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Best In-Ear Headphones

Andrew Williams by

Choosing the best In-ear headphones for you is a very important decision with comfort being almost as important as audio quality, considering the amount of time you spend listening to your favourite arias, operettas or whatever it is you’re into.

In-ear headphones more than any other require some serious consideration, as they will literally be residing inside your ear while you listen to your music and therefore choosing the right pair is not a decision to be taken lightly. We've put together a quick guide to help your chose the perfect pair for you.

In-Ear, On-Ear or Over-Ear Headphones?

Deciding which style of headphone suits you best is crucial and so we have decided to break down the key differences for you, to help you decide which style is best for you:

In-ear headphones are the type which most frequently come bundled with you new phone or MP3 player. Some are truly awful and are there just for the sake of it, but some are surprisingly good. Basic ear buds sit on the outside of the ear canal, while IEMs (in ear monitors) headphones us more invasive rubber or foam tips to provide noise isolation. Perfect for listening on the move.

Over-ear headphones are the big daddies of the headphone world, and they use large pads which enclose your ears. These are arguably the most comfortable of all types but should really be confined to home use as wearing them while out and about can make you look rather foolish.

On-ear headphones are smaller than the over-ear types, with a smaller style of headband, they use smaller pads which sit directly on your ears. They are certainly move discreet than the bigger over-ear headphones but they do need to be positioned carefully for optimum sound quality. These models can be used at home or on the move.

In-Ear Headphone Features

Having decided that in-ear headphones are for you, it now comes down to which features you need to look out for and which are most important to you:

Noise Cancelling: This monitors ambient sound and pumps an inverse audio wave through the speaker cancelling out this noise. While very clever, it will boost the cost of your headphones.

Replaceable Cables: While this is a feature we certainly love, it is usually only available in the more expensive models, but as the cable is the weakest part of headphones, it could end up saving you a lot of money.

Wireless: Wireless headphones obviously remove the need for a cable, using RF or Bluetooth technology to transmit music to your ears. RF uses a base station – handy for home use – while Bluetooth needs a compatible player or phone to work.

In-Line Remote: These on-wire headphone remotes let you control your music (or answer calls) and are more important than ever with some top touchscreen players and phones offering no physical controls, making in-pocket operation a pain.

Microphone: Many in-ear headphones now come with an integrated microphone for use in conjunction with your phone for hands-free calling.

Noise Isolation: Physically blocking you ears from outside noise using foam or rubber tips which plug up your ear canal – handy when commuting.

So armed with the knowledge of what features to look out for, here are our pick of the best in-ear headphones around at the moment.

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