Best Earbuds With Mic [2019]

Best Overall: Bose QuietComfort 20
This wasn’t an easy decision, but the QuietComfort 20’s absolutely are the best overall pick. The noise cancellation technology, the custom-fit earbuds, the soundstage, the price point – nothing else had everything that the QC20’s had while staying under $300.00.

Bose QuietComfort 20

  • Inline DSP using ActiveEQ + TriPort Technology
  • StayHear+ Earbud Tips

Budget Pick: 1MORE Triple-Driver Earbuds
Where are you going to find another pair of THX certified, triple-driver headphones for less than $100? If you do, please let us know. 1MORE has built an amazing sounding, quality pair of earbuds that are hard to beat. While there are cheaper earbuds on our list, like the Bose SoundSport Earbuds (less than $50), what you get for your money with these Triple-Driver earbuds beats everything else we have seen.

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1MORE Triple-Driver Earbuds

  • Triple-Driver Design
  • 9 Different Sized Earbud Tips
  • Faux Leather Traveling Case + Extra Adapters

Premium Pick: Westone W40
Again, we struggled with this decision, especially as we were leaning towards the Shure 535’s, but the W40’s just barely squeaked out the win. It came down to price and the W40’s are just a little easier to stomach while providing artist-quality soundstages.

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Westone W40

  • Unrivaled Sound Profile
  • 4 Sound Drivers + Built-In 3-Way Crossover
  • Detachable, Reinforced Wired Cord

How We Picked

Have you been looking at the newest earbuds wondering if you’ll like them or not?

Well, if you have been looking, it’s time to make the switch from conventional on-ear and/or over-the-ear headphones. We know, it’ll be hard to make the switch, but it will be worth it.

For starters, earbuds are lighter, easier to carry, and often even sound better. So why wouldn’t you make the switch?

Now, we’ve done all the hard work for you by searching through all the different earbuds. But, we went a step further and we narrowed it down to earbuds with a microphone. As most people use earbuds while listening to their phones, it only makes sense that they would want to use it for their phone conversations too.

So, are you ready to see the best earbuds with a microphone?

#1 Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose QuietComfort 20 microphone and controls

Specs:

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Cancelling
  • Frequency Range: 10Hz to 20KHz

Bose is one of the most well-known and respected names in the audio industry. When you think of quality and performance, you have to think of Bose – they’re synonymous with each other. Which is why we’re not surprised that they made our list.

Bose QuietComfort 20 outdoors

Getting started, the Bose QuietComfort 20’s are equipped with Aware Mode which is Bose’s noise cancelling technology. To use the Aware Mode, you simply flip a switch and everything outside just “disappears”; they don’t really disappear but you won’t hear them. Bose has spent a lot of time refining their Aware Mode technology and it is one of the most efficient noise cancelling systems in existence right now.

Bose QuietComfort 20 accessories

Next, let’s talk about the sound profile of the QC20’s. They are very well-balanced with a TON of power without becoming distorted and/or scratchy. In fact, they have all the punch you’ll need to rattle your ears but they also have some of the most well-defined highs. No matter how hard you push them, they don’t distort, maintaining a sound perfect for an audiophile. Of course, this is only possible using the inline digital sound processing (DSP) control module that has a battery life of 16 hours from a single charge. If the batteries do die while you are listening, you only lose the ability to use Aware Mode and the DSP effects (Active EQ + TriPort Technology) will be absent – the sound quality will still be good, just not awesome.

Bose QuietComfort 20 unboxing

The Microphone

We can’t forget to talk about the microphone. It’s built into the DSP control module and it’s not just ONE little hole like with most others. In fact, it picks up everything around it. But again, this is Bose so they do “a little more” than everyone else. Since the DSP control module is right there, they clean up what everyone else hears and your voice is clear and easy to hear to anyone listening. The only way someone will say “what did you say?” again is if they have bad hearing.

Bose QuietComfort 20 accessories unboxed

Keeping the QC20’s in your ears shouldn’t be a problem as they come with Bose’s patented StayHear+ earbud tips. The earbud tips are more than just an earbud, but they actually have earbud inserts built-in. They are made out of silicone, which is extremely soft, yet durable and sweat resistant.

What We Like

Where do we start? Seriously … where?

First off, using the DSP + ActiveEQ is an absolute dream. The soundstage is so pure, it’s almost like you’re standing in the studio with the musicians. The TriPort Technology helps give the bass notes a depth that other headphones can’t match. Plus, the QC20’s fit so well in your ears, you ALMOST don’t need the Aware Mode technology. We said almost because you’ll want to use it. When you switch on Aware Mode, everything goes silent – it’s crazy.

Overall

The QuietComfort 20’s from Bose are some of the best earbuds on the market right now. They are feature packed and have a sound profile that is hard to match. The ActiveEQ + Triport Technology will absolutely change the way you feel about headphones. And for those who don’t like hearing everything around them, Aware Mode will become your best friend. If you’ve got the cash, these should be your next pair of earbuds.

Bose QuietComfort 20

  • Inline DSP using ActiveEQ + TriPort Technology
  • StayHear+ Earbud Tips

#2 Shure SE535LTD

Shure SE535LTD

Specs:

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Isolating
  • Frequency Range: 18Hz to 19KHz

When you want quality, you want experience. And Shure has been around since 1925, creating some of the best audio equipment in the world. In fact, they’ve almost got 40+ years on Bose as Bose was founded in 1964.

Now, the SE535’s do not use noise cancellation technology like Bose, which is a bit of a drag at this price point, but they still manage to block out up to 37db of external noise using their foam earbuds (they come with foam and silicone earbuds). The foam earbuds are better at blocking out external sounds but can get a little sweaty during LONG listening sessions.

The SE535’s have three sound drivers to give you some of the clearest, most accurate sound reproduction of any pair of earbuds. In fact, they sound MUCH BETTER than the QC20’s listed above. Plus, they are extremely sensitive with a 119db SPL/mW, so they’ll get loud when you need them to. There’s no doubt that you’ll feel the bass with these, but you’ll also be able to hear every whisper and breath (some actually don’t like this much clarity).

The Microphone

The microphone picks up everything you say, even if it is under your breath. Shure is known for some of the best microphone equipment in the world, and they’ve managed to migrate that same technology into the SE535’s microphone.

Shure SE535LTD accessories

The SE535’s will stay in your ears, no matter how active you get by using an around the ear design that allows the attached cable to hang on the neck or wrap over the ear. In both scenarios, this helps to reduce the overall tugging associated with other earbuds. And the cord is built with KEVLAR reinforcement, so it can stop a bullet (not really, but it’s strong). Even better, the cord is detachable and you can even use the Shure Bluetooth connection kit in the place of the wire if you desire.

What We Like

If you want to feel like you are standing in front of the band, then the Shure SE535’s are perfect for you. They are AMAZINGLY loud while still managing to have one of the cleanest sound profiles you’ll ever hear.

Overall

If you want a pair of earbuds that will take you to another realm, then the SE535’s are just right for you. Using the 3-driver system, you’ll hear every whisper and yet still be able to feel every bass drum kick. If you’ve got the budget for them, they’re worth every penny.

Shure SE535LTD

  • 37db Noise Isolating Earbuds
  • KEVLAR Reinforced, Detachable Cord
  • Shure Wireless Connection Kit Included

#3 Shure SE215-K

Shure SE215-K

Specs:

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Isolating
  • Frequency Range: 22Hz to 17.5KHz

Shure is another brand that has proven itself in the audio industry. Their equipment is built for professionals and road warriors alike. While they don’t have the “name” that Bose has, musicians have put their trust in Shure for MANY years – now it’s your turn to do the same.

The Shure SE215-K’s don’t use noise isolation as their primary form of sound isolation. While this isn’t as effective as noise cancellation technology, it still works well. And, they’ve still managed to do a good job of noise isolation with earbuds that can block out up to 37db of external noise (foam earbuds). Shure offers six earbud options with the SE215-K’s (3 foam earbuds and 3 silicone earbuds). The foam earbuds are better at sealing out sound, but might get a little sweaty after a LONG listening session.

