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Choosing the Right Earbuds with Mic for You

Welcome to my ultimate guide on picking the perfect pair of earbuds with a built-in microphone! As wireless earbuds grow in popularity for listening to music and podcasts on the go, many are looking for options that also allow them to make calls and access voice assistants easily. The ability to quickly switch from tunes to talk with crisp call quality is a must-have feature for many these days.

In this in-depth blog post, I’ll cover all the key benefits that earbuds with mics provide, the most important factors to consider when shopping, reviews of my top picks, and answers to frequently asked questions. Let’s dive in!

Why Earbuds with Mics Are So Useful

Earbuds with integrated microphones offer some great advantages:

Convenience

The top reason to get earbuds with a mic is simple convenience. Having a microphone built into your earbuds allows you to make calls and interact with voice assistants like Siri or Google Assistant hands-free. It’s easy to switch seamlessly between listening to music and taking a quick call. No more fumbling to find your phone or a headset to make calls!

Portability

Wireless earbuds with mics are ultra compact and portable. They easily slip into a pocket and are comfortable for all day wear. Since everything is self contained, you don’t have to deal with any wires. It’s easy to take calls on the go, whether you’re out for a walk, ride, or run.

Great Sound Quality

While early models often had poor call quality, the microphone technology in earbuds has gotten much better over time. Many of the latest releases offer great sound not only for listening to music or podcasts, but also capturing your voice clearly during calls. Some even have noise reduction capabilities.

Affordability

Thanks to maturing technology and increased competition, there are now many affordable options for earbuds with mics. While high-end models still cost a premium, you can find quality picks with mics at moderate prices. There are good choices for every budget.

Key Factors to Consider For Earbuds with Mics

There are a few key factors you’ll want to evaluate when picking earbuds with integrated microphones:

Sound Quality

Since you’ll use earbuds for both listening and calls, sound quality on both fronts is important. Look at speaker driver size, frequency response range, and noise cancellation capabilities. Of course you’ll want crisp treble and robust bass for music, but focus on the mid-range for voice call clarity.

Microphone Quality

Look at the microphone specs to determine how well your voice will come across. Some important microphone features include MEMS silicon microphones, high signal to noise ratio, HD Voice capabilities, noise reduction technology, multiple mic pickup patterns, and acoustic mesh shields. Also listen to sample recordings of call quality.

Comfort and Fit

Like all earbuds, getting a comfortable and secure fit is key. Over ear hooks, different sized eartips, and adjustable fins all help customize the fit. Make sure to test earbuds on before buying if possible or buy from retailers with good return policies. An improper fit will ruin your listening experience and call quality.

Battery Life

Compare battery life across different usage modes – music playback, talk time, and standby. The best earbuds can last up to 8 hours for music and 5-6 hours for calls between charges. Recharging cases can provide an additional 2-3 full charges. Quick charging is also useful. Plan based on your typical usage.

Connectivity

Most earbuds utilize Bluetooth to pair with your phone or tablet wirelessly. Make sure that the earbuds support modern Bluetooth versions like 5.0 for energy efficiency and range. Some higher end models also support advanced audio codecs like AAC or aptX for music listening. Considering going wired if you face frequent Bluetooth dropped connections.

Durability

Since you’ll wear and carry earbuds everywhere, durability is important. Look for waterproofing and sweat resistance with ratings like IPX4 or IPX7. Materials like aluminum alloy housings and Kevlar coated cables also offer protection. Reinforced strain reliefs prevent cable damage. Regular maintenance helps too.

Extra Features

Many earbuds come with extra features beyond audio like built-in controls, transparency mode, companion apps, and more. Think about if features like active noise cancellation or wear sensors will actually be useful for you on a daily basis. Don’t overpay for unnecessary extras. Prioritize core performance.

Price

With earbuds available from $20 to $250+, set realistic expectations at each price point in terms of build, sound, and mic quality. You’ll typically face diminishing returns on extremely high-end picks. There are plenty of good earbuds with mics in the $50-100 range from reputable brands. Don’t overspend beyond your needs.

Reviews of the Top Earbuds with Microphones

After extensive testing and research, I picked my five favorite earbuds with integrated mics based on sound quality, comfort, battery life, durability, and overall value:

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

  • Pros: Great well-balanced sound with customized drivers. Crystal clear microphone for calls. IPX7 waterproof. Wireless Qi charging case. Customizable fit.
  • Cons: Noise isolation could be better. Touch controls can be finicky.
  • Rating: 4.2/5

With great audio performance, 8 hours battery life, and Qi wireless charging, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 earbuds are tough to beat for under $100. One of the best all-around values for earbuds with mics.

