Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear
We were massive fans of the original over-ear Momentum, but if you want something a bit more portable then the on-ear version is just as impressive. From the sleek metal frame, to the leather topped band and the fantastic sound - these are some of the best on-ear cans you can buy. Our only slight reservation is that the band isn’t adjustable, meaning it can be quite hard getting them into a bag - ah well, we can live with that.
If you’re on the look out for some Sennheiser cans, but aren’t a fan of the completely rigid nature of the fantastic Momentum series, then the new Urbanites might be right up your alley. They’re foldable, durable thanks to stainless steel hinges and pump out large amounts of bass.
The first pair of ‘phones to come packing Lightning Port connectivity aren't from the now Apple owned Beats brand, but from Panasonic. The Fidelio M2L connects to your iPhone (6 or 6 Plus) through the Lightning Port, not the headphone jack, this enables Philips to add in a DAC and deliver 24-bit high quality audio without the need for a separate accessory.
250 euro | Philips
Philips Fidelio X2
A follow up to the X1, the X2 is another pair of open backed headphones from Philips. Thanks to a layered motion control diaphragm, the X2 should deliver great bass and awesome sound clarity. There’s also a new low impedance cables that aims to reduce distortion and interference, further improving your music enjoyment.
Master and Dynamic MH40 Headphones
Constructed from aluminium and boasting 45mm Neodymium High-Performance Drivers, these are some seriously dapper looking cans. They sound great too, with immense details and thanks to the copper connectors, noise is pure and distortion kept to a minimum. Lambskin earpads add luxurious comfort to your ears, even if you’re planning on wearing them for hours at a time.
$399 | Master and Dynamic
Sony MDR Z7
Boasting a closed back design, 70mm drivers and reach that Sony claims is between 4Hz and 100,000Hz - which is very impressive and should produce some truly terrific sound if you’re listening from a high-res source.
AKG Y50 Yellow
Want everyone around you to know for sure you’re wearing a pair of AKG headphones? Well, you can’t go wrong with these, er less than subtle ‘phones. Bright colours aside, these feature enriched bass performance, detachable cable and remote, plus a clever 3-axis folding mechanism for stowing them away in your bag. They sound great - with good bass and a crispness about vocals. Not too expensive either.
Just £65 for a pair of superstar DJ “approved” headphones should get the alarm bells ringing, but Tiësto’s entry level AKGs are a triumph. Admittedly, the 40mm drivers aren’t especially spacious, but for a dance-orientated design they are adept at bringing out the detail in all musical genres. There’s no in-line remote and the snug fit, while aiding noise isolation, can feel overly restrictive, but the K67s are still well worth a shout out.
Creative Aurvana Platinum
You’ll do well to find a more tech-heavy pair of cans than the Platinums, with Bluetooth, NFC and three different active noise-cancelling modes– Indoor, Outdoor and Airplane – all working to tick those “executive travel” boxes. That said, build quality, despite all the brown leatherette, is a let-down for the price. Sound quality is solid, but far from exciting, with finesse and detail lost due to the Bluetooth connection. The bass is well balanced, though, and suitable for most musical genres and in-flight movies –although with noise cancelling switched on, battery life is reduced, so stick to short-haul.
Bang & Olufsen Form 2i
The 30-year-old Form 2 cans have been dragged into the smartphone era with the addition of an in-line remote. It’s safe to call these a design classic, but with so few changes made since their 80s release, are they still able to keep up? The sound is certainly warm but bright, with emphasis on the mid and upper ranges. Drum ’n’ bass is a little outside their expertise, but stick to acoustic and classical and you’re in for a treat; sadly, so is everyone sat near you – these leak a lot of noise due to the semi-open design. Try not to bob your head in time to Symphony No.5,either, as the loose fit is prone to slipping.
Monster Adidas Originals
This eagerly anticipated Monster mash-up was never going to be an understated affair, but the iconic three-stripe Originals look is simple and striking. Yes, they’re more pro footballer disembarking the team bus than professional on the morning commute, but they’re solidly built and comfortable to wear, with effective noise isolation provided by the soft over-ear fit. They also fold down to be stashed away easily. Most importantly, they sound warm and reassuringly bassy, with a wide range that loves anything loud. Not as refined as others on test, but these cans know how to get noticed.
Beats by Dre Solo 2
Hot off the heels of their $3bn acquistion by Apple, Beats by Dre have launched the Solo 2 headphones, marking a significant upgrade on the Solo model. They're lighter than the Solos and feature a newly curved headband and ergonomically designer earpads, to give every pair a custom feel and fit. These new cans also have a wider range of sound and clarity, as well as a remote/mic on the cable and they're fully foldable too.
