Are you looking for that amazing sound quality but are not a fan of the open sound of the speaker or the bulky nature of a headphone? Well, what you need then is a great pair of earphones or in-ear monitors, specifically around the Rs.10000 range.
A premium pair of earphones give you a more premium quality of build as well as sound quality. Being targeted at a different audience, premium earphones reproduce not just good bass but also are very balanced and produce clear and crisp highs as well giving you a much fuller sounding audio. But can we use these high-end earphones with our phones? Of course.
Modern earphones and in fact most audio products are now geared towards the mass market which means they are designed to play well with most smartphones, laptops and other sources.
When you are out buying a pair of earphones that cost around Rs.10,000 make sure you put sound quality as the first preference. It's no use having a premium aluminium milled or bronze earphones if the sound quality is not up to the mark. Check out our buying guide at the end to know more.
To cull the confusion arising from the sheer variety we started our search for the best earphones started by looking at suggestions by reputed audio and technology websites. With all our shortlisted earphones we paid a visit to our long-time audio expert, Mr Jacob Abraham who is also the CEO of Rontek which is famous for its audio and power-electronics manufacturing.
Best earphone under Rs.10,000
Driver Type: 1 dynamic and 2 balanced armature drivers
Number of Drivers: Three
Driver Size: Not specified
Frequency Response: 15-40000 Hz
The Fiio F9 Pro harnesses as much as it can from its triple drivers to produce great audio at even superhuman frequencies (Hi-Res). They have a ton of accessories, detachable cables and even a balanced audio connector making them a superb pick for the price.
The Fiio F9 Pro earphones have biomimicry inspired design with a clear inspiration from seashells. The earphone housing is made of aluminium which not only gives it a great finish but also durability. You also get detachable MMCX connector cables which make replacing and fitting aftermarket ones a breeze.
Present in the box are two cables: the 3.5mm cable which is made of TPE material and a balanced 2.5mm cable made of a braided material. The earphone cable is tangle free and also passes over your ear giving it a much better fit.
There is an inline remote also but the workings of it are a little wonky. Headfonics reported the volume control did not work for iOS, while it worked well on Android except in a few music apps like Hiby. The mic, however, is reported to work flawlessly.
For what you pay you do get pampered with accessories in the box. Starting with the case you get two of them - a fully waterproof hard case along with a water-resistant neoprene pouch. You get a whopping 12 pairs of ear tips but they aren't just different sizes.
There are 4 main types of ear tips (balanced, bass, vocal and isolating) with 3 sizes in each type. The fully black ones are the balanced sounding ones, the black and red are the bass ear tips, the transparent and red are the vocal ones and the all black foam tips are the noise isolating ones.
Coming to the reason why the Fiio F9 Pro was selected- it's superb audio quality. Unlike its competitors from Shure, Noble and V-Moda's single driver approach, the F9 Pro uses a triple driver system. It consists of one dynamic driver for reproducing the lows and two balanced armature drivers for producing the upper mids and highs.
This arrangement lets the earphone produce frequencies from as low as 15 Hz all the way up to 40000 Hz. This frequency range earns it's Hi-Res certification. They also have a low impedance of 28 Ohms and hence can be driven from all smartphones as well as dedicated audio players.
The F9 Pro has a very balanced sound as you may expect at this price. There definitely is sufficient sub-bass and bass but they don't bleed into the mids and highs. Headfonics found the instrumental timbre of this earphone to be superb.
Mr.Jacob pointed out that the graph showed flatness in the bass and mid region and also the smooth nature of the curve which gives the F9 Pro its balanced sound. The vocals too come out great with Headfonics reporting a 3D like immersive experience. They even talked about how improved it felt over the previous F9 especially in the sparkle in the trebles.
The Fiio F9 pro with its balanced audio is more suited for people who love music that is true to the source. In terms of genres, these earphones do justice to most of them from instrumental to Rock. They are very well built as well and can take the pressures of everyday travel.
