10 Best Earbuds With Mics | April 2017

We spent 34 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. It's easy to stay connected on the go when you've got a pair of earbuds with a built-in microphone. They not only provide a convenient way to listen to music or video content on your smartphone privately, but they also enable you to make and take phone calls without missing a beat. They're perfect for use while working, commuting or even when out jogging or cycling. Skip to the best earbuds with mic on Amazon.
10 Best Earbuds With Mics | April 2017
Overall Rank: 8
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 9
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 3
Best Inexpensive
From the classic name in amplifiers come the Marshall Mode. Unlike most models, they improve outgoing audio clarity by decoupling their jaw-level microphone from their in-line playback controls, which can be found further down their tangle-free cord.
  • impressive quality for the price
  • not suitable for heavy bass lovers
  • uncomfortable fit for some users
Brand Marshall
Model 04090939
Weight 7 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
Easily switch between taking calls and immersing yourself in the music with the luxurious Bose QuietComfort 20. Their inline controls come in two versions, one designed for compatibility with iOS devices and one for Android, so they're sure to work with most phones.
  • adjustable noise cancellation
  • sound is deep and clear
  • considerably expensive
Brand Bose
Model 718839-0010
Weight 10.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The Phaiser BHS-750 are protected with a lifetime warranty against sweat damage, so don't be afraid to take them with you to the gym. They feature excellent sound reproduction and work with any Bluetooth 4.1 compatible device to take your listening to the next level.
  • memory foam caps for sound isolation
  • winged tips hold buds in place
  • charging port door is a bit flimsy
Brand Phaiser
Model BHS-750
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
An effective noise-isolating design and wallet-friendly price tag make the Sennheiser MM30i a great pick for anyone in the market for a new wired set, and their two-year international warranty is a testament to the manufacturer's confidence in their durability.
  • ios and android-optimized versions
  • sit comfortably in the ear canal
  • in-line controls are a bit bulky
Brand Sennheiser
Model MM 30i
Weight 2.1 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
A pair of 12 mm dome drivers delivers plenty of impact without breaking the bank in the Sony MDR-XB50AP. Their tightly sealed acoustic design allows for a high level of sound isolation and impressive bass, and a flat cord reduces tangles.
  • include a soft carrying pouch
  • four sizes of silicone hybrid tips
  • not especially comfortable
Brand Sony
Weight 2.9 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
Available in three metallic shades, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H3 2nd Generation look just as good as they sound. They feature soft rubber tips that contour to your ear canal for superb isolation and impressively clear reproduction across the board.
  • extra long 54-inch cable
  • made from a solid block of aluminum
  • in-line controls are of poor quality
Brand B&O PLAY by Bang & Oluf
Model 1643226
Weight 8.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
Like a classic Bluetooth headset, the TaoTronics BH10 feature playback controls and audio input right on their earpiece, which may take some getting used to if you're new to wireless headphones. They're designed to stay in place even during vigorous exercise.
  • 7 hours of play on a single charge
  • high quality for the price
  • pairing is a bit difficult to master
Brand TaoTronics
Model 5149762
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
With a rubberized cord that eliminates line distortion, the Symphonized NRG 3.0 feature attractive wooden housings that invoke the material's acoustic history, from classic instruments to its use in the construction of concert halls.
  • include natural fiber pouch
  • built-in volume control
  • available in five duotone colors
Brand Symphonized
Model nrg3.0gbk
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
The Vava Flex feature two listening modes that can be toggled with a twist of their earpieces – one for natural sound reproduction, and one with enhanced bass. Their long, durable cord is made from thermoplastic elastomer to withstand the wear and tear of daily life.
  • strong aluminum alloy construction
  • comfortable and stable fit
  • incredible value for the quality
Brand VAVA
Model VA-EP001US
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
True to the quality the company is known for, the Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 feature micro-porous filters to enrich and expand their sound, as well as cushioned loops that conform to the rim of your ear for a secure and comfortable fit.
  • impressive sonic clarity
  • reliable in-line playback controls
  • three sets of silicone tips
Brand Bowers & Wilkins
Model C5 S2
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Who Benefits Most From Using Earbuds With Mics?

As the modern era calls for the simplification of our complex lifestyles, many elements of everyday life take on as many functions as possible. Consider the cell phone, which has evolved over the years from being a device used to simply make calls to the integral part of daily life it is now. The modern cell phone combines internet browser, game console, telephone, and thousands of apps into a computer the size of a hand.

