Reportedly used by 75% of the world’s touring professional live performers, the Ultimate Ears 700 Noise Isolating Earphones are, thankfully, also available to general consumers. The most notable feature is the rubber tips that mold themselves to fit comfortably and snugly in your ear. These earphones won’t slip out of your ears easily, making them almost ideal for jogging. And they’re much more comfortable than other earphones that ‘hook’ around your ears in order to solve this problem. More importantly from the design of the moldable rubber tips, though, is that the sound quality is exceptional. Creating a ‘magic seal’, they leave literally no room for background noise to seep in, or for important frequencies to escape, for that matter. This also means that you can have the volume cranked right up and you simply will not disturb anyone in the vicinity, so they’re also great for long bus trips or flights. All of these features come at a price though, and in New Zealand that price is $499, so casual listeners might be better off looking elsewhere.
Pros: Incredible sound quality, pocket-sized hard case, a range of foam tips provided for a comfortable fit, includes an adapter for your preferred jack orientation, will not disturb others.
Cons: They’re pretty expensive, and although they’re almost perfect for joggers, they block outside noise so well that you’ll have to take extra care on the roads.
Verdict: The Ultimate Ears 700 is easily the best set of earphones I’ve ever used, although the price is probably out of the range of all but the most ardent of audiophiles. But I’d be surprised if there’s a better sounding, more comfortable set of earphones on the market.