No more calls, we have a winner. After years of searching, I've found the best sub-$100 in-ear earphones. I've also found waterproof smart phone cases that can accommodate nearly any make/model, a new automatic espresso machine, a Kermit clock radio, and colorful cases for the Amazon Kindle Fire.
Hands down, these are the best sub-$100 earphones ($99.99) I've ever stuck in my canals – smooth sound, no sharp treble peaks, near-great bass. An audiophile associate of mine heard them and thought they were $500 earphones. Plus, these noise-isolating Shure SE215s are really comfortable – they are worn with the cable draped behind and over the ear rather than dangling in front, and are flat enough to lay ear-down on a pillow. One drawback – if you're going to use them with an iPhone, you have to buy an iPhone-ready cable (CBL-M+-K-EFS)with in-line mic and controls separately for $50; the earpieces snap off and onto the new cable. But the in-line controls are large and easy to locate and manipulate by feel. Even with the extra $50, they're better sounding than many 'phones at twice the price. As my grandmother would say, such a bargain.