There is nothing worse than cheap ear buds, but good earphones have changed my opinion about personal monitoring and listening. With the soft, ear-conforming flex sleeves that seal well, quality earphones are comfortable, provide excellent ambient noise reduction/isolation, and very high quality sound. I have both the Shure E2, and the Etymotic ER4. Both can rival my Stax electrostatic headphones in most every way, yet the earphones do have better low bass (with a good airtight ear seal). For convenience and comfort, and especially portability, I would highly recommend earphones. Technically the Etymotic is supposed to be better than the Shure E2 (don't know about the SE530), but for the price the E2 wins. Had a pair of Sennheiser headphones. They were good, but didn't have as smooth a frequency response, were heavy, and didn't block out enough noise.
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