Sony WF-1000XM4

  • Pros: Superb noise cancelling for music and calls. Great ambient mode. Terrific sound with LDAC support. Wireless charging case.
  • Cons: Very expensive. Bulky design.
  • Rating: 4.7/5

The Sony WF-1000XM4 has some of the best active noise cancelling technology you can get and crystal clear call quality. A premium option for those willing to pay up.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

  • Pros: Incredibly stable fit with earhooks. Sweat and water resistant design. Up to 9 hours music playback. Fast charging case.
  • Cons: Bulky case. Pricey. Bass-heavy music sound profile.
  • Rating: 4.5/5

With marathon battery life and a nearly unshakeable comfortable fit, the Powerbeats Pro are ideal for fitness and active lifestyles. The earhooks keep them anchored in place. Mic quality is excellent too.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

  • Pros: Phenomenal warm, hi-fi music sound. Good noise cancellation. Compact case. Customizable controls.
  • Cons: Average battery life at 4 hours. Finicky touch controls.
  • Rating: 4.3/5

Audiophiles will love the brilliant sound quality of the Sennheiser Momentum earbuds. Their smaller design is great for petite ears. Call quality is very good but not quite up to par with top picks.

Jabra Elite Active 75t

  • Pros: Rugged and sweat proof design. Comfortable secure fit. Equalizer lets you customize sound. Up to 24 hour battery life.
  • Cons: Mediocre noise isolation and cancellation. Can experience wireless cutouts.
  • Rating: 4.1/5

The best choice for fitness buffs, the Elite Active 75t offers a sturdy comfortable fit and waterproofing. It lacks premium features but delivers great value under $150.

ModelPriceRatingBattery LifeNoise CancellingTop Features
Anker Soundcore$1004.2/58 hrsNoGreat value, wireless charging
Sony WF-1000XM4$2804.7/58 hrsYesSuperb noise cancelling, exceptional call clarity
Beats Powerbeats Pro$2004.5/59 hrsNoMarathon battery, sweat-proof, earhooks for security
Sennheiser Momentum$2904.3/54 hrsYesAudiophile sound quality, compact case
Jabra Elite Active$1504.1/57.5 hrsNoRugged and waterproof, customizable sound

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get the best fit from my earbuds?

  • Try all sizes of eartips included to see which seal the ear canal securely without discomfort. Earbuds should fit snug but not too tight.
  • Position earbud nozzles correctly in ear canals. Angle nozzles to match contours of your ears.
  • If available, use fins/wings to increase stability and keep earbuds anchored in place.
  • Try twisting earbuds once inserted to get the best fit. Adjust until comfortable.

What’s the difference between noise cancellation and noise isolation?

  • Noise cancellation uses microphones and algorithms to actively counter ambient noise. This electronically reduces lower frequency droning sounds like engines. Needs power.
  • Noise isolation is passive. Earbuds with a proper seal physically block out higher pitched ambient noise. No power required. Relies on fit.
  • For best results, get earbuds with both noise cancellation technologies and a secure noise isolating fit.

Are wireless or wired earbuds better for calls?

  • Modern wireless earbuds typically offer comparable call performance if Bluetooth connectivity is reliable. No audio quality compromise.
  • Wired earbuds guarantee no dropouts or interference. Some prefer wired for critical voice calls for consistency.
  • Wireless is preferred by most for call convenience but wired still has connectivity benefits in certain situations.

How can I make calls sound better on my earbuds?

  • Make sure earbuds fit securely in ear canals to maximize noise isolation. This prevents ambient noise pickup.
  • Position microphones correctly by speaking through them, not away or to the sides for optimal voice pickup.
  • Use earbuds with noise reduction capabilities and multiple microphones. These improve voice clarity on calls.
  • If call quality is still subpar, consider upgrading to earbuds with better microphone systems.

What’s the safest way to clean earbud eartips?

  • Remove eartips from earbuds before cleaning to avoid damage. Do not submerge earbuds.
  • Use a soft dry cloth to wipe down eartips gently after each use to remove oils and debris.
  • For a deeper clean, use a mild soap and water solution on a cloth 1-2 times per week. Avoid harsh cleaners.
  • Replace eartips every 6 months for hygiene and optimal fit. Change immediately if damaged or degraded.

How long should quality earbuds last?

  • With proper maintenance, quality earbuds should last around 2 years before needing replacement.
  • Lithium-ion batteries in earbuds and cases lose capacity over time. Expect 70-80% battery lifespan after 2 years.
  • Damage can shorten lifespan if exposed to excessive moisture, drops, debris, etc. Use with care.
  • Upgrade every 2-3 years to take advantage of technology improvements.

When is it time to upgrade my earbuds?

  • Upgrade earbuds if sound quality, battery life or microphone performance decline noticeably with age.
  • Consider upgrading if new earbuds have compelling new capabilities like noise cancellation, wireless charging, etc.
  • Upgrade if fit becomes an issue as eartips wear out or ears change slightly over time.
  • If earbuds work fine, upgrade every 3-4 years or if new features are irresistible. No set timeline.

Conclusion

I hope this thorough guide helps you understand the key considerations around choosing earbuds with integrated microphones. The benefits of having great wireless earbuds with good microphone capabilities for calls are clear. Be sure to evaluate important factors like sound quality, microphone performance, fit, and battery life as you compare options. Take a look at my top picks for recommendations across budgets and lifestyles. There are lots of great choices on the market depending on your priorities. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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