questionsi want to invest in a (decent) pair of earbuds…

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skullcandy makes some decent earbuds with mics..they are relatively affordable. i prefer the ink'd series, but i've heard decent things about the smokin' buds line as well.

amazon is pretty good resource to find them, especially if you don't mind purchasing the previous generation of earbuds.

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I have recently switched to Sennheiser's high end headphones from Bose. If you're looking for a something a little nicer, go for Sennheiser's midrange earbuds like these:
http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-MM-30i-MM30i-Headphones/dp/B004HD4L2E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346939312&sr=8-1&keywords=sennheiser+earbuds+with+mic

Another brand you can check out is Klipsch. Now, I wear over ear headphones and that might be the strong point of these brands, but just some ideas. I'm sure other folks have the lowdown on earbuds.

Other wise, inexpensive options like these http://www.amazon.com/JVC-HAFX1X-Headphone-Xtreme-Xplosivs/dp/B004M8SAJ4/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1346939821&sr=1-3&keywords=earbuds+with+mic have really good reviews.

edit: Do keep in mind that if you decide to buy higher end headphones, be sure you are buying from a legit authorized dealer (like direct from Amazon) to make sure a.) you get real headphones and b.) you don't void the warranty

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I grabbed a pair of Altec Lansing buds a while back and they're awesome. I must have some really oddly shaped ears, because they're the second paid of buds I've EVER found that actually stay in my ear. I also like that the cord is braided; makes it far more resilient to wear and almost impossible to tangle. They don't have a mic though.

So clearly that brand gets my stamp of approval, but I'm going to guess that you don't have the same problem with fitting as I do.

I've personally had poor experience with Skullcandy buds. The rubber used for the buds was EXTREMELY cheap. Honestly more like plastic than rubber.

Within the same price range, you're not likely to find any major difference in sound quality. If you can find something that will be comfortable and durable, I'd say go for it.

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Earbuds as an investment?
They'll never appreciate in value so that's a pretty horrible investment to make.
I'd recommend buying into a mutual fund instead.

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What device/phone are you using ? If you are looking at microphone only and not button control you can get JBuds for around 30 bucks on Amazon and they have a lifetime warranty Jbuds will just send you a new pair if they stop working even if its just one ear.

If you want remote + mic then SkullCandy is what I use.

If you want just Mic not control then you could go with inkd series/MIc 2 is what they call it. Mic 3 is the remote plus microphone. They run between 50- 65 however usually if you go and chat on their website they will give you a 10% off code.

Before I needed the full microphone control I did Jbuds because they were cheaper but after I needed that full mic control Jbuds let me down and I ended up going to skullcandy.

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cont...
They also have a lifetime warranty. They do a great job and while it costs you return shipping to get the new pair it works out. Though skull candy will give you a coupon code for vale of what you spent rather than a new pair (if you got them on a good deal this might mean you need a bit more to get another pair again) they also have a wear discount eg trade in a pair I broke because I stepped on it washed it whatever they give you a 50% off code when you trade them in.

You can buy either on Amazon if it’s cheaper which sometimes it is and then register them and warranty still applies

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Dont let my detailed knowledge of their warranties imply they arent good solid make. Most people I know have never used it.

Long story short I have been killing earbuds for 10 years My usage patters are just really rough on them for some reason. My kid sisters have the same problem so I have helped them do their warranty exchanges as well ...

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Of the brands I've used, Sennheiser and Razer have been the most durable. Shure's have been downright terrible, breaking within a month or two, losing all their "goo" that help them isolate noise, and requiring replacement... gave up on them. Great sound, but positively terrible build. Skullcandy's tend to be bass heavy and die pretty quickly, at least below the $50 threshold. Bose I'm neutral on.

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@djbowman: Could you link to the jbuds with the lifetime warranty? The ones I see have a limited 1 year warranty. I use cheaper earbuds for home use and exercise but I go through them like water. Would be awesome to get a pair with a good warranty.

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@meh3884: I may be mistaken now that I think about it maybe it is 1 year rather than lifetime. Chalk that up to the other diffrence between the two.

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@crowsnest: Dang! you beat me to it by 6 hours!

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@kfujita: ebay has skullcandy full metal jacket earbuds right now for 60% off just got mine for my iphone and they rock

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I have two pairs of Klipsch in ear headphones... paid $99.99 for these two years ago and have never hed anyu issues.. these are pretty cheap at $65 on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-S4i-Premium-Noise-Isolating-3-Button/dp/B00264GYMG/ref=sr_1_sc_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1359332995&sr=1-2-spell&keywords=klipscu

Amazon also has these on sale sometimes for $75, excellent passive noise isolation best I've ever used! Better then Bose active noise isolation IMHO. No mic though :/ http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-Image-X10-Noise-Isolating-Earphone/dp/B000WAHFBK/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1359333064&sr=1-4&keywords=klipsch