Just because you listen to your music on a pair of headphones, doesn't mean it has to sound dull, tinny, and flat — with the Audio-Technica M50X Headphones you can listen to your music as the artist intended. They feature 45-millimeter drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-covered aluminum coils for a wide frequency range across the spectrum including deep, precise bass. The ear cups are contoured for a natural fit, isolating you in even the loudest spaces, while also pivoting for one ear use and folding for when you need to take them with you.
We've got smartphones and smart watches — so why not smart headphones? Dash Smart Earphones are indeed smarter than your standard pack-ins, and almost all aftermarket cans, as well. Thanks to a host of sensors, they can track your pace, steps, cadence, distance, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and energy spent, relaying the information back to your devices via Bluetooth. They use the same connection to act as wireless headphones, and thanks to a built-in ear bone microphone, can serve as a headset, as well. Forget your phone at home? Not to worry, as they also feature 4GB of storage and a built-in music player, so you're never without your tunes.
Well known for its studio monitors and audio interfaces, M-Audio obviously knows a thing or two about sound quality. The M-Audio HDH50 Headphones are no exception. These over-ear cans offer 50mm neodymium drivers, gunmetal-finished aluminum and steel construction, a closed-back design, two cables — one with a 1/8" connector, and one with an in-line mic — and studio-grade tuning, frequency response, and audio quality.
Known for their high-end, consistently excellent noise-canceling cans, Audio-Technica is now putting its in-line engineering to use in another way. The Audio-Technica ATH-OX7AMP SonicFuel Headphones with Built-in Amplifier are powered by the same single AAA battery as the company's noise-killers, but instead use the power to amplify your music, increasing detail and clarity while giving the large 40mm drivers plenty of power to work with. Included in the set are two flat, tangle-free cords — one with an inline remote and mic, and one without — and a sturdy carrying pouch.
Whether it's the base of a turntable or lining your speaker system, woodgrain is a great companion to high quality audio equipment. Which is why the Bushmills X Grado Headphones ($395) are eye catchers. The headphone earcups are made from wood sourced from old whiskey barrels from the Bushmills Distillery, feature a leather headband, and come in a limited edition wooden box and headphone pouch. Designed by celebrity audiophile Elijah Wood, these headphones are sure to turn heads and deliver high quality sound at the same time.
It seems like everywhere you look, someone is sporting some sort of Beats device — whether it's a pair of headphones, earbuds, or portable speakers — but none of them look quite like the Beats by Alexander Wang Collection ($150-$450). This very limited edition takes three of these devices and coats them in matte black with pale gold accents, making them truly stand out. They include the Beats Pill portable speakers, Ur Beats ear buds, and Beats Studio headphones, and each comes in an Alexander Wang embossed glossy stingray case with a zipper and clip. Each one is available in limited amounts in a pre-sale event, but won't be for long.
Great headphones are, well, great. What's not so great is the inability of many portable devices to drive cans with impedance of 32 or higher. The Firestone Fireye Mini Headphone Amp ($40) fixes this problem, by sitting in between your device's headphone jack and the headphones themselves, providing a healthy signal boost without adding much in the way of noise. Just charge it up via USB and you'll be ready to rock out for up to 24 hours before your next charge.
In the past Dre's Beats headphones have been derided for their somewhat juvenile appearance, and for being the sort best meant for music with a lot of bass — and perhaps fairly so. The Beats Studio Wireless Headphones ($380) are an answer to that criticism, ditching the childish aesthetic for a more subtle matte look, and balancing out the sound for a more discerning audience. While their professional sound carries a heftier price tag, it's the result of a re-engineered acoustic engine and improved software meant to recreate music as the artist intended. Noise-canceling technology, a battery that lasts up to twelve hours, and Bluetooth wireless connectivity with a 30-foot range are really just icing on the cake.
Music is meant to be shared — but that can be a problem when you're wanting to listen with a friend in a public space (like a bus, airplane, or very odd restroom). This Kikkerland Branch Headphone Splitter ($10) solves this problem by splitting a single headphone jack into three. In addition, it comes with a handy keychain attachment so you can keep it with you, and features a simple, nature-inspired plastic design that adds a touch of whimsy to the proceedings. Rock on.
Whether you're an aspiring club DJ, or a seasoned veteran who has been spinning records in crowded dance halls for years, the Nocs NS900 Headphones ($250) were made with you in mind. Enclosed, interchangeable ear cushions house specially-developed 40 millimeter titanium coated drivers to deliver dynamic, balanced sound, even in spaces filled with the loudest audiences. The durable construction features replaceable parts, a PVD-coated adjustable stainless steel headband with a comfortable inner band, and a range of available cables to connect to just about any device. So, no matter where you find your next gig, you'll have a set of headphones that fits perfectly, sounds great, and will never let you down.
When buying a pair of headphones from the company who invented them, you'd expect a certain level of quality — and that's exactly what you'd get with the Koss ESP950 Electrostatic Headphones ($1,000). Meant for perfectly reproducing any sound in the studio, these headphones feature electrostatic transducers for a flat recency response across the range for clean bass and perfect sound quality.
Even if you don't have your own professional-quality sound studio, it doesn't mean you don't need to listen to your music on a pair of professional-quality JBL Synchros S700 Headphones ($350). These headphones feature aluminum die cast construction with soft leather ear cushions for durability and comfort. The 50 millimeter drivers in each ear offer excellent range, while a powered mode boosts the bass response. A detachable three-button remote on the cord lets you control your iOS device, and includes a built-in microphone in case someone calls you while you're wearing them.