In-ear headphones are also known as earphones, because they fit into your ear canal just like a pair of earplugs. In 2013, many different in-ear headphones are available on the market, ranging from inexpensive to professional-quality. In-ear headphones typically sound better than the “earbud” earphones provided with portable music devices, and can also sound better than traditional over-ear headphones at a similar price point. Professional musicians commonly use in-ear headphones when monitoring live sound, as there is a good degree of isolation from venue and audience noise. Here are some of the best in ear headphones 2013:


#1 eers

Lowercase-branded eers headphones offer in-ear models that are custom-molded to the shape of your ears. Usually, custom-molded headphones are expensive, retailing at over $1,000. For around $300, you can have a pair of eers custom-fit to the shape of your ear canal. The sound quality of eers is good, and the fit is of course very comfortable.

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#2 Skullcandy Titan

Retailing below $100 in 2013, Skullcandy Titans are an inexpensive option. The sound quality is pretty good for the price, with some emphasis on the low end of the sound. The Titans are compatible with iPhones, and feature rugged metal housing that should protect the in-ear headphones for years to come. If you do have problems with the Titans, they’re backed up by a full lifetime warranty when purchased new.

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#3 Etymotic Research ER-4

Etymotic Research in-ear headphones are developed with audiophiles in mind. The ER-4 model, a relatively high-end model, has great sound quality. The low-end response is very controlled; the precision of the headphones is high and the articulation is much clearer than it is in budget in-ear headphones on the market. Audio professionals often choose the ER-4, or other models by Etymotic Research, for reference work.

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#4 Westone 4R

The 4R model offers extreme accuracy in terms of sound reproduction — these high-end in-ear headphones offer high fidelity sound that is well-balanced across high, mid and low frequencies. Aficionados of the Westone in-ear headphones include Snoop Dogg, Madonna and Christina Aguilera. The 4Rs retail at $499 — they’re the first universal-fit headphones that contain four separate speakers. The earpieces are soft for a comfortable fit.

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#5 Sennheiser IE800

Within the higher-end market, the Sennheiser IE800s have probably the best quality of sound reproduction overall. They are universal-fit headphones, meaning they come in one size and fit that works for most people. If you have especially large or small ear canals, a custom-fit in-ear headphone may work better for you. The Sennheiser IE800s feature a durable design and ergonomic shaping that will work for most ear sizes and shapes.

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If you have ears that are of average size and shape, the best in-ear headphones of 2013 would be the Westone 4Rs. The price point is moderate, and the combination of sound quality and comfort compares very favorably with more expensive models.