The Best Bass Earphones for Bass Heavy Music
Imagine you’re on the couch and you decide to take a nap. You reach out for your headphones to listen to your chill-out playlist. You can’t lie down comfortably though — your over-ear headphones is digging into the sofa.
Or maybe you’re attending an office convention. The speaker is boring as hell and you decide to listen to some music. You smile to yourself because you know you have a pair of in-ears in your briefcase. You discreetly plug in and no one’s the wiser.
Don’t me wrong. I’m not saying earphones are better than headphones. If you know me by now, you’ll realise that I advocate the right gear for the right job. I prefer wireless headphones for the gym because they signal to others that I don’t want to be disturbed. But if I’m out for a run? Wireless earphones then. They fit securely in my ears unlike over-ear headphones.
But, this is not a post on wireless headphones for running. I wrote an article on that. This post is about the best earphones for bass heavy music. Is it possible that these earphones exist? Contrary to what you may think, it’s not true that only headphones have great bass. Plenty of technology exists now for enhancing bass response. The Pioneer SE-CX8-T for example features a “Bass Exciter” for increased low end response.
The notion that bass-enhanced earphones don’t have good tone is also outdated. The BeoPlay H3 and Shure SE215-K both offer audiophile-grade tone and enhanced bass.
This post is therefore dedicated to all bass-heads, and to those who favor a dynamic tone and fun EQ-signature. From Timo Maas to Tesseract, these 8 earphones will cover everything from progressive house to djent metal.
8 Best Earphones For Bass
In this section, we’re going to cover 8 popular earphones with enhanced bass response. Some of them like the B&O and Audio-Technica are pricey, but you get what you pay for. Cost is not a factor when I shortlisted these 8 earbuds — tone is. To kick off the review, we’ll start with the cheapest: the Zipbuds Slide.
Zipbuds Slide Sport Earbuds
You might not have heard of Zipbuds before, but this niche Californian earphone maker focuses mainly on sports earphones. For its price, you get a well-designed earphone with great sound. Plus you get to use this for your workout. It’s quite a good value I have to say.
The Zipbuds Slide is guaranteed for life. That’s a bold claim by the manufacturers but considering that the Slide is made with military-grade bulletproof fibers, I wouldn’t hesitate to take them up on that offer.
An interesting feature is a zipperless zipper cable that’s guaranteed to reduce cable tangling. The Zipbuds Slide is sweat resistant and comes with a noise-filtering microphone.
Sound-wise, the Zipbuds Slide’s 11 mm drivers features powerful bass and enhanced clarity across the entire frequency spectrum. Its acoustic chamber is designed to elevate bass without sacrificing tonal clarity.
Cheap earphones with good bass and good design don’t come by often. For its price, design and sound quality, I have to say the Zipbuds Slide is very affordable.
Sony MDR-XB90EX In-Ear Extra Bass
If you’re looking for the best bass earphones, look no further. They didn’t label the Sony MDR-XB90EX “extra bass” for no reason. Featuring an Advanced Direct Vibe Structure, the Sony earphones form an acoustically tight seal inside your ears. The result? Maximum sound isolation for increased low end tone. The angled duct also channels sound directly into your ears for optimum bass and treble response.
The Sony MDR-XB90EX also has an interesting feature on its cable like the Zipbuds Slide. The cord has a tangle-free serrated design with tiny grooves along the surface to reduce cable tangling.
Best Bass Earphones: BeoPlay H3 by Bang & Olufsen
The BeoPlay H3 is designed by Bang & Olufsen, specifically their B&O Play series of audio lifestyle products. I won’t lie to you — the BeoPlay H3 is a thing of beauty.
Available in aluminum black, gold or silver, the BeoPlay H3 is designed by Danish industrial designer Jakob Wagner and crafted from a solid block of aluminum. It’s therefore extremely lightweight, comfortable, and perfect for long listening sessions.
Sound-wise, the BeoPlay H3 comes with a custom-designed 10.8 mm driver that delivers a dynamic full tone sound. It’s able to replicate music quite nearly the way artists intended them to be heard. Its acoustic design includes a micro bass port and 26 air vents for deep bass tones.
