Because in-ear headphones are so prevalent today, it can be really difficult to judge the entire category on sound-quality. You can find a pair of cheap, multi-colored, plastic earbuds at the local drug store, or you can purchase high-performance in-ear headphones from companies like Audeze, Astell&Kern, and Klipsch.
One thing that most in-ears have going for them is that they create a nice seal inside your ear canal, helping to isolate you from the outside world.
In-ear headphones have small drivers, so most can’t produce the types of highs and lows that on-ear or over-ear headphones can. They also pump the music straight into your ear-drum, so they’re less spacious or “open” sounding than other types of headphones.
Of course, there are exceptions. The Audeze iSINE, for example, utilize a planar magnetic design, unlike anything we’ve seen in any other in-ear headphones.
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