I don't have an iPod, but I find myself wishing I had a pair of compact, in-ear headphones for my laptop bag. I don't have a ridiculous compilation of music, but within my 1500-track library, I have a broad spectrum of music. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra... all types of genres.
When I DID have an iPod, I had a pair of $40 Sony earbuds. They suited the bill, but I didn't know what I was missing.
A few months ago, I decided to step up my headphone funding and pick up a pair of E2C Shures ($99.95 @ Apple). Wow, what a sonic improvement! Everything was much clearer than I remembered experiencing with my Sonys. Yet, I don't know... it just felt like something was still missing. The bass didn't seem to come through enough for me.
I returned the Shures, and swapped out for a pair of JBL's new Reference Earbuds ($79.95 @ Apple). With acoustic tracks, these buds sounded very good... a step above the Shures despite them being $20 cheaper. But again, I need my bass, and returned them.
I survived for a good month without a pair of buds. I kept my eyes peeled for more options in the sub-$100 category, but nothing really caught my attention.
Then, just two weeks ago, a brand I'd never heard of popped up. V-Moda. They had pretty decent reviews on apple.com, so I decided to give them a try. ($99.95 @ Apple, but I got two pairs on eBay for $154.00 shipped) All I can say is WOW! I really feel that this is the best performance you can get with in-ear headphones for <$100. This is the only pair of headphones I've tried that sound equally good with all types of music. The raw sound of reverbed guitars stays articulate, and the deep notes of an upright bass walk strong and tightly. No muddy bass here!
Included with the headphones is a stylish gold storage bag, a rubber wire management wrap, and several pairs of different sized buds. They're available in both gunmetal and chrome.
If you're in the market for a decent pair of earbuds for your MP3 player, look no further.