These little in-ear-canal buds from Apple are a bit of a step up in sound quality from the stock earbuds that came with your iPod — if you can get a good seal, which can be very difficult, even with the included small, medium, and large earpieces. If you can get a good fit, the In-Ear ‘buds will block out some external noise while giving you decent sound. Plus they preserve the “white Apple earbud” iPod cache. However, better sound can definitely be had for the same money.
Hot tip (no pun intended): Replace Apple’s gray rubber tips with the foam sleeves for the Shure E2c ($12 for 10, www.shure.com/earphones/eseries_accessories.asp)–you’ll get a significant increase in both sound quality and noise isolation (along with a major bass boost, which may not be for everyone). With this do-it-yourself improvement, the Apple In-Ear Headphones are one of the best in-ear-canal travel headphones under $75. We hope someone from Apple reads this and considers such a change for a future version.–Dan Frakes