Okay, not to be this guy:
But I think some griping is warranted when something so amazing is manufactured at such a lowest-common denominator, Consumer Price Index-optimized crap-level of quality. I'd rather pay more money for something built well and built to last than something that works poorly but is priced low enough to justify buying a replacement when it breaks at the one-year mark.
Almost two years (and several pairs of ear buds, which still have a dumb name) into owning/using and iPhone/ear buds, I have determined that not only are these things going to get me killed (twice, even!), but that they sound like garbage and are not designed to make full use of their amplification/decibel output, which causes us to turn them up too loud. Surely this is not a revelation to anyone. Nor is it to me, but it's just that I'm using them enough now that my Complain-O-Meter™ has gone through the roof of the atmosphere. Now I use them when I'm running, and trust me people, the music needs to be LOUD to motivate a guy to haul this lanky frame for a couple miles. I also use them when I work at a coffee shop and I can't stand the coffee shop's music, which is most of the time, or when a child is screaming and throwing Cheerios at the table next to me (right now).
SO, here's the question, dear LineOuters: Can anyone recommend a moderately priced pair of headphones that features not only voice capabilities (one thing the ear buds do okay), but quality, audible sound when not at top volume, and a not-falling-out-of-my-ear-while-running-type fit? Noise canceling jobs seem like a bad idea for running because they would definitely get me killed, but there has to be a compromise, or is this just a pipe dream whose pipe bowl is filled with melted wire and plastic?* I would happily spend the money for such an item, provided that it's likely to last. I suspect, though, that reality will dictate two pairs, one without noise canceling for running/gym, and one with for cafe/crying-baby-sitting-next-to-you-and-throwing-Cheerios-while-you-try-to-work situations. Any recommendations are much appreciated.
*If someone reveals such a pair of headphones to me, I will melt down all the copper from the throngs of shitty headphones I have purchased over the years and donate the proceeds of its sale to charity.