Shure SE215-K earbud internals

And Shure has done a great job recreating the soundstage with the SE215-K’s. We generally don’t want to list any earbuds that don’t fall into the 20Hz to 20KHz range, but Shure managed to sneak in. We expected that the sound would suffer, especially in the high range, but these don’t have a “fall off” point. Instead, the sound is clean and well-defined with plenty of punch for the “bassheads” and clear enough for an audiophile.

The Microphone

Getting to the microphone, the sound quality is what you would expect of a Shure product. They’ve spent years perfecting their microphone technology and they somehow managed to fit a “full-size” microphone into an inline system (not really, it just sounds like it).

Shure SE215-K and accessories

To keep the SE215-K’s in your ear, Shure uses an around the ear design which allows the cable to wrap over your ears and around your neck. In either configuration, it reduces the downward stress that other earbuds have, helping to keep them in your ears without any extra tugging. And the cord is built for abuse as it’s made out of KEVLAR (bullet-proof material). If for some reason the cord ends up damaged, it’s detachable and replaceable.

Shure SE215-K detachable cable

What We Like

There aren’t many earbuds that come with bullet-proof, reinforced cabling. Next, how many earbuds do you know of that allow you to completely detach the cables when not in use? If you’ve ever dealt with earbud tangles, you know how important this feature really is (we feel your pain).

Overall

If you’re looking for sound quality and durability, then the Shure SE215-K’s are perfect for you. They weren’t built for the casual listener, but there’s no doubt that you’ll love them.

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Shure SE215-K

  • 37db Noise Isolating Earbuds
  • KEVLAR Reinforced, Detachable Cord

#4 Westone W40

Westone W40 detachable cable

Specs:

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Isolating
  • Frequency Range: 22Hz to 17.5KHz

Since we’ve been pushing history a little bit, here’s a little tidbit that I bet you didn’t know. Westone, which was founded in 1959, has actually helped Shure with a few of their products, most notably their E1 and E5 in-ear musician’s monitor earbuds. And while they create some exceptional audiophile earbuds, they are most known for their hearing aids.

Westone W40 accessories

While noise cancellation is a great feature, it’s also a very expensive feature. To help keep the price of the Westone W40’s down, they opted for noise isolation instead. And while you would think this would affect the sound quality, it doesn’t.

Westone W40 packaging

Amazin Sound Quality

Look, with four drivers, there’s not much you won’t hear. When have you ever heard of a pair of earbuds with an actual three-way crossover built into them? The W40’s come with an actual three-way crossover so that each driver is focused on providing some of the most accurate bass you’ve ever felt, highs so clean it’ll break a glass in the right circumstances, and a midrange that carries everything fluidly. It’s absolutely the most immersive soundstage you’ll ever hear from a pair of earbuds.

Westone W40 packaging on box

The W40’s also come with a detachable cord for portability and reinforcement for extra durability. And the W40’s follow closely with the around the ear design that Shure uses (they are similar in a LOT of ways).

Westone W40 packaging and microphone

What We Like

It’s hard when all of the earbuds you’ve listened to sound great, but so far, these will definitely be one of the best sounding earbuds you’ve heard. They get LOUD and they don’t distort. No matter what your music preference, these will sound amazing.

Overall

With four sound drivers and the built-in three-way crossover, the sound profile is unrivaled. Each driver does ONE job, not two, three, or even four jobs. They get loud, VERY LOUD, but they don’t distort. If you don’t want to compromise, the W40’s are worth it.

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Westone W40

  • Unrivaled Sound Profile
  • 4 Sound Drivers + Built-In 3-Way Crossover
  • Detachable, Reinforced Wired Cord

#5 Bose SoundSport Earbuds

Bose SoundSport Earbuds

Specs:

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Isolation
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 20KHz

So, let’s get this out of the way up front – the SS’s are not the QC20’s mentioned earlier. Instead of having the Aware Mode feature, they use the standard earbud tip to help keep sound out. And they do a respectable job, by keeping around 35db of external noise at bay. It’s a little bit of a letdown that they didn’t find a way to sneak in the Aware Mode, but it affected the price dramatically (for the better).

Bose SoundSport Earbuds on table

If you remember, the QC20’s have the TriPort technology and the SS’s do too. What the SS’s do not have is the DSP Module with the ActiveEQ soundstage. And while you don’t get the ActiveEQ soundstage, the SS’s still do a good job of maintaining a clean sound profile. However, the lows do suffer a little bit without the help of the ActiveEQ system.

