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Suggestions for comfortable, noise-canceling wired earbuds....not expensive? Do they exist?

Hi, all
I have read many of the posts related to earbuds, but still need help. Folks seem to love Bose ones, but I looked at the price and cannot justify paying that, or even close to it. We do want earbuds, versus headphones, but want comfort. Are we dead in the water right there? Want noise-cancelling at best, noise-reducing at least. Want wired so we can use them for both the plane and at all museums. (I am assuming I can't count on the sound in those places to always be available via Bluetooth, right?) I really don't want to be spending more than $30.

Would appreciate your suggestions and thoughts, up to and including telling me what I want probably does not exist.

Thanks, everyone, and Happy Trails!

Posted by
5817 posts

I bought some Taotronics noise cancelling earphones from Amazon a few months ago. They cost me about £30 and they really did the job. I'm sure they arent as good as Bose but they were good enough for me.

Posted by
20569 posts

$30 is cheap for a decent set of ear buds. Throw in active noise-canceling and you are well pass the thirty dollar mark. And you should probably go wireless since wired opportunities are disappearing. The best review I have seen for ear buds after Apple or Bose is Monopice True Wireless Earbuds, model #30878. Less than $50 on Amazon.

Posted by
41 posts

Hi, Frank, checking out the ones you suggested. However, on the wired-versus-wireless topic, aren't I correct that our flights and at least some museums do not provide wireless sound?

Posted by
41 posts

Hi, Phrank - thanks for that link. I have read a few "best of" sites, but had not seen this one. Checking out their suggestions.

Posted by
896 posts

I have searched online and in stores and decided to stick with my no wireless earphones. I can’t justify the expense of losing them. Things have a way of falling out of my purse. I wanted wireless so I could be online and listen to movies, while charging my iPhone, etc. I bought an adapter that allows me to listen to music and watch movies while using my portable charger.

Posted by
3904 posts

I've been through my fair share of cheap Chinese brands, all of which eventually failed or even were a complete failure at the point of delivery. I opted for Bose (wireless) in the end and they are excellent, expensive but if I'd gone for them in the first place I'd have saved myself quite a bit of money.

As with much in life, if you want a quality product you have to be prepared to pay for it. From my experience any earbuds costing $30 or less are not going to be very good and durability will be poor.

Decent wired earbuds are less than wireless but there aren't many noise cancelling ones on the market, the majority of noise cancelling devices are headphones rather than earbuds.

I'm afraid that it's unlikely that your requirements can be met.

Posted by
139 posts

Hubby and I have the Bose noise cancelling earbuds and really like them. They are expensive but, as others have noted, they are very good quality and will last. My husband actually uses his often at home when he wants to watch a "how to" youtube and not disturb me. They are great for general use as well as for traveling.

Posted by
632 posts

I have a set of the Sony headphones (MDRZX110NC), bought "new" on eBay, where they can be purchased for around $15 these days. They are the only noise cancelling headphones I've used. Technology has moved on from wired headphones - but my travel entertainment (iPod) requires a wired connection, and I'm too cheap to spring for the pricier alternatives. These Sony headphones (they are headphones...not "buds") fold up into a small space, weigh very little, and are powered by a AAA battery with a sliding switch for "on" or "off". I've worn them for 10+ hour flights....no comfort problems

Posted by
4155 posts

I got these Panasonic earbuds a few years ago and they have worked well. I think I paid about $50 for them. "Comfort" is in the ear of the listener. I don't find mine comfortable enough to sleep with on overnight flights, but I have a hard time sleeping on planes anyway. They do cut down a lot on the engine noise, and produce good sound connected to an iPad or other device.

This Amazon link shows another product from Taotronics for cheaper. Maybe this is what emma got.

Posted by
5817 posts

They were earphones not earbuds. Sorry I mis-read your original question.

I personally prefer earphones. I’m much too scatty to own something as small as earbuds!
Whether they are worth spending a lot of money on probably depends on what you will actually be listening to. If you want high quality music quality you are going to need to spend more.
For my needs, watching a movie on a flight, the cheaper version did the job.

Posted by
433 posts

On the wired vs wireless scene: I recently acquired a pair of wireless , non-ANC, sports-style earbuds (they have ear hooks and do no extend deep into the ear canal). The model is from Beats, about three years old but refurbed by BestBuy, $60. Let's start with the cons: The seal is not good enough to support noise cancelling, it would be a waste of money; wireless means another power switch and another charging port; small and untethered so easily lost; medium quality sound without a good sonic seal; medium quality sound because the driver is not deep inside the ear canal. The pros: Small; stupidly lightweight after using full sized, on-ear cans; medium quality audio performance is good enough for the gym and bike.

I also have a pair of Beats ANC on-ear headphones. They can be used wireless but I usually have them cabled because the control switch on the cord is easier to use than the tiny button on the left, or is the right?, phone. On planes, the active noise cancelling is great because of the seal around the ears. They're huge. I take them traveling because they are what I need for a good aural isolation. ANC sucks battery power reducing listening time by about 40%.

I suggest you look at wired earbuds with sports features like ear hooks and water resistance. The hooks keep them secured under most travel conditions and the wire will help prevent them from vanishing. However, if you want ANC, you will what you pay for. Good ANC on earbuds requires a good seal and that takes good engineering and quality materials, $100+, unless you find last year's models on deep clearance somewhere.

Posted by
1106 posts

The Wirecutter has comparison articles specifically on these topics, and if you look at their past recommendations and keep an eye out on dealnews for good deals, you can get pretty good earbuds in that price range.
This past Black Friday sale had a highly reviewed pair of JBL earbuds for about $6 (instead of $40) and the sound quality is great. Good sound at throwaway/lose-able prices is possible!

Posted by
20569 posts

We have recently been on several flights where via an app you view everything on your phone or ipad. No more seat back screens. Seat back screens are going away.

Posted by
41 posts

Thanks to the link Phrank posted, I have order three different inexpensive earbuds: Panasonic, Kakom and Venture Electronics. One will be for me, one for The Mr, and a spare.None are noise cancelling, but two are noise reduction. Since we don't use earphone/buds for anything but travel, I will take my chances and not shell out more. (Dare I write that I bought all three for less than $30?)

The comparison site Phrank sent raved so much about the Venture Electronics VE MONK Plus earbud for $9.99, I just had to try them

Thanks, all, for your great ideas. RS folks are the best!
Happy Trails to you all
GR

Posted by
20569 posts

Good luck. Sometimes there is a relationship between quality, price, and function. Personally believe that noise cancelling is worth the extra cost.

Posted by
172 posts

I have an inexpensive pair of wired Sony noise canceling earbuds which are ok. For Christmas I got a pair of AirPod Pro wireless and noise canceling earbuds, and they are wonderful. Worth every dime my hubby spent. I will travel with both so I have options. I download audiobooks to my iPad, but still want wired earbuds for inflight systems and audio tours.