Multiple fit options
You end up with in-ears that, at the end of the day, you only ever consider to be "good enough." After all, if you're going to spend real money on a set of headphones, you're going to spring for a "real" pair like a set of over-ears, right?
I thought so, too, until I checked out the 1More Triple Driver in-ear headphones(available at Amazon for $39.82). Significantly cheaper than comparable in-ears, the Triple Drivers are compact, lightweight, fit great, and feature a spectacular sound profile that punches way, way above what you'd expect from a pair of in-ears in this price range.
Though they're not cheap, if you're in the market for a pair of portable headphones around $100, these absolutely need to be on your list.
As the name implies, the 1More Triple Driver in-ears feature three separate drivers for sound reproduction. This is something we've seen more of in the in-ear segment over the past few years, but it usually often elicits a high price tag.
With the Triple Drivers in particular, you're getting a dedicated dynamic driver for handling bass frequencies, while two balanced drivers handle the mids and highs, respsectively. Here are the specs as provided by 1More:
Color: Black With Brushed Gold
Cable Length: 1.25 m (4 ft)
Plug: 3.5 mm Gold Plated
Wired Materials: Enameled Copper Wire
Frequency Range: 20-40,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 99 dB
Impedance: 32 Ω
Rated Power: 5 mW
Weight: 18 g
Exceptional quality for the money
At just $99, the 1More Triple Drivers deliver way, way, way better sound quality across a range of genres than what you would typically expect from earbuds. The bass response, in particular, means you're getting significantly richer sound.
Whether you're listening to a rich bass line from your favorite rap song, a deep voice (think James Earl Jones), or Yo-Yo Ma going bananas on a cello, these little in-ears sound big.
I was particularly caught off guard when listening to "Ultralight Beams" from Kanye West's last album. The song features a consistent kick drum that sounds fine, but it makes rich use of reverberating bass lines that truly stand out on the Triple Drivers.
The one that lands right at 4:24 when Kelly Price sings "I'm tryna keep my faith" sent chills right up my arm. That's killer from a pair of in-ears in this price range.
Fantastic attention to detail
Every aspect of the 1More Triple Drivers, from the packaging, to the cable, to the design, to (obviously) the sound quality shows that the company put some real work in when it came to designing these headphones. They're not perfect, but it's clear 1More is trying to make a great first impression.
The earbuds themselves are encased in a sand-blasted aluminum that is lightweight and sturdy, with drivers that extend away from the base just enough that they're not crowding your ears—but not so close that you look like an alien.
The cord is wrapped in both nylon and kevlar, with strong, reinforced flex points. They're still not going to be as durable as that pair of over-ears that never leave your house, but for price and portability this is better than I expected.
Loads of options to fit as many people as possible
It's pretty common these days for earbuds to include multiple sleeve options. Frankly, it's a big red flag when a company leaves them out, because in-ears are only as good as they fit.
Though some running-focused earbuds intentionally leave spave for outside noise, most in-ears need to actually plug up your ear canals to sound their best.
The Triple Drivers go way above and beyond here, with nine sleeve options, including three memory foam tips that expand to fill your ear, and six pairs of silicone sleeves between 9mm and 14mm.
It's a decision that all but ensures any listener will be able to find an option that fits them, no matter your ear size. It's a subtle bit of additional effort, but getting it right makes all the difference.
They're still in-ear headphones
As carefully as the Triple Drivers have bveen designed, they're still hampered by the fundamental issues that plague most sets of in-ear headphones.
The major pain point for most people will be comfort: Though these are more comfortable than most in-ears I've worn, some people just hate in-ear headphones, and these are unlikely to change their mind.
The second is that even with three drivers handling their own range of frequencies, there isn't as much room for the sound to expand and bounce back, like you get with open-back over-ear headphones (or even closed-back headphones, for that matter). While that means that the Triple Drivers do an excellent job of keeping your sound in and drowning out ambient noises around you, it means that layered productions feel a bit crowded if you've got a lot of different types of sound coming through.
For example, Chance The Rapper's All We Got has a wonderful mix of instruments and samples that make for an amazingly rich intro song to his killer 2016 album Coloring Book. It sounds very good on these—way better than on most in-ears—but there's more separation between these elements on higher-end over-ear headphones, and you lose that with in-ear headphones.
The bass line is a bit too forward at times
The 1More Triple Drivers feature a dynamic driver that is designed to specifically handle low frequencies, and they're tuned in a way that shows that off. That means you get a very rich, detailed bass response that shines through beautifully in music that makes ample use of the low end (like hip-hop, classical that highlights instruments like the cello, etc.).
Unfortunately that means bass frequencies are a little too present in more balanced productions, and are overemphasized in a lot of live recordings where there's often significantly more low-end presence than in studio recordings.
This is mostly a problem with bootleg or modern live concert recordings with a rougher, lo-fi sound; older recordings like BB King's Sweet Little Angel from the Regal Theater in 1964 intentionally keep the bass to a minimum, so they're not bad.
Yes. If you want a pair of in-ear headphones and you are willing to spend $100, these are the best we have found. If you told me these headphones cost $200 or even $300, I'd believe you. They're that good. I don't know if I'd spend that much on them, but I'd unreservedly spend $100 on these.
Now, I'm a person who enjoys in-ear headphones. I prefer their portability, and most pairs fit my ears just fine and stay in. If that's not you, the these may still be worth checking out to see if they solve your problem, but if already hate in-ears these probably aren't going to change your mind.
But if you don't mind the fact that they're in-ears, these are simply great headphones. They're bass-forward without being bass-heavy, and without a whisper of audible distortion. They coax out the low end in your favorite music and project it loud and clear.
Fans of hip-hop (especially late 80s/early 90s hip-hop and rap) will find a lot to love here, but in truth I had a lot of fun listening to classical, blues, country, acoustic, and pop music, too. Ultimately, hearing is believing. Try them out for yourself and see if they work for you. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Meet the tester
TJ is the Executive Editor of Reviewed.com. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled "Cranberry Capitol of the World," which is, in fact, a real thing.
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