With its superb balanced sound, great accessories, strong build quality and the price the Fiio F9 Pro makes for a great pick at this price.
Balanced sound with a wide soundstage
Great build quality
3.5mm and Balanced 2.5mm support
Mic with inline remote support
A ton of accessories in the box (12 pairs of ear tips, 2x carrying cases)
Not for Bass-heads
Remote can be a little wonky
Only 1-year warranty
Where to buy it?
Best earphone under Rs.10,000 (Bass)
Driver Type: Micro Driver
Number of Drivers: Single
Driver Size: 5.8mm
Frequency Response: 20-40000 Hz
The Forza Metallo, on the other hand, is a more stylish and premium earphone but with a robust build quality and water resistance. The sound too is traditional V-Moda with a warm but clear sound signature that works really well.
Audiophiles all over the world actually love the sound of V-Moda even going as far as putting them in the same league as Sennheiser and Shure, in terms of the quality of audio.
The Forza Metallo as the name suggests is the metal edition of the regular Forza series. They are beautifully made with nods to the higher end V-Moda products like the hexagonal shape of the driver housing similar to the Crossfade headphones. The earphones themselves are designed for people with an active lifestyle hence they are sweat and water resistant.
V-Moda treats the Forza Metallo as a part of jewellery, going as far as making custom 3D printed caps to enhance their design (Sold on V-Mods website). The 3D printed parts are created in Italy opposite the Castle Sforza which was Leonardo Da Vinci's workshop for 20 years.
The Forza uses a unique 45-degree headphone jack which is claimed to withstand 60,000 bends (10 times more than the industry standard) and the cable is their custom Diamondback cable which is completely tangle proof with a design that looks like snakeskin.
You also get an inline remote with volume and play/pause buttons. Make sure you pick the appropriate iOS or Android version as they have different remotes.
The accessories you get with the Forza Metallo is no less than the Fiio F9 Pro. You get what V-Moda calls as their Luxury "V" Pouch. Then there are 8 pairs of ear tips, 1 pair of sports hooks (to grab onto your ear), 3 pairs of sports fins, remix rings and a cable clip. That is a lot of kit for your money.
Talking about their comfort Digital Trends commented, "In terms of outright comfort, the V-MODA Forza is about as good as it gets." Combine that with the hooks and fins to grab onto your ears and you can basically jog, walk and skip without any fear of the earphones falling out of your ear.
Coming to sound, the sound is interesting, as Headphonezone put it, they have the bass that is tuned for the Indian ear while still retaining the details. But they do not muffle any frequencies like most bass heavy earphones. The mids are forward which gives you great vocals and the treble has its own shimmer.
V-Moda has added sugar, spice, and everything nice but all in equal proportions. There is no dominating frequency it’s just right. Our expert, Mr.Jacob did confess that he has loved the sound of V-Moda products despite his personal headphone being a much more balanced and flatter sounding Sennheiser HD598.
But if you want a bass boosted sound with equally great vocals and treble then the V-Moda Forza Metallo will suit you better. It is also a much more sporty earphone designed to be used while jogs and workouts with its sweat and water-resistant design.
If you want a pair of rugged but stylish, bassy yet balanced, premium but affordable earphones than the V-Moda Forza Metallo is unbeatable especially given their recent price cut.
Great bass without muddying other frequencies
Extremely premium looking with a rugged build
Water and Sweat resistance
Mic with inline remote support
Lots of accessories in box (8 pairs of ear tips, a Luxury case, ear hook, and fins)
No repair service in India
Where to buy it?
Best earphone under Rs.10,000 (Balanced and Wireless)
Driver Type: 1x Dynamic (Neodymium) and 2x Balanced Armature
Number of Drivers: Three
Driver Size: Not specified
Sensitivity: Not specified
Frequency Response: 7-20000Hz
Wireless earphones are a must have today, especially looking at the direction in which most smartphone manufacturers are going with regards to the humble earphone jack. The 1MORE Triple Driver BT makes sure that no matter your phone you can continue playing back your favourite tunes dongle-free.
