The vast majority of the average Indian buyer wouldn’t dare to venture beyond 2000 rupees for a earphone.
But if you’re looking to get serious about your audio, this is an excellent price point to start at. And what you need is help to get the best bang for your buck. That’s where this guide comes in.
Build Quality: With the good amount of money you’re about to spend, a premium build comes as a standard. Be it high quality metal construction or tangle free cable, it’s all available here.
Sound Quality: If your previous earphone is from the sub-2000 category, then you will notice a significant difference in sound clarity, bass and soundstage. Your earphones will move away from muddy bass towards sound that is more refined and balanced.
Form Factor: Wireless earphones in this category will be functional. Preferable only for calls, not for listening to music. Active noise cancellation is extremely rare and not good enough to cancel out the heavy hit your audio quality will take. IEM’s in this price range will sound better than over-ears at the same point.
Remote and Mic: With only a handful of exceptions, the majority of the earphones in this price range will feature a mic and a remote. Some could go as far as offering universal volume control as well.
This list has been compiled with the help of users as well as our in-house experts.
In no particular order, here we go!
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 S500i. The S500i is a replacement to the discontinued MA450i.
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 S500i 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 three button remote and mic for iOS devices is also attached to the cable.
A negative in the design aspect might be the straight 3.5mm jack. But since RHA has made the cables rather durable, one does not miss the angled jack that is usually present in a pair of portable headphones/earphones.
Moving on to noise isolation, the S500i 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 S500i has one of the smallest dynamic drivers in the world at 6 mm which has been designed for music of all genres with . 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 S500i definitely stands on top of this list both in terms of quality and giving you a bang for your buck.
An offering from the Swedish brand known for their iconic black flat cables, the Jays – a – Jays One+ has been designed with practicality in mind. Be it for the ergonomic design or the mic and remote function, the Jays One+ are going to appeal to a wide array of audiences.
Like most of Jays products, the a-One+ too flaunts a minimalistic and understated design. Premium materials such as machined aluminium and thermoplastic have been used in the constructions, which give it a rich feel. In a nutshell, we love the matt black chunky design.
The a-Jays One+ in-ear headphones are available for Android as well as iOS devices. The remote lets you control your music and take calls via your iOS device, while the Andriod devices can reap more functionality with the free Jays app called Headset Control.
The packaging is nothing short of what is expected from JAYS, a well-designed cover box that simply yet classy. It comes with five pairs of silicon eartips and the earphones of course.
Practicality is the key basis of their design. The a-Jays One+ are more comfortable to wear than any other previous iteration of the Jays’ series of headsets in this range. Noise isolation is superior to most offerings here, owing to the great fit that can be achieved using suitable eartips from the available pack.
The audio quality of the a-Jays Five is interesting. Their sound resembles that of other Jays in-ears. A great improvement from the Jays-One, the bass is admirably present and the littlest of details are reproduced well. The mids and vocals better resolution and a shade that is brighter.
Jazz, blues, soul and country music lovers will be fairly satisfied.
Shure is one of the oldest and most respected audio companies in the world and the SE112 is one of its most affordable models, aimed at delivering balanced sound for budding audiophiles.
The Shure SE112 earphones are the entry level models in the SE series and although they look unassuming at first, the small design touches make them unique. The design is tailored around delivering good passive noise isolation and that works brilliantly, at least better than most of the offerings at this price point.
Shure has never compromised with the build quality of their products. The SE112’s aren’t an exception to this treatment. The earbuds feel fairly solid and durable.
If you have dainty ears, the comfort could be an issue. The earbuds are big, although not Audio Technica ATH CKX9iS big, but nevertheless they do have a relatively large profile.
But getting used to it is fairly easy. You do get three sets of ear tips plus a simple carrying pouch in the box, which unlike RHA, is the bare minimum. That’s because Shure claims to focus more on the audio quality than on additional frills. Even the elder Shure siblings hardly come with anything to surprise you out of the box.
