World’s Top 10 Expensive Earbuds

Table of Contents

We need our hearing to last as long as possible. We love our music and the convenience of a hands-free audio device. We also love knowing exactly how our money is spent when we buy expensive products.

We have drawn up a comprehensive specs list of the World’s Top 10 Expensive Earbuds to bring all three of these things together in a way that makes the most sense to you so that you can make an informed choice.

FAQs that are Important to Know

What are the advantages of in-ear vs out-of-ear headphones?
In-ear headphones (earbuds) are the masters of discretion and functionality. They can fit quite snuggly in your ear while you listen to your music, audiobooks, or podcasts. They are small and easy to carry around versus clunky over the ear headphones.

What kind of advanced quality do you get with the more expensive sets?
Earbuds generally have poorer sound quality than a traditional set of over-the-ear headphones would. The sound is sent straight to the eardrum so you don’t hear as much depth in your music.
However, with better quality comes a better sound as we describe in What Makes a Good Earbud. Different and better kinds of technology are used in more expensive earbuds because you are paying for it instead of the run of the mill earbuds from the drugstore.

Best Choice: Shure SE846-CL-A Sound Isolating Earphones

Best Features

  • Sound isolating
  • Detachable cable
  • Changeable inserts for individual fit

“These earbuds can block out up to 37dB of outside noise. Included in the product purchase is a 1/4-inch adapter so that you are not limited to a specific device. ”

Overall Score: 100/100

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Best Premium: Sony IER-Z1R Signature Series in-Ear Headphones

Best Features

  • Three drivers that work as one
  • The super tweeter delivers pure sound straight to the ears
  • Vibration and resonance cancellation through the magnesium-alloy construction

“The product purchase includes a 4.4mm and a 3.5mm cable so you can use this product with different devices..”

Overall Score: 90/100

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Best Value: Astell&Kern Layla in-Ear Monitors

Best Features

  • Triple quad mini-drivers (4 low x 4 mid x 4 high)
  • Machined Locking Collar
  • FreqPhase Waveguide

“The four-pin connection provides secure and quality audio transmission with no distortion. Gold-Plated 3.5mm input connector ensures seamless connection.”

Overall Score: 95/100

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Shure SE846-CL-A Sound Isolating Earphones

Best All Rounder

 
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Sony IER-Z1R Signature Series in-Ear Headphones

Best Premium

 
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Astell&Kern Layla in-Ear Monitors

Best Budget Option

 
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What Makes a Good Earbud?

To truly appreciate and understand the individual earbud’s specs we’ve outlined what you should be looking for:
Sound quality
Cheap earbuds are known for their tinny and closed sound and lack of true bass. When you look at more expensive earbuds you should be looking for a sound that is more open and has resonance as if it were an over the ear headphone.
Durability
Your earbuds should be able to withstand a reasonable amount of stress. Consider the following when looking for durability:
Are they going to malfunction when you are working up a sweat at the gym? Will the cord start to break in a couple of months?
Performance
Your earbuds should perform their function and exceed your expectations. Consider the following when you are looking for performance:
Is the sound quality equal on both sides? What is the average lifetime of the product?
Quality
Your earbuds should not feel flimsy and cheap. Consider the following when you are looking for quality:
Do they rattle when you shake them? Does the cord feel loose in the socket? Does it look like the casing will break apart after use?
Extra features
Bonus features are not a necessity; however, they are nice to have provided they do not drive the price up exponentially. Consider the following when you are looking for extra features:
Is it truly an extra feature or does it perform part of the core function of the product and the company is using clever marketing? Will I actually use this extra feature?

1. Shure SE846-CL-A Sound Isolating Earphones

Best Features

  • Sound isolating
  • Detachable cable
  • Changeable inserts for individual fit

Key Features

These earbuds can block out up to 37dB of outside noise. Included in the product purchase is a 1/4-inch adapter so that you are not limited to a specific device. You also get your choice of eight different sleeves.

Technology

  • Low pass filter (subwoofer experience)
  • Customizable frequency
  • Quad high definition micro-drivers

Performance &Quality

Shure’s products are meant to last a long time and are built in a manner that the small parts that get the most wear (such as the cable) are easily replaced.

These earbuds boast quad high definition micro-drivers, which means that you get four times the amount of definition in your listening experience as opposed to normal earbuds.

Earbuds can sometimes be uncomfortable; however, this product offers you a range of sleeves for you to customize your wearing experience.

Who Should Buy

People who are looking for durable, high quality, personalizable earbuds.

Pros & Cons

Not many people can find things wrong with this product. The biggest bonus with this product is that the frequency is adjustable and can pick up the treble and sub-bass frequencies.

These earbuds are great quality for a fair price.

Overall Rating: 100/100

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2. Sony IER-Z1R Signature Series in-Ear Headphones

Best Features

  • Three drivers that work as one
  • The super tweeter delivers pure sound straight to the ears
  • Vibration and resonance cancellation through the magnesium-alloy construction

Key Features

The product purchase includes a 4.4mm and a 3.5mm cable so you can use this product with different devices. The product comes with six different sized Comfort earbuds and six different sized Hybrid earbuds for individualized listening comfort.

