Comply Noise Reduction Earphones NR-10
V-Moda Remix M-Class Earphones

NR-10 produces a clean, powerful sound, with balanced emphasis in the midrange, where voices and instruments are heard. Remix’s bass is booming, treble is soaring, midrange is excellent, without any obvious concentrations through the entire audible and harmonic spectrum.

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Comply Noise Reduction Earphones NR-10
Hearing Components

Price: $80 plus shipping

Comply / Hearing Components is a small company with many years of experience and a high pedigree in this field. Their booth was tiny but bustling at last January’s Macworld Expo, and now I know why. Listeners receive solid audio performance from NR-10, and their foam tips are the most comfortable of their kind we’ve tested. The $80 cost is reasonable for the quality achieved. An added feature is the in-line volume control on the portion of the cable that attaches to your iPod or other music player. Black is the only color offered.

NR-10 produces a clean, powerful sound, with balanced emphasis in the midrange, where voices and instruments are heard. Audio falloff is fairly steep to the upper frequencies, so you won’t be knocked over by shattering treble. Bass is substantial — be careful with the volume. Sonic presence is intense once your squishy foam tips are secure.

Two pairs of tips are included. Replacement foam tips are affordable at roughly $4.00 per set, but over time you’ll spend as much or more money on them as you did on your original purchase. Make sure you really like these earphones and tips before you commit to this “free shaver with expensive blades” relationship with Comply. Typical usage allows for one to three months per set, but your mileage will depend upon your personal lifestyle and hygiene.

Compressible foam ear tips are not my personal favorites, but many people prefer them. Sheba, my daughter, has written on this matter in her comments on Etymotic Research’s premium in-ear ‘phones, near the beginning of this review.

Passive noise reduction (translation: tight fit) enables listeners to have an immersive experience. Airline travel can be much more pleasurable when using earphones such as these. Do NOT drive, jog, or bicycle with ANY snug-fit in ear ‘phones, or your safety is at risk.

My iPod has a playlist of songs I use over and over to test earphones and speakers. NR-10 by Comply performed well across the collection of styles and genres. A subjective “very good to good” summarizes my overall listening and comfort experience. (I only located one other detailed review by searching for “comply nr-10 review” on Google, and the author had positive things to say.)

Comply’s $80 price tag, plus shipping, plus replacement tips, is considered moderate in this era of $350 music players and $600 telephones, not to mention $500 ‘phones. “Budget” ends at $50 and “premium” begins at $125 for earphones or headphones.

I’m listening to my playlist now with NR-10, while writing this summary. It’s a lot easier to listen than to type, which is a definite recommendation for these earphones. I can’t hear any ambient noise from the rest of the house. The following is not my favorite expression, but you’ll get the drift: You can do a lot worse than a set of Comply Noise Reduction Earphones NR-10. Serious listeners will enjoy them, if foam tip inserts are okay. rating: 3.5 out of 5

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V-Moda Remix M-Class Earphones

Price: $50 with free USA shipping, or flat rate $5 shipping worldwide

Remix in-ear phones by V-Moda are improvements on Apple’s original iPhone earbud design, not the newer versions. Different colors of Remix are available, each with a durable, transparent cable. One-inch straight stems connect ear drivers to cables. These all metal stems and enclosures are not tiny, so you’ll have to audition Remix to determine if fit and comfort are acceptable. V-Moda earphones are available at Apple retail stores.

V-Moda provides white slipover covers for stable positioning. These types of covers are currently out of vogue, but I never had a problem with them. Remix’s included covers are too bulky and flabby for this reviewer, so I substituted Apple’s discredited original black covers and didn’t looked elsewhere.

Earbud fit is not snug. Earphone drivers rest within your ear cavity and can shift location, thereby altering audio delivery. If this will cause problems for you, consider the Comply NR-10 earphones reviewed above, plus those in our comparative review here. But don’t jump to conclusions until you read the following sentence.

Remix has the best audio range and transparency of all the under-$100 earphones we’ve reviewed at Bass is booming, treble is soaring, midrange is excellent, without any obvious concentrations through the entire audible and harmonic spectrum. Experiment with different ear positions for optimum comfort and audio, but don’t make yourself nuts to overcome the somewhat loose driver placement.

You can hear ambient noise when listening via Remix. This is a feature, not a liability, in many real world environments, such as crossing the street. Ditto for the large size drivers and stems, but if your ears are tiny, you’re probably not going to be enamored of this product.

In the budget earphone category, Remix has only one rival, ezGEAR’s ultraEars SX70, reviewed at the aforementioned URL. The ezGEAR drivers’ rubber tips fit more snugly, but their very good sound is not as dynamic as from V-Moda’s Remix. I’m listening now to my iPod using Remix, and I just heard some new parts in my favorite songs for the first time with these $50 ‘phones. Clarity is exceptional.

Do a web search for “review remix v-moda” (quote marks not necessary) and you’ll see how other reviewers rate them — highly. rating: 4 out of 5

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