Absolute best budget earbuds?

  1. seanc6441
    There are noticeably better options for cheaper prices. What I found when testing out new budget earbuds that were recommended here that at first you don't see a major increase in overall SQ until you use it for awhile then try to go back to apple earpods. Once you try out the better options there's no going back lol.

    Look on aliexpress for

    1) Nicehck DIY Graphene (€19 during 11.11 sale)--- comfort on par with earpods.
    2) EMX500 (€7 during 11.11 sale)--- comfort on par with earpods but get a rubberised cable version
    3) Nicehck DIY PK2 (€13-15 during 11.11 sale) --- comfort better than earpods, really comfortable.

    All good and different sound signatures. Personally the EMX500 is not my style as it can sound too digital like there is added surround/atmosphereic effect. But technically it's really really good for the price.
    I'm still waiting on the graphene's but apparantly they are the best under €25 and are more musical than the EMX500. PK2 is amazing for acoustic and rock but lacks in sub bass. It puts emphasis on instruments especially strings but the sound stage is quiet close and has the opposite effect that the EMX500 . Personally I think it's excellent though for the price.

    Even the options like €5 VE Monk + and €3 Vido earbuds have more strengths in SQ than apple earpods, but I recommend jumping straight to DIY Graphene or similar for a real noticeable SQ increase.

    I bought the Shozy Cygnus for €33 (only marginally more expensive than earpods) second hand in the FS section and it completely destroys the earpods in both comfort, build quality and sound quality. It's €60+ new but look out in the For sale section for good deals. This earbud has the best shell type for comfort, you can even use it lying down without it hurting your ears (like earpod).

    But I can understand you may not want to pay more than €20 for earbuds and the graphene on sale represents the best value-performance and it based on a slightly bigger shell so may not be as comfortable as the Shozy earbud.

    If you need the best level of comfort and SQ you need a shozy earbud. If you have bigger ears you can get away with Graphene or other MX type shells but they will not be AS comfortable as the PK shell of the shozy (or the DIY PK2 which uses the same shell)
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  2. seanc6441
    Oh by the way to get the best sale price you need to use the aliexpress mobile app during the 11.11 sale. You'll save €2-3.
  3. phixion
    The issue I have with all your suggestions is the form factor. None of them actually fire the music into the ear canal, they sit in the ear shooting it directly at your skin - I can never get satisfying sound from earbuds like that.
  4. seanc6441
    You're describing IEM's (in ear monitors) which go directly into your ear canal.

    The apple earpods are hybrids but more akin to earbuds as they do not isolate outside noise.

    As for you not getting decent sound quality with earbuds that's either down to the earbuds you've used in the past being not as good or maybe your listening environments? if you want to listen outside or in loud spaces IEM's are your only options and will be massively better than earpods for that purpose. If you listen in quieter environments then earbuds will also destroy earpods... assuming you buy the right ones.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  5. seanc6441
    earpod hide their shortcomings with strong mid bass thump and half decent treble. But the mid range and vocals are grainy and not very nice to listen to in comparison to any of the earbuds I mentioned which are much more refined.
  6. phixion
    I wouldn't call EarPods IEM's, they are far closer to an earbud than an IEM.

    I don't understand how an earbud with the speaker firing directly at your ear skin can sound better than something shooting into your ear canal.

    I admit, I've never bought high quality earbuds, because the Apple EarPods have always done that job very well for me. They fit well, they sound great, I can still hear my environment etc.

    The classic earbud design has been around for as long as I can remember and I tried a few growing up during the 80's. In fact, they managed to put me off earphones for some 20+ years until I finally went back to them due to discomfort with on-ear and over-ear headphones. It isn't just the fact of the speaker not firing in to the ear, it's the fit... they tend to just uncomfortably sit in the outer ear. I have some cheapo Philips earbuds that I had to use whilst I waited for some new ones to come in, they just reinforced my belief of that classic style. I don't know why more earbud manufacturers aren't creating earbuds similar to Apple's EarPods. I saw a cheap pair with a similar design, but it was really just a standard earbud with a plastic casing shaped into a funnel.
  7. seanc6441
    I called apple earpods hybrids and said they are more like earbuds than IEM's.

