I don't understand the difference between $30 earbuds and $150 earbuds
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WhatAmIDoing

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I'm in the market to purchase some new earbuds, I was looking at bluetooth "wireless" ones because I'd like to use them on a treadmill, and I noticed that $30 earbuds seem to have all the main features that a $150 pair does. bluetooth, wireless, 8hr battery life,etc. I don't understand why anyone would spend $150 or more on earbuds.

The models I was looking at are:

$30 pair: Aukey Latitude
$30 pair: Anker Soundbuds Slim+

vs.

$150 pair: Shure SE215
$100 pair: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear

Can anyone explain to me why I'd want to shell out $100+ for earbuds?
 
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judson_w

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I would say that the audio quality you get from $30 versus $150 might be noticeable. I was using a $30 set of earbuds at work for awhile that were cheap by $30 standards (bought them at an airport because I was about to take a 8 hour flight and could not find my headphones. Point being, overpriced because I was at the airport). They sounded ok. Ok enough for work where I am mostly listening to provide some distraction/entertainment to get through the day.

Then I moved desks to a noisier area of the office and I needed better sound isolation. I bought a $100ish pair of head phones (etymotics). They did the job of isolating the sound but they they also sound significantly better than the cheaper on.

Another thing that you might get is an increase in build quality. Those $30 headphones I mentioned? They had a cheap plastic grill over them. I dropped the earbuds once that the grills popped off because they were weakly glued on.

If you are using these on the treadmill and only on the treadmill, you might not need or appreciate that increase in sound quality. In which case, do not shell out the extra money. If reviews point to the cheaper ones breaking more easily, maybe you want a little extra quality.

Disclaimer: having not heard those specific headphones, I cannot accurately state how much of an increase in quality of sound or production. Just offering reasons why one might cost more than the other.
 
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WhatAmIDoing

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I guess I'm underestimating the amount of technology companies can cram in an earbud. I mean, I understand there can be a very large difference between $30 over-ear cans and $300 over-ear cans. But I always assumed that was because there was a lot more room in those headphones to put in better hardware. Consequently, I also always assumed that earbuds were too small to put a lot of fancy tech into and that was why everyone bought cheap $15 dollar disposable pairs, kept them tangled, otherwise mistreated and never cared what happened to them.
 
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Wiljen

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Even assuming the sound quality is exactly alike which I don't believe for a second they will be, the quality of the Bluetooth circuitry makes a huge difference. Which would you rather have, a good connection where you can walk around and leave your source in one place without worrying about dropping connection or reduced quality or one where you have to keep the source within 5 feet of the earphones and even then it cuts in and out if you turn your head the wrong way?

The idea that all Bluetooth is the same is absolutely incorrect. You want the best standard your source supports. AptX HD is miles ahead of Bluetooth 4.0
 
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judson_w

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That is fair. And as for those cheap $15 pairs, they have a place. Not everyone needs, wants, or can afford something like Audeze's LCDi1 that are $2495. Not everyone is looking for "audiophile" quality listening. Different people find different levels acceptable, which is why you will find people raving about $20 headphones on Amazon and $200 headphones. Different audiences, different priorities, expectations, and needs.

If it was me looking for earbuds on a treadmill, I would probably look for what sounds decent enough and is sturdy. The treadmill is not where I will be doing my enjoyment listening.

As a small aside, you mention that the ones you listed have the same tricks to them. However, there are other specifications that show some differences. The Aukeys have a frequency response range of 20Hz-20KHz while the Sennheisers are 15Hz-22KHz. How much that will be noticed will very. I suspect less so on a treadmill (but if you like them, they might find use on the go outside the treadmill).
 
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WhatAmIDoing

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Even assuming the sound quality is exactly alike which I don't believe for a second they will be, the quality of the Bluetooth circuitry makes a huge difference. Which would you rather have, a good connection where you can walk around and leave your source in one place without worrying about dropping connection or reduced quality or one where you have to keep the source within 5 feet of the earphones and even then it cuts in and out if you turn your head the wrong way?

The idea that all Bluetooth is the same is absolutely incorrect. You want the best standard your source supports. AptX HD is miles ahead of Bluetooth 4.0
But both those $30 headphones support AptX and have Bluetooth 4.1
 
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Wiljen

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But both those $30 headphones support AptX and have Bluetooth 4.1
A Kia has most of the same specs as a Mercedes too on paper. How they perform isnt something you can judge from reading the box.
 
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If you can’t notice the difference, stick with $30 earphones.
 
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