Buying Guide: The Best Earphones Under Rs. 3000

by Nausheen Shaikh April 13, 2015

For The Confused Indian Buyer: Here Are The Best Earphones Under Rs. 3000

Most smartphones come with a pair of earphones as an additional accessory. A lot of people might be happy with these, and you'll generally be okay if you use them only for phone calls or some radio. However, if you use your phone for music, you'll most likely be unhappy with the bundled pair. That's where our services come in.

What to Expect in this Category?

This price category is perfect for those looking for a substantial upgrade without spending the big moolah.

  • Build Quality: These earphones would be fairly sturdy, with tangle resistant cables. 
  • Sound Quality: This is where you get into the good stuff, sound moves from overpowering bass to a comparatively balanced sound signature. Audiophiles however, please don't expect too much from these. 
  • Form Factor: You'd definitely get better earphones than headphones in this category. Wireless earphones would be very basic. More functional, rather than actually sounding good.
  • Mic and remote ability differs from model to model, but is generally prevalent.

This list has been compiled with the help of users as well as our in-house experts.

In no particular order, here we go!

1. RHA - S500

Premium In-ear headphones with Micro Dynamic Drivers

RHA has made a name for itself by offering quality earphones at budget prices. Eventually, the company expanded its lineup to include some high-end models, like the RHA T20, but is returning to its roots with the S500. The S500 is a replacement to the now discontinued MA350.

When it comes to build quality, these earphones are excellent, being made with highly durable aircraft grade aluminium with each earphone being handmade by RHA.  The S500 also has a rather sleek and stylish look, with earpieces that are tiny and extremely lightweight. 

As for the cables, they are  fabric braided with a section covered in Kevlar, a feature absent in any of the earphones in this list. The wires are highly durable, don't tangle easily and RHA has definitely reduced cable noise, which was an issue in the previous model.

A negative in the design aspect might be the straight 3.5mm jack. But since RHA has made the cables rather durable, thus one does not miss the angled jack, that is usually present/preferred in a pair of earphones/portable headphones.

Moving on to noise isolation, the S500 is very impressive. This can mostly be attributed to the staggering number of eartips that come in the box, which includes six pairs of dual density and double-flange silicone tips. Apart from these accessories, a handy fabric carry case and clothing clip has also been provided.

When it comes to the sound, t he S500 has one of the smallest dynamic drivers in the world at 6 mm, which has been designed for music of all genres . The S500 as a whole, does emphasize the highs and lows quite a bit. Although the bass is deep and rolling, the sparkle in the highs balances out the sound signature quite nicely. Mids are good enough, but aren't as flat and precise as audiophiles may prefer.

Budding sound enthusiasts shouldn't worry however, these earphones are very clear and detailed with a rather warm sound signature. And in case these earphones conk out, RHA offers an astounding 3 year warranty!

A product of one of the best brands in the world, the RHA S500 definitely stands on top of this list both in terms of quality and giving you a bang for your buck.

Kanishk Luhach

"The all aluminium design makes it sturdy and robust enough for day to day use and travel. As far as sound is concerned, in this price range, you will not find a more flat and balanced sound in any of the earphones available in the market. The sound stage is perfect I mean perfect, you will not miss a single beat, anything that comes closer would be an audiophile range studio monitor."


Warranty: 3 Years
Best In-Class in Detailing
Microphone: No
Lacks Punchiness


Our Verdict:
We would recommend the RHA S500 for those seeking a detailed sound with enhanced bass that doesn't muddy the sound.



2. MEElectronics - M7P

Earphones for an Active Lifestyle

The MEE Audio (formerly MEElectronics) M7P is an upgrade to its M6P Sport Fi earphones which was specifically designed for a sports lover who wants to pump up their workouts with some bassy, energetic music.

The M7P's USP is their design more than the sound quality, which is of course nothing to scoff at. The most impressive feature of these in-ears is that they come with  detachable cables, so you can easily replace various components in case they conk out.

The most important things for sports earphones is of course, the fit and sweat resistance. MEE Audio has definitely worked on both.

To start with, the first thing they've done is doing away with the stiff wire that wraps around the ears. Instead, they use memory wires are much softer and more flexible. The wires stay in place, and there's no need to adjust it to the right shape/position. The second major feature is the pivoting nozzles. These are a huge boon. Because the earphones are now able to move around just enough to prevent pulling out and heating during long wearing sessions, and rigorous activity. 