Technology

  • HD hybrid driver system with two Dynamic and one Balanced Armature.
  • The Aluminum-coated LCP diaphragm and external magnetic circuit mean that this product has a frequency response of up to 100kHz.
  • Each bud has a built-in acoustic tube that presents the listener with a whole and ‘open sound.

Performance & Quality

This product is listed as four stars on the Sony website, which means it is a pretty reliable and quality set of earbuds. The silk-woven cable is split into left and right to avoid cross-talk through deterioration.

Who Should Buy

People who want to invest in quality.

Pros & Cons.

These buds are on the more expensive side of the range but they deliver a superb listening experience.

Overall Rating: 90/100

They lose 10 points for being quite pricey without any extra features.

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3. Astell&Kern Layla in-Ear Monitors

Best Features

  • Triple quad mini-drivers (4 low x 4 mid x 4 high)
  • Machined Locking Collar
  • FreqPhase Waveguide

Key Features

The four-pin connection provides secure and quality audio transmission with no distortion. Gold-Plated 3.5mm input connector ensures seamless connection.

Technology

  • Triple bore FreqPhase ensures that all 12 micro-drivers work harmoniously providing sound in 0.01 milliseconds.
  • Integrated 4th Order Crossover.
  • SoundrIVe™ technology features 12 drivers: quad low, quad mid, quad high

Performance & Quality

“KoRn has 7­string guitars tuned very low and I need to hear every note! My Layla’s are ultra-clear and sound amazing. My band tours all year round and my JH’s are beyond durable & reliable!” Ray Luzier, Drummer for Korn.

Who Should Buy

Audiophiles looking for precise sound quality and are into mastering.

Pros & Cons

The only real problem people have with this product is that the buds are too big and do not fit snuggly in the ear. However, the sound quality is beyond superb.

Overall Rating: 95/100

This set provides a superior, individualized listening experience worth the price. This product loses five points because of the fit issue.

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4. FiiO FH7 5-Drive Hybrid

Best Features

  • Three filters for unique frequency listening
  • Five drivers: one DD and four BA
  • Clarity of sound

Key Features

The cable for these earbuds is made of Litz monocrystalline copper-plated silver wires which prevent the usual crosstalk from deterioration and provide unbelievable strength. This product comes with three filter nets used for different frequencies: High Boost, Reference Sound, and Bass Boost.

Technology

  • One 13.6mm large beryllium diaphragm dynamic driver
  • Four Knowles balanced armatures
  • Litz 8-core/strand cable

Performance & Quality

The reviews for this product are overwhelmingly positive. It has a good, sturdy feel to it.

Who Should Buy

People who are looking to manually change the filters and adjust the listening experience.

Pros & Cons:

Listening on a cellular device without an amp provides a lesser listening experience compared to listening on other devices or when using an amp.

Overall Rating: 85/100

The product outperforms its price range. It loses 15 points for the need of an amp in some circumstances.

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5. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Best Features

  • Wireless
  • Battery life
  • Lightweight, ergonomic fit

Key Features

Water and sweat-resistant due to the IPX4 splash resistance technology. These buds have seven hours of battery life and come with a charging case that can charge them up to four times before it needs to be charged itself.

Technology

  • IPX4 Splash Resistance
  • Touch-sensitive buds let you have easy control over your music and phone calls.

Performance & Quality

These buds out-perform their class when it comes to the sound stage, however, they under-perform when it comes to the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). The overall build quality is excellent and feels very professional.

Who Should Buy

People who are looking to use these to listen to music during exercise.

Pros & Cons:

Unfortunately, there is a 3/10 noticeable audio lag when using these buds with YouTube or during Gaming. However, used for audio alone, the sound quality is great.

Overall Rating:70/100

These buds lose 30 points because of the audio lag and ANC issues.

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6.1MORE Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones

Best Features

  • Tuned by Luca Bignardi
  • Quad drivers
  • Ergonomic design

Key Features

These earphones have premium packaging in the form of a faux leather travel case. The product comes with nine different ear tips. The controls flow seamlessly with the cable which looks and feels great.

Technology

  • Quad drivers: 1 carbon dynamic driver and three balanced armatures
  • The aluminum sound chamber helps with noise isolation and creates a full sound.

Performance & Quality

The build quality is outstanding. The buds are encased in metal and the cable is reinforced to avoid bends and breaks.

Who Should Buy

People who are looking for good quality sound at a slightly better price point.

Pros & Cons:

Unfortunately, many reviewers claim that the provided tips were not suitable for their ear size and they had to use a different brand tip to create a good seal.

Overall Rating: 80/100

The product performs well within its price range. It loses 20 points due to the tip sizing issue.

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7. Samsung Galaxy Buds ANC Live 5.0 Earbuds

Best Features

  • Wireless
  • IPX2 Splash Resistance
  • Fast charging

Key Features

This product lets you activate the Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) at will so that you never miss important things like conversations and announcements.

