Best earphones to buy from the Guide to Earphones, in category less than $100 -- Fri, 04/01/2011 - 16:52

Greetings to all Audiophiles,
       As a new member in the audiophiles community i need help in understanding how to read the, "guide to earphones and custom-fit in-ear monitors", and a forum like this one to ask a few basic questions before i purchase one of the products mentioned inside.
       My main question is from pages 39-43, referencing, "NUFORCE" models NE-700x and NE700m. According to the Ratings section and doing a quick cross reference with the other models listed, it appears that the Nuforce is not only a good entry level place to start with good high quality earphones but fits the generally price category i am after. The Ratings of the Nuforce appear to be the highest amongst the less than $100 earphones as well as most if not all of the ones beyond $100.
       So in your opinion, do the Nuforce deliver as promised? Are these the best ones in the guide? How much of a difference can i expect between using my apple buds to using these?
       I plan to purchase from Amazon, unless there is a cheaper place you might recommend
       If there is any other products or advice for a new audiophile, please feel free to share and from me to you thank you in advance for both your advice and time on this matter.
Michael Lyons
Pensacola, FL

Chris Martens -- Tue, 04/05/2011 - 16:47

 Hi Michael:
You pose some excellent questions. Let me address them in turn.
Throughout the Guide, the ratings are designed to apply "relative to comparably priced models." Given this, the NuForce NE-700X and NE-700M are among the most highly rated models in the sub-$100 group.
Are the NuForce NE-700X and NE-700M the best earphones in the entire Guide? No, though they are among the strongest contenders in the sub-$100 class.
Do the NuForce 'phones deliver as reviewed? Yes, indeed they do.
How much difference can you expect between stock Apple earbuds and the NE-700X and NE-700M? Different people might describe the difference in different ways, but I think the perceived improvement in sound quality is a very big one--enough so that I think after hearing the NE-700X or NE-700M alongside the stock earbuds you might find it difficult (or at any rate undesirable) to go back to listening "the old way."
Are there other good 'phones to consider in the sub-$100 class? Yes, there are. Four to consider would be the Klipsch Image S4i, the Koss KDX 300 Gold, the Skullcandy Titan, and the Ultimate Ears UE600. If you favor a model with active noise-cancellation features, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 also deserves consideration. The Ultimate Ears UE600 makes an interesting model to consider, in that it was originally released as the " 5PRO" and initially sold for $250 (making it a pretty attractive proposition at its new sub-$100 price).  
Best, Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Perfect Vision 

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