When we last reviewed earphones under Rs.3000 we found that there aren’t as many earphones in the 3,000 range as there were in the 2,000, Anyways we still managed to find the best product for your buck. This time, however, we saw that the earphones market (sub 3000) was now littered with a ton of earphones especially in the wireless category.

Giving the rising audiophile movement in our country people are not just on the lookout for the best budget earphones but are now looking into the best bluetooth earbuds and into the best wireless bluetooth earphones. To find just that we started by reading through a lot of reputed technology websites and dedicated audio websites over the past year.

To see what India's top audiophiles suggest, we had our researcher join the Indian Audiophile Forum, a dedicated online forum for audio aficionados created by Headphone Zone.

Based on the insights from our groundwork, we took help from Mr Jacob Abraham, CEO of Rontek. Rontek has been in the audio and power-electronics manufacturing for nearly two decades.
 

Best earphone under 3000

RHA S500U

With their famed aluminum build quality, the RHA S500U feels premium for the price. They have a very clear sound as well as natural bass and a sparkle in the treble. You also get a ton of accessories in the box, so you can adjust and fit the earphone according to your liking.

Pros

  • Enjoyable audio with natural bass

  • Premium design and build quality

  • A ton of accessories in the box

  • A surprising 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Treble can be a little sharp

  • No volume control button on the remote

  • Narrow soundstage

  • No repair service

Where to buy it?

You can purchase it on Headphonezone
You can purchase it on Amazon

Best earphone under 3000 

KZ ZSR

Another great product from the niche audiophile loved brand “Knowledge Zenith” comes the ZSR which has made its way onto many recommended lists due to its unique (and wacky design), removable cables, low price and amazing sound with a particular affinity towards bass.

It looks stunning and alienish, especially in the green shade. It's not the ultimate in built quality, but for the sound that you get, there's not much that's compromised.

Pros

  • Bassheads delight

  • Funky design

  • Detachable cables are a boon for the price

  • Decent build quality

  • Great price

  • Remote and mic present

Cons

  • Single button microphone

  • A little sibilant and has slightly recessed mids

Where to buy it?

You can purchase it on Headphonezone
You can purchase it on Amazon

Best earphone under 3000

JAYS - t-Four Wireless

Very rarely do we come across good looking audio products that actually sound good. Mostly Good design is meant to draw people to their aesthetic prowess but rarely do they sound good. But there are always exceptions like the Marshall Kilburn, Grado's SR80e and now the Jays t four wireless earphones.

They boast of a beautifully minimalistic design from the frozen north, a sound signature that could make the majority of people happy and features and battery life that make it hard to believe it's priced so low.

Pros

  • Balanced and Smooth sound

  • Superbly designed

  • Great build quality

  • Value price

  • Remote and mic present

  • Flat cables are a boon

  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Doesn't support many Bluetooth codecs

  • Uses the older Bluetooth 4.1 standard

  • No Multi-point support

  • Not sweatproof/ waterproof

Where to buy it?

You can purchase it on Headphonezone
You can purchase it on Amazon

Best Budget earphone under 3000

Beyerdynamic Byron

The Beyerdynamic Byron was priced at Rs.3000 earlier and were considered to be as good as the RHA. But with their price being reduced to Rs.2000 we felt it makes for a great budget pick. The Byron’s have a more balanced sound signature and carry a premium design. To read more about the Byron check out our earphones under 2000 article.

Pros

  • Balanced and Smooth sound

  • Good build quality

  • Great price

  • Remote and mic present

Cons

  • Cables could have been thicker/ or flat

Where to buy it?

You can purchase it headphonezone
You can purchase it Amazon


​This is a really long post! Use these links to jump around.


How we selected?

Given the technicality of the earphones, we needed advice from someone who not only had a good ear for music, but also knew the workings of audio devices. We looked no further than the CEO of Rontek, Mr.Jacob Abraham for consultation. With his vast knowledge of the field and our research, we were able to pick the best sounding earphone in the Rs.3000 price range.

We had a shortlist of earphones that we obtained from some of the most reputed tech websites and audio websites like Sound guys, Trusted Reviews, WhatHi-Fi? etc. We added to this list a few more picks that our researcher found on The Indian Audiophile Forum, a forum dedicated to audio loving people.

For all the shortlisted earphones we searched for their key specifications like impedance, sensitivity and frequency response. We even gathered frequency response curves from review websites like rtings, phonograph, and head-fi.

Best earphone under 3000 in detail (Balanced/ V-shaped)

Close up of the RHA earplugs

Specifications

Coming from a land known for their wide range of inventions and discoveries, Reid Heath Acoustics or RHA is proud of their Scottish heritage. Their products have a traditional feel to them and the RHA S500U is not very different. Every solid housing, like the driver housing or the headphone jack housing, features aircraft grade aluminum, this not only oozes style and quality but is also great for durability.
A little quirk is RHA actually inscribes the headphone jack housing with the word “ALUMINIUM”, in case you thought it was steel or some other metal. TechRadar was bowled over with the S500U’s built quality, especially given their price. 

Headphone Jack and the overall view of the RHA Earplugs

So what do you get when you pay Rs.3000 to RHA, apart from the earphones of course? You actually get a lot. Included in the box are six pairs of dual density ear tips (Soft material on the outside, hard material on the inside to aid noise isolation), one pair of double flange ear tip (Helps in better sealing which helps improve the bass), RHA’s patented ear tip holder, a shirt clip and a carry pouch.

​RHA S500U and its accessories

Irrespective of the eartip used, users reported very good noise isolation on the S500U. This is helpful as some people love to be detached from the world while listening and it also helps with the bass response.

The cables are made of two materials, the main headphone cable (Cable from remote to headphone jack) is made of braided nylon which is tangle resistant and durable as well. The Y-cable doesn't have any nylon but HeadphoneZone reported it to survive hard tugs pretty well.
The remote is conveniently placed, but has only a single answer/hold button. We would have preferred volume buttons which would definitely improve functionality.

RHA S500 A/ U/ I frequency response (Source: ThePhonograph)


Note: The RHA S500 has 3 variants: the S500A with a triple button remote for Android, the S500i with a triple button remote for iPhones and the S500U with a universal single-button remote.  

Sound quality is one of the key reasons why we picked this earphone. Our expert, Mr Jacob pointed that the frequency curve shows a balanced sound from the lows till the mids with a slight drop in the midrange along with a slight peak in the highs. What he liked was the flatness in the bass and sub-bass region which allows their natural bass sound, unlike the many boosted sounding bass earphones.
Websites like Techradar and HeadphoneZone also acknowledged that this earphone did not possess the rumbling bass, but the natural sounding bass which was a delight to hear. 

One of the issues we said with the RHA MA 390 was the bass often bleeds into the mids, but that is not the case here. TechRadar found the rise in the mid-bass area pleasing, but what they really liked was how it did not bleed into the mids. Overall the RHA S500U has decent bass, but one that is not muddy or bleeds into the mids. The mids on it although a little recessed, are clear. The highs however although have a sparkle to them, are a little sharp at times for some users, as noted by TechRadar.

To understand audio terms better read our under Rs.500 article here. It talks about audio technicalities and even explains how to read a frequency graph.

One little detail that was mentioned by TechRadar was how the RHA S500U has a much narrower soundstage (feel of instruments coming from around you) than, say, a 1more triple driver earphones.
But nitpicking aside, they went on to comment how good the RHA sounds given that they were comparing it to the 1more triple driver earphone which cost more than twice its price.

To sum up, the RHA has great build quality, enjoyable sound quality and a lot of accessories all for a value for money asking price.

Best earphone under 3000 in detail (Bass)

Specifications

KZ has for long been a darling of die-hard audio fans and has always catered to their balanced audio needs. But the KZ ZSR is a little different, the sound is tuned more for mainstream audiences but still has enough clarity to please audiophiles. But the quality of sound comes later, the very first thing that catches your eye is the design and the bright green housing.  

The colour and the transparency of the housing may mean many things to you from the Kryptonite in Superman to the design similarities of the vintage Nintendo Gameboys. This is an earphone that doesn’t try to look common and it certainly isn’t.

‘Little details about the housing that you might be interested in are the left and right channel names written in a cursive typeface which actually looks like some exotic name until you really look at them. The weird bit? The names appear upside down when you wear them.

Moving on to the cables, they are detachable (MMCX style) that allows you to replace them with any other cable that allows for a better fit, better durability and cables that even allows wireless connectivity. So it's really convenient as you can choose any third party cable to improve your experience.

The stock cable provided isn’t of the highest quality but comes with a good microphone and remote. The remote is a single button unit that allows you to play/ pause and skip tracks.

Talking about the build, the whole earphone is made of plastic but customers found them to be well built. The KZ ZSR comes with three pairs of eartips and the detachable cables. There is no carry case provided in the box.

The KZ ZSR is a triple driver earphone that uses a single 10mm dynamic driver for low frequencies and two balanced armature drivers for the mids and highs. This triple driver arrangement actually helps it reach extremely high frequencies of up to 40000 Hz.

KZ ZSR frequency response (Source: ThePhonograph)

ThePhonograph found the Bass of the earphone to be energetic and extremely punchy, just the way EDM’s and Hip-hop lovers prefer. What is commendable is unlike cheap bass-heavy earphones, the ZSR’s have enough balance to the bass that allows it to reproduce low frequencies without having them bleed into other frequencies or sound boomy.

The mids are clear as well albeit a little warm sounding while still sounding full-bodied. The highs are great as well making it sound particularly bright and clear. Also, the thing to note is ThePhograph found the highs to be devoid of piercing but some tracks do show sibilance.

Another plus is the low impedance which means you can easily drive with jsut about any smartphone out there.

The KZ ZSR costs less than Rs.2500 and is an absolute steal at the price. They sound great, looks funky have detachable cables and are built decently for the price.
 

Best earphone under 3000 in detail (WIreless and Bass)

Specifications

From the house of the Swedish audio makers, Jays come the t-Four wireless the latest in their lineup of affordable wireless earphones.

Designed with modern details in mind, the t-Four uses simple shapes and flatness to make the earphones feel visually light and comfortable. The cables are short and flat, the remote is beautifully slim and the battery compartment is mirrored on the other side of the remote to keep visual balance.

This single piece of earphone probably epitomises the “Less is more philosophy” beautifully. It even comes in three muted colours of black, grey and moss green.  

User reviews suggested the earphones are easy to wear and given the 6 pairs of eartips (3x foam and 3x silicon) allow for a snug fit and the foam tips also allow noise isolation too. The only thing missing? A carry case for the earphones.

The three-button remote on the t-Four lets you control the volume, skip tracks and play/ pause. The microphone is good for phone calls to giving clear sounds on both sides.

The t Four is Bluetooth enabled and comes with older Bluetooth 4.1 standard (Bluetooth 5.0 is the latest). People found the range to be good without interferences. Sadly it lacks the aptX, AAC codec support (Not that big a deal for the price and driver limitations) and also Multi-point support (You can connect to only one source at a time).

The battery life too matches the claimed 10-hour mark and the earphone takes around 60-75 minutes to fully charge.

The sound from the t Four comes from the single 10mm driver and is tuned for bass but not at the cost of other frequencies. The mids are clear as well and overall people loved the clarity that they offered.

Adding up the design, sound quality, long battery life and the recently reduced price, the Jays t Four wireless is the best wireless earphones with mic currently available in the market.
 

Who is our best pick for?

RHA S500U with its natural bass, slightly recessed mids, and peaked highs mean a natural and clear sound which is more suited for softer music and not the heavy sound of bass in the EDM and Hip-Hop songs.

The KZ ZSR meanwhile is just the recipe you need for EDM’s and Hip-Hop’s but hold on, it is actually capable of holding its own when subjected to classical and jazz music as well. That makes them the earphone equivalent of Clark Kent!

The Jays t-Four wireless is for people who want to ditch the cable and the headphone jack entirely. This makes it great for users of the OnePlus 6T who do not want to spend on the OnePlus Bullet wireless earphones. The Jays sound is bass-biased but clear, although they are not as bassy as the KZ which completely takes the cake when it comes to thumping bass.
 

Who is the competition?

As we talked about it some time back, the Rs.3000 segment is slowly gaining more and more traction due to the customers increased demands when it comes to earphones. That is why after we were done shortlisting we found a ton of earphones that we felt weren’t all that great but these were still selling pretty well on Amazon and Flipkart despite the poor reviews.

Listed below are a few of such earphones that we felt we not as good as our best picks. However, some of them are very good in certain aspects and are let down by only a few little niggles.

1more dual driver

The 1more dual driver has a clear sound that has good bass to it, while also managing crisp treble. But as NDTV Gadgets put, they have a very shallow soundstage and the mids are more recessed than the S500U. Add to that the Rs.3799 sticker price and only 1 year of warranty and the RHA S500U simply feel more value for money.

Sony XB-75AP

The XB-75AP are marketed as a “for EDM” earphone, which should tell you what to expect from them. And they do deliver but they are not that great. HeadphoneZone themselves commented how they falter when various types of bass sounds are there in a track. But they falter the most in the mids which isn't as detailed and refined as the S500U.

BoAt Nirvana Tres

Despite its triple driver solution, a 20-40000 Hz frequency range and a Kryptonian-like design the Nirvana Tres don't have anything outstanding about their sound. SO if they don’t sound that great for the price they should be well built consider they cost the same as the RHA S500U. Nope, they are made of cheap plastic with fragile cables. Take our suggestion and pick the RHA S500U.

Sennheiser - CX 300-II

While a lot of our best picks below 10000 have had a Sennheiser product, their earphones do not possess the same balanced sound that the higher end earphones offer. The CX 300-II likewise, is a good earphone but with its main focus on the bass, it really doesn’t offer anything different. Plus the mids are too recessed and the highs a little to sibilant and it leaks quite a bit as well.

LSTN Bowery

LSTN’s Bowery are designed for EDM lovers and are actually made of wood which gives them a unique design. They sadly have a poor soundstage, lack clarity and jut out of the ear

1MORE - iBFree Sport

These are wireless, sweatproof and waterproof but have average vocal reproduction and favour the low frequencies. However, these can be picked as a pair while exercising.

Urbanista - Berlin

Is a funky looking wireless earphone but has poor fit and sound quality and average battery life for the price.

Focal - Spark Wireless

Unlike their wired cousins, the Spark Wireless has poor connectivity,  sharp sound and an awkward looking design.

Mivi Collar Wireless Neck Band, Mivi Thunder Beats and Mivi Conquer Wireless all offer average sound quality, decent battery life but have average connectivity, and poor build. It makes sense to pick any of our best picks if you need great sound, good build quality and the j-Four even offers that with wireless connectivity and long battery life. 

Sony - WI-C400

Sony’s wireless offering gives good battery life but lacks in the sound department as they have too much treble. The even exhibit high latency making them hard to use for movies.

Sony - WI-C300

The older version of the WL- C300, is built poorly, have a poor microphone, sound average due to the bass lacking thump, have a poor soundstage and exhibit high latency.

Samsung U Flex and Samsung Level U

These two wireless earphones from Samsung offer good build quality, great battery life and are priced very well. In fact, they are the best sellers on Amazon and Flipkart. The only catch here? The sound quality isn’t the best in class. They lack in bass and have harsh treble.

JBL T205BT

These are earbud style wireless earphones that offer average sound and battery life. But many people complained about the poor noise isolation on these earphones so our suggestion is to go for the Jays t-Four as they even come with a foam eartip in the box for improved noise isolation.

JBL - Endurance SPRINT

These earphones by JBL look like nothing else on the market. They are IPX7 water rated, have a balanced sound (in fact they are almost flat, just like Audiophiles prefer) and are priced really well.

Inside fact, we were almost going to pick these over the Jays had it not been for their uncomfortable fit and appalling touch controls which are a pain to control when compared to the more conventional in-line remote. If however, you want balanced sound and can make do with the large earphones around your ears and the iffy control mechanism you can pick them up.

Chevron Wireless Bluetooth V4.2 Earphones

This is a fully wireless earbuds style earphone (like the Apple AirPods) with its own charging case and for under Rs.3000 may feel like the best Bluetooth earbuds in the market but they are far from it. The battery life is poor so is the sound. 

In fact, there are many such wireless earbuds that have something lacking like the Boult Twin Pods which sound decent but lack good battery life and range. Then there are the Zakk D05 Twins which are sweat-proof, shockproof, and "sand-proof" but have a battery life of only 4 hours and poor sound. 

Tagg Sports Plus are nicely designed, have decent battery life and sound decent too, the catch then? Its priced more than all of our best picks. Noise Shots Truly look cool are priced at 3000 but are build poorly, sound average and have low battery life.

Final Thoughts

For a budget of Rs.3000 you expect great quality and sound from a earphone and the RHA S500U delivers on both these counts. They are extremely well built, come with a lot of accessories and sound very good for their price and before we forget, they even have a 3-year replacement warranty.

KZ’s ZSR is a treat for bassheads and considering the low price really makes us wonder where KZ might have skimped? Its got triple drivers that give you a bassy sound but still are good with the mids and highs, you get detachable cables (rare at this price point),

The Jays t-Four is another worthy contender and boasts of a beautifully minimalistic Scandinavian design. They use simple shapes like a flat cable, rectangular remote and bold buttons that look unlike any other wireless earphones in the market.

They bring along an excellent sound with thumping bass, long battery life and excellent value which make it the wireless Bluetooth earphones in India.