Live Fidelity earphones
Live Fidelity's slogan is "upgrade the sound of your music," but we're not certain its earphones ($44.95) are quite up to the task. Sure, they fit comfortably and remain stable in your ears while you type away on your computer, peruse the paper on the subway, or conquer the StairMaster. If you are looking to upgrade your sound, however, you'd better define upgrade as "add more bass." Folk, jazz, and classical lovers, you can stop reading here; we thank you for your time.
One thing to like about the Live Fidelity Professional in-ear headphones in this age of in-line volume controls (which too often are in the way) and annoying wraparound earpieces that look silly is their simplicity. What you see is what you get--period. In our tests, they fit snuggly into our ears, which is impressive, considering their lack of plastic ear huggers. Upon further investigation, we discovered that the 'buds indeed come with three different-size ear fittings, but for some reason, they weren't included with our test pair. The headphones' audio cable is a generous--not gratuitous--length.
Normally, we would talk features here, but the Live Fidelity Professional in-ear headphones have only one feature: They make sounds. Purportedly, they also provide passive noise isolation, though they couldn't hold a flame to our. Sadly, in a pair that is banking it all on the sound of the earphones, they miss the mark pretty substantially. The problem is that they deliver way too much low end, making just about everything sound too boomy and throwing off the balance of just about everything we listened to. The few exceptions--rap and dance tracks--generally had heavy low end and embraced these earphones' boost. Don't try to listen to anything acoustic based, however, or you're in for a nasty surprise. With the balance of nearly every song that passes through them being thrown off-kilter, it's pretty hard to recommend these earphones.