Overall, the BeoPlay H3 is a stunning pair of earphones that’s well-designed and sounds great. It is without a doubt our favorite pair of earbuds in this review.
Check out this video review to see Jakob Wagner explain the H3’s concept.
1MORE Triple-Driver Earphones
1MORE is a consumer audio company headquartered in San Diego, California. Their mission is to deliver high quality headphones at affordable prices.
1MORE is the creative force behind certain brands like Xiaomi’s Pistons and In-Ear Headphones Pro. Hybrid earphones are the rage these days. By combining balanced armatures and dynamic drivers, you get the best of both drivers.
The 1MORE Triple-Driver is tuned by Grammy award-winning sound designer Luca Bignardi and features—you guessed it—three drivers. The two balanced armatures and one separate dynamic driver delivers an accurate and dynamic tone.
The balanced armatures creates a great soundstage and sizzling highs, and is able to withstand high inputs with zero distortion. The dynamic drivers deliver a great bass-heavy tone that is complemented by its overall ergonomic design.
The 1MORE Triple-Driver has an aluminum alloy body and a kevlar core cable with external braiding. It is lightweight and extremely pleasing to the eye.
Audio-Technica ATH-CKR10 SonicPro
The ATH-CKR10 SonicPro is the world’s first earphones to feature dual push-pull 13 mm drivers that deliver extended frequency response by reducing intermodulation distortion.
In layman’s terms, the SonicPro is able to produce sound that is true to its original. Two facing 13 mm drivers generate phase-aligned signals that are then mixed to compensate for each driver’s inefficiencies. The result is a pair of earphones with tone that isn’t artificially colored.
Does it have extended bass? The ATH-CKR10 SonicPro has a bass acoustic resister that extends low-frequency response. Combine that with its stainless steel acoustic resister for high-frequencies and you get a pair of earphones that delivers true-to-life tone with deep bass.
The SonicPro also has a metal-coated titanium housing to reduce unwanted vibration. The right-angled jack is a welcome design for those who like listening with their mobile devices while on the move.
Pioneer Superior Club Sound SE-CX8-T
The Pioneer Superior Club Sound earphones is designed with club-goers in mind. A “Bass Exciter” vibration element generates ultra low-frequency for deep bass reproduction. Even though the SE-CX8-T comes with 9.4 mm dynamic drivers, it’s still able to pump out club-sound beats for those who enjoy electronic music.
You get a sense that Pioneer made these for a very specific music genre.
The cleverly engineered ear holders ensure that the earbuds remain in your ears at all times, and the tangle-free detachable cord allows you quick and easy access to your earphones. The Pioneer SE-CX8-T comes with an in-line microphone and integrated remote control and a right-angled jack for mobile devices. The Pioneer Superior Sound Club looks good as well. It comes in bright silver, indigo black and bright copper.
Let’s just say that the Pioneer SE-CX8-T was designed for a specific purpose and it does that very well. It has earned its right as one of the best bass earphones on this list.
Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones
Just so that you know what these earphones are, the Shure SE215-K feature an over-the-ear design. They are meant to be worn like musicians’ monitors, just like musicians would on stage during their performances.
Does this mean they are meant for musicians only? On the contrary, no. Shure was one of the first few manufacturers to introduce the over-the-ear design to the consumer market. Others followed suit, but Shure continues to manufacturer most of its earphones with this design. It’s definitely unique, but not without its limitations.
For a start, if you carry a messenger bag or backpack, then these type of earphones is going to be quite inconvenient. Second, wearing these earphones requires a specific method. If you’re not sure, look it up. If you’re the sort that’s easily embarrassed in public, then you’d probably want to stay away from the Shure.
But if that’s all right with you, then the Shure is one hell of an earphone that deserves to be on this list. Its sound isolating feature blocks up to 97 decibels on ambient sound. It comes with a detachable cable for easy replacement and customization. It also comes with a range of sound isolating sleeves for ensuring a comfortable fit.
