The MEElectronics A151 balanced armature headphone ($75) is the best-sounding in-ear headphone for less than $100 I've heard to date. The headphone's very flexible, 47-inch-long twisted cable looks like the wires used on expensive custom in-ear models from Ultimate Ears and JH Audio, but the A151 headphone's build quality is otherwise average. Comfort was good, so the headphone was easy to wear for long periods of time. It comes with five sets of eartips (small/medium/large silicon; double flange; large triple flange) and a clamshell carrying case.
Listening to some of the quieter tracks from Miles Davis' "The Complete Bitches Brew" album, the A151 decoded the texture of the percussion instruments, every rattle and shake was crystal clear. There's a lot of atmosphere on this recording, and the A151 let me hear it.
Davis' trumpet cut through the haze like a knife, and switching over to the NOX Scout in-ear headphones the sound was different. I could hear a little more of what was going on in the bass, but the trumpet, percolating electric keyboards, and the shimmering drums were nowhere as clear. The A151's bass-to-treble tonal balance was better.
The A151 was almost magical in the way it made the strings on Peter Gabriel's orchestral "Scratch My Back" album sound. I could really hear Gabriel digging deep into the tunes' emotional power, and he really shined on "Heroes." The A151's refined sound didn't hold anything back.… Read more