Best headphones 2015: which set should you buy?

best headphonesWhen it comes to headphones, it's too easy to just get the ones that are the most popular and leave it at that. It's part of the reason that Beats by Dre are so well-known, even though they're definitely not the right set of headphones for everyone.
But which headphones are right for you? We've waded through the junk and built this in-depth guide to help you select the headphones that are the perfect fit for you. First, let's go through the different types of headphones.

In-ear headphones

Cheap in-ear headphones usually aren't strong performers, though they're the most popular type of headphones. If you've ever purchased an MP3 player, or more recently, a smartphone, it's likely that a set of basic in-ear headphones was included with the purchase.
Depending on the model, in-ear headphones rest in or just outside the ear canal. As such, their small form-factor makes them the most discreet and portable headphones around.
Most models won't be packed with high-fidelity sound drivers, unless you're prepared to shell out the big bucks. What you can expect in a sub-$50, or a sub-£50 pair of earbuds is pretty standard across the board: decent sound with the spectrum leaning more towards treble than bass.
If you have more than 100 bucks in your budget, the selection of great in-ear headphones available to you vastly increases. For example, you can nab yourself the RHA T10i (pictured above). These in-ear headphones offer comfort and excellent noise isolation with several swappable ear molds and tuning filters. These come highly recommended for those seeking a high-quality build and great sound.
Philips Fidelio X2

Over-ear headphones

Technically known as circum-aural headphones, this ear-muff style of headphone is for enthusiasts of comfort and full sound. Not all over-ear models are created equal, of course, so be prepared to pay the big bucks for a quality set of these headphones. Don't be fooled by flashy options that can't pack a punch.
Aside from a huge boost in sound stage (highs, lows, and bass are fully represented in most models), these headphones are sometimes chock full of premium features. Namely ANC (active noise cancellation) and comfortable padding are common in premium over-ear cans.
The Philips Fidelio X2 (pictured above) offer about the best (and cheapest) deal around for audiophile-grade, over-ear headphones right now. It says a lot that we liked these about as much as headphones three to four times more expensive.
These headphones are the ones to get if a comfortable fit, tight bass and a breathable open-back earcup design are on your list.
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

Wireless headphones

Most people get along with cords just fine, but the futurist in us all just wants cables to die, die, and die some more while they're at it. And if you look, wireless headphones are popping up all over the place.
Wireless headphones come in a variety of form-factors, from earbuds, on-ear and over-ear options for you to choose from. You're not necessarily limited depending on your style preference.
One important thing to consider is that wireless headphones will always be more expensive than their direct wired counterparts. Two sets of headphones with the exact same specs, one wireless and one wired, will show a price difference of about 50-100 dollars or pounds.
While Bluetooth standards have become exponentially more reliable, wireless technology is always susceptible to disturbances in the force. In short, any little thing, from the understandable (conflicting Wi-Fi signals, microwaves, cordless telephones), to the absurd (sticking a hand in the space between the device and the headphones) can sometimes interrupt a wireless listening experience.
Our roundup of best wireless headphones is full of amazing contenders, but the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (pictured above) take the cake. Why? Well, they basically do everything right. If you're looking for downright-cozy headphones with active noise cancellation and awe-inspiring sound quality, consider these. However, prepare for a bit of sticker shock. These are 500 smackers, but oh-so worth it.
Bose QuietComfort 25

Noise-cancelling headphones

This category, much like wireless headphones, isn't limited to a form factor. You can find this clever mix of technologies integrated into the ear pieces of in-ear and over-ear headphones alike.
Many companies falsely claim to offer true noise cancellation with just the padding included around the ear cups. Don't believe it. This is PNC (passive noise cancellation), and it doesn't amount to much. You can even replicate this effect by cupping your hands around your ears, so why shell out the big bucks for it?
On the other hand, ANC (active noise cancellation) is the real deal. This technique involves a microphone which detects the noise outside. Once it has an idea of the decibel level, the headphone speakers transmit a noise to cancel it out.
The Bose QuietComfort 25 (pictured above) offer the best noise-cancelling effect of any headphone we've tried. With one AAA-battery, the ANC can run for days to allow you the quiet concentration you deserve. Did we mention that these are comfortable and deliver solid sound, too?
We're constantly reviewing new headphones, but let us know if there is a set that you'd like us to take a look at in the comments.

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »