When we think of Koss, we think of the not-so-impressive headphones and jukeboxes of our Big Lots-shopping youth. As it turns out, however, they've actually made some fairly impressive stuff over the years, such as these Koss PortaPro 25th Anniversary Edition Headphones ($60). These on-ear 'phones feature mylar construction, neodymium magnets, oxygen-free copper voice coils, and foam ear cushions. The one downside? They look like they really did come from a Big Lots crica 1985. [Thanks, Neil]
You might think those white Apple earbuds are making a statement, but if so, it's a squeal of conformity compared to the roar of rebellion exuded by these V-Moda Crossfade LP Headphones ($250). These bass-tastic cans feature a heavy-duty steel frame, 50mm Dual-Diaphragm High-Definition Drivers, two detachable Kevlar-reinforced fabric cables — including one with an Apple-friendly three-button remote and mic — a flexible memory headband, and a unique, stylish design. Available in white pearl, gunmetal black, or the chrome-covered phantom chrome, otherwise known as "the ear mirrors."
Wishing you could get Zeppelin-like performance on-the-go? Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile Headphones ($300) are likely to be as close as you can get. While the metal and sealed-leather construction isn't nearly as attention-grabbing as the company's stationary speakers, the P5 is a solid sonic performer, featuring ultra-linear neodymium magnets, mylar drive units, a noise-isolating design, and comfortable, cushy ear pads. As an added bonus, it includes an Apple Remote + Mic cable, letting you take calls on your iPhone, or control that silly buttonless shuffle you got as a stocking stuffer. [Thanks, Craig]
Go green while upgrading your lousy pack-in earphones with ThinkSound Rain & Thunder Headphones ($75-$100). Both pairs of headphones feature wooden bodies sourced from renewable sources, and come in recycled, bleach-free packaging with a cotton carrying pouch that's sewn from renewable sources. Oh, and they sound good too, thanks to the Rain's 9mm drivers that offer exceptional clarity, or the aptly-named Thunder's 10mm drivers tuned to provide thumping bass.
With a great balance of style and substance, Thulhu Caine Headphones ($645) look as good as they sound. Based on professional-grade audio components, the handmade Caines feature high-grade PCOCC wiring, a headband made from Florence, Italy-sourced leather and hand sewn in Japan, and an innovative deer leather belt with loop holder that lets you fold up the headphones' cord when not in use and attach it to a bag or belt loop for easy transport.