It comes with premium metal and silicon body that feels premium and is comfortable. You get a decent battery life of around 7 hours and you can quickly charge up your earphone too. But best of all you get a balanced sound that great for most genres of music.
While it's not a cheap earphone, in fact costing as much as a Redmi 6 Pro, it aims to give you excellent sound quality courtesy of its triple driver arrangement, support for LDAC codec and the quick charging feature to keep your earphones always ready for a music session.
Designed with a neckband style, the 1more triple drivers ooze quality with their metal column peppered with tasteful red accents. The neckband part that rests on your body is made of silicone and plastic to keep it light and flexible. While the stalk that you interact with (buttons) is made of metal to give you that premium and tactile touch.
To control your music playback there is a dedicated volume control, play/pause button and a separate power button. The buttons are multifunctional too so you can use them to skip tracks as well.
Provided in the box are a carrying pouch, a USB-C cable and 8 pairs of eartips (5 Silicon Tips and 3 Foam Tips which lets you find the right ear tip for your ears).
Reviewers and Users found the silicone band to fit around their neck nicely without being discomforting. The angular ear tips also provide a secure but comfortable fit also. This is contrary to the many other neckband and wireless style earphones that either put uneven weight on your ears or fit too loosely to your ears leaking out most of the bass.
Being wireless earphones you have a built-in battery and to charge it 1More has provided a USB Type-C port which is definitely welcomed at this price point. The charging speed is limited to 5V at 1A and takes around 1 hour to fully charge the earphone and last around 7 hours on a full charge. While a quick 10-minute charge is enough to give it 2-hour battery life.
Being a modern Bluetooth enabled earphone you also get a “1MORE Assistant“ app that lets you smartly burn-in your earphones and even brings a 5-band equalizer for your benefit. What's even better is the app can even push firmware updates to your earphone to improve it over time.
Coming to sound quality, the earphone is using two balanced armatures drivers to handle the mids and highs and a triple layer dynamic driver with a titanium diaphragm for the bass. It even supports the new LDAC codec that allows playback of high bit rate audio wirelessly and even has support for AAC used by Apple devices to achieve high-quality audio playback.
Who is the competition?
Our line up this time was filled with some amazing earphones, each performing superbly in terms of sound quality. We picked the Fiio F9 Pro and the V-Moda Forza Metallo as they had a little extra magic. But in no ways are the others any bad.
RHA MA750i: Are a great sounding pair of earphones and are very well built as well. They are similar in sound to the V-Moda but are priced much higher than it.
SHURE - SE215M+: Shure is one of the oldest audio companies in the world and they are equally relevant now. Unlike most of their reference audio products, the SE215M+ is known for its boosted bass, pretty blasphemous for someone like Shure to do. The SE215M+ do sound great, although the highs are muddied out by the excessive bass. For what they are priced this may not go down well with audiophiles.
RHA T20: The RHA T20 is also a good earphone that has quite a lot of innovative touches from the shape of the housing to the drivers themselves. It also has a rather unique design where you can change the tuning filters to get the sound signature you want from bass, a reference to treble. While sounding good they are priced at quite the premium for what they offer.
Noble EDC Velvet: The Noble Velvets have a decent sound and are built very well. But our best picks trump it in design, quality, and price.
1more quad driver: This has been considered a good earphone for its technology and sound but the Fiio F9 Pro gives you the same experience at a lower price.
1more triple driver: One driver short of becoming the 1more quad driver, this earphone is actually preferred over the 1more quad as it represents better value. But if you want even better sound make sure to pick our best pick.
