The Phiaton MS 100 BA earbuds sport a chic design, a boldly colored cord that doesn't tangle and solid sound quality. They're not the most consistent headphones across all music genres, but for $79, they will keep your head nodding to the beat.
The Phiaton MS 100 BA earbuds have a sporty yet elegant look to them. The buds are shaped like torpedoes, with a faint ribbed texture on their metal body. Their flat backs make them easy to push in your ears, and they get narrower as they meet the ear inserts, giving them a slim silhouette.
The MS 100 BA also has a double-shelled housing, which reduces loss of sound from the buds. This construction helped keep audio in when I was listening to music while commuting, muffling the roaring subway cars passing me.
The buds are attached to a bright red, oval-shaped cord that's different than the round, spaghetti-like wires found on many other earbuds. Phiaton claims this design helps the wires remain tangle free, and the company doesn't lie. Even when the earbuds were buried at the bottom of my bag, they never became a knotty mess.
The in-line remote lies on the left bud's wire. It only has a pause/play button, but the button works with both iOS and Android devices. The Sennheiser CX 686G headphones have both a pause/play button and volume rocker, but these don't work on iOS devices.
Comfort and Fit
I chose the largest pair of the four sizes of ear inserts that come with the Phiaton MS 100 BA. They felt snug in my ears, with a fit similar to that of the Sol Republic Shadow wireless and the Sennheiser CX 686G earbuds. I prefer the CX 686Gs for their additional ear wings, which hook onto the inside-top of your ears for extra security.
Overall, the Phiatons were comfortable to wear during my commute, while at my desk and while exercising. They never popped out, and the cord is long enough that I didn't feel restricted.
The Phiatons play tracks with loud, rich sound, but they're not always consistent. Gavin DeGraw's "Best I Ever Had" had strong, crisp highs, with his vocals and the acoustic guitars rising above the rest of the track. However, the claps in the beginning were lost, and the horns in the background were weak.
One of my favorite tracks by Michael Jackson, "Blood on the Dance Floor," was rich and emotive on the Phiatons, with punchy drums and clear vocals. Compared to the Sennheiser CX 686Gs, the Phiatons played this song with more volume and depth.
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While bass was never lost with the Phiatons, it wasn't particularly powerful either. The deep, resonating bass in Justin Timberlake's "TKO" was reduced to a shallow thump on these buds, whereas the Sol Republic Shadow Wireless gave the lows the attention they deserve throughout the track.
Overall, I prefer the balanced yet powerful sound of the Shadow Wireless, though the Phiatons provide better volume than the comparatively soft CX 686Gs.
The $79 Phiaton MS 100 BA in-ear headphones have practically everything I want in a pair of earbuds. They provide rich audio quality in a compact design, with cords that rarely tangle and ear inserts that stay put. If you want more bass and slightly more-balanced audio, the $99 Sol Republic Shadow Wireless headphones are worth the extra money. Still, the Phiaton MS 100 BA headphones are a very good value.