March 27, 2017

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 be too 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 a big chunk of money.

  • Build Quality: These earphones are 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, should not 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 U

Premium In-ear headphones with Micro Dynamic Drivers

  • Best Earphones under Rs. 3,000 - RHA - S500 U
  • RHA - S500 U

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 U, the successor of the S500.

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 U 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. The wires are highly durable (after all, you don’t get bullet-proof materials for cables at this price), don't tangle easily and RHA has definitely reduced cable noise, which was an issue in the previous model. Control your music playback without touching your phone with the Universal Remote (one more thing common between Android and iOS).

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/preferred in a pair of earphones/portable headphones.

Moving on to noise isolation, the S500 U 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, the S500 U has one of the smallest dynamic drivers in the world at 6 mm, which hasbeen designed for music of all genres. The S500 U 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 as these earphones are very clear and detailed with a rather balanced sound signature. And on the off-chance 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 U 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 soundstage is perfect I mean perfect, you will not miss a single beat, anything that comes closer would be an audiophile range studio monitor."



 

UPS
Warranty: 3 Years
Best-In-Class Detailing
DOWNS
Lacks Punchiness

 


Our Verdict:
We would recommend the RHA S500 U for those seeking a detailed sound with more emphasis on treble and clarity.


 




2. JAYS-a-Jays-One

Premium In-ear headphones with Micro Dynamic Drivers
JAYS-a-Jays-One

  • Best Earphones under Rs. 3,000 - JAYS-a-Jays-One
  • JAYS-a-Jays-One

The most interesting thing about the a-JAYS One design isn't so much the earbuds themselves, which are an ordinary bud style only enlivened by the presence of sets of different-sized silicone sleeves, but the cable, which rather than the customary round, is instead 115cm of flat black cable. While the a-JAYS One represents the very bottom of the rung of theJAYS ladder, with prices increasing as you go up the quality scale, it's a nice feature to have at a budget price point, as it makes it very hard (but not quite impossible) for the headphones to tangle up themselves.

The treble is smooth and free of harshness and sibilance, even though the top-end seems to roll off fairly early. Detail and resolutionis surprisingly good at this level, but overall treble presence is much greater in something like the Ultimate Ears 200. This can be EQ'd-in without adding much harshness, leading us to believe that the higher-end a-JAYS models’ improved treble response may be down to tuning rather than an entirely different driver.

Another complaint with the a-JAYS One is the lack of a mic. At this price point, it is certainly a letdown.

The a-JAYS One's frequency response tops out at an unimpressive 18,000Hz, but the slightly more expensive a-JAYS Two reaches to 20,000Hz and the a-JAYS Three goes up to 22,000Hz. We're not usually ones for judging sound by specs, but could JAYS be sacrificing the frequency curve here to give the product line a more convincing curve of its own?



CNET


"As basic headphones at a basic price, the a-Jays Ones acquit themselves well. The inclusion of the flat easy-to-use cable makes them particularly easy to recommend for everyday use."



 

UPS
Warranty: 2 Years
Robust Smooth Sound
DOWNS
No Microphone
Treble Could Do with Boost

 


Our Verdict:
The a-JAYS One are for those who need good audio while on-the-go.


 




3. Beyerdynamic - Byron

IFA 2016 Winner

  • Bayerdynamic - Byron
  • Bayerdynamic - Byron

Beyerdynamic has had a long and illustrious history when it comes to headphones, with its budget and high-end pairs collecting numerous Best Buy accolades over the years.

The Byron are entry-level in-ear earphones to the all-new series of the same name. The new edition in-ears combine incredible sound and high-quality craftsmanship. With the Byron, Beyerdynamic aims to make your mobile music listening experience extremely enjoyable. While the bass is not exceptional, the Byron's sound does not disappoint.

The microphone and remote lets you easily control your music. Now attend to calls with ease, without compromising on your music listening experience and vice versa.

Ergonomically engineered, these headsets have been designed to give you the best fit for long periods. The 3 included pairs of silicone eartips further enhance your wearing comfort.