Sennheiser - Momentum In-Ear Wireless: The Momentum Wireless offers a premium build quality, has a controlled low end and very good battery life. For the sticker price of Rs.14999, the Bluetooth connection is wonky at times, the treble is a bit sharp, the buttons on the stalk are hard to reach and the mic lacks noise cancellation.
Meze - 11 Neo: Priced at Rs.4999, the Meze 11 Neo is gorgeous to look at with their premium metal construction. They sound great as well giving you a warm sound that pleasing to most ears. You can still pick these up if you want, only know that the Neo lacks a little in the treble region, otherwise, it's a great earphone to pick.
Marshall - Mode EQ: Boasting the classic Marshall design, the Mode EQ comes with an on-the-fly EQ button and the sound is really good for classic rock and jazz just like most Marshall audio products. Another worthy pick if you can brush aside the build quality.
Audio-Technica - ATH-E40: The ATH-40 boasts of a crisp sound quality that's beautifully balanced with a wide soundstage as well. They come with a detachable A2DC cable as well but the fit is a bit difficult and being an audiophile focussed product it lacks mic support. If you can get around the fit issue, you can pick these up for their sound quality.
Jabra Elite 65t: These wireless earbud style earphones are actually a cool piece of tech if you want that modern form factor. They get great battery life (for a wireless earbud), are water resistant (IP55), has good connectivity and controls but the reason we did not pick them as they slightly fall back when it comes to sound quality especially due to the lack of a high-quality codec.
RHA 390 wireless: The wireless version of the budget RHA 390 is priced at quite a premium over its wired twin. But it does boast of a quality sound and excellent build quality. The issues then? The high price and average battery life.
Beats by Dr Dre - BeatsX: Given the brand is now taken over by Apple, the Beats X works best when paired with Apple devices due to the presence of the Apple W1 chip inside. It has decent battery life, fast fuel charging but the sound feels geared towards casual listening and not how an Rs.10000 earphone should sound.
Beats by Dr Dre - urBeats 3: Another pair of earphones from Beats, the urBeats 3 are wired but have an iffy fit which makes it uncomfortable to wear for long hours. Also, the bass-heavy sound drowns the mids and highs- A big no no!
Urbanista - Rome: While we love Urbanista for their naming scheme (All products are named after cities around the world- San Francisco, Madrid, Milan, New York etc.) the Rome earphones are badly designed (unlike the city of Rome) and sound pretty bad for the price.
Sol Republic - Shadow Wireless: A sporty wireless earphones from the hip manufacturer, the Shadow Wireless sound really good but are a little lacking in the low end. To show their sporty nature they are even water resistant but they do not really fit into the ear properly making it really hard to wear in a sporty situation.
Sony - WF-SP700N: Sony’s attempt at the truly wireless earphones is bold but not well executed. The sound is decent and tuned towards the bass which recesses the mid quite a bit. But then start the pitfalls. Despite the 10k price, you don't get aptX support and the worst thing is the battery life which is under 3 hours! Our wireless best pick- the 1more triple driver BT lasts 2 hours with only a 10-minute charge and up to 7 hours with a 60-minute charge!
Sony - WI-SP600N: These earphones are wireless but with a heavy remote with an integrated battery on one side which makes them uneven in weight allowing for an average comfort level. They don't sound half as bad though using the same Sony sound signature we are familiar with.
Bragi - The Headphone: Amongst the first to launch a truly wireless earbuds, “The Headphone” from Bragi is no doubt a cool earphone that has decent audio quality but the controls are a little iffy due to its small size and the case lacks a battery making it difficult to keep “The Headphone” juiced up on the move.
Beyerdynamic - Byron BT: The wired Beyerdynamic Byron has been a favourite ours, and the Byron BT continues that with the addition of wireless. They sound really good with the balanced sound and especially the value price of around Rs.4999. The reason why we didn’t pick these? The treble is a little too sharp and sibilant which can make long listening sessions pretty taxing.
