As much music as I listen to, I figured there wasn't much difference from one kind of ear bud to another... You put the small speakers in your ears, hear music, what's the big need for fancy ones vs. the basics.
Well, I'm ready to admit that there's a difference. I don't have a problem with the basic JVC set I bought for about $10, but having just tried out the Wicked Empire (list price is $34.99), I can say I quickly heard a difference.
Aside from the noise canceling properties that make me feel like I'm in a tunnel with no distractions but the music at hand, I also noticed that the bass is a little deeper, the vocals a little clearer and the sound quality improved a good bit. The old set had a tinny, treble overload on them.
While the Empires feel a little bass-heavy on first listen, it quickly settled into a more balance aural experience. It wasn't that the bass was heavy, it was just that the old pair didn't offer much low end.
The buds come with three different cushion sizes to make sure they fit comfortably, which also helped. I'll admit I'm indifferent about the eight-ball logos on them, but as far as comfort and sound, I can't imagine going back to the JVC brand unless these break or fail in some way.
Sadly, it now makes me wonder what reviews I've done that might have been different if I had access to better speakers or ear buds that can provide a truer representation of the sound and production quality.