Bose SoundSport Earbuds and bag

Bose still used the same StayHear+ tips that they used in the QC20’s so it shouldn’t be hard to keep these in your ears. The built-in inserts are soft and flexible, providing just enough resistance to hold the SS’s in place, but not enough resistance that you’ll have sore ears after a LONG listening session.

Bose SoundSport Earbuds accessories

What We Like

For starters, these are made by Bose and we like Bose products. But, we also like how comfortable these are. The StayHear+ earbud tips are unique as they are one-piece, but they also flex, which makes them more comfortable than other earbud inserts.

Overall

The SS’s are not the same as the QC20’s, but they aren’t even priced the same. These are a good mid-level pair of earbuds with the quality only Bose is known for. They’ll last you for a long time and they don’t cost too much.

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Bose SoundSport Earbuds

  • TriPort Technology
  • StayHear+ Earbud Tips
  • Included Lightweight Carrying Case

#6 1MORE Quad-Driver Earbuds (E1010)

1MORE Quad-Driver Earbuds (E1010) and microphone

Specs:

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Isolation
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 40KHz

While 1MORE hasn’t been around for very long, founded in 2013, they have plenty of experience coming from several Foxconn executives and the financial backing of Xiaomi Corp and GGV Capital. They’ve long maintained that they want to compete against Beats and other high-end audio components.

1MORE Quad-Driver Earbuds (E1010) internals

Here’s another pair of quad-driver earbuds that are sure to blow your mind. Just like the Westone W40’s above, these have four independent drivers for an ultra-clear, well-defined soundstage – but these don’t cost near as much as the W40’s.

1MORE Quad-Driver Earbuds (E1010) reviewed

1MORE uses sound isolation to keep external noise at bay. To do this, they use 1 of 9 different earbud tips, all made out of silicone for a nice, snug fit without any sweating issues. Where most companies only give you 1 of 3 sizes (small, medium, and large), 1MORE gives you more – 6 more. By doing this, they really help you maximize your comfort while maintaining an ultra-secure, snug fit which helps to block out everything else.

1MORE Quad-Driver Earbuds (E1010) next to phone

Extremely Durable

The cord is built using KEVLAR and can without stand plenty of abuse (no more frayed, bent cords). To maintain the highest of audio purity, the audio cable is made from an oxygen-free copper wire. Plus, it comes with an L-shaped plug to reduce strain on the audio cable; plus, they even include a 1/4″ adapter for even greater compatibility with other audio devices.

1MORE Quad-Driver Earbuds (E1010) microphone

What We Like

Quad-driver earbuds are fairly new, which is why we didn’t think we’d see one at this price point. The clarity and soundstage are hard to beat for the price. While we wish they had added ear inserts and/or attachments, they make up for it by performing amazingly well in every other way.

Overall

The 1MORE Quad-Driver Earbuds are definitely built for the long term, with a soundstage that Beats definitely cannot beat. 1MORE was very clear in their goal to be better than Beats and other high-end earbuds, and they’re well on their way with these earbuds.

1MORE Quad-Driver Earbuds (E1010)

  • Quad-Driver Design
  • 9 Different Sized Earbud Tips
  • Faux Leather Traveling Case + Extra Adapters

#7 1MORE Triple-Driver Earbuds

1MORE Triple-Driver Earbuds

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Isolation
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 40KHz

Again, 1MORE is doing all they can to prove they can hang with the “big boys”. But, it appears that they are quickly becoming one of the “big boys” themselves.

As the name implies, these are triple-driver earbuds that are not what you think. In fact, when have you ever heard of a pair of earbuds that have THX certification? Well, today you have, as these are THX certified.

1MORE Triple-Driver Earbuds next to phone

Just like the previous pair of earbuds from 1MORE, these also feature sound isolation as their primary defense against external noise. Again, they give you nine different earbud sizes to find the perfect fit. Once you’ve found the perfect fit, you’ll notice that the outside world just seems to melt away as the silicone tips mold to your inner ear so seamlessly.

