I have reviewed a number of earphone solutions in just about every price range; yes, I do have a problem. If it were up to me, I would try all earphones with the goal of finding the perfect fit and sound. Earphones are an interesting product because you can find them anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. One has to be cautious when formulating an opinion on them and make sure they are comparing apples to apples. A pair of $250 earphones should be superior to a $35 set, logically. That is not to say that a $35 earphone is not good or worth the purchase, though. I recently received the E461-BM earphones from Arctic and put them through some rigorous testing during our football playoff travel run. Arctic products have impressed me with their quality in relation to their price ranges in the past; read on to see how the E461-BM earphones stack up.
For me, earphones are like tools or guitars, there are many prices, styles and uses available and you cannot ever have enough. I have sets that I use for working in the yard, sit and listen in my house and even some for athletic travel and pre-game playlists. The E461-BM phones joined me in my coaching bag for the end of district play all the way through the State Quarterfinal game. Plenty hours of bus rides and pre-game preparation allowed me to use and get to know the new Arctic product.
As you can see, the E461-BM earphones are silver and black which appeals to just about anyone. The earphone housing is made of plastic despite the chrome appearance, but it is lightweight and attractive. I never prefer anything too flashy or colorful, so these earphones look great for my style. The cord and connectors are all of good, strong weight and should not present any problems after heavy use. Six black silicone caps are included to provide a custom fit. The caps are fairly soft and comfortable and provides a good seal to help keep ambient sounds out and provide a larger audio range.
In-line phone control is a must for all of my headphones. The E461 includes a single button microphone controller that will answer calls as well as play, pause and advance music. The button functions perfectly and voice quality has been good. My wife was not able to tell if I was talking using the microphone or the handset. I would like the in-line controls more if a volume rocker was included, but at the price this is not a deal breaker.
Arctic includes several accessories as a bonus with the E561 headphones. The biggest problem I hear with headphones is that they quit working often due to carrying them in pockets and bags. The included case will help extend the headphones life by providing protection to anyone on the go. The case has a faux leather look and zips open and closed. The material is hard enough to provide plenty of protection and it is small enough to carry in a pocket. For use with a laptop, a microphone jack adapter is also included so that the in-line controls are usable for Skype and other voice programs. Arctic also includes a rubber wrap to make the entire package a generous offer for the price.
While all of the features and included accessories is impressive, no headphone is worth owning if they do not sound good. I have extensive use with the E461 earphones and have been impressed. The neodymium magnet drivers provide a wide frequency range making them useful for all audio. I love how no frequencies are exaggerated with can often be found in headphones. While that means not huge bass or extra crisp highs, it does mean the sound quality will be consistent among all genres. I split my listening time between music and podcasts and spoken word audio also sounds clear and good.
Overall, the Arctic E461-BM earphones are an awesome package for a low price. The sound quality is great and Arctic has provided several accessories rarely found in similar level earphones. Like I stated earlier, these are currently my travel earphones on my sports trips. The case keeps them safe in my bag or even my back pocket during games and the audio is great regardless of genre or podcast. I think the E461-BM’s are a bargain at $31.36.
What I Like: Affordable, stylish, great sound and plenty of accessories.
What Needs Improvement: I prefer a volume rocker on the mic and R and L markings on the earphones.