The package comes with a soft zipper carry case for your headsets, making storage and travel easier.The icing on the cake—the 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.


What HiFi


"Beyerdynamic is back – and the Byron in-ears are the ones to beat..."




 

UPS
Aluminium Housing
Wide Soundstage
DOWNS
Not for Bassheads

 


Our Verdict:
It is undoubtedly the best in this class and if bass is not your utmost priority then, look no further.


 




4. Sennheiser - CX 3.00

Bassy Headphones from the German Giant

  • Sennheiser - CX 3.00
  • Sennheiser - CX 3.00

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 into 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 the noise isolation. The earphones have a vented design which allows for more airiness and 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 a bit of a boomy quality to it. It retains its quality even as you turn up the volume, a big plus for those that like their music loud. The midrange here is recessed, especially as 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 centred.

If you're looking for a more balanced sound signature, however, the RHAs 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."



 

UPS
Fun Bassy Sound
Thick tangle-free cords
DOWNS
No Microphone

 


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


 




5. 1MORE Single Driver

Excellent Designed with Detailed Sound

  • 1MORE Single Driver
  • 1MORE Single Driver

1MORE is a company based in California that is known for designing some exceptional earphones and headphones, that provide great value in terms of sound and design. They are probably best known for designing the Piston Earphones, which they licensed out to Xiaomi.

The 1MORE Single Driver is another one of their excellent budget options. As the name suggests, it’s driven by a single, dynamic driverand as you progress higher up the 1MORE line of earphones, you get a hybrid driver structure consisting of a dynamic driver and multiple balanced armature drivers.

Opening the Single Driver's packaging is exciting. You will find the earphones in a clear plastic display/carry case, encased in a rubber cable wrap. Under it, you can find three sets of additional tips. There’s also a soft touch carry case in case you don’t want to carry the transparent hard case with you. Once you open the package, we are sure that your fingers will be itching to plug them in...... 

......And this brings us to the sound. The Single Driver has a 32Ohm impedance rating, so the use of an amp is not necessary, though it scales pretty well with a good amplifier. They’re great for someone craving excellent detail and resolution, though they do lack some bottom-end presence due to the lack of seal with the standard silicone tips. Moving to Comply Tips improves the seal considerably, thus adding a lot more bass impact and giving the frequency range a lot more balance. Without the Comply Tips, they can be a bit sharp and shouty and a considerable number of people, including me don’t like that.

The earphone housing is made of an aluminium alloy with a gunmetal finish. It looks a lot like a jet engine, with the actual eartips angled forward. The cable is red with a nylon braid sleeving from the headphone jack to the Y-split. Upward of the split, it’s the same colour but has a rubberised cable instead of a sleeved one. There’s also an in-line mic and three-button remote control on the right side. While the angled tips make for a comfortable fit, the Single Driver doesn’t seal well. We do recommend using these with Comply Isolation Tips For a better experience.



Siddharth Parwatay, Digit.In


"The 1MORE Single Driver is quite attractively priced. At ₹2,700 they offer great clarity across the spectrum. If you are into genres which need an emphasis on vocals you won’t go wrong with the 1MORE. The design and build quality only make a stronger case for picking these up."



 

UPS
Great Design and Build
Excellent Soundstage and Detail
DOWNS
Lacks Seal
Needs Comply Tips for Bass

 


Our Verdict:
If you’re looking for an earphone with excellent detail, soundstage, a great design and build, the 1MORE Single Driver is it.


 





6. LSTN Sound Co. Avalon

Good Sound with a Great Cause

  • LSTN Sound Co. Avalon
  • LSTN Sound Co. Avalon

LSTN Sound Co., founded in 2013, is an audio company that has done more in its short time than companies that have been around for decades. Proceeds from the sales of their products are used for helping people hear for the first time. They have Partnered with The Starkey Hearing Foundationand together they provide underprivileged children with hearing aidsso that they too are able to enjoy music like we do.

