Best in-ear headphones £50-£100, Awards 2010. It's an indication of how the headphone market has changed that a pair of £80 in-ears is no longer considered to be high-end.
The arrival of models like the Klipsch Image X10 and Sennheiser IE 8 has pushed the high-end higher, leaving a gap in the £70-£100 category – a gap now filled by the Beyerdynamic (opens in new tab) DTX 80.
There's nothing exciting about the way these earphones look, but that at least means they won't attract unwanted attention from ne'er-do-wells.
Compared to the piles of buds you get with many in-ears, the three pairs that come with the DTX 80s may seem stingy, but we had no problem achieving a comfortable, noise-isolating fit. In fact, these are among the most comfortable in-ears around.
Play Just Jack's excellent Embers and the Beyerdynamics are admirably tonally-balanced, avoiding the overly-boosted bass that other manufacturers often opt for.
Bass is still forceful and deep, but not at the expense of the midrange, which is brilliantly clear. Vocals are focussed and expressive throughout, while treble is exciting without sounding harsh.
Dynamics are also impressive, and there's a sense of scale that few in-ears can muster.