We don't need to convince you of the merits of a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. But, most of them have their drawbacks — namely, bulky design and a sometimes-undesirable isolation from your surroundings. The Bose QuietComfort 20 Noise Canceling Headphones ($300) fit inside your ear, taking up nearly no space at all, and an aware mode lets you tune into the world around you while still listening to music. The noise-canceling tech rivals most over-ear headphones, while the sound is everything you expect from Bose. A combination mic and remote in the cord lets you control your device or make a call.
We can't tell you whether they're the best sounding headphones out there — although our guess is they sound pretty damn good — but we can tell you that these Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H6 Headphones (€400; roughly $525) will be some of the best looking cans you've ever seen. Made from anodized aluminum, they feel both lightweight and rugged, and are accented by solid cowhide leather on the earcups and headband. Thanks to the over-ear design, they'll block out unwanted noise, leaving you with clean, robust sound. Expect to see them in stores next month.
Normally when buying a pair of headphones, you need to find a set with a sound that matches your preferences. With Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Headphones ($210), it works the other way around. Thanks to a custom sound slider that regulates the bass reflex vents, you can take the sound from clinical to booming with a flick of a finger. Other features include newly-developed 16-ohm drivers for peak performance from your smartphone or mp3 player, detachable cables, an in-line headset, and an interchangeable headband, ear pads, and ear cups for further personalization.
Ever see a DJ using only one side of his headphones to cue up tracks? So have the people at Numark, apparently. The Numark Redphone ($70) is designed to let professional DJs do exactly that, with a single, premium-quality 50mm driver attached to a cushioned, ergonomic red handle. The handle also makes it easy to hold the driver between your ear and shoulder for hands-free monitoring; a detachable 1/8" cable, a 1/4" adapter, and a carry bag round out the package. [via]
In case you haven't noticed, style is nearly as important as sound these days when selecting a pair of headphones. Luckily, Sennheiser Momentum Headphones ($350) don't skimp on either. 40mm drivers ensure that you get clean, powerful sound, enhanced by earpads made from soft Pittards leather that ensure that outside noises don't get in. The Pittards treatment extends to the headband, which is flanked on either side by stainless steel, and an inline three-button remote and mic, which means you can control the volume and change songs without needing to unsheathe your iDevice. [via]
We've seen plenty of metal-based headphones — and even some made out of wood — but ceramic options have been few and far between. These Klipsch Image X7i In-Ear Headphones ($200) are the company's first stab at a ceramic design, offering full-range balanced armature drivers for clean sound, an in-line three button remote + mic for device control and phone call handling, flat, tangle-resistant cables, and five sizes of oval tips for a precise fit and improved sound isolation. Of course, they'll only sound as good as the music you're playing through them.
You don't need to be a frequent traveler to appreciate these Denon Globe Cruiser Bluetooth Headphones ($500) — but it doesn't hurt. They pack a one-two punch of both active noise cancellation and aptX Bluetooth wireless capabilities, along with a control wheel for music playback and phone control, comfy memory foam earpads, 40mm drivers, dual microphones for crystal clear conversations, a folding design for easy storage in the included leather travel case, 10 hours of battery life, and an included cable for when you inevitably forget to charge them before a long flight.
Die-cast metal, leather, and titanium — no, it's not a new designer chair. It's California Silverado Headphones ($230). These country- and rock-tuned over ear cans feature die-cast sound chambers and 360-degree articulating hinges, contrast-stitched, padded headbands, leather ear cups, Duo-jack removable cord plugs with a knitted zebra cloth finish on the cables, a collapsible tri-fold design, and, most importantly, 40mm titanium drivers for spectacular sound.
If you guessed that the BT in the name stood for "Bluetooth", give yourself a pat on the back. Harman Kardon BT Headphones ($250) are designed to perfectly match your Apple device, with black, rounded rectangular earcups, 40mm drivers and AAC and aptX wireless coding for great sound, small and large user exchangeable headbands for a great fit, built-in playback buttons on the earcup, an integrated mic for taking calls, a rechargeable battery good for up to 12 hours of playback, and the ability to operate in wired mode when the battery runs down. Available exclusively from the Apple Store.
Used to be that if you wanted wood-based headphones, you weren't getting noise cancelation — and vice versa. The Tivoli Radio Silenz Headphones ($TBA) are set to change all that. Sporting solid wood ear cups that house 40mm high performance drivers, the Radio Silenz feature an in-line box that holds a single AA battery and advanced noise cancelation technology, as well as a unique defeat button that temporarily switches off the cancelation and lowers the volume so you can hear the pilot telling you something unimportant. Other features include a folding design, an included travel pouch, and your choice of black ash, walnut, or cherry finishes.
Color us surprised - Koss is about the last company we'd expect to be launching new Wi-Fi equipment, yet here we are, staring at these Koss Strivia Headphones ($450-$500) Available in over-ear Pro and in-ear Tap models, each uses built-in Wi-Fi to receive music directly from the Internet, working in conjunction with the new MyKoss service to deliver audio streams without the need for a middleman. If you want to receive music from your smartphone or tablet, you can do that too, of course, courtesy of the included Cap headphone jack adapter.
After years of taking up way too much space or otherwise looking dorky, Bluetooth headphones are finally starting to make sense as an alternative to their wired counterparts. Take the Plantronics BackBeat Go ($100) for example. This tiny set of in-ear phones offers passive noise cancellation, inline controls for skipping tracks and adjusting volume, up to 4.5 hours of playtime per charge, and the ability to function as a Bluetooth headset.