Except when it is.
Admittedly, this is a lot easier in head-fi, than hi-fi, but still — it’s exciting when nice stuff happens to also be inexpensive stuff.
So, at CanJam, I got captured by 1More.
For $99, their “Triple Driver” in-ear monitor features an extremely high build-quality and pairs that to a high-quality sonic signature that seems every bit worthy of a much heftier price tag — this little guy fairly screams “high-value”. I love it when that happens. Given that earbuds from Apple are $29, if you’re tempted to ask “are these worth 3x the money”, I’d be tempted to smack you with a very large book. One with the word “YES” printed in big, yellow, bold-faced letters on both covers. Check ’em out on Amazon.
A captive cable, angled case, 32Ω impedance, 99dB sensitivity, and 18g of weight means a robust in-ear. Feels, and sounds, substantial. Winner, winner — and more to come. In the meantime, check out the Audiophiliac for a teaser.
The rest of the 1More lineup deviates from this “high water mark” price. The Single Driver in ear runs $29. The Dual Driver is $69. A Swarovski (called “Crystal“) version of the Single Driver is $79. And yes, there’s an over-ear headphone, also for $79 (yes, seventy-nine).
That headphone, the MK801, comes in red or black (go for red) and is actually quite comfortable. Sound quality is pretty good (especially for the price), but isn’t likely to win any awards for bass or resolution; sensitivity is a phone-friendly 104dB.
Interesting note — all of these headphones have microphones, so phone-users, have at it.