Sennheiser - CX 6.00BT: Sennheiser wireless options have a strong bassy sound with a very good control on the low end that doesn’t sully the mid-range. But the highs can get a little too high giving a sharp sound that can get irritating to the ears. Oh! and the battery is pretty poor too.
JAYS - m-Six Wireless: For the Rs.7999 price tag, the m-Six lacks aptX or AAC support. Then there is the design with the rear mounted battery back which tends to pull the eartips out of your ears which is strange as the Jays t-Four had a really nice and comfy design.
Plantronics - BackBeat FIT 350: The FIT 350 is an earphone for people who have an active lifestyle that's why it's designed to be comfortable, has a decent battery life, is IPX5 water resistant and sound decent too. These can be picked up if you want a pair of earphones during a workout, just don’t expect it to sound as good as our best picks.
Plantronics - BackBeat FIT: The BackBeat FIT come with an IP57 rating, decent sound and battery life but we saw many people complain about the quality, the connection and the poor touch controls.
Urbanears - Stadion: The Station is no doubt a quirky earphone (look above) that really seems to be influenced by many things. Design aside it's not really ergonomic to wear and the semi-open back design leaks quite a lot of sound despite the sound being pretty decent.
JBL - Endurance JUMP: The Endurance JUMP is, even more, weirder than the Urbanears Stadium with its confusing touch controls and design. It's pretty durable and comes with an IPX7 rating but the sound quality is nothing to talk about especially at that price.
JBL - LIVE 200BT: The LIVE 200BT is a neckband type offering from JBL which frankly misses out on a lot - No aptX, no sweat proofing, poor fit and worst of all a low volume which makes it hard to hear in crowded places.
Skullcandy - Method BT: Skullcandy’s neckband style Method BT carries forward the bassy sound that Skullcandy fans love but for the price, the build quality is pretty poor with sharp edges and a plasticky feel. Also, the battery life isn’t great as well.
When you buy a audio device in the premium segment always understand that you may not get products from mainstream brands, instead you will find a lot of niche brands like V-Moda, Shure, 1more, Fiio, RHA, Noble etc. Even though they sound uncommon each of these brands are very well revered in the audio fraternity due to their quality sound.
Talking about sound, the most common type of sound signature here is balanced, which means all frequencies are equally represented without too much focus on the bass. So, if you want a bass heavy earphone, look at some other budgets.
Also, being premium earphones, sound quality is paramount here and hence you may not get basic features like an inline remote, buttons on the remote or microphone support. Don't worry about it, these earphones may lack in a few features here and there but will outperform every single budget earphone in sound quality.
Still have some more questions on earphones? Check out the FAQs section below.
- Is Over-ear hook a part of the package contents? Or should we buy it separately?
- Is this wireless?
Only the 1more triple driver is wireless
- The specification says Impedance is 40 ohm, is it compatible with smartphone or does it requires an amplifier?
These work great with smartphones without any amplification
- Does it come with a carry case?
- I am a bass lover, is it perfect at this price range??
The V Moda and 1more earphones offer great but controlled bass
- Is there water resistance and sweat resistance?
If a pure and balanced sound is what you desire then the Fiio F9 Pro with this triple drivers is the solution to your needs. It is also very well built and has a ton of accessories that make it great for your comfort as well. They are priced very well too at around Rs.10999.
But if you are someone with an active lifestyle that requires a little more active (read bass boosted) sound than the V-Moda Forza Metallo will wow you with its build, ruggedness, and sound. Priced at Rs.7990 they also make for great value.
Finally, we have the 1MORE Triple Driver BT which offers you a wonderfully balanced sound in a premium shell that's made of metal and boasts good battery life too. For wireless earphones, it's priced below the Rs.10000 mark too representing excellent value when compared to earphones price much higher than it despite poor sound quality.
Have any of the picks we suggested? Comment down below about your experience with the product or the brand service. Still, have a doubt regarding earphones? or about any feature related to them? Write down your question below so we can help you with the same.
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