While most people are happy with the $20 Apple EarPods, curious audiophiles and hardcore music/sound enthusiasts can't be satisfied with something as simple as that. That explains why companies like Bose, Sennheiser, Beats (which was acquired by Apple for a whopping $3.2B) and others churn out new, high-end earbuds every now and then.
High-end earphones for the iPhone or for the iPad perform way better than the usual ones. Things like noise cancellation, isolation, in-ear fit (the design) come into play heavily. That's what makes them stand out from the normal ones and that is why audiophiles are ready to shell out a lot of money to get one of these.
Take a look at some of the top-quality, high-end iPhone earphones/earbuds:
#1. Sennheiser CX 985
Sennheiser is one of my favorite brands when it comes to earphones. One of the first things that I like is the consistency of quality across varied price ranges. At the higher end of the spectrum, Sennheiser produces some top-notch earbuds that come with interesting and innovative features.
The Sennheiser CX 985 is an earbud with in-line volume control and a rotating 3.5mm jack. All of Sennheiser's earphones are compatible with iPhones; this one more so.
Also Read: Best Bose Earphone/Earbuds for iPhone
#2. Bose SIE2i
Bose is at the top of the earphone game and is one of the two leading manufacturers of high-end audio equipment, notably speakers. Bose in-ear headphones are crafted to perfect with their crowning glory being the ability to produce powerful noise cancellation. Bose also has a very keen focus on design much like Apple.
The SIE2i is specifically designed for workouts and sports. The unique design of the earbud (Stay Hear ear tips, as they're called) makes sure the earbuds don't fall off even during extremely fast or strenuous workouts. It's a sport earphone so it's splash- and sweat-resistant. Also, you can pick from two options: with microphones and without.
#3. Powerbeats from Beats by Dr. Dre
Beats by Dr. Dre needs no introduction either. Recently acquired by Apple for $3.2B, earphones from Beats are highly ergonomic while retaining every little feature of a high-end earphone product.
The Powerbeats is clearly a one-of-its-kind design. Also, the dual-driver design makes sure you hear bass and treble distinctly. With a focus on sports, this one is sweat-proof too along with UV protection. And there's the built-in chord remote that lets you control the playback (and volume) quickly.
Buy it from Amazon.com.
Etymotic are involved in top-notch research in the earphone space. Their products, somewhat naturally, are high-end. These folks have got some popular series of earphones like the “hf” or the “mc”.
The Etymotic HF5 runs big numbers all over; 35dB of isolation, a big range of freq. response, good impedance, and a 4-foot cable. These earphones/earbuds feature a unique design that is unlike most other “normal” earbuds in the market. That probably makes a big difference too. Note that the products are backed by enormous research in “in-ear” products.
Shure has got earphones that cost over a grand but that's not what we're covering. Shure takes the cake for some of the most unique earbud designs where you can actually customize and separate the cable from the earbud.
Shure's SE215-CL is a cool-looking earbud. The -K series is built for on-stage/live-performance purposes but the -CL would be better suited for the casual usage. High-fidelity, clear noise cancellation through design and the dynamic micro drivers ensure a very high quality of audio output. Something that you'd appreciate as a connoisseur of good quality, crisply isolated sound.
Most of the high-end earphones share similar specs when it comes to frequency isolation, canceling of noise and ambient sound and general output characteristics. Where they differ largely is in the way they are designed, in the materials used to craft the earphone and the chips and drivers used.
Tell us about your favorite earbuds in the comments!