If you've lost the white buds that came with your iPod, then £20 is a decent price to spend on some entry-level earphones. The MX 560s from Sennheiser ring up to around just that price and they come in a range of colours, too. Do they perform decently too?
For bottom-end ear-pleasers in red, white or black, the MX 560s are affordable without being cheap. In fact, they offer better sound quality than standard iPod earphones, despite costing around the same price. Most notably, they offer good bass, along with a moderately clearer high end, resulting in a fairly powerful sound for earphones of this ilk.
Mark Knight's Party Animal, a dance track with a hard-hitting bass line, sounded meaty for a pair of £20 earphones, and a couple of steps up from what Apple's earbuds are capable of producing. The Sennheisers are already the better option.
Moving on to some good ol' rock 'n' roll -- Don't Wait by Dashboard Confessional, to be precise -- we heard fairly bright tones, with Chris Carrabba's haunting vocal harmonies more prominent and audible through the 560s than through the iPod's stock 'phones. They're not the loudest earphones on the planet, but they retain their decent clarity even at high volume.
As if this wasn't enough, you also get a cute carry pouch and a cable winder to keep the cable from tangling, although its rubbery coating seems to help the 560s refrain from bunching up anyway.
While decent bass and quaint accessories are sure to be much appreciated, be careful not to lose the soft removable earpads that slip over each plastic earphone. If you do, you'll have a less enjoyable experience. Apple's buds felt less abrasive in our ears without these little pads, thanks mostly to the rubberised coating around each 'phone's rim.
We feel that extra support at the base of each earphone's enclosure wouldn't have gone amiss in the Sennheisers. Over time, strain put on the cable can cause damage, and there's not a great deal of support on the earpieces themselves to postpone this damage.
Overall, we think you'll have a pleasurable experience with the MX 560s. If you're looking to replace the stock 'phones that come with most MP3 players, they're a good choice as long as you bear in mind that you're very much swimming in entry-level waters.
We prefer sound-isolating earphones -- Sennheiser's CX 300s are a good option if you don't want to spend a lot of dosh. While not visually stunning, the MX 560s will give the non-critical ear decent bang for this level of buck.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday