Looking to replace Samsung HS330
Dec 29, 2022 at 8:32 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


New Head-Fier
Dec 27, 2022
United States
(Hi, this is my first thread. Feel free to correct my terminology and misconceptions.)

Back in the 2010s I got a Samsung smartphone and it came with my first pair of actually comfortable earbuds, which I really like.
I am confident that the model is the Samsung HS330 (link to Samsung site). Perhaps there are other fans of this model.
The earbuds lasted quite a few years before eventually one of the sides became quieter. My problem is trying to replace these.

My first choice would be to get the same product again. However, Samsung is no longer selling the HS330, and the resellers I've found only have "bulk packaging". If I could reliably buy them somewhere in original packaging unopened, I'd just do that and the rest of this thread won't matter.
Every bulk-packaged set of HS330s that I've purchased has been broken. They arrive looking like (this) in a plastic strip with the cord very tightly wrapped in a loop, and due to the bending, the cable is always visibly kinked somewhere, usually close to one or both of the buds. In every set one of the buds was always noticeably quieter (I've checked it's not my ears).

Then I started looking at this site, and I found a brief listing (here) for the SoundMagic E30. I saw that it looked serviceable but that SoundMagic wasn't selling them either, and I got their E10Cs instead. Those were ok, but then they also stopped working on one side within a few weeks, and to be honest I didn't like the physical design much.

So I'm still looking for something comparable to the HS330. Say my budget is $100. Here are the important points:
  • I don't have other earbuds for a point of comparison so I don't know what kind of sound I would prefer. With earbuds I would be on a phone or laptop and listen to podcasts or electronic music with some vocals and bass, so I'm guessing I want the warm side of neutral. I also play games but for that I'd be using an over-ear headset anyway - different thread for that, if I need to make one. Anyway, the rest of my concerns are UX, not sound.
  • Noise isolation is non-negotiable. The HS330 has rubber ear tips that make a good seal for isolation, and they are also pretty comfortable. My main point of comparison for this, from before I had the HS330, is earbuds that looked like (this), which were neither isolating nor comfortable for long sessions.
  • Cable durability is important. For the HS330, evidently the cords can kink, since all the bulk ones I ordered were a bust because of that - but in my own use, the odd flattened cables seemed to hold up, and the flat bit made them feel thicker than they really are. I wouldn't mind even a thick braided cable coming down from both ears if it averted bend damage. This bothered me about the E10Cs, their cable is really thin and feels flimsy, (and they did stop working, after all).
  • I'd like them to be easy to put in and take out. The HS330 has a long straight neck of hard plastic that extends down from the speaker, which helps to put them in and angle them, and as something to pull on to take them out besides pulling the cable. I realized how much I appreciate this when trying the E10C, which just immediately has a cable sticking out of the cylindrical body, so they were less comfortable or safe-feeling to take out, either tugging on the cable or trying to grab the sides of the body.
  • I think the simple aesthetic of the HS330, solid color, smooth shape and straight neck, is very nice, and I do like it in white. With the bigger eartips, which I prefer (picture), they actually resemble the design of those popular new wireless earbuds, so lol, there must be something positive to that design. (I am not interested in wireless headgear.)
  • I rarely used the volume control on the HS330 and I never used its microphone.
  • Something that goes in the ear like that eartip does is probably gonna collect earwax no matter what I do, but it'd be nice to know how to get earwax off the thin metal between the eartip and the speaker.
Hopefully this helps narrow down what I'm looking for but not to zero. Thanks.

Dec 29, 2022 at 11:20 PM Post #2 of 2
Hello Mike,

What you are searching for is quite different and rare here. A lot of us users use IEMs for earbuds: this design makes the cable loop over the ear instead of hang straight down. There are many good options for the IEM-style earbuds and they are durable because most of them have a detachable/replaceable cable. The connectors are at the top and that is a good and sturdy base to pull the earbuds out of the ear. To insert them, people usually push into the main faceplate. However, I understand that you want a more traditional design: something that is more "bullet" shaped. Here are some earbuds worth considering that meets your price point:

Koss KEB15i
This is a design that fits what you are looking for. It has a base that you can grab onto to insert and remove easily. However, the sound is unknown since there hasn't been a lot of reviews for them. I am only suggesting them because of their shape and the name brand. Koss products in general are known to be affordable and not durable because of the thin cable. One of the solutions to your longevity issue could be to just buy a new one if it breaks because they are cheap to replace. I would be fine with this if it could last at least 1 year (I hope more), but your standards may differ.

Sony MH750/MH755 or Samsung (AKG) EO-IG955 or Moondrop Quarks
I put them in this category because they are a bullet design without the thick, plastic base you can grab onto. In place of them, they have a rubber or rubber-like strain relief that could serve the same purpose. Like the KEB15i, these are cheap and can be replaced every now and then. Funny enough, the EO-IG955 is the basic earbud that came with Galaxy 7/8 Phone. The three models I listed have quite a following and you can find some reviews of them on this website or any other website. The Sony and AKG have Harman tuning, this means they should sound natural enough although not really neutral. The Quarks are more neutral but I am not sure if that is the sound signature you truly want, especially with bass-reliant music like electronic. However, they should perform well with dialogue/podcasts, making the voices more clear. Anyways, I wouldn't think too much about the sound since all three of these are well-known on this forum.

Note: About durability. You could either resolder some of these earbuds or pay someone to replace the cable with a female MMCX connector to make them detachable and replaceable. But, it obviously costs more but should still fit within your budget.

Etymotic ER2XR (or even the ER2SE)
The most expensive out of the bunch. They have a base when you could grab to insert/remove them. It has the best isolation out of all of them. They have better isolation than most ANC headphones/earbuds. The con? Well, it achieves this because of it's long shape and also multi-layered eartips. So, it is difficult to insert and pull out. I would only recommend this if you want the best isolation and you don't mind spending some effort to take them in and out of your ears. These come stock with a thin but detachable cable. The issue is that the cable costs a lot to replace if you buy from the original manufacturer.

Happy Hunting!

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