iPod Accessories: Do You Always Get What You Pay For?

by Derrick Story

I've been testing lots of iPod accessories lately, and it's occurred to me that price has little to do with the best product. My most recent comparison, XtremeMac FS1 Earphones vrs Griffin TuneBuds pitted $20 earbuds (Griffin) against $150 high-definition earphones (XtremeMac).

Like wine tasting, if the labels (and price tags) had been removed, I would have been shocked to discover that I could buy seven sets of the TuneBuds for one pair of FS1 Earphones. I thought the TuneBuds sounded better.

Now maybe I'm the kind of guy who prefers Pepsi to port, carnitas to caviar. But in the world of iPod accessories, my conclusion is that more expensive isn't always better. Listen before you buy...


2005-12-08 10:13:56
For less than $20...
...you can own Sennheiser ear buds:


Mine are amazing in sound, and I'm quite an elitist about headphones!


2005-12-08 10:48:12
Don't buy better earbuds than your encoding can support
If you have lossless encoded music and can hear a difference between that and the default settings in iTunes, you might get some value from the more expensive earbuds but always listen before you buy.

I hear a huge difference between my $99 super.fi 3 studio and the cheap sony earbuds, but most of that difference is sound isolation and a difference in the bass boost.

However, I can have great performance in a quiet environment by jamming the stock apple earbuds into a set of large jabra eargels to channel the sound better. Total cost $2.99.

Then again, I don't by $200 audio cables or $1000 speakers for my home theater either.

2005-12-08 11:04:56
Earbuds aren't for everyone
Some of us have ears that the stock buds just don't fit. I've tried probably 20 different brands and all of them are painful.

For someone like me, the only option is custom-fitted earbuds, which require an ear measurement and fitting, and cost at least $200 or more.

For that price, I'm willing to just wear over-the-ear headphones instead.

2005-12-08 13:43:57
I've been trying to find a good set of head phones to block out all the background noise while I'm working. The problem is that I can't find any over the ear head phones. It's either on the ear or ear buds. I'm thinking that I should probably buy some ear buds because the on the ear head phones smash my ears. I can only wear them for about 30 minutes. I need something that I can wear for 8 hours a day.
2005-12-08 20:01:43
price:performance ratios
it's ludicrous to assume that just because something costs 7 times more, it should sound 7 times better. especially in the audio world, increases in price come with small increases in quality, and this is even more evident the higher in price you go. do i think that $4500 sony R10s sound 100x better than grado SR-60s? of course not. some expensive headphones sound lousy, while some budget headphones like the sr-60, koss ksc-35 and ksc-75 sound fantastic. want more than you ever want to know about headphones? go to www.head-fi.org
2005-12-08 20:03:00
p.k., check out head-fi.org to get tons of suggestions on headpones.
2005-12-09 06:03:18
just silly
I think the only way to get what you like is to hear these things. My son loves his $45 Sony earphones and I can't stand them. I actually threw out the Griffin Earjams and their earphones because they didn't fit and sounded awful to me. The voices sounded like someone with a shrill voice singing too close to my head.

I haven't found anything that I like yet, but I read a lot of these forums. Any of the better reviewers say to listen for what you like and I don't like Griffin *anything* in earphones that is for my iPod. The other things they carry seem so much better.