Also, about the cable noise, while it’s not overly disturbing or a deal breaker, but there’s a fair bit of it.
Moving to the sound, from the very first moment, SE112 pumps out distortion free sound that’s pleasant to the ears. The lows in the SE112 are solid, though not overly emphasized, and are slightly warm. They even excel at bringing out rich vocals. The highs are crisp with plenty of detail. The wide-open soundstage offers clean and clear instrumental separation.
Overall, the slightly bass focused sound is a crowd pleaser. There’s no denying that these modestly designed Shure headphones wind up with pleasant audio and quality parts in an affordable package that is hard to look over, is the reason why critics have raved about them. If the iconic SE215s are out of your league for budget constraints, these are the closest you can get to such full bodied audio delivery.
SoundMAGIC, a small Chinese audio company has been winning the approval of headphone enthusiasts the world over. The SoundMAGIC E80S is the flagship model of its very popular reference series.
The E80S is meticulously designed to last. The distinctive design is easily distinguishable from the endless crowd of in-earphones. The braided cable along with the aluminium housing is truly quality.
The all metal construction is a rarity at this price point. SoundMAGIC has never failed to impress with the packaging and presentation of their products, and more importantly with the sheer number of bundled accessories. The E80S’ only elevate that further. With 7 pair of silicone tips and a bunch of Comply Foam tips, obtaining the perfect fit is only a matter of trial and error. The fit is extremely snug while achieving a tight seal, thereby leading to a superior noise isolation.
The best part is, you can wear them for hours without straining your ears. Owing to their thoughtful design and a relatively small form factor, the E80S’ are extremely comfortable. The braided cables were designed to keep cable noise to a bare minimum, and it works.
The E80S’ are a pinnacle of balanced tonality. The soundstage is very wide and the fine details are well reproduced with the overall audio being delightful to the ears.
The focus on extracting detail is evident, but at times extreme highs might sound a tad sibilant. To maximize output quality, it is recommended to use a high quality audio output device and lossless audio files.
However, the 64 ohms of impedance does limit their volume levels in a portable device, so you should probably consider other options if you're using it with a mobile. But otherwise, they're excellent.
The ATH-CKX9iS is the mic-enabled smartphone friendly version of the well received ATH CKX9. It is the flagship model of the Sonic Fuel series of sports earphones that were launched in early 2015.
The tangle free cord has a remote with a single button, a microphone, and a volume slider for extra convenience while on the go. Audio-Technica's newly designed 360-degree rotating ear tips are also present; they move with the listeners' ears to create a perfect seal.
Furthermore, the silicone earfins for each earpiece are also removable and come in three sizes to find the right one that suits every ear type. However, unlike most sport earphone offerings, these do not come with sweat resistance. Which is a disappointment, since cheaper MEE Audio M7P not only offers a sweat proof design, but also feature Liquipel coated water and dust resistance.
When it comes to comfort, wearing them for long could strain your ears. However, they do come with a pair of memory foam tips, which could address this issue to a certain extent. Also the L-shaped jack could have issues fitting with phones which are bound by a bumper case. But these are only minor issues.
The ATH-CKX9iS ships with four pairs of silicone ear tips and one pair of memory foam ear tips as mentioned earlier along with a stylish hard carry case.
Moving to the sound, the large 13.5 mm deliver deeper bass response and sparkling high frequencies. Typical of most sports earphones, the bass is a little accentuated, but not overpowering. The soundstage is impressively wide, provided you manage to get a good fit.
The earphones also manage to avoid distortion even at high volume levels and do tend to get very loud owing to their low impedance.The overall sound signature is similar to their critically acclaimed M50X headphones, with an enhanced bass.
For lesser than 4000 odd rupees, CKX9iS offer excellent high level of distortion-free performance with the versatility of a rugged sports earphone.
These were the best 5 headphones that come under Rs 4000. 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!
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