If you're in the market for a new pair of headphones, Rockford Fosgate is probably not a company that springs to mind, what with the fact that it is almost exclusively a manufacturer of car audio. Indeed, aside from a few boat-friendly products and a set of DJ-friendly speakers, the only nonautomobile gadget Rockford Fosgate makes is a new pair of in-ear headphones, the PP15mm Punch Plugs. This $99 pair of earphones features a stylish design and plenty of low-end oomph, though the sound distortions present during some tracks will likely scare away audio purists.
The style of the Punch Plugs earphones is a bit different from most others we've come across. Namely, the earpieces are composed of round, plastic discs with an extra-long aperture arm extending off of each one. As such, these will definitely not be the most comfortable option for those who don't want to stick something deep into the ear. Though we were able to get a secure fit, thanks in no small part to the variety of single- and double-flange silicone tips, it wasn't the most comfy setup. However, the red and silver logo stamp on the outer disc of each piece does add a touch of style.
Keeping with their stylish bent, the Punch Plugs earphones have a flat, black ribbon cable descending from each earpiece and connecting at a red and black rubber accent junction. At the end is a reinforced, silver-plated straight plug that also features a bit of red accenting. In fact, the overall look and design is pretty similar to the Beats by Dr. Dre Tour earphones. Along with the headphones, Rockford Fosgate packages a nice, hard-sided zippered case with two internal pockets.
Overall, music piped through the Punch Plugs sounds solidly, though they failed to blow us away during testing. In other words, they sound about how you would expect for a hundred dollar pair of earphones. There's plenty of low-end for those who crave bass, but the downside is that this can lead to distortion for some tracks. Their midrange sound is smooth and warm, but it's not as rich and enveloping as what we experience through the slightly cheaper Klipsch Image S4. Of course, the Punch Plugs do seem quite a bit more durable, so that might be a toss-up for some. Our major complaint is the relative lack of audio detail and clarity throughout the highs, though it's not the worst we've come across. We certainly give these 'buds credit for good sound isolation and efficiency; you won't need to turn your MP3 player up much at all to hear the music.