1MORE Triple-Driver Earbuds internals

The sound profile of the triple-driver earbuds from 1MORE is built for audiophiles and casual listeners alike. While casual listeners probably won’t notice the subtleties of the triple-driver system initially, they will when they put in a different pair of earbuds. These earbuds don’t spike at any point on the frequency range and they handle LOUD music without any problem.

1MORE Triple-Driver Earbuds microphone and buttons

Again, the cord is constructed of KEVLAR and can handle all types of abuse. Unfortunately, the L-shaped plug is not included with this pair so there will be a little more strain on the plug itself. And they didn’t include the 1/4″ adapter either.

What We Like

We’ve considered several triple-driver earbuds, but none of them were available at this price point. With three independent sound drivers, every note is clean, crisp, and/or deep. There’s no muddiness that other single-drivers have. That said, we still can’t get over the price of these earbuds.

1MORE Triple-Driver Earbuds worn by woman

Overall

Right now, 1MORE seems to be focused on providing a great listening experience while doing their best to disrupt the earbud industry – and we’re totally fine with that.

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1MORE Triple-Driver Earbuds

  • Triple-Driver Design
  • 9 Different Sized Earbud Tips
  • Faux Leather Traveling Case + Extra Adapters

#8 1MORE Dual-Driver Earbuds

1MORE Dual-Driver Earbuds with microphone

Specs:

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Isolation
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 40KHz

Do you have time for 1MORE? (sorry, it’s a bad pun) Even so, they’ve done very well with their earbud lineup and we really couldn’t leave this one out either. By the way, they do have a single driver unit but it did not make the list so you won’t have to deal with any more 1MOREpuns.

1MORE Dual-Driver Earbuds packaging and accessories

For those looking for a great soundstage without the price point, these will be your go-to earbuds. We could revisit the fact that these are noise isolating earbuds, that they come with four (not three) earbud tip sizes, that they come with a carrying case, that they come with an L-shaped audio adapter, that they have a KEVLAR reinforced audio cable, or just about everything that the Quad-Drivers and the Triple-Drivers have, minus the THX certification – whew!

Or …

We could just get to the point and say that these are perfect for the casual listener who doesn’t have a HUGE budget but wants the sound of Sony, Klipsch, and/or Bose.

1MORE Dual-Driver Earbuds worn outdoors

What We Like

While these aren’t nearly as articulate as the triple-driver and/or quad-driver offerings from 1MORE, they are definitely worth their money. In fact, they’re really worth more. The soundstage is well-rounded with little frequency falloff. These seem to focus on more bass and we’re sure that is to compete with Monster and/or Beats directly.

Overall

If you want a GREAT pair of earbuds that aren’t a budget-breaker, then you want these dual-driver earbuds from 1MORE. Simply put, you get a whole lot more than what you are paying for with these.

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1MORE Dual-Driver Earbuds

  • Dual-Driver Design
  • 4 Different Sized Earbud Tips
  • Included Carrying Case

#9 TaoTronics ANC

TaoTronics TT-EP03

Specs:

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Cancelling
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz to 20KHz

Here’s another pair of headphones that actually use noise cancellation technology, but that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

These TaoTronics use ANC technology to block out up to 70% of external noise. And just like the Bose QC20’s, they also have an Aware Mode that can be turned on/off as desired.

TaoTronics TT-EP03 buttons

When it comes to sound profile quality, these hold up well against Bose, Westone, Shure, Klipsch, and other “big boy” brands. The soundstage blends well and there aren’t any noticeable peaks and/or valleys on the frequency curve. They do seem to have a little BUMP to them when listening to hip-hop and/or trap music.

These are very small so they won’t weigh you down. Even so, they come with three earbud tips plus three unattached ear inserts to keep everything in place. The silicone tips are great for noise isolation, but the ANC technology takes them above and beyond.

TaoTronics TT-EP03 accessories

What We Like

These are priced so competitively, we would not have thought these would have noise cancellation built in. If you want a little extra BUMP in your earbuds, these will do it. Even so, the highs are still crisp, with almost no distortion even at HIGH volumes.

Overall

If you want noise cancellation technology with the price tag, the TT-EP01’s should be on your list. The soundstage is great, with a little more focus on the lower end. Ultimately, we can’t walk away from these and neither will you.

