Best high-end earbuds

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With the latest in noise-canceling technology and premium comfort, high-end earbuds can greatly improve your listening experience.

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Which high-end earbuds are the best?

Earbuds have become a ubiquitous part of daily life for everything from video conferencing to watching movies while on the go. However, many of these devices sacrifice audio fidelity and comfort for convenience and affordability, providing thin sound and leaving much to be desired when it comes to build quality. Those in search of the best noise-cancelling features and bass response have largely had to forgo earbuds in favor of bulky, traditional headphones.

Thankfully, there are now high-end earbuds available for those who are willing to spend a bit more in order to still enjoy premium audio and cutting-edge features in a smaller form factor. The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ – Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless In-Ear Earphones

 for example, are designed for the discriminating listener. These top-of-the line earbuds provide rich sound and the latest in adaptive noise cancellation in a compact package.

What to know before you buy high-end earbuds

Your usage

To help you decide which model will best suit your needs, consider where and how you will most frequently use your earbuds. If you do most of your listening while working out, select a pair that features water- and sweat-resistance. You’ll also want to look for earbuds that allow for a tighter fit to reduce the risk of them falling out. People in search of the best quality audio are generally interested in using their devices for music, movies and other media. However, many find that even a routine business call can be improved with noise-cancelling technology and better sound. Keep your intended use in mind, but also be aware that once you experience premium audio, you may find yourself using your earbuds in more situations than you expected.

Charging considerations

Earbuds at this price range will include a special case that protects your headphones as they charge. Most charge via USB-C, although Apple’s devices are still dependent on their proprietary cable. Others allow for wireless charging. Consider your charging preferences while shopping for earbuds and select a model that will integrate seamlessly within your workflow and daily routine.

Expectations

Today’s technology allows even small earbuds to perform exponentially better than those from even a generation ago. However, for those in need of the absolute best in premium audio, traditional headphones are still king. This largely comes down to size, as earbuds simply aren’t large enough to contain the drivers required to provide superior bass tones. Headphones that encompass your entire ear also provide better immersion when it comes to surround sound and noise cancelling.

What to look for in quality high-end earbuds

Comfort

It’s not unusual for people to wear their earbuds for hours at a time. Long workouts, commutes or meetings can demand constant listening. Select a pair of high-end earbuds that you will be able to wear comfortably as needed. Many models include rubber tips that are designed to fit snugly in your ear, and some feature various tip sizes that allow you to customize your earbuds to your preferred fit. 

Size

High-end earbuds tend to be a bit larger than less-expensive options. This is because superior sound can only be delivered via larger drivers. While most users happily accept a slightly bigger profile in favor of improved audio, the discreet size of wireless earbuds is one of their major selling points. You will have to determine how to best split the difference between size and audio quality to suit your personal preferences.

Noise-cancelling technology

Noise-cancelling technology is a feature that needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Once only available in large, traditional headphones, it is now an industry standard amongst high-end earbuds. Select a pair that allows for you to easily turn this feature on and off, depending on your environment and safety.

Battery life

Choose a model with the longest battery life advertised to ensure that your earbuds will keep the music going all day long. Keep in mind that using certain features, such as noise cancellation, will result in a faster battery drain

Microphone

If you intend to use your earbuds for phone calls or business meetings, it’s important to select a model that features a high-quality microphone. Most high-end models include multiple microphones to allow for excellent voice clarity and to enhance their adaptive noise-cancellation features.

How much you can expect to spend on high-end earbuds

Expect to spend $200-$400 on a pair of high-end earbuds. Models in this price range will perform similarly, with most of their differences coming down to your personal taste.

High-end earbuds FAQ

Are high-end earbuds really worth the extra cost?

A. If you require excellent sound quality, yes. Inexpensive earbuds prioritize economy over fidelity. If you are in search of the best possible listening experience one can have while using earbuds, you will need a high-end model from a premium manufacturer.

How do you avoid losing earbuds?

A. For as long as wireless earbuds have been in use, losing these tiny devices has been a common and costly occurrence. You can avoid losing your earbuds by ensuring that you always place them in their charging case while not in use. This not only prevents them from becoming separated, but allows them to charge for your next use.

Are any high-end earbuds waterproof?

A. While total waterproofing is a feature that is still hard to come by when it comes to earbuds in any price range, many provide enough water-resistance to withstand sweaty workouts and the occasional drop in a puddle or shower. However, it is not recommended that you completely submerge any water-resistant electronics.

What are the best high-end earbuds to buy?

Top high-end earbuds

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ - Active Noise Cancelling Wireless In-Ear Earphones

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ – Active Noise Cancelling Wireless In-Ear Earphones 

What you need to know: Featuring adaptive noise cancelling, these wireless earbuds provide the absolute best in sound quality. One charge provides 6.5 hours of playtime.

What you’ll love: Adaptive noise cancelling keeps the audio crystal clear, no matter the environment. Featuring six microphones, these earbuds provide best-in-class call quality.

What you should consider: These premium earbuds come at a high price, costing more than most other models.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top high-end earbuds for the money

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

What you need to know: Apple’s iconic AirPods get an update in the form of these noise-cancelling, comfortable earbuds.

What you’ll love: Seamlessly integrating with your Mac, iPhone and iPad, these earbuds follow Apple’s penchant for high-quality, accessible technology. Featuring adaptive noise cancelling, great water-resistance and customizable tips, these earbuds are an excellent choice for anyone looking to upgrade. 

What you should consider: Models from other brands deliver superior sound quality and can charge via USB-C.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Staples

Worth checking out

Sony WF-1000XM4 Industry Leading Noise-Canceling Truly Wireless Earbud Headphones

Sony WF-1000XM4 Industry Leading Noise-Canceling Truly Wireless Earbud Headphones

What you need to know: No slouch when it comes to great audio gear, Sony continues to lead the charge with this pair of great-sounding earbuds.

What you’ll love: These earbuds feature Sony’s renowned noise-cancelling technology. Alexa is built in, allowing you to control your smart devices via your headphones. Able to run for 8 hours on a charge, placing these earbuds in their charging case for only 5 minutes allows you another hour of listening.

What you should consider: These earbuds are a bit large for some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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