Excellent value! With 2 Simple Mods Goes From Good to Great! See Pic
The addition of foam ear cushions and a clip to attach to clothing above the control block take these from good to great!
I highly value active noise cancellation (ANC) ear buds for music and podcasts so long as the sound quality is also high. Have owned many over the years, both buds and headphones. Loaned my excellent B&O ANC ear buds to my son so was in the market for another, lower priced, pair to listen wired and run through a BT receiver when desired. TaoTronics is on my list of Chinese brands that are on the rise, making an effort to deliver above-average quality, reliability and distinctive performance, like Anker once was. While TT is still early in this journey, the progress curve is steep and positive, so I'm more inclined to try their products if they offer what I'm looking for.
These TT ANC buds are very good as is, but can be significantly improved in two ways (see attached picture):
1) Add foam ear cushions in place of the provided silicon. Sound quality and comfort are MUCH improved. I used the Comply Memory Foam medium spheres, which I knew were a good fit for me, and with a little nudge to improve mechanical coupling with the ear, bass and lower mids were greatly improved. Comfort was also much better, while isolation from external noise was moderately increased.
Comply Comfort Plus Premium Memory Foam Earphone Tips, Audio-Technica, Bose QuietComfort 20, Denon, JVC, RHA, SoundMAGIC &More, Secure Noise Reducing Replacement Earbud Tips, Tsx-400 (Medium, 3 Pair)
2) Add a clip above the small control block to carry the weight of the control block instead of having this weight tug down on the buds.. I noticed increasing discomfort after an hour of wear due to this tugging, now eliminated with the clip!
BBTO 20 Pieces Clips for Earphone Wire 360 Degree Rotate Black Earphone Cable Clothing Clip for Fixing Headphone Wire (Black)
With these mods, here are the pros
+ Excellent sound quality. Very good bass, actually easy to over shoot with EQ. Can get boomy if over boosted at high volumes. Using my default EQ on Napster, with just a hint of bass boost, and the sound is great for me across a variety of music genres.
+ Good ANC. I have fan noise in my house that I like to eliminate when listening to music, and these do a very good job of that. No consumer ANC algorithm eliminates human voices for safety reasons, to the best of my knowledge, and these are the same. But other annoying sounds are nicely attenuated. Above average performance, and very good for this price.
+ Controls are simple and work perfectly with both music on my phone via the in-line controls nearer your ears, and in terms of quickly turning the ANC on or off, or muting sound (monitor) so you can hear the local environment better via the control block further down the cord.
+ Cord length is just right, allowing a bit of routing through clothing if desired before reaching phone in my pocket, not too short, and not excessively long.
+ Control block is much slimmer than other options I've used in the past.
Cons, mostly related to the fact that the mods were necessary to increase sound quality and comfort.
- Control block, despite being slim and relatively light, still tugs on the ear buds uncomfortably unless an in-line clip is used as shown in pic.
- Silicon ear cushions, while very soft and compliant, do not couple well for bass, and have the sweaty downside that all silicon cushions have.
My wish for is that TT include both a set of foam ear cushions and a clip on the cord such that the third party mods mentioned are not necessary. Still, these are so simple that this does not detract a star in my mind.
Net, highly recommended overall and a very good value at this price.