Most of the earphone I’ve ever owned have come with devices such as iPods, Walkmans and phones. I’m not a fan of earphones because I don’t like shoving things in my ears, and because my ears don’t accommodate the things well. They are apt to form imperfect seals or slip out. However, of late they’ve been undergoing a renaissance even if I prefer to listen to music through my speakers or headphones.
The main difference I detect between earphones and headphones is that the former put the music inside your head while the latter are more speaker like. The quality of the sound seems decent either way, but it’s perceived in different places. The quality also seems to depend on the seal. If I press the earphones into my ears to create a better seal, the music sounds better, but since I can’t go round doing that, external sounds will leak through from the outside. I find that earphones seem to be best in quiet environments. (I suspect that noise-cancelling earphones merely include a price-enhancing affectation.)
I bought a pair of Sony XBA-10s in 2014. They were the first pair of earphones that I bought voluntarily, and not, if I remember rightly, too expensive. Even in 2014 it was possible to buy outrageously pricey earphones. I think my motivation was to acquire a pair of dedicated earphones rather than rely on the lowish spec ones which came with <insert device here>.
I feel that I always underrated this particular pair. They don’t quite have the richness or depth of the Momentum in-ear pair, but they’re not too shabby, either. In terms of sound quality, the difference between the two models is slight.
Sony MDR-750s (?)
My Sony Walkman NW-A25HN came with a pair of earphones, which resemble Sony’s MDR-750s, although they may be a lower-spec version.
They’re quite large things with a cylindrical body that doesn’t really seem to fit that well in my ears, even after switching the tips over to something smaller. Overall, I’d judge the sounds from them to be comparable to the XBA-10s.
Sennheiser Momentum In-ear
I went out to an electronics shop called Sundan (顺电) in a mall called Coastal City (海岸城), which is way out, close-ish to Taihu, which had a range of headphones and earphones, and bought myself a pair of Sennheiser Momentum in-ears (black chrome) because I thought it was about time I had something nice in this department. I put them up against my Momentum headphones and would say that the sound quality is similar, but with the earphones being more intimate, and the headphones more spacious.