TaoTronics ANC

  • ANC Noise Cancellation Technology
  • 3 Earbud Tips + 3 Ear Inserts

#10 Sony Extra Bass Earbuds

Sony Extra Bass Earbuds

Specs:

  • Connection: Wired
  • Sound Barrier Type: Noise Isolation
  • Frequency Range: 4Hz to 24KHz

We almost got away with a list of earbuds that didn’t include Sony. Sony has been around for a LONG time too, but they are more “middle of the road” when it comes to build quality. And we almost got away with a list void of wireless headphones (sigh).

Sony Extra Bass Earbuds close-up

Sony built these for those who are on-the-go, so they’re designed for noisy atmospheres. That being said, they don’t have noise cancellation technology, but rather a very large earbud form to help block out noise + four different earbud tip sizes to get a nice, secure, snug fit.

Sony Extra Bass Earbuds close-up for tips

The soundstage is bass heavy, as the name implies, but you’ll still hear ALL the highs clearly and LOUDLY. No, you might not be able to differentiate between a whisper and a breath in “jazzy” music, but it’ll work from rock, hip-hop, and country without any problems.

Sony Extra Bass Earbuds buttons

As we said before, these are wireless and have an 8.5-hour battery life on a single charge. It takes about 2.5 hours to charge them. They don’t weigh much as all of the Bluetooth technology is built into the earpiece itself. And, the microphone is shoved inside the earbuds too. Amazingly, the microphone works well, even though it is crammed up against your face.

Sony Extra Bass Earbuds tips

What We Like

We really didn’t want to put a pair of wireless earbuds on this list, but Sony had to make that impossible. These are extremely lightweight with a great battery life and a solid soundstage for the non-audiophile.

Overall

If you want a wireless pair of earbuds that sound good, that will last a LONG time, and won’t break the bank, then the Sony Extra Bass earbuds will work great.

Sony Extra Bass Earbuds

  • Wireless
  • 4 Different Sized Earbud Tips

Buyer’s Guide To Find The Best Earbuds With Mic

There are a TON of earbuds with microphones to choose from. And finding the right one can seem impossible, but not if you know what to look for. Our buyer’s guide should help you narrow down your search quickly. We’ll show you the features that matter and explain why.

Sound Profile / Sound Quality

No matter what, earbuds will ALWAYS be judged by how good they sound. The sound profile and/or quality will be affected by a lot of factors including the frequency response, the signal they are receiving, the material that the drivers are made from, the earbud tip material, the noise isolation and/or canceling technology, and so much more.

Some earbuds are very “boomy” (bass-heavy) while others sound “tinny” (treble-heavy). Bass-heavy earbuds tend to sound muddy while treble-heavy earbuds don’t have as much ear-shaking bass that some people like. In most cases, you’re going to want a pair of earbuds with a balanced and/or bass-heavy sound profile.

Frequency Response Range

The average human ear can only hear frequencies between 20Hz and 20KHz. Anything above and/or below that is considered inaudible. Which is why it’s comical that manufacturers talk about having earbuds that can reproduce frequencies as low as 10Hz or frequencies as high as 40KHz (you simply won’t hear it). Of course, most manufacturers will use this as “marketing fodder” to explain that there are that MUCH MORE capable than their competitors. Does it really matter? If you can’t hear it, it doesn’t matter.

Now, will there be a difference between a pair of earbuds that can cover a frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz and a pair of earbuds that can cover a frequency range of 35Hz to 16KHz? Absolutely! The first pair will be balanced while the second pair’s sound profile will be limited on both the bass and treble.

For you, the best earbuds will cover a frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz. There will be some cases where the sound profile and/or technology makes up for a slightly “lesser” frequency range, but the best will always cover the 20Hz to 20KHz range.

Noise Isolation / Noise Cancellation

Being able to separate yourself from the outside world can affect your sound profile and/or sound quality greatly. And manufacturers have put a lot of time and effort into noise isolation and/or cancellation. Often, these two terms get used interchangeably, but they are not the same.

Noise isolation helps to “isolate” you from everything else. To do this, the manufacturers focus on giving you the tightest seal possible using specialized materials and/or earbud tip shapes. Even so, noise isolation is not nearly as effective as noise cancellation, but it doesn’t cost nearly as much either.

