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The headphones also had very inconsistent audio quality results. They had a few drops in their frequency response and their tracking was a bit off at one point, but they have an impressively low distortion.

Of course, you can't expect perfection from a set of headphones that costs $30. In fact, considering how inexpensive they are, they're really not bad.

The Sony Triqiis are a set of on-ears with foam padding and not many features.

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The ear cups have foam padding, which is a staple of inexpensive headphones and not one of our favorites.

The cable, in all its candy-colored splendor.

The plug is just a regular ol' 1/8-inch.

In the Triqiis' box you'll find a pouch. The headphones are also in there, but that's about it.

These headphones seem durable enough. They have a thick cord, not a lot of moving parts, and there's not a whole lot that can break. Best of all, if they do, they're super inexpensive to replace! When you can replace a set of headphones 10 times for the price of a decent set of Sennheisers, durability isn't as much of an issue.

For a set of $30 headphones, these aren't bad. The hornet color scheme will be sure to elicit some primordial fear in the hearts of others, which is always a plus, but the headphones also don't sit 100% correctly on the head, which can look a bit silly if anyone notices it. The cups felt like both were twisted a few degrees counter clockwise.

Regardless, these look like a nice, if cheap, pair of headphones.

The Sony Triqii has a decent frequency response. The boost in the middle is a bit rare to see, but not crazy out of the ordinary. The boost doesn't come on too strongAll in all, the headphones did a good job staying within the limits and didn't have any abrupt shifts. So far the Triqiis are performing at a level much, much higher than their purchase price would indicate.

Frequency Response Graph

Click here for more information on our frequency response test.

Oh.

This is what can happen with foam pads: grossly distorted bass. Foam doesn't form a good seal with the side of your head, and the resulting permeation can really do bad things to your playback's sound.

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Distortion Graph

Click here for more information on our frequency response test.

Nothing worth complaining about, really. There's a bit of error towards the higher frequencies, but overall the tracking is even. Again, we're giving the Triqiis a certain amount of leeway because they're dirt cheap, but the 4dB shift towards 6kHz isn't going to be so outrageous you'll pop your monocle.

Tracking Graph

Click here for more information on our frequency response test.

The Triqiis have foam padding, which allows a ton of permeation. They isolate about as well as holding your hands 1/2 inch away from your ears.

Isolation Graph

Click here for more information on our isolation test.

Even though the Triqiis let a lot of sound in, they do a pretty good job at corralling their own sound. While they weren't totally silent, unless you're in a very quiet room listening to very loud music, you shouldn't run into any issues. We found that a slight whisper was all that was audible in a quiet room.

Click here for more information on our leakage test.

The headphones had a decent maximum usable volume. We were able to pump them up to 111dB without getting a high level of distortion. This is a great level of volume and it's just shy of the volume that would give you permanent hearing loss!

Click here for more on our maximum usable volume test

We thought the Triqiis had a fine enough fit. They weren't uncomfortable, but they definitely weren't comfortable. They're just stiff padding under a softer foam cover. Check out the innards pictured below, and you can probably guess how these things would feel against your head.

Not much changed over time. They didn't get less comfortable and they didn't get more comfortable. That's the purgatorial power of foam padding.

There isn't a whole lot you can do with customization. The Triqiis have an extending band, but that's about it.

The Triqiis' cord is just shy of four feet in length. The cable should be a good length for hooking up to a media player in your pocket.

The Triqiis are decently portable considering their form factor. Their cord is a bit long, but they're light enough otherwise.

Unlike most on/over-ear headphones, the Triqiis don't allow for much disassembly, unless you want to bother with un-gluing and re-gluing things. You can remove the ear padding. That's it. Just buy another pair. You're worth it, friend!

Battery

The Triqiis don't require batteries, which is definitely better than the alternative. Batteries are lame and can die at inopportune times. Thanks, Triqiis. You guys are the greatest.

Both sets of headphones are a bit blah. The Apple headphones are white and clean and were once chic. Now their charm has been laid to waste by their rampant proliferation. The Triqiis are decent enough, but don't have any flair to them.

