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The only thing better than the eargasm produced by a crisp and clear soundstage is one that doesnít infringe on my kidís college savings account.
Enter the Monoprice 8320 Earbuds - The $7 Eargasm
I discovered these bad boys while angrily searching for my 90th(ish) pair of earbuds in the last decade. Iím always losing them and ruining them.
I had set a budget of $30-40, hoping to find something comparable to my Klipsch S4s. Several people in the internet-audiophile forums had recommended these, but I ignored them thinking they were spam, trolling, or just n00bs. There was no way a $7 headphone could compare to a $50 one - amirite? No. I was wrong.
After reading positive review after positive review, I caved in and ordered 3 pairs, they were simply too cheap to order just one. I also ordered some more HDMI and usb cables. Afterall, itís Monoprice, and you can never have too many HDMI and usb cables!
The earbuds, or technically inner ear monitors (IEM, but for the sake of this review Iím not going to be snobbish enough to call them that) arrived three days later. THREE. DAYS. LATER. Pretty sweet for free shipping!
I kinda love that these donít come packaged. They come in a tiny little ziploc bag; no case, no box, no instructions, no warranty card. Nothing. No evidence to throw away (or leave laying on the couch for your wife to complain about tomorrow morning). These things are eco-friendly.
The earbuds feel solid. The casing of the actual 'bud' is plastic, but looks and feels like metal. The cords are wrapped in fabric instead of PVC or plastic. This definitely makes them feel high quality. Theyíre heavier than I expected. The Y split has a metal (or metal-ish plastic) protector, and the plug has a decent amount of reenforcement. They feel better than many $30 earbuds.
Theyíre not UNcomfortable, but theyíre not exactly comfortable either. I have no problem wearing them for 3 or 4 hours straight, but my ears are a bit tender afterwards. These arenít worn like traditional buds, these sit in your ear upside down with the wire wrapped over and behind your ear. This may cause discomfort if you have precious little princess ears. I wear glasses, and I find that they help keep the wire in place. After a few days of use, the wire adapts to the bend of your ears and becomes more likely to stay in place. The rubber tips that come with these arenít great. You can replace them, or modify them, or simply deal with them. I've replaced mine with the $2 set from Daiso and the Comply T-400 tips from Amazon. The Comply tips REALLY improve the comfort and sound quality, but cost more than the earphones.
This is where these things really shine. I listen to several varieties of music; classical, hip-hop, spoken word, pop, rock, and (mostly) heavy metal. They sound great at all volumes. The frequencies are balanced and accurate. Thereís no tinny sound, and no obnoxious booming. The sound is precise and accurate. If youíve never listened through high quality headphones before, youíll be amazed at the detail in the sound that is absent in most speakers and headphones. The sound quality of these earbuds will bring a fresh new life to your whole music collection! Thereís enough bass to feel it, and enough volume to make you go deaf or annoy your nearby coworkers. Seriously - be careful. These things can get LOUD.
Earbuds need to be durable. Iíve yanked mine out in a quick tug to catch a phone calls on several occasions - no damage whatsoever. To speed up the durability test, I swung my buds around over my head like a helicopter and even bounced them off the wall, ceiling, couch, and my face (not recommended). The wires never pulled from the buds - which honestly surprised me. My wife also ran them through the washer and dryer a couple of weeks ago. Theyíre still intact and sound great.
Seriously, at $7 these things are a steal. I now own several pairs; one for my desk, one for my backpack, one for my bed, one for every gadget, one for every person in the family basically.
TL;DRThese inner ear monitors are fantastic for the price. They perform as good as $50 earbuds.
- sound great
- decent quality
- not compatible with precious little princess ears
- tips suck
- awkward wires at times
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