A set of Etymotic HF5 in-ear-monitors have graced my computer bag for the past few years. They are positively my favorite noise reducing headphones. The reasons are very simple; they reliably achieve a good seal in the ear canal, delivering relief from noisy surrounds. Further, they sound amazing.
Etymotic headsets are based on a balanced armature design. Coming from an audiological background, this design is characterized by accurate reproduction. They’re notable for fast, crystalline mid- and high-frequency response.
I am told that some people may find the bass response lacking. Although, to my ears they sound awesome. The fact that they seal reliably ensures that the bass is fast and tight. There’s no sloppy boom-boom-boom here.
If you treasure both quiet and musical accuracy click on over to Massdrop who is offering HF5’s for $99 if a group of 10 people are interested. That’s down from MSRP of $149, while Amazon Prime has them for around $110.
P.S. – The HF5 are the model without a microphone, so they’re more about the iPod than the iPhone. You don’t need any pesky phone calls interrupting your groove anyway, right?