Noise cancellation doesn’t just “isolate” you from the outside world, they actually cancel the outside sounds. To do this, they use an external microphone that listens to everything around you. Then they process the sound wave and produce a negative (opposite) sound wave that cancels out what you would hear. It’s a lot more complicated than this, but that is the general idea.

If you can afford it, noise cancellation is the best option of the two. Does that mean that noise isolating earbuds are not worth it – hardly. In most cases, noise isolating earbuds are able to keep out enough ambient noise to provide a pleasurable listening experience.

Comfort And Size

When it comes to comfort, finding the right pair of earbuds matter. In fact, that’s why most manufacturers include multiple size options for the earbud tips (most offer small, medium and large). For someone with really small ear canals, even the small earbud tip may be “too big”.

Or, the size of the earbud itself may be large and/or heavy. To help keep your earbuds in place, some manufacturers have started to include ear inserts and/or attachments that help to keep the earbud from falling out.

Wired Or Wireless

Wireless earbuds are becoming more common than ever before, and they’ve come a LONG way. But, they are not on the same level as a pair of wired earbuds.

Earlier we talked about the sound quality and/or sound profile for a pair of earbuds. Wired earbuds are much more powerful, clearer, and have a better sound profile than wireless earbuds. There’s a fairly simple explanation for this – they aren’t converting the sound, they are simply reproducing the sound.

Wireless earbuds have to convert the signal that is being sent to them, which has been compressed, into a useable signal. To do this, they use sound processing systems to reform the signal. In doing this, they lose a little bit of sound quality for the sake of convenience. For most, the difference is negligible, but for someone who truly appreciates the subtle nuances of music, they’ll notice is almost immediately.

If you don’t want to deal with a lot of wires, then wireless is YOUR best option. However, wireless does not compete on the same level (not yet) with a pair of wired earbuds.

Position Of Microphone / Microphone Quality

Since we’re discussing earbuds with microphones, it would only make sense that we would address this.

A microphone’s sound quality can be affected by a number of factors, but the biggest factor is where the microphone is positioned. In most cases, the further away from the person speaking, the less effective it will be. However, this is not always the case as some can be positioned so close to the face that they become muddled (think speaking through a shirt/blanket).

There are a few places where a microphone can be positioned:

  • Inline (Low) – About chest level for most people.
  • Inline (High) – About chin level for most people.
  • On The Earbud – Inside the actual earbud, closest to the mouth, but not on the face.
  • On The Earbud – Uses a special technology to convert the sound it hears and/or feels.

Inline microphones are great when there isn’t a lot of external noise. On the earbud works best for situations where there is a lot of external noise as they don’t pick up as much indirect sound.

Cost

And finally, the best earbuds can get a little pricey. But it’s not because they are full of “marketing fluff”. In most cases, it’s because they are using specialized drivers, with a full array of noise cancelling technologies, along with specialized ear hooks and/or inserts, with reinforced cabling for durability and IP6X+ ratings for waterproofing – whew!

However, there are a LOT of great earbuds that aren’t nearly as costly. What you have to do is decide which features matter the most to you and then decide if they are worth the cost associated with them.

The ONE thing we want to stress to you is this – don’t buy a pair of earbuds based simply on the brand and/or name. While your buddies might be impressed, you’re not buying the earbuds for them, you are buying them for you.

High Quality Earbuds with Mic

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will earbuds be loud enough?
A: Absolutely! In fact, most earbuds can actually get louder as they’re closer to your ear than headphones. And not only that, but some earbuds are more efficient than headphones which will make them louder than headphones.

Q: Can earbuds hurt my ears?
A: Yes, earbuds can hurt your ears. If you choose the wrong earbud tip size (small, medium, large), you could be putting extra pressure on the sides of your ear canal. Some earbud tips are shaped differently to help with this, but most are just circular in shape.

If your earbuds hurt after using them for a little bit, change out the earbud tip size and see if that helps. If that doesn’t help, you could be pushing them in too far. If not, you may need to use an earbud insert and/or attachment hook to help alleviate the pressure that the earbuds may be causing on your ear canal.

