This price category is where serious audiophiles can begin to experience the best the world of sound has to offer. Although this is still regarded as a rather niche category in India, consumption of IEMs in this range has grown considerably. And rightly so, because the combination of value for money and high quality is probably the best you can get.
Build Quality: This marks the beginning of the high end range, so understandably, build quality will be top notch for all products with earphones offering high quality full metal construction and robust cables.
Sound Quality: If you're a serious audiophile, then this is the best price point to venture at. Almost all earphones around this price category are balanced or flat and true to life. The bass heavy models in this range however, do provide tight, energetic bass that doesn't compromise on the mids and highs.
Form Factor: Wireless earphones in this category do well. They will not sound brilliant, but for listening to music while working out or on the go, they'll do very well. Active noise cancellation will be fairly effective, but don't expect audiophile grade sound from them. IEMs in this price range will sound better than over-ears at the same point.
Remote and Mic: This functionality is definitely very common. However, most models do come with variants with or without the mic. Which you can usually get by paying a thousand or so more.
This list has been compiled with the help of users as well as our in-house experts.
In no particular order, here we go!
The RHA MA750/750i are the flagship in-ears of RHA's critically acclaimed MA series of earphones. The ‘i’ basically stands for the iOS compatible variant with an in-line mic and remote.
The MA750s have earned quite a reputation for their design and sound. Extremely sophisticated, with brushed metal, classy curved contours, and robustly designed cables that give pricier offerings a run for their money, these in-ears have been crafted rather than manufactured.
Owing to the curve-centric design, these fit excellently and the lightweight construction further enables them to be used for longer sessions. The MA750 can also be worn around the ear (a la on-stage monitors) along with being worn straight down.
When it comes to noise isolation, it's probably among the best in is class.
If the MA750's packaging and presentation wasn’t enough, RHA further delights with a ton of accessories, including a vast array of eartips and a carry case; easily trumping those offered by Shure with the SE215.
Coming to the sound, the bass has a slight emphasis, but that emphasis isn’t overdone. The mids, especially the lower mids are cleanly reproduced and the highs are bright. Overall, there’s a nice balance in the reproduced audio.
The soundstage is very open and airy, with extremely good balance and dynamic contrast. Acoustic jazz and classical music works better with RHA, but it also sounds as good as rock and soul does in headphones that are heavier on the bass. You get a large and spacious soundstage with very little coloring, enabling instruments to retain their tonal quality and with vocals sounding natural and true-to-life.
JBL is known for bringing to us earphones and headphones that are highly stylish while also being extremely comfortable. The T150A is an in-ear designed headset that comes with JBL’s signature PureBass.
The T150A comes with a single button mic and remote. This enables you to answer calls and control music easily making your task simple and convenient. It is compatible with most smartphones.
When it comes to the looks and design, the T150A sports a neat and simple non flashy design. It comes in three basic colours namely red, white and black.
JBL T150A has come to be known for its "PureBass" performance. The headsets are fitted with 9 mm drivers. Thus, it produces heavy powerful and clear bass beats. The mids and highs are not very detailed.
The cables are thin and are not very durable. They are also tangle prone.
The headsets come with included three pairs of latex free silicon sleeves in three different sizes namely: small, medium and large. You can choose the one that lends your ears most comfort, for an enhanced audio experience. The silicon ear tips also aid in effective noise isolation.
JBL T150A comes with a One year warranty.
Shure is one of the oldest audio companies in the world, and they've put those years of expertise in in their IEMs, making any best earphone list incomplete without the Shures.
This time, the SE215 makes the cut. With multiple editors’ choice awards under the belt and legendary Shure’s reliability to back it up, the SE215s have a lot to offer.
The transparent sculpted earpieces are striking to look at and probably the most iconic looking pair in this list. With every Shure product, an exceptional build comes as a standard, and the SE215s are no exception. With a solid robust construction and detachable cables, these Shures are built to last.
The fit needs getting used to, as these are negative profile earphones. But once fitted well, they are surprisingly comfortable for their size. The noise isolation is definitely a key achievement here, and is probably the best in class.
There are a few extras, like a carrying case and several eartips. As always, Shure has concentrated more on the earphones rather than any additional frills. That also means that the convenience of in-line mic and remote controls is absent.
There were questions raised about the use of a dynamic driver instead of a balanced armature one, but safe to say these are some of the best dynamic drivers out there, reproducing some seriously impressive audio.
The bass is the highlight. It’s powerful and well controlled. The mids are admirably present and aren’t washed over by the lows. The highs unfortunately, aren't as clear as they should be. The bass does tend to muddy them out, l osing out on clarity, sparkle and detail.