The battery life is roughly five hours and the buds can be charged on the go with your phone or the case. Five minutes in the case means an hour of listening time.

Technology

  • 12mm speakers in each bud
  • Bass duct allows low-frequency sound to go straight to the ear
  • Air vents produce open area sound

Performance & Quality

This product has a quality finish that looks and feels elegant and expensive.

Who Should Buy

People who are looking for sleek-looking earbuds that are worn throughout the day but do not prevent outside noise from coming in when they need it.

Pros & Cons:

Many people reviewed that the buds were too large and often fell out of the ear or did not create a tight enough seal to enjoy music.

Overall rating: 80/100

This product loses 20 points because of the fit issue.

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8. Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Best Features

  • IPX4 Splash Resistance
  • True Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
  • True Wireless

Key Features

The buds themselves are wireless and they can get extra charge in the case. The case can be charged wirelessly on a Qi-certified charging station. The buds have a battery life of six hours and can get another 12 hours charge from the case.

Touch settings on the buds give you control over your music and three levels of ANC so you can control how much outside noise you hear.

Technology

  • IPX4 Splash resistance
  • Bluetooth range of 30ft lets you connect the buds to your device while you move around.
  • Single dynamic driver

Performance & Quality

These buds are durable and provide a good sound experience, however, many people reviewed them as substandard when compared to similar earbuds in the same price range.

Who Should Buy

People who are looking for superb ANC.

Pros & Cons:

Only the right bud can be used on its own as the left connects through the right. There are some connectivity issues when pairing with your device. The earbuds as well as the charging box are very bulky and not pocket-sized.

Overall rating: 50/100

This product loses 20 points because while it does deliver on the ANC front, it does not deliver on the rest for the price that is being asked.

This product loses a further 30 points because the left bud cannot be used on its own which excludes people who are hard of hearing and use a hearing aid in their right ear.

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9. Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones

Best Features

  • Fast charging
  • Completely adjustable
  • IPX4 Sweat resistant

Key Features

Adjustable straps that allow for movement and four different sized ear tips for maximum comfort. Each earbud can be used separately, the same control features are on both buds.

Technology

  • Fast Fuel Charging technology means that you can charge the buds for five minutes and get a further 90 minutes of play.
  • Built-in lithium-ion battery.

Performance & Quality

Good build quality. Each bud has a battery life of nine hours which can be extended to 24 with the charging case. The charging case has vents to allow sweat to evaporate while they are charging after a good workout.

Who Should Buy

People who are looking for the best and most secure workout earbuds..

Pros & Cons:

Some reviewers complain about midrange sounds being lost to the heavy bass and high treble

Overall Rating: 95/100

This product loses five points for the reports of occasional loss of midrange sound.

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10. Audio-Technica QuietPoint Wireless Headphones

Best Features

  • Three Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) modes
  • IPX2 water resistance
  • Comfortable fit

Key Features

This product comes with Comply foam tips in a medium as well as four differently sized silicone tips for comfort. Three different ANC modes can be chosen in the app.

Technology

  • Built-in lithium-ion batteries with a life of 4.5 hours
  • Single 5.8mm dynamic driver for comfort and sound quality
  • Diamond-like coated diaphragms for full sound

Performance & Quality

These earbuds have a good, sturdy feel to them. The battery life is 4.5 hours that can be extended to 13 hours with the charging case.

Who Should Buy

People who are looking for simple buds that are comfortable for long wear times.

Pros & Cons:

Many reviewers report that the left earbud can deteriorate over time and interrupt calls with loud sounds.

Overall Rating: 60/100

This product loses 40 points because of the deterioration of the left earbud and the overall short battery life when compared to the price point.

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CONCLUSION

After reading all that information, you might be struggling with a decision. Here is the nitty-gritty laid out for you to compare in our Top 10 Product summary

ProductPrice ($)WirelessBattery LifeDriverScore /100
1Shure SE846 Sound Isolating Earphones

849.99xxQuad100
2Sony IER-Z1R Signature Series in-Ear Headphones

1 698.00xx2 DD
1 BA
90
3Astell&Kern Layla in-Ear Monitors

1 699.00xx3 x Quad95
4FiiO FH7 5-Drive Hybrid

449.99xx1 DD
4 BA
85
5Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

299.95Buds: 7
Case: 28
1 DD
4 BA
70
61MORE Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones

123.60xx1 DD
3 BA
80
7Samsung Galaxy Buds ANC Live 5.0 Earbuds

136.99Buds: 5
Case: 7
1 x 12mm DD80
8Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds

279.00Buds: 6
Case 12
1 DD50
9Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones

142.96Buds: 9
Case: 24
1 x 12mm DD95
10Audio-Technica QuietPoint Wireless Headphones

199.00Buds: 4.5
Case: 13
1 x 5.8mm DD60

It is pretty obvious that we recommend the Shure SE846 Sound Isolating Earphones as our number one pick. They provide the best listening experience comparable to price.

Discover which set of earbuds is the one for you. Start by listing all of your audiophile needs and then set your price point. Your superior listening experience is a click away.