While the change hasn't been as drastic in the world of headphones, the combination of earbuds with mics allows for many people to operate at a higher level of ease and efficiency than ever before.

In an office setting, earbuds with mics provide a hands-free way to communicate with coworkers or make business calls. Full headsets are often clunky and put pressure on the head. This may lead to an increase in tension headaches commonly experienced by office workers. The other option is to put calls on speakerphone, but this is much less private and will disturb the coworkers around the call. Earbuds with mics are a comfortable option for every business professional.

Using headphones with mics is a great way to increase safety while driving. A driver's ability to safely react to hazards on the road is greatly reduced when one of their hands is holding a phone. While not talking while driving may be the best option, earbuds with built in microphones are great for those calls that simply have to be made.

Of course, the utility of the earbuds themselves cannot be overlooked. Earbuds are much less bulky than headphones, and so often find their way into the gym or other exercise sessions. Earbuds are less likely to fall off the head while on a treadmill or elliptical, and are just as comfortable while lifting weights as they are while jogging. On a bicycle, earbuds are also more aerodynamic. They are also less likely than full headphones to fall off while riding at high speeds. Headphones with built in microphones are a great example of technology being used to create multi-functioning tools which improve the overall quality of life.

History Of Earbuds With Mics

On the surface, earbuds and mics are the exact opposite of each other. One is used to listen to audio, the other is intended to receive audio input. Yet the history of headphone speakers and mics are tied together in a few ways.

The history behind headphones goes all the way back to the early 1900s. They were designed to allow one user the ability to listen to audio privately by placing small speakers on their head against their ears. An inventor named Nathaniel Baldwin is given credit for the invention of the first headphones, and his first customer was the U.S. Navy, just before World War I. Baldwin manufactured the headphones on his kitchen table and made history.

Since then, headphones have found their way into numerous industries and occupations. The first combination of headphones and microphone were the headsets made famous by switchboard operators. They were also favored by aircraft pilots in the armed forces. As the first headsets were bulky and required switchboard operators to exercise their necks in order to operate them, cries of making them lightweight spread.

The 1990s brought cell phones, and progress in the industry enabled headsets to become light enough for everyday use, and allowed for hands-free use of telephones. Modern advancements brought Bluetooth technology to headsets, the invention of the earbud, and an increase in ergonomic design to reduce listener's fatigue.

How Do Earbuds with Mics Work?

In order to provide the increased functionality of earbuds with mics, there are a couple of design elements manufacturers must consider in to their products.

Both speakers and mics operate on electrical circuits. In a basic circuit, current flows from a power source to the device, and then from the device back to the power source. This is considered a complete circuit. If the device is switched off, the circuit cannot be completed, and the device will not function as intended. When the device is switched on, current flows from the device back to the power source, and the device begins to function.

In headphones, this electrical signal must be turned into a sound. To do this, speakers contain electromagnets and use a process called induction. Induction is how current itself is produced as it moves through a magnetic field. According to Faraday's law of induction, it is the interaction between a magnetic field and an electrical circuit which creates the current in the field. In a speaker, this current then oscillates a small diaphragm within the speaker itself. As this diaphragm oscillates, it translates these movements into sound waves, which reach our eardrums as the music, audiobooks, podcasts, and speeches that we know and love.

The microphones in earbuds with mics are another form of transducer. As one might think, the process works much in reverse. A microphone works to translate incoming audio waves into input that can be understood by electronic devices. In order to do this, the microphone relies on a similar diaphragm to the speaker. Diaphragms in microphones are very thin pieces of a material like paper, aluminum, or plastic, which are placed near the coil. When it is hit by sound waves, this diaphragm vibrates in turn. This vibration causes similar movements in the coil, which then converts the audio into an electrical signal to be sent through a cable and into whichever device it is plugged into.

In order to safely add the mic signal to the mix in earbuds with mics, changes in the the 3.5 mm jack are often made. At the input end of the headphone cable, most headphones contain 2 rings. The tip of the jack provides signal to the left ear, the first ring provides signal to the right ear, and the second ring is for electrical grounding. When the mic is included, a third ring must be added before the grounding ring to signal that the mic is attached. Combined, these factors make headphones with mics intricate yet simple wonders in the audio world.

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Last updated on April 24 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.