Q: Can earbuds cause me to go deaf?
A: Yes, if you listen to your music too loud, especially for a long period of time, you could potentially go deaf. Most manufacturers have a warning listed on the manual and/or instructions that briefly talk about this.

Q: Why are wired earbuds better than wireless earbuds?
A: Wireless earbuds use digital sound processors to convert what they receive, compressed sound/data, so that the listener can hear what is being transmitted wirelessly. Any time you compress the sound/data, you strip some of the “non-necessary” sound/data from the signal. Wired earbuds don’t have to deal with the use of digital sound processors and/or compressed sound/data so they’ll have the highest sound quality between the two.

Where wireless earbuds tend to win the “better battle” is they are WIRELESS. Whenever you wear wired headphones, you are limited to how far away from your phone and/or device you can get. This can be problematic at the gym or in the office. Having a wire attached to you at all times can be a problem, especially when a wire might snag and/or cause problems for you (i.e. phone flying across the room accidentally).

While wireless earbuds tend to have a slightly lower sound quality and/or profile, they are the preferred choice of those on the move. For us, sound quality is the most important factor and therefore, we prefer wired earbuds.

Q: Aren’t noise isolating and noise cancelling the same thing?
A: You aren’t the first person to ask this, and you won’t be the last either. No, they are not the same thing.

Noise isolating headphones only isolate you from the outside world. They still allow some sound to slip by (leakage), which can affect the sound quality and/or profile of your earbuds.

Noise cancellation not only isolates you from the outside world, but they also cancel the sound altogether. To do this, they use specialized technology combined with an external microphone to neutralize/cancel the sound you would have heard.

Noise cancelling headphones tend to be more expensive than noise isolating headphones, but the sound quality and/or profile is much better overall.

Q: Will others be able to hear what I’m listening too with earbuds?
A: If you have the volume at 100, there’s a good chance that others will be able to hear what you are listening to. Most earbuds cannot create a perfect seal, which means there will be some sound leakage anyways.

Q: I have really small ears, can I use earbuds?
A: Most earbuds come with multiple sized earbud tips to accommodate most users. In general, earbud manufacturers will send out three earbud tip sizes (small, medium, and large) to ensure a snug, comfortable fit. If the provided earbud tips don’t work for you, then you’ll need to look for an aftermarket company that has more options.

Q: I tried to use my earbuds, but my ears are too small. What can I do?
A: The first thing you need to do is make sure that you’ve tried all the different earbud tip sizes provided by the manufacturer. Most manufacturers have the medium-sized tip installed by default. If it’s too big, you might need to try the small tip. If that doesn’t work, you might need to look into an aftermarket earbud tip kit.

Q: The microphone on my earbuds aren’t very clear. What can I do to fix it?
A: For starters, try to move the microphone to a different location. Of course, if the microphone is built into the earbud, there’s not much you can do other than clean out the microphone hole. For inline microphones, try relocating it to another location.

Q: Is it possible for my earbuds to fall out?
A: Yes, earbuds can fall out, especially if the earbud tip is not the right size. If this is the case, you’ll need to try a larger sized earbud tip. If the tip size is correct, you may need to use an insert and/or over-the-ear hook.

Q: I decided to use wired earbuds, but the cable isn’t long enough. Is there a fix for this?
A: Yes, if the cable isn’t long enough, you can buy a headphone extension cable. What you need to do is make sure that the extension cable is a stereo extension headphone or you will lose your left/right audio separation.

Conclusion

Making the switch from conventional on-ear or over-the-ear headphones to earbuds will be one of the best decisions you ever make. Earbuds tend to be clearer and louder while reducing the weight on your head and giving you a lot more portability. And, if you want the ultimate in portability, you can always go wireless which gives you even more options.

In either case, you won’t regret making the switch to a good pair of earbuds. Today, we’ve done a TON of the legwork for you by showing you ten of the best earbuds with a microphone that we were able to find. We believe they’ll be a great option for you. And, if you didn’t find the perfect pair, now you know what to look for with the buyer’s guide listed above.

Ultimately, you should have found a great pair of earbuds with a microphone that is perfect for you. So, did you find the perfect pair or are you still looking? Let us know!

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API