After discovering that decent headphones could be had for as little as £6, I started wondering what the very cheapest headphones would sound like. And where I might source them. Amazon and eBay have plenty of tiny-budget offerings but if I wanted something truly dirt cheap I needed to eliminate postage costs. With this in mind, I set my sights on high street tat retailer Poundland and the exciting low-cost wonders I might find dumped in their technology aisle… But I never got that far, instead spotting some ‘phones quite by chance in rival austerity bazaar B&M. Ninety-nine pence later I was the proud owner of some Maxell EB-95 (190560) earphones. Here’s a quick review.
If you were hoping for me to write anything positive about the EB-95s then let me start this with the only thing I have for you: they don’t immediately sound dreadful. Don’t misunderstand, they are bad, but you might not realise how bad if you’ve nothing to compare them with. Spoken word is actually listenable through these but any sort of music just sounds distant, washy and several other kinds of awful. No, I wouldn’t call myself an audiophile but I do know that audio-wise these earphones are sorely lacking in, well, everything.
Don’t worry too much about the poor sound quality though because you’ll probably not be able to use them anyway. Firstly, at about 90cm in length, the cord is far, far too short to really use the headphones in any practical, meaningful way. And secondly, even if you can deal with the short cord, the hard plastic rest-in-your-ear buds are painfully uncomfortable to wear for any more than about 10 minutes. A truly unpleasant experience.
In conclusion, if you’re absolutely desperate then I can confirm that Maxell’s EB-95s do work. But ultimately you might just be better off being that inconsiderate dick who plays music through his phone’s speaker in public.