£169.99 | Beats by Dre
JBL Synchros S400BT
These Bluetooth 3.0 wireless headphones are the perfect combinaiton of comfort and ease. The left earcup acts as your control centre, so all you have to do to chance volume, track or answer a call is swipe - you'll look like you're sratching your ear, but it's for a good cause. The right can comes with NFC-connectivity, so most smartphones, mp3 players and devices can be connected easily. With huge ear cushions to boot, this is one pair of wireless cans you could easily forget you're wearing - you have been warned.
£199.99 | JBL
For the more style-conscious, these cans come in a range of colours - but they're more than just a pretty face. They've got soft-foam memory pads to fit your ears perfectly, ensuring even the longest journey won't be a cause of pain. A super-lightweight model, they include a remote and mic and also fold into a carrying case, particularly useful so cables don't get tangled in your bag when you're on the move.
£149.95 | Bose
Created to mimic the nightclub experience for dance music fans, these ramp up the bass and create an immersive club sound experience. They come with an Apple and Android-capatible remote and mic attached to the lockable cord, and you also get a replacement cord, airplane adaptor and carrying case as standard. With a choice of three metallic colours, this is a guaranteed winner for bass fans.
£250 | Pioneer
Beats By Dre Studio by Alexander Wang
Created in partnership with ultra-cool American fashion designer Alexander Wang, these Beats Studio cans have been been given a slick makeover with a matte black colour scheme and gold accents. They look achingly cool, if we do say so ourselves. Aside from the look, these pack Adaptive Noise Cancelling, a 20-hour battery life and RemoteTalk.
£389.95 | Beats by Dre
Harman Kardon Soho
Takings design cues from Harman’s CL range of over-the-ear heaphones, the Soho offers a tad more durability thanks to a tougher chassis. Those hard to miss rectangular earpieces pack high-performance 30mm drivers and will come in a range of colours.
Even though they are on the compact side, they still sit well on the ear, while looking pretty darn stylish at the same time. Sound is crisp and loud, with great range and impressive bass. They also fold up into a small package - perfect for chucking in your bag. All in all, a well made pair of cans that impress just as much for sound quality as they do for appearance.
£179.99 | Harman Kardon
Brand spanking new ‘phones look great and sound better, hence are idea for musos. Available in a range of colours, there’s a Humlan for every human. The washable parts ensure you can get these dirty, then bung them in the wash and there’ll be right as rain.
£39 | Urbanears
Focal Spirit One
Clearly not the pair of ‘phones to buy if you’re looking to blend in with the crowd, these are colourful and chunky, really quite chunky. No matter though, the sound is the most important part and they have a real hit of punchy noise, extremely balanced bass and great volume. Another nice touch is that they are foldable, making them nearly in your bag.
£139 | Focal
Boasting highly detailed sound, memory foam constructed ear pads for extra comfort and a design that just reeks of style and sophistication, we have to say these cans are easily some of our favourites. The lack of sound leak is also highly welcomed – both by us and others who may wear them.
£250 | KEF
The D340s follow many of the same ideas as the D7100s. Aesthetically they're a little closer to the acceptable middle ground, and the drivers are a little smaller (40mm instead of the D7100's 50mm) but aside from that, the two are very similar. The 2-axis adjustable ear cups and pentagonal memory foam pads are as pillow soft as comfortable as before. Prolonged use does result in some sweaty ear syndrome, but it's a small price to pay for the comfort. And those 40mm drivers really deliver some thumping sound.
£180 | Denon
As you can probably tell by the name, these over-the-ear headphones aren't made out of run-of-the-mill materials like plastic - these include features made out of real wood. Available in a variety of tones, these Griffin cans have an air of classiness about them, though they still feel really sturdy and durable. Sound quality is impressive too, with a range of levels and crisp notes. Other nice additions are the detachable cable, handy remote and mic for taking calls on your phone and the overall affordable pricetag. Do they feel nice on your ears? You betcha - they're comfy and you'll barely notice you've got them on.
£74.99 | Griffin
Philips Fidelio L2
An update to the successful L1, these L2 cans feature a redesigned headband, lighter materials and variety of sound improvements. This high-definition audio comes from 40mm optimally vented neodymium speaker drivers, which aid dynamic range. Philips’ are clearly marketing these at folks with discerning tastes by adding luxurious touches such as aluminium, fine leather, detailed stitching.
£237.99 | Philips
While it’s nice spending some time away with the kids, you need to relax, too. Unwind and block out the incessant nattering with these durableyet- audiophile cans.
£259.99 | Sennheiser
Denon has always been associated with high-performance audio, so it should be no surprise that the Japanese brand hasn't held back on the AH-D7100. Mahogany ear-cups and 50mm 'Free Edge Nano Fibre' drivers make the D7100 Denon's best performing home audio headset. The styling choices won't appeal to everyone, especially when they retail around £1000. But you can find a pair for closer to £500 if you look around a bit, which makes these a bit of a bargain.
£999 | Denon
Ultrasone Edition 10
The butterfly-inspired Edition 10s are the first open-back headphones made by Ultrasone, and they're the epitomy of over-the-top design. The ear cups and headband are Ethiopian sheepskin leather - apparently the smoothest leather in existence. The main chassis of the headset is made from Ruthenium - a noble metal that retains a nice finish without going dull or corroding. And with Ultrasone's S-Logic Plus technology, the 10s sound as good as anything on the market.
Audio Technica ATH-W5000
The ATH-W5000s are slightly unusual, in that large, over ear, premium headphones usually have open-back ear-cups. The open back creates a clearer, live sound - generally preferred among audiophiles. Audio Technica's premium 'phones have a closed mahogany (or ebony if you prefer) back, which ought to create a punchier sound. Strangely, the one thing that is slightly lacking is bass definition - but aside from that, these are stylish cans at a good price.
One for fans of retro design, these Panasonics tick all the style boxes and aren't half bad on the sound quality either. The lightweight band and closed headphones mean you might just forget the outside world and find yourself lost in your music on your commute - no complaints from us. They've got some tricks up their sleeve too with a neodymium magnet which increases the cans' sensitivity to super high and low frequency noises. They could just be the perfect fusion of design and style.
£59.99 | Panasonic
You may not be familiar with Beyerdynamic, but the German company is well respected in broadcasting and production, and renowned for making high quality industrial products. Now, it's bringing plenty of high quality audio to consumers, all of which is led by the T1 headphones. The industrial look is retained, and is accompanied by some extremely comfortable velour ear-cups and Beyerdynamic's Tesla technology, which makes the T1s incredibly powerful, and still very power efficient.
£899 | Beyerdynamic
Like others, Grado uses a mixture of mahogany and metal in the construction of its flagship professional headphones, and the result is spectacular. The PS1000s were 50 years in the making, and thanks to a unique blend of quality and looks, they're widely regarded as the current industry pinnacle of premium audio. If you're looking to ditch that expensive home cinema kit, and get on board with the best pair of headphones money can buy, these are your boys.
Sennheiser HD 700
Sennheiser's HD 700s (and the top-end HD 800s too, for that matter) are big and clunky, but brilliant. As is often the case with high end headphones, styling concerns have made way for audio purity. The enormous cups encase your ears in a bubble of very clear, transparent sound - the trick being that the driver is further from your ear, thus creating a sound that feels more like listening to live music in an open room, rather than having heavy bass tones stuffed down your lugholes.
£599.99 | Sennheiser
Plush leather headband and huge, cushioned earpads make the MDR-1s exceedingly comfortable, putting them in the same luxury league as Dr Dre Beats Executive and B&W’s P5. The 40mm angled drivers have a range of 4Hz-80kHZ, and offer up a clean, impressively accurate sound that doesn’t lean too heavily on the bass – a little surprising considering dubstepper Magnetic Man and urban popstress Katy B were consulted.
Philips Fidelio X1
We loved the L1 cans, and now the X1s are the latest member of the sleek Fidelio headphone range that are designed for serious sound sessions in the home. Built from metal and calf leather, the deluxe headphones also feature memory foam ear pads and velour cushion material so you can expect equal amounts of style and snugness around the ears. Two 50mm neodymium drivers and open back architecture make these 'phones an excellent choice for audiophiles who are looking for clarity over punchy bass.
£270 | Philips
Bowers & Wilkins P5
The P5’s bring not only the trademark audio quality associated with the brand, but also a beautiful design. Audio quality is very warm, with excellent clarity and a great middle range, but heavy bass is obviously lacking, as these are not true over-ears. If you're looking for a pair of headphones you can wear on your commute as well as at home, and you don't mind sacrificing a bit of audio quality as a result, these are an excellent option.
£250 | Bowers & Wilkins
The Parrot Zik headphones are a gadget fan's dream, and among the most technically impressive cans to hit the shops so far. You can control your volume and skip tracks by swiping the side of the ear-cup like a touchpad, whilst removing the 'phones from your head will automatically pause your music. They may not look it, but the Ziks are very comfortable to wear, and the audio - while obviously not in the same league as the thousand pound plus audiophile 'phones - is nice and punchy.