In ear headphones $150 or less

I have been reading reviews left and right and they just don’t seem to jive with the real world amazon reviews.
Is a nice pair of in ear headphones just a unicorn?  Should I buy cheap and get over the ear headphones for the same money?  If so I still need nice in ear for sports activities and would like a recommendation. 

Personally I've always preferred the sound quality of closed back over ear headphones, but earbuds absolutely are more convenient when on the go.  I've actually found one set of earbuds that that I'm happy with for travel, etc.  Surprisingly they were an airport purchase but turned out to be really good for the money (less than $50) and that's the Skullcandy Titan.

Pretty sure they've been discontinued, but I just noticed that they can still be found all over the net for under $30.

Might give them a try and then shop around for high quality over-ears when the convenience of mobile matters less than sound quality.
go on the head fi site, particualrly the chinese iem thread, and you'll ge tmore recommendations and information than youy can absorb in a lifertiem. the current raves at the $150 mark are the lz a4 and the magaosi k3, but there are literally a thousand contenders.
I’ve a set of rbh in ear headphones and they sound incredible.. They were $100 as an introductory price. They’re $150 now. I’ve not compared them to the thousands of Chinese earbuds though..

That said, for times when I need earbuds that might get destroyed (mowing the lawn mostly..) I use cheap Sony earbuds that were $30 at Walmart and they actually sound pretty good.
Those EP3's look really nice and the specs look good too.  Going to have to look into those.

Thanks Todd

It is rather frustrating with so many choices and that the reviews on amazon don’t support what the “experts” say.

Are there any that experts and end users actually agree on?
Are you interested in  earbuds or IEMs?  If the former, check out this link on

Also, this one...

You might be surprised at the kind of sound available for under $10.

The problem I’ve had was not the phones but the amps.

My experience comes with several AKG’s and Shure IEM’s.

The AKG’s sound good with a variety of sources. However, the IEM’s really really only sounded good with high-current capable sources, such as the Fiio Mont Blanc and Pono.  THEN they sound fantastic.

I don't have a good electrical model/explanation for you either. It's just what I have observed.


Thanks guys. I am checking out the headfi thread. I guess I need IEMs. I did not know the terminology. I prefer to use comply foam tips. I am a cyclist and when out in the wild they reduce wind noise drastically and at home they reduce kid noise drastically :)

Also, I have no clue how people get earbuds to even remotely stay in.  They just fall out of my ears.
For in ear try the Klipsch XR8i’s. They’re a hybrid with subwoofer and have outstanding noise isolation (think while vacuuming, using lawn equipment, and of course cycling). Bass response is great, and midrange is just short of neutral (I find my B&W C5 2’s to be more so but doesn’t block out noise as well).  Audiophile-wise you'd have to spend twice as much to get better sound but they definitely set themselves apart from lower tier models. Sound does get a little sweeter with break-in.

They come nicely packaged with a cable clip and Klipsch’s outstanding gel tips that stay put, however the carry pouch could be better. Usually range $150-$279 +/-... Look around, I managed to find a deal at $135. Good luck!
Your math is weak, kalali! 999>150

Greg- my pleasure. Rbh is a consistently under the radar speaker company that makes very solid gear, and their earbud/iem were no disappointment.
I purchased Etymotic hf5 IEM's ($129) to use streaming Tidal or Radio Paradise from my cell phone at the gym.

They sound great, block out almost all noise, and don't fall out, portlandlay.

They take some getting used to, but now I find them a pleasure to use. It's important to insert them correctly to get the full benefit.
Thanks Ncarv and spankedmonkey.  I saw the Klipsch at my local hifi ($200) and I will listen to them.  I will also check out the Etymotics
I vastly prefer to listen to a pair of speakers because of the stereo field and the 3 dimensionality it projects in front of you, but when i can't, i am ok with my open-back sennheiser 598 ($130), and in-ear focal sphere ($85).  
I have had a lot of in-ear, shure 215, 115, senn cx-3, klipsh 4, jbl 22, cheap jvc, and others forgotten.... my favorite is the focal because of how comfortable it is, how it does isolate, and how it does articulate without any extremes. And i had it for under $100.  Great for the office.

I highly recommend the Massdrop Hifiman RE00. When it's available On massdrop it's about $40 dollars.  The Venture Monks are also a bargain at $5. Checkout they actually have a lot of IEM headphones at decent prices.  The only drawback with purchasing with a bunch of people together is that the shipping and delivery takes time..the obvious benefit is the negotiated lower prices. 
Portlandlay would be intrigued to know your findings, as you stated the search through reviews and recommendation for that right balance can be quite an endeavor.