Not to sound like a broken record, but the stock plastic earbuds that came packaged with your shiny new MP3 player aren't doing you any favors. After loading up your device with music, the next thing to do is replace the headphones. Of course, if you're not absurdly picky about audio quality, we can understand not wanting to spend $100 or more on a new pair. That's where options such as the Altec Lansing MuzxDNA Mesh earphones come in. These earplug-style earbuds offer a step up in terms of both fit and audio quality for just $19.99. Just don't expect the clearest or most balanced sound.
The design of the MuzxDNA Mesh earphones is unremarkable. The earpieces are made of flat black plastic and feel every bit cheap as the price tag suggests. A flexible, rubber-coated wire wraps over the top of each earpiece and continues about a foot down before connecting to its better half at a Y-junction. Here, Altec Lansing incorporates a rather stiff slider to help prevent tangles while the earphones are stored. The cable continues another 3 feet before terminating in a silver-plated L-plug that's encased in a sturdy, flexible housing.
Though the cord isn't exceptionally thick, its reinforced connections do speak in favor of long-term durability. Still, the cable and design pale in comparison to the similarly priced MEElectrionics M9 headphones, which also offer a hint more style with their slight sheen. However, neither the M9 nor the MuzxDNA Mesh provides the best fit. The Mesh tended to slip out of our ears, though admittedly, this may not be an issue for all users. Altec Lansing includes three sets of silicone eartips in various sizes to help with fit.
To say the bass response from the Altec Lansing MuzxDNA Mesh earphones is overwhelming is a bit of an understatement. No doubt, anyone who craves an excessive low-end will not be disappointed here. Bass is loose and loopy, all but claiming the entire audio response. The result is that music has a muffled, muddy quality overall, and high-end details are completely flattened out. The midrange also comes across as slightly repressed, which leaves most vocals sounding far off. Again, we compared the MuzxDNA headphones with the M9s, and the M9s offered much cleaner audio. If you have $20 to spare, the M9 set is the clear winner.