Generic iPod earbuds always seem to blow out or break at some point, and over-the-ear hook-style headphones meant for the gym typically fare about as poorly. Neither provide adequate sound quality for even the most casual audiophile. If you're in the market for a new pair of cans that won't break and will actually do your music justice, check out the selection below. If you’re in the middle of yet another winter blizzard, some of these might even double as earmuffs.
Bose QuietComfort 15
These are the cream of the crop. They’re comfortable as hell, and deliver the quality sound that Bose is known for. If you travel a lot, these are for you. Bose has the best noise-canceling in the business. They don’t look that sweet, but if you want comfort and quality, pick these up.
Good-looking cans for not that much cash. They’ve got some cool features like an iPhone interface and volume control on the ear cup. You’re not going to get the best sound out of these, but they get the job done (with style).
Beats by Dr. Dre Studio
These bad boys are on the head of every professional athlete it seems. While we wait for Detox, Dre has teamed up with Monster to make a pair of headphones that look sick and are comparable to the Bose QuietComfort 15. But the plastic shell has been subject to breaking, along with other quality problems. Two AAA batteries power the noise-canceling functions. Definitely made for the hip-hop enthusiast.
These come in a variety of colors, and have pretty good styling. The price reflects the sound quality, but if you need a pair of headphones to throw on before you head out, these should work.
Beats by Dr. Dre iBeats from monster
If you’re not into the over-the-ear headphones, check out the iBeats. They’re the same Beats by Dr. Dre quality but you can wear them to work out or discretely anywhere else. They’ve got iPhone capability and an anti-tangle cord.
If the QuietComfort 15 pair was a little out of your price range, the AE2 headphones are a great compromise. They’re a step down in sound quality and don’t have the noise-canceling feature, but they’re just as comfortable and you don’t need batteries.
Similar to the Nixon Nomadic and the WeSC Oboe, the Urbanears Plattans are a sick-looking pair of headphones in an array of colors. They’ve got a threaded cord so it won’t get tangled, and fold up easily so you can throw them in your bag and go.
V-MODA is pretty new on the headphones scene but they hit the jackpot with the Crossfade. They’re comfortable, lightweight and have great sound. Look pretty sweet too.