The Avalon is an earphone that truly caught us by surprise. Despite all the great things that LSTN Sound Co. does, we weren’t expecting their earphones to knock our socks off in terms of sound. They mostly seem to have a V-Shaped sound signature, the mids do feel recessed, but after some burn-in, they do open up a bit and have great texture and layering. The Bass is fast with some good impact. It could improve with some better texture, but it’s pretty good for most modern genres of music. The treble seems to perform really well with acoustic instruments and female vocals, however, with distorted guitars it can get a bit too sharp at times.

The Avalon’s housings are made using real wood, with the option of Bamboo and Ebony housings. Not only does it sound and look good, it can also hold up well to some beating. The cables are rubberised and feel robust. The headphone jack is at a 45-degree angle and seems to be having a good stress relief so as to make sure the cable doesn’t get frayed easy. It also has a universally compatible in-line mic and remote.

The natural wood housing helps keep these earphones extremely light, especially since the woods used are bamboo and ebony which are known for their lightness and stiffness. The lightweight nature of the housings makes it comfortable to wear as it doesn’t pull down on the ear canals. Like all other earphones at this price point, they come with additional ear tips so as to make sure it fits well and seals well. It even comes with a snazzy microfiber carry case.

Check out the LSTN Sound Co.’s Avalon earphones if you want an earphone that doesn’t only sound or look good, but also contributes to a great cause, which is to help the world enjoy music.



Aaron, Resonance Reviews


"With good bass, decent highs, great construction, and a strong moral purpose behind them, I find the LSTN Avalons to be a compelling package. After all, if you had the chance to pick up a stylish pair of earphones, and help out underprivileged people with hearing loss, wouldn’t that be cool?."



 

UPS
Great Design and Comfort
Excellent Social Cause
DOWNS
Highs Can be a bit sharp at times
Could use improvement in detail

 


Our Verdict:
Even though there are some aspects of the Avalon that can be improved, it’s still a great earphone if you’re looking for something that sounds fun, is comfortable and has a good social impact.


 






7. SONY-MDR-XB75AP

Excellent Sonic Performance for Runners

  • SONY-MDR-XB75AP
  • SONY-MDR-XB75AP

The Sony - MDR-XB75AP is an in-ear stereo earphone from Sony's XB range, specially designed for Extra Bass and Loudness. The 12 mm driver unit and Powered Bass Duct++ ensure powerful sound delivery. These in-ear headphones also come with stylish pouches and have serrated cords that give you a tangle-free experience. The universal in-line mic and remote which are compatible with iOS and Androidsmartphones give you full control as you don’t need to take out your phone everytime you need to take calls or change music tracks.

The MDR-XB75AP demonstrates its impressive ability to produce sub-bass. The long decay times can actually be felt, and the effect is quite enveloping. However, moving into mid and upper bass, the MDR-XB75AP demonstrates its lack of punch. It doesn't quite move fast enough to ensure that good clarity is kept throughout the general bass line. The weakness is especially evident when various types of bass come together. The sub-bass generally overwhelms the rest of the bass and the MDR-XB75AP sometimes blows through songs with the stereotypical "dun-dun-dun". While this can be fun at times, it is annoying at others.

Trebles are okay. They offer a bit of sparkle but this observation is biased in the sense that almost anything will sparkle in the light of MDR-XB75AP's bass. The clarity at the higher-end is good, and really helps to open up the otherwise narrow soundstage. However, the headphone's weakness comes to light with the mids. A deep V-parabola means that the mids are heavily recessed. Vocals sound like they are coming from another room in fact.



Head-Fi.org


"The MDR-XB75AP is not a high clarity, high-fi earphone. In comparison to its predecessor, the XB75AP has apparently sacrificed too much to achieve the "extra bass."



 

UPS
Good Quality
Attention to Detail design
DOWNS
Overpowering bass
Lack of punch

 


Our Verdict:
Dedicated bass heads will revel in the"epic" bass available. However, for regular users looking for a balanced sound, the included price tag and deep-v signature may make the MDR-XB75AP off-putting.


 



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!

 

If you like this article you will also like:

 

 


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