    Apple earpods only sound good (as far as earbuds go) until you've tried recent budget earbuds which have massively improved on SQ compared to a few years ago.

    Right now the SQ gap between budget IEM's and Earbuds is possibly non existent and thus you can buy based on your preferences rather than based on price-performance.

    Until you reach 200+ prices earbuds can probably compete with IEM's these days.

    But in the budget-mid range (diy graphene) earbuds have great performance if you don't care about outside noise isolation. All the good earbuds make the earpods sound like crap, honestly.

    I think the reason manufacturers don't follow the earpod design (some have like bose soundsport, but they don't represent the best price- performance ratio at €60-90) is because the shell design doesn't provide the best acoustic properties for balanced sound. Earpods are very unbalanced and have bias to mid bass and some treble but it's inconsistent along the spectrum thus being inferior to earbuds based on SQ alone.

    The earpod design is pretty good overall but not ideal. It's comfortable for some but not as comfortable as yuin pk shell for example. It's has almost no isolation so why use it instead of an IEM/earbud?

    It comes down to convenience or fit. If fit is your concern please try out a yuin pk style earbud like DIY PK2 for €13. That's by far the most universally comfortable and best fitting earbud on the planet and if you like it you have upgradeability to Cygnus (good sound) and stardust (top of the line, hifi sound) later down the line.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  8. phixion
    Yeah but I wasn't describing IEM's either. I was talking about earbud housing design being stagnant for 30+ years, sound quality may have changed, but the housing has remained the same since as long as I can remember. I wouldn't call it a good design either... If Apple did anything right, it is the housing design on the EarPods as it is more efficient at actually sending the audio to the eardrum.

    I have expensive IEM's, but I still value the Apple EarPods for comfort, non-isolating and sound quality.

    I guess I just don't get the obsession with the classic earbud design and the lack of improvement from every manufacturer out there.
  9. seanc6441
    This is the Cygnus (pk style shell). It feels like heaven in your ears and you forget about immediately. Small enough to fit close to ear, can add foams for secure fit and seal for bass. Most importantly it doesn't invade your ear like earpod and is way more comfortable for most people.


    I was an earpod user for 5 years, I know that earphones well.
  10. seanc6441
    The obsession is having a design that doesn't invade your ear. Me, like some other earbud users cannot stand IEM's as they hurt/feel uncomfortable in my ears.

    I can stand earpods. but these earbuds are much nicer (pk shell).

    Bose make this type


    Better than earpods, but not worth the price-performance from what I've heard. If they were €40 maybe. I think they are €90-120

    I bet the cygnus sound 2x as good.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  11. cyh03176
    I just got into this earbud game.

    I had the same concern. I bought the Yincrow X6 first, impressed with the sound but it's not comfortable. I gave the DIY PK2 a try, it's very comfortable due to the smaller housing. Planning to purchase the Shozy BK now since they use the same housing as well.
  12. noknok23
    @phixion Yuin shell form factor is my personal favorite. You aren't the first one being sceptical about earbuds form factor, if the search option wasn't so broken you'll see why people likes it more than iem. earbuds are more comfortable for long term use than iem (at least to me) in regards to sounds, it's closer to open back headphones feel.
    theoutsider likes this.
  13. phixion
    Which earbuds use that form factor?
  14. seanc6441
    My stardust will arrive this week and I'll have it for home use and tge cygnus for travel etc.

    cannot wait to hear the stardust :)

    I'll compare stardust, Cygnus, Diy graphene and Rose masya next week on earbuds round up thread.
  15. seanc6441
    Shozy Cygnus/Stardust BK, Yuin pk1/2/3, yuin ok1/2/3, Nicehck diy pk2, etc.

    It's the shell I pictured above (White- cygnus)
    noknok23 likes this.

Share This Page