In terms of durability, the Triqiis win this match-up by a long shot.

The Triqiis are a bit more erratic than the Apple iPhone headphones, but not to their detriment. If you like a more dynamic sound, the Triqiis are the better headphones.

Both sets of headphones have some issues with their bass.

Both headphones have roughly the same tracking results.

Neither set of headphones had decent isolation.

The Triqiis stay at roughly the same level of comfort, regardless of how long you're wearing them for. The Apple headphones constantly feel like they're going to pop out, and then they do, and that's really annoying.

The Triqiis are about on par with the Apple iPhone headphones, but are a lot easier to wear. The Apple iPhone headphones pull out at the slightest tug, which gets annoying over time.

The DT770s look better than the Triqiis and have a slightly better construction overall. There's really not much more to say than that.

Both headphones have a steady bass, but get a bit jumpy towards the high end. Neither is bad; you'll have to listen to either and decide which sound you prefer.

The Triqiis have quite a bit of bass distortion; the DT 770s barely have any.

The Triqiis score a win here, with a much more even keel to their tracking.

The DT 770s do isolate better than the Triqiis, but we wouldn't say they were particularly stellar in that regard.

We thought the DT 770s were more comfortable. Their padding was soft and the fit was much better.

If you're looking for audio quality, the DT 770s are a much better set of cans due to their ridiculously low distortion levels. You'll definitely pay for their audio performance and sturdy construction, however. If you don't care so much about the fit or having the greatest audio quality, however, the Triqiis are a fine buy.

The SE 115s, as a set of black in-ears, are much more subtle set of headphones. Both headphones are probably about the same in terms of durability: the SE115s have some solid construction and the Triqiis—which should be much more substantial—don't exactly come off as rugged.

The SE115s have a bit of an issue with their high end, while the Triqiis have an odd, though not necessarily bad, frequency response.

The Triqiis have a crazy amount of bass distortion. The SE115s barely have any at any point in the spectrum.

Both sets of headphones have about the same tracking. Ignore the spike towards the end of the SE115s' graph: it's from one of our older graphs, which included some data that was outside an acceptable accuracy range.

If isolation is what you're after, the SE115s are the way to go.

Most of the comfort/discomfort will come from the differing form factors. The Triqiis' on-ear design boasts foam ear pads, which felt a bit rough on our sensitive skin. The SE115s' in-ear design mandates wrapping the cord around the back of your ear.

Overall, the SE115s are a better set of portable headphones, but their compact form and low distortion is going to cost you a bit more than the Triqiis.

The ATH-ESW9s are swanky looking and feature a slightly better construction overall.

The ATH-ESW9s go a bit out of the boundaries of our chart, de-emphasizing some of the higher frequencies. While we're assuming that volume dip has something to do with how beautiful they are, we don't like how that range is underemphasized. The Triqiis have a bit of a rolling emphasis as well, but nothing is overly dampened or boosted.

The Triqiis have quite a lot of low-end distortion.

Both sets of headphones have about the same quality of distortion (the ATH-ESW9s use an older version of our graph that shows some junk data at the end).

Neither set of headphones do this very well.

Neither set of headphones is particularly comfortable, but both are unlikely to cause you serious injury. The Triqiis have foam pads, which are a bit scratchy. The ATH-ESW9s don't have padding that's as thick as it should be for how tight they are.

Unless you're looking for incredible audio quality, we'd recommend the Triqiis. The ATH-ESW9s are swanky, but they don't have the greatest audio quality. If you're a fine gentleman who enjoys fine things, the ATH-ESW9s are going to win this comparison hands-down. If you aren't, save yourself the rent money and buy the Triqiis.

The Sony Triqiis are not for audiophiles, which is to be expected from a set of $30 headphones. For that price, you clearly aren't going to get a top-of-the-line model, but the Triqiis really aren't bad for the price. Providing you like (or are at least ambivalent about) their aesthetic, they make for a nice cheap pair of cans that have surprisingly decent audio quality.

Meet the tester

Mark Brezinski

Mark Brezinski

Senior Writer

@markbrezinski

Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with seven years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.

See all of Mark Brezinski's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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