In the realm of ultracheap earphones, Koss is a contender, offering an extensive selection of earbuds for 20 bucks or less. Falling just above that--but still in the affordable range--is the $24.99 KEB24 line. This Portable Isolation Earbud comes in a variety of color options, further adding to the stock of style-conscious 'phones. As seems to be to a theme of late, the KEB24 offers heavy low-end response and scores reasonably across the board for looks, sound quality, and comfort for the price.
Unlike some other colorful earbuds, the Koss KEB24 is mainly black, with the outer part of the earbud accented with one of four color options: green, blue, pink, or silver (for the "black" version). The 'buds are quite small, so if you're looking for a low-profile style, these will suit. Koss includes three sizes of silicone eartips to ensure a proper fit. The smallest seem to work fine for those with TES (tiny ear syndrome), and we were able to achieve an adequate seal, but the relatively large size of the earbud aperture put some pressure on the ear that became uncomfortable after about an hour of wear. The 'buds also tended to slip out gradually during activity. However, these issues may not be a problem for all users.
The KEB24 cable is also black and measures an ample 48 inches from the plug to the left earbud. The cord going from the Y-split to the right earbud is considerably longer--you get an extra 15 inches on that side. The plug is of the straight variety, but wouldn't fit properly into an iPhone jack. Overall, the cable is on the thin side and definitely tangle-prone, but concerns for durability are somewhat assuaged by the limited lifetime warranty (which covers parts).
The KEB24 earbuds are adequate performers. Noise isolation was pretty good in testing, provided that the 'buds stayed in. However, while we were walking along the streets of San Francisco, we had to push them in frequently, and we still had some sound leakage.
These earphones definitely have a tendency towards bass, and the low end was thumping nice and tight during hip-hop, new wave, and electronic tracks. However, many punk and hard-rock tracks came across muffled and distorted. In other words, if you listen to a lot of music with thrashing guitar riffs, these are not the earphones for you. In general, mids were decent, though not as buttery as we'd like--they came across better for the genres where the low end didn't overwhelm. About the same was true for high-end clarity.