The M7P also employs 'Liquipel Watersafe™ nano-coating technology' to ensure that they remain sweat resistant. This definitely lives up to expectations. Plus, the durable cables emit minimal cable noise.

These earphones also come with a  built-in microphone, remote, and universal volume control which is another tick in the design and utility column.

When it comes to noise isolation, they've done a pretty good job. These earphones have been designed to go deep enough into the ear canals so as to block out noise effectively. The four additional eartips do help out as well. Additional accessories in the box include a matching carry case and a shirt clip attached to the cables.

Coming to the sound, audiophiles should probably get a handle on their expectations. For a sports earphone, they do really well. The bass is slightly boosted but not to the point of being overwhelming or negatively impacting the music. The mids are a bit recessed in comparison to the bass, but are clear, smooth, and still enjoyable. The highs have been enhanced a tad too but while being detailed, aren't sibilant. Overall an enjoyable and clear sounding earphone with a slight V sound signature that still sounds somewhat balanced. 

Sound wise, they're slightly weaker than the others in this list; but for the purpose of working out, you'd probably not get anything better in this price range.

Johny Eros, JohnyTechReview

"Great crystal clean sound. The bass is strong and hits hard on EDM, Rap and Hip Hop without being muddy at all. Overall not much to complain: a very nice pair of headphones with great sound at an affordable pricing point."


Detachable Cables
Sweat Resistant
Over ear fit might not be for everyone


Our Verdict:
If you're looking for a budget earphone that would be perfect for your workouts, look no further



3. Sennheiser - CX 3.00

Bassy Headphones from the German Giant

Reasonably priced but delivering decent sound quality, the CX 300 and subsequent CX 300-II were some of Sennheiser's most popular in-ear headphones. The originals date back to 2008 and so were definitely due for an update, which Sennheiser did with the CX 3.00.

The most noticeable improvement is the  angled resonator. This lets the earpieces sit more comfortably in your ear canal and rest on your outer ear - a big improvement over in-ears that go straight in and then gradually fall out due to the combination of gravity and the weight of the cabling. Another design improvement is that the cables are elliptical rather than being flat or round. Although this doesn't make them entirely tangle free, it does a fair job.

The CX 3.00 are probably one of the most comfortable earphones on the list. Sennheiser has upped their game here, with a rather long nozzle to go deeper in to the ear. The lightweight design is another big tick mark in favour of this model.

Where the CX 3.00 slightly loses its way is with its noise isolation. The earphones have a vented design, which although allows for more airiness, doesn't allow the isolation to be anything more than average. However, getting yourself a set of Comply Foam Isolation tips should help you solve this problem.

Also, the plastic carrying case (reminiscent of JBL's E10s) is impractical and cumbersome to carry.

Moving on to sound, this is a basshead's delight . The bass is rather warm and emphasized which occasionally might be slightly overpowering. It’s meaty, and has bit of a boomy quality to it, and retains its quality even as you turn it up the volume, a big plus for those that like their music loud. The midrange here is recessed, especially compared to the big bass. As for the highs, they're not as sparkly and rich as they should be. But the casual listener shouldn't complain.

Soundstage is a little narrow though and sound separation is average, but well centered.

If you're looking for a more balanced sound signature however, the RHAs and Denons would be more suited to your taste.

Trusted Reviews

"The Sennheiser CX 3.00 are almost the perfect entry-level earphones. They’re incredibly light and comfortable, and just easy to get on with. However, they're very bass-heavy, so only really for casual listening unless you're seriously into low frequencies."


Fun Bassy Sound
Thick tangle free cords
Microphone: No


Our Verdict:
If you're a basshead, or into genres like EDM, hip hop or commercial Bollywood; then these are the ones for you.



Consult an Expert Now
Book a time of your preference and let us guide you through your options, discuss sound and help you make the right choice. Allow us to introduce you to the choicest of products at your leisure.

4. Denon - AH-C50MA

Premium In-ear headphones with Denon Music App

For the unaware, Denon is a brand that has been involved in premium professional audio products for many years, though most recently have been making inroads with their consumer audio offerings. The Music Maniac earphones definitely have the pedigree, but do they carry forward that legacy? That's a question that needs answering.

These earphones aren't as well packaged as others in this list. And despite being named “Music Maniac”, the Maniac’s have a very understated look. With almost all black with small silver accents on the earpieces, the Maniacs are extremely reserved and simple, unlike the more robustly designed/coloured models in this list. However, it's still nice looking enough to not be a let down.