Soundstage is also excellent for this price point, giving the impression that your music's spread out across a wide sonic area rather than in one corner, probably making them the best in this range.
German audio giant, Beyerdynamic, is known for its pro-audio headphones and mics. But, its IEMs are nothing to scoff at, with the iDX 160ie making this list. The iDX 160ie is basically the microphone and remote inclusive variant of the DX 160ie, which has won multiple editor’s choice awards.
The iDX 160ie has a sleek look, with striking metal bits, inverted color tones and an overall sophisticated look. They have a design language that is similar to those found in premium AKG earphones, which is a very good thing.
The build is great, and the use of metal makes it look high end, especially since the cable is thick and tangle- free. There’s a lot of thought that has gone into the design, with its design being stylish but ergonomic, which is key for the iDX 160ie’s fit, which does work surprisingly well, even if your earcanals may stray from the norm.
The isolation is good, but not as good as what the MA750 or SE215 offers. There are tons of accessories however, such as a cable extender, a case, a plethora of ear tips, etc.
Moving onto the sound, it is fairly balanced. (With some minor imperfections).
The bass is admirable, deep and punchy, however the higher mids are recessed, and this is easily evident for a critical listener. Midrange detailing is excellent, but treble clarity is somewhat lacking.
Definition is excellent, and this headphone 's sound works very well with rock, jazz, electronica, and classical music. Overall, there is a fair balance in the audio and the icing on the cake is the soundstage which is among the better ones for the price point.
The Klipsch Reference R6 series is one of the most popular products from the Klipsch stable. The Americans made these earphones well suited for both audio enjoyment as well as partial on-the-go studio monitoring.
The R6M uses Klipsch’s patented oval-shaped eartips, providing both superior fit and comfort. It's not the most eye-catching design out there, but it's minimal and straightforward in all the right ways. It looks engineered rather than crafted. Some people prefer that industrial kind of design. The Klipsch R6M boasts a solid construction that feels that it's been ‘built to last’.
The noise isolation is definitely very effective. The ergonomic simplistic design fits like a glove, isolating a good deal of the ambient noise. They are very comfortable and a perfect companion for long sessions of music. The cable is of very high quality, and the design is intricate enough to abolish almost any cable noise. An in-line remote and mic for Android smartphones is also included.
In the box, apart from the earphones, we found a compact zippered carrying pouch and a clever card with three pairs of alternate silicone eartips and a security clip mounted to it, kind of similar to RHA offerings.
Sound wise, they lack that totally flat musical emphasis desired by some audiophiles and professionals, but most listeners will be glad with the way they sound. There’s weight in the bass and there’s room for the vocals to wash over the top. The d eep lows are well balanced by crisp highs. Fundamentally, it’s a fun forward sound that is consumer friendly. The soundstage is pretty decent, there is a presence of space, and they are gonna please a good deal of listeners.
But serious audiophiles should look to the MA750 instead.
Sony has a strong contender with these smartly designed noise cancelling earphones. The Sony MDR-EX750NA offers a rare quality i.e noise cancellation coupled with some good sound at a reasonable price.
The design is smart. It’s ergonomic with a touch of class. The grey finish especially looks good. The build is excellent, there’s a robust feel to them when held in hand. The part metal construction adds quality and the thick cables feel sturdy enough to last long. The fit is positive, probably not a snug fit like the Shure’s SE215s, but for noise cancellation earphones, they fit well. The comfort is extremely high, especially when coupled with Comply Foam eartips.
Being a noise cancelling earphone, you’d expect them to have best in class noise reduction, and you’d be right. They cancel out a host of ambient noise when the ANC is turned on. When turned off, the passive isolation is mediocre at best. The battery life isn’t spectacular, about 16 hours. The battery isn’t a replaceable one, rather a lithium ion battery that needs to be charged via micro USB 2.0 connector.
There aren’t many accessories offered apart from the carrying pouch and some extra eartips. Perhaps the most impressive feat of the MDR-EX750NA is their audio quality.
Bass that’s not at emphasized yet has the required punch, unblemished mids and sparkling highs, together the audio sounds clean and pure. Jazz, country, blues, instrumentals and soft rock sounds gorgeous. There is some sibilance in busy tracks at high volumes, but it's not a deal breaker. The sound stage is admirably good and audio feels immersive and lively.
What does take away from the EX750NA is that there may be a slight hissing sound when the ANC feature is active. And, it doesn't sound as good when listening to it passively.
These were the best 5 headphones that come under Rs 10,000. 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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