Back before I posted my review of the Shure SE210s (which I’m still digging), I asked you all what you used and liked. One of the commenters mentioned the Koss Sparkplug earbuds (Amazon link here). Curious, I went to a local store and picked up a pair for $11 on special!
The first thing to consider is for $11, how do they sound. Not bad. They require (for my ears) heavy eq usage. They have a heavy low-midrange balance that I had to roll off. They don’t have the presence and depth of the Shures, but they cost 1/10 the money.
I found that they sound nice with podcasted vocals and the following eq:
The Koss sound pretty good with most music and the following eq (if a little boomy):
Sound isolation doesn’t even come close to the Shures. The Koss are comfortable, and would definitely do in a pinch, say if you lost your headphones or left your main buds behind. Might be good to leave a pair of these at work and not worry if someone stole them or other situation where you won’t crap a brick if you lost or damaged them. For $11, you can’t really go wrong with these.
NOTE: iPhone users, out of luck without an adapter, which sucks, but I bet the next revision of these will have a modified jack.