My quest for the perfect cheap earbuds continues. After another (even longer!) wait my second batch of test equipment arrived. One of my very first customers has found my super-easy online store at GoSpaces even though I have not completed all my testing. They have patiently waited for me to review all my headphones and select a perfectly-suited, audiophile appropriate cheap headphone.

The pair of cheap earbuds in this review are the JMF Noise Cancelling earbuds. As I mentioned in my first cheap earbud review I'll be rating them based on Build Quality, Tangle Rating, Audio Quality and Overall Impression.

The best sets will also be for sale on our coldplaysucks.com store – but we will only stock earbuds if they achieve a high enough rating. to consider using them on a daily basis. Onward to the build rating!

Build Quality


JMF Noise Cancelling packaging close up showing 32 ohms, 105db SPL rating, 20-20khz frequency and 3 miliWatts

This package arrived as a thin box stuffed into my mailbox. Inside the box were small plastic envelopes "ready for display." They could easily be used as a freebie as they are all individually wrapped. The packaging also clearly shows some stats about these earbuds (of which I am a bit skeptical). 

These are rated as 32Ω for impedance. To put this in perspective some top of the line earbuds are around 18Ω — this just means you can use higher end earbuds with lower end equipment. It really doesn't come into play that much but they wouldn't go "as loud." (or sound as good - more on that later.)

The loudness rating is 105dB SPL. Pretty average. The frequency response is alledgedly 20Hz to 20KHz but I'm unable to test that. I would not say its an even response - maybe they are just stating that if you drive them enough they could potentially produce a noise at that frequency? They're pretty poor in terms of frequency response so I doubt the packaging.

The decent folks at JMF seem to have recalled that humans have two ears, music is in stereo and that earbuds are hard to put on right without L/R indications . . . there is a tiny indication of L/R on each earbud but nothing tactile to indicate which you are holding. They are a bit harsh to put in the ears - not quite great for long term use.

I'm giving them a build quality of 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Tangle Rating

These are built with a fairly nice feeling cable. It has a rubbery feel but is highly susceptible to tangle. I give them a really poor tangle rating: 1 out of a possible 5 stars.

Audio Quality

Just based on the packaging alone I was expecting a bit more (a bit, not a lot!) than I received. In this case the bass is fairly smooth as well but voice is totally distorted. The EQ is quite unbalanced and most things sound quite terrible. The sound isolation is quite strong, sitting in my home studio I was only reminded of the other music playing by the floor shaking :-D.

Good enough for a freebie, but I wouldn't listen to these on a daily basis. They aren't quite good sounding enough but they are OK in a pinch.  I give them a rating of 3 out of 5.




Overall Impression

These would be great if I found them for free. Imagine camping for two weeks but on the first day you ruined your normal earbuds (but somehow not your iPhone) These would be OK to throw in the gym bag or keep around for emergencies but I'm not going to use them as my daily-use earbuds and I won't be offering these as part of my store at coldplaysucks.com store.  Again, they just do not meet our quality spec, mostly due to the audio quality.

The overall rating for these will be 6.5 out of 15 stars. Keep a keen eye to avoid spending $25 at some gas station or corner store - you can get them cheaper no doubt! Amazon has them for about 10 and shipping isn't always free . . .