicated entirely to earbuds, why not make a list and begin the pursuit.
I'm thinking a list from cheapest on up, best of the best, with minimal, but necessary information. I think the basics most average home users want to know are:
Sound quality: accuracy, sound stage, how "bassy" they are, and low, mid and hi performance
Build quality: are they going to last
Comfort and overall all fit in the ear
Microphonics (big one for me that doesn't seem to get addressed all that often) and overall cord quality
What I have so far (no personal experience, so please correct me if I am wrong):
Also, just throw information on the page and I will edit it to the OP.
Monoprice Enhanced Bass: $8-$10 One of the absolute best bangs for buck, relatively good sized sound stage… but large, thus can hurt/fatigue certain ears, and cord transfers a lot of unwanted noise.
Philips SHE3580: $10-$13. Good quality, highly reviewed, excellent bang for buck, relatively small, but could maybe use an aftermarket tip/sleeve…not sure what the cons are.
Sony MH1C: $30 Highly reviewed, have heard a couple of complaints on the cord, but nothing specific was noted. Seems average to good bang for buck.
Klipsch Image S4: Seems that these things can range from $20 - $90, but a lot of/some talk of counterfeit ones, even from reputable dealers.
But huge sound stage, great all around performer, extremely comfortable, and great cord with little to no microphonics..
Edited by Guysakar - 12/5/12 at 11:38pm