What are the best cheap earphones? Samsung EHS64 – an audiophile’s bargain

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Samsung EHS64 with 3M earplug tips

Samsung’s EHS64 earphones are amazing value at well under £4 on Amazon. Though their clarity is not at Sony MH1C let alone Dunu Titan 1 (FiiO EX1) levels (other well recognised sonic bargains I regularly listen to at home that also punch well above their weight) they’re a very enjoyable mildly U-shaped listen and have sufficient detail, frequency balance, transient response and open airy sound to not feel like one is missing out on too much regardless of music genre (not something that can be said of even the once much lauded HiFiMan RE-0 whose limited bass extension means one can completely miss out on bass rhythms). Sound-wise they’re not dissimilar to the venerable Koss Porta Pro (modified with the ‘quarter mod’ that helps lift that headphone’s treble veil) with an energetic but never distracting or aggressively sibilant treble (something the Titan 1 can fall foul of with certain tracks), clear articulate vocals and a tight extended open sounding bass that’s not boomy or resonant – there’s a tiny hole near the driver that probably contributes to the open sound (more natural than the PortaPro’s which exhibits some mid bass ‘bloom’). I often find myself listening to them in preference to my Sennheiser HD600 full size headphones since much less of a faff to use (straight out of my phone, no amplifier needed, can lie down/sleep with them) and keep with you (they’re always in my jacket pocket). I use them with homemade Comply style tips that are just a single 3M yellow foam earplug (about 10p a pair on Amazon in bulk) cut in half lengthways with a small hole drilled through them for the best and most comfortable ear canal seal. Tips can make a big difference to how a particular earphone sounds (seal, ear insertion depth and bore diameter affect frequency response) though the standard silicon tips the earphones come with are pretty compliant and comfortable to begin with and you may be happy sticking with them if they happen to fit your ears well. They even happen to have a phone microphone and volume control! I also use Genelec near field active monitors and their dedicated subwoofer and know how close to natural lifelike sound hifi can get but really think nowadays with careful choice one doesn’t have to spend anything like the fortune one once did to get very close to top class faithful sound and music reproduction – once at a certain minimum level of fidelity (like the Samsung’s) there’s really not that much difference in the emotional experience from the music that more exotic and expensive equipment brings. You can find a fuller review of them against other standard earphones supplied with mobile phones here. They sound good straight out of the packet but like many ear and headphones improve with some ‘burn in’ – just leave them playing music at moderate volume from say a home radio for a day or two.

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10 thoughts on “What are the best cheap earphones? Samsung EHS64 – an audiophile’s bargain

  1. Hi loved these headphones but unfortunately, I think it’s impossible to get the genuine model anymore most are bad cheap fakes. Willing to spend more on different ones that have a similar signature to these ones any recommendations?

    • Hi, the KZ ATE Sports (ear hooks) are more expensive but still very affordable at under £9 on Amazon (cheaper on eBay and Chinese sites) – they also sound even better (more detail and more open and extended bass that is no less in impact and quantity).

      • Wow, thanks for the reply and reccomendation! I have bought many cheap IEM and have been tricked by fakes and it’s funny and ironic to think that there would be fakes of already inexpensive IEMs, but that’s the world we live in lol. So could I ask you if you could also recommend or link to a seller on eBay or Amazon that is known to sell genuine KZ ATE Sports IEMs if you know? Regardless, thanks again for the reply and recommendation.

      • No probs Simon. Here are the links that I used:

        KZ Transer KZ-ATES Copper Conductor Ear Hook HIFI Headphones Sport Ear Earphone Headset with Foam Tips https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01J5FJWS6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_9PbXzb8XDG39C

        Samsung Earphones with Remote and Microphone (Not in Retail Packaging) – White https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00AX8WQ06/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_sSbXzbYCWVRCX

        I was amazed by how good the Samsung is for such a low price. KZ is definitely a brand to watch for audiophile value..more expensive still but their £18-30 4-driver ZS5 is stunning and I prefer them for general music listening to headphones costing £200+

        Happy listening 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for recommendations actually should have said I live in Canada 🙂 All good though, as I used the handy search filters on eBay and found sellers with 100% reputation and just ordered the KZ IEMs!!! I will report back to you when I get my hands on them 🙂

  3. Hi just an update, I finally received the KZ ATE IEM and just wanted to thank you for the recommendation. They are amazing headphones, better than the other sub $100 headphones that I have had, I really can’t believe they pack in so much value into these IEMs!!
    I am enjoying my music with these and that is always for me an indication of how good an IEM set is. Live music sounds amazing which can be tricky for most sub $100 Iems, vocals sound great. Maybe the only weakness is with electronic music it struggles to be as engaging as it is with instrumental music but it is STILL very good.
    The soundstage and stereo imaging are even better than the Samsung EHS64. But maybe the EHS64 has better bass but detail wise and separation wise the KZ ATE is clearly better. It’s fun to listen too.
    I have ordered the KZT(spelling?) and KS3 as I have seen on forums that they are even better and they are only a few dollars more expensive. I was going to order the flavour of the month 1more tripledriver IEM but they cost over $100 and have heard that the KZ KS3 are just as good for 1/6 of the price. So again thankyou, im very happy! 🙂

    • You’re welcome! Very glad you’re enjoying them..yep I think they’re amazing value. I listen to a range of music including a lot of electronic (from Chemical Brothers to Nathan Fake and Kink (DJ)) and enjoy everything with them..maybe try switching tips and see whether you get a better bass response since I find it perfect. My KZ ZS5 (v1 I think with one driver in the nozzle and 3 in the main body) is really amazing and has incredible instrument separation but I still love the ATE sport. Happy listening 🙂

      • Yeah, I think I will try to change the tips that good advice. I definitely didn’t prefer the foam tips as I found that dampened the sound.

        Actually today I received another one two the ZST and the ZS3. I was really disappointed with the ZST even though they are more expensive than the ATE. It has not enough bass and doesn’t have the same stereo imaging and impact that the ATE has. Also, the ZST has to be one of the most frustrating headphones ergonomically wise, no matter what I do I cant get it to stay in my ears…oh well I paid $7 dollars so its cheap as chips and I will use it as backup headphones 🙂

        The ZS3, on the other hand, is really amazing also very cheap and gives amazing sounds, fits beautifully in my ear also people on forums generally say it is better sounding than the ATE but I don’t know I find the ATE and the ZS3 hard to separate sound quality wise actually… From early testing, the ATE maybe has the best stereo imaging for me but the ZS3 definitely has more punch overall. I have got the KZ bug now lol so I will probably buy the ZS5 the one you have as I have also heard good things about that one too 🙂

      • Wow, looks like you are becoming a KZ expert 🙂 Yes I’d seen some Headfi reviews saying the ZST was actually uncomfortable. Interesting about the ZS3. I feel like my journey has come to an end with the ZS5 though note I think I have the first version of it with one ba driver in the nozzle. Seen a lot of comments saying the current version with 2 ba drivers in the nozzle has too much treble like the Beyer DT990 Pro (that I also have). Still, if you get from Amazon you can always return if they don’t meet expectations..and in any case the outlay is pretty low in the world of hifi ‘chifi’ 🙂

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