It saddens me that people will spend a couple of hundred pounds on an iPod but not an extra £20 on some 'phones to do them justice. Instead they make do with those lifeless white earbuds. And it's not just Apple - a lot of MP3 and portaDAB manufacturers are just as guilty of bundling rotten earphones.
Not everyone wants to spend £300 on a pair of awesome, top-of-the-range Shures, of course. So I usually point people to the Sennheiser CX300s, which you can pick up online for as little as £18. (If you find em for less, you're probably buying fakes.)
Well, now I might point them elsewhere - because I currently have the brand new Sennheiser CX400 earphones plugged into my brain and, put simply, they rock.
The Sennheiser CX400s have considerably more punch than CX300s, with a deep, rich bass that only very rarely overwhelms the mid-range. The top end is clear without being too sharp.
And like the CX300s, they sit very comfortably in your ear canal without getting overfamiliar with your eardrum. Perfect for noisy commutes.
Unlike their siblings the CX400s have a shortish modular cable (and more robust splitter, pictured above), so they work well with in-line remote controls and mobile phone adapters, and are perfect for armband-toting gym nuts. As well as an extension cable, you get various sizes of rubber bud and a useful wallet-style case in the finger-shredding blister pack.
Amazon are already stocking the CX400s at £37.50. I imagine that price will fall, but even at £40 they're worth the money. The only downside is that they're not compatible with the iPhone's recessed earphone jack without an adapter.