That all sounds great, but what about the bass? Shure likes to keep things simple. There is no fancy bass technology being used here. All that they’ve done is use sound isolating technology to effectively seal in all the goodness in its drivers to deliver jaw-dropping tone. It’s a pretty scientific way of making good bass earphones, if you ask me.
Plus if it’s good enough for musicians, then it’s good enough for you.
Sony XBAH3 Hybrid Earphones
Like the Shure, the Sony XBAH3 features an over-the-ear design. And like the 1MORE, it comes with 3 drivers — 2 balanced-armatures and 1 dynamic driver.
The Sony XBAH3’s 16 mm liquid crystal polymer film driver has a dynamic and balanced sound. It is complemented by its two balanced armatures that feature a full range frequency response and HD super tweeter. What you get is radiant highs and deep, bellowing bass.
What I like about the XBAH3 is that it comes with two types of detachable tangle-free cords: one with an in-line remote and the other with a standard cable with no remote.
Even though the Sony XBAH3 has deep bass, it’s definitely audiophile-grade quality. The magnesium inner housing and ABS exterior suppresses unnecessary vibration for a smooth tone and clear mid to high range sound reproduction.
You can watch the XBA tear-down in this review. Skip to 3:27 if you just want to see the XBAH3.
Tips on Choosing Earphones With Good Bass
We’ve shown you 8 of the best earphones with bass that will rock your world. How do know which to choose? To find out which earphone is suitable for you, we’ll need to consider the following.
Style and Fit
We’re not talking about design or color. We’re referring to the earphones’ fit or the way it is worn. Don’t be surprised because this actually matters a lot.
Two earphones on this list, the Sony XBAH3 and the Shure SE215-K are worn over-the-ear like musicians’ monitors. Why does this matter? Quite frankly, some of you are going to hate this style of earphones. Personally I find them okay for home use or as on-stage monitors. But if you plan on using them outside while on the go, then having a set of cables dangling behind your back while wearing a backpack is not going to work. They also take some effort to fit correctly. For some of you, wearing over-the-ear earphones may seem a little dorky in public.
In this case, I’d recommend you go with something more traditional. The other 5 earphones in this review all feature a traditional design. Stick with those.
Sound Isolation or Enhanced Bass Technology?
None of these 8 earphones have noise-canceling technology. What they do have is the ability to reduce noise by employing an in-ear monitor design. If you can get a good seal, then you’ll able to block out ambient noise and ‘lock-in’ a good tone. The result is a full tone with great bass.
Many of these earphones have a pretty good frequency response. Which means that if you get a good seal inside your ears, you’ll be able to enjoy deep bass response just like the manufacturer intended.
In that vein, you can choose an earphone based on how good its sound isolation is. The Shure SE215-K for example comes with sound isolating sleeves (eartips) for blocking ambient sound.
Alternatively you can choose a pair of earphones that employs enhanced technology to extend its bass response. The Pioneer SE-CX8-T uses “Bass Exciter” technology to improve its bass.
It goes without saying that if price is going to play a major role in influencing your decision, then you’d best do a little filtering. Don’t waste your time looking at something that you know you won’t pay for at the end of the day. Decide on a price point and stick to that budget.
For example, if you’re only willing to spend below $100, then the only 3 earphones you should be considering would be the Sony MDR-XB90EX, the 1MORE Triple-Driver or the Zipbuds Slide.
Need a pair earphones with an in-line microphone? The 1MORE and Zipbuds both comes with a mic and remote.
Choosing the best bass earphones is really a matter of personal taste. For some they’d gladly stick with an all-purpose earphone like the Zipbuds Slide which doubles as a pair of gym earphones. For others they don’t mind paying more for better design — like the BeoPlay H3 which is my personal favorite on this list.
Whether you base your decision on price, form or function, these 8 good earphones with bass are sure to offer the most low end thump that money can buy.
This is Part 5 of a series of curated lists for earphones. For Part 4, check out 18 Popular Wireless Headphones for Running.