Cheap Earbuds Review: AWEI ES-Q9 Earbuds

My exhaustive search for the perfect cheap earbuds continues this week. I say exhaustive but I should clarify that I am only covering a specific set of earbuds with my reviews. 

  • I will not be reviewing premium or well known brands.
  • All earbuds will cost under $50. Hopefully well-under!
  • All equipment must be "somewhat" durable (1-2 months of use, not 1-2 years).
  • I've got to have my China (see video below).

Hu? China!: 

Anyhow, there can be many advantages to getting a really good pair of cheap earbuds that sound good. If you forget them, or damage them (it happens!) there is really no pain since the replacement cost is so small. 

The pair of earbuds in this review are the AWEI ES-Q9 Super Bass Wooden Earbuds. As I wrote in my last earbud review post I'll be rating each review with the same set of characteristics to allow for easy comparison. These will be Build Quality, Tangle Rating, Audio Quality and Overall Impression. 

AWEI ES-Q9 Super Bass close up showing wooden texture

Some of the best sets will also be for sale at our store – but units will only be stocked by me if they achieve a high enough rating. These have to be earbuds I would consider for daily use. On to the build quality rating.

Build Quality

This package is much better than the previous models. The price "category" is a few tiers higher than my previous samples and this is evident in the packaging. 


In most cases the packaging hardly matters but I feel it is a great indicator of the kind of product you will be using. The logic I'm using is this: if the box design and package is well-made the product itself is likely to follow with positive qualities also. So far this has worked well.

The box also indicates the electrical qualities of the earbuds. You can click the image below for a close up.


These are rated as 16Ω. To put this in perspective some top of the line earbuds are around 18Ω – this means you can use higher-end earbuds with lower quality, or quieter amplifiers. It doesn't really come into play that much, but these rank quite highly.

The loudness is rated as 106dB SPL which is pretty average for most earbuds. The frequency response is 12Hz to 22KHz but its hard to test that (and higher than most people can hear . . .) They are a dream to listen to though. The bass is even and smooth which is an important quality for daily use.

I'm giving them a build quality of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Pretty good so far, but one of my review earbuds became damaged with regular use. I'm going to try repairing them but the rubber ear pad has separated from the wooden part after a few hours of listening. 

Damaged earbud awei ES-q9

Tangle Rating

These are made with a not-so-soft fabric covered cable. I always prefer something unique like this compared to some cheap plastic. These are not the ultimate in tangle-free use. Just like a regular cord they can become tangled quite easily. I give them an OK tangle rating, 3.5 out of a possible 5 stars.

Audio Quality

With this unit I finally found a set of earbuds that I would use on a daily basis. The quality of audio is up to my standard.

The detail is extraordinary for a set of earbuds at this price range. The bass is very solid and even sounding – not exaggerated at all. I was impressed that small details like extra percussion and vocal breaths were even being reproduced faithfully quite like with my studio speakers.

These are certainly good enough for daily use and sound great. I will be giving them 4 out of 5 stars in this category.

Overall Impression

 These are a fantastic set of earbuds. They are stylish in an interesting way. The wooden finish is a nice touch.  These may not be the first month but I am for sure going to include this item as part of my monthly earbud subscription.

The overall rating for these was 11 out of 15 stars. If you want to get your hands on these you can buy them from us here:


As always you can stay tuned for more reviews in the coming months.