People who own expensive earbuds soon realize that these earbuds are not for everyday activities. The last thing you want to do with your $200+ pair of earbuds is take a jog or get caught in the rain. The use of expensive earbuds should be limited to studio use or home use. But this raises the question, what earbuds are you going to use for your commutes, workouts or other activities? I used to buy earbuds at Wal Mart, but the sound quality was not that good (especially when I was used to $200+ earbuds) and they broke very quickly.

I used a site called MONOPRICE to buy my HDMI (and instrument) cables. While Best Buy has cable for $10-$20, monoprice has cables for ~$4 each. So one day, I noticed that they also sell earbuds. So I added a few to my cart and decided to test them. Here are the results.

Monoprice 105874 Premium Sonic Isolation Earphones














I do not recommend these. These are like generic iPhone earbuds. Did not stay well in my ears and did not sound good.

Monoprice 108320 Enhanced Bass

















There was some forum hype surrounding these earbuds, so I decided to try them out. They were the best sounding of the bunch. As the name suggests the bass was nice, but the mids and treble were pretty good too. Unfortunately these were uncomfortable in my ears for long periods of time. If these fit nice into your ears, these are the way to go. Buy a different set of tips for these!


Monoprice 109927 Enhanced Bass
















These are supposed to be an upgrade to the Monoprice 108320. Personally I saw no advantage and they still did not fit in my ears. Skip these and go with the 108320

Monoprice 108321 Button Design Noise Isolating















These were not noise isolating as the name suggests and were rather fragile. Nothing really bad about these and nothing really good. Just your run of the mill earbud

Monoprice 109396 Hi-Fi Premium Noise Isolating
















My absolutely favourite (cheap) pair of earbuds. Great sound. Great isolation. Most importantly, extremely comfortable with the default tips! I use these all the time. It is a bit hard to tell which one is left and which one is right, but I put some whiteout on the left one to easily differentiate between them. Highly recommended!


Here are some things to realize before buying a pair of cheap earbuds. These won’t sound like your SHURE earbuds. But they’ll beat anything retail in the sub $50 category. I’d recommend you buy at least two pairs as these (and other cheap earbuds) break often. I go through 2 pairs a year. I highly recommend the Monoprice 109396 Hi-Fi Premium Noise Isolating and the Monoprice 108320 Enhanced Bass (with extra Comply Foam Tips). Good luck and remember to protect your hearing!