They're relatively low profile, comfortable and lightweight. You shouldn't have an issue when you wear them for long listening sessions. 

The biggest design feature of the AH-C50MA are in the cables. They have a Radial Cascade Damper system to specifically reduce cable noise. And Denon has definitely done a far better job than others in this category to combat this issue.

The Maniacs have one other notable feature, which is the inline microphone and answer button. Unlike the M7Ps however, it doesn't have volume control functionality.

Moving on to the sound, the Music Maniac series aims to be as acoustically transparent as possible. And although this is just an entry level model to the series, it does do the job well. Sound is tuned flatter than any other earphone in this category. 

Equipped with 9mm drivers and Acoustic Optimizer, these earphones provide a pure listening experience. The highs and mids are very clear and the bass is not at all overpowering (enough so that bassheads might call it nonexistent). But to a discerning listener, the bass shines through. Vocals and acoustic instruments are very clear and sound even better with the volume turned up. The sound has a good presence and an impressively wide soundstage.

Denon has also released an app called Denon Music App that has been designed to enhance the performance of the Music Maniac earphones. Although it doesn’t do anything ground breaking; it’s useful for playlists and adjusting EQ, and is a good option if you don't already have a similar app, but not that useful if you listen to music using a streaming app.

Although the AH-C50MA is definitely a very good pair of earphones you should consider upping your budget a little and getting the Denon - AH-C120MA for a superior sonic experience.

Michael Aulia, Craving Tech

"For the purest audio listening experience, the AH-C50MA is a great choice. Vocals and acoustic instruments get the better audio treatment here and when you pump the volume up, they just get better and better in your ears."


Transparent, balanced sound
Reduced Cable Noise
Not for Bassheads


Our Verdict:
If you're looking for an acoustically transparent sounding headset that you can use with your Android and iOS devices, then these are for you.



5. Audio Technica - ATH-CKX9

Excellent Sonic Performance for Runners

The Audio Technica CKX9 is the most premium (mic-free) model from Audio Technica's Sonic Fuel sports series of earphones.

One of the most popular in-ear models from the Japanese giant's stable, their C-Tip design makes them immediately recognizable.

And this feature is probably the most divisive amongst owners. Some laud this feature for the secure fit and comfort it provides, while others have diametrically opposite opinions, with complaints about how the large C-tips don't fit and are sometimes downright painful to wear, especially for long hours.

The differing opinions arise because not all ears are the same size. If you're someone with generally smaller ears, then you should probably stop reading and consider any of the other options in this list.

Otherwise, read on.

Although the large earpieces and flat tangle-free cables are all plastic and rubber; they feel rather durable. The earphones also have an extremely secure fit, and won't fall out even when you shake your head rigorously. A disappointment however, is that the CKX9 isn't sweat or water proof. This does take away from its effectiveness as a sports earphone.

Due to the CKX9's inherent design and provision of earfins and eartips (including Comply Foam!) in varied sizes; these in-ears provide noise isolation that is sufficiently strong. Apart from the eartips, the CKX9 also has a  semi-hard carry case.

Moving on to the sound, the CKX9 is slightly skewed towards the bass but the low-end is superbly assimilated, so that the bass is not overbearing. The treble is exceptionally detailed, and sound is rather airy and open. Clarity is great, and the tone is fairly bright with the treble being smooth enough to avoid serious sibilance and harshness.

Audiophiles looking for a pair of workout earphones having a budget shouldn't be disappointed with these earphones.

Although these are better sounding than the M7Ps, the latter wins out when it comes to universal comfort and functionality as strictly a rigorous workout earphone.

If you're someone who indulges in light workout sessions and wants great sound, then go for these over the M7Ps.

Shrikant Pendharkar

"The product gives amazing Value For Money for enthusiasts like me who want best quality within low budget. It's great buy and probably the best under in this range. I have no hesitation in recommending them."

Read full review here.


Crisp Bass
C-Tip Design for Secure Fit
Microphone: No
Earpieces might be too large for some


Our Verdict:
Quality Audio Technica sound with a secure fit, perfect for runners.



These were the best 5 earphones that come under Rs 3000. Although there are others that come within the same budget, these are the ones we definitely recommend. 

What are your favourite earphones in this range? Do let us know in the comments below!

If you'd like to learn more,  #AskHeadphoneZone!


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Nausheen Shaikh
Nausheen Shaikh

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