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 ($100) for example. This tiny set of in-ear phones offers passive noise cancellation, inline controls for skipping tracks and adjusting volume, up to 4.5 hours of playtime per charge, and the ability to function as a Bluetooth headset.
They might not be the best-sounding headphones — we honestly don't know — but they're definitely among the best-looking. Parrot Zik Headphones ($TBA) are designed by the renowned Philippe Stark, and feature an elegant, simple design, an active noise canceling system, Bluetooth A2DP stereo and NFC support, a proximity sensor to automatically go into standby mode when they're not being worn, a touch panel for remote control of your music, and Digital Signal Processing for superb sound. Coming later this year.
Are they retro, or just plain ugly? We'll leave that for you to decide, but one thing the Koss Porta Pro KTC Headphones ($TBA) aren't is antiquated. Sporting an in-line three-button remote and mic, they're ready for use with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, and also offer Comfort Zone temporal pads to reduce the pressure on your ears, a collapsible design and carrying case for portability, and Mylar elements for accurate sound. Matching, Walkman-like gadget cases not included.
Think wireless headphones can't deliver the same sound as your beloved studio cans? Think again. Based on the company's revered HD 600 series, these Sennheiser RS 220 Wireless Headphones ($600) use an uncompressed digital signal sent over a 2.4 GHz connection to maintain fidelity up to 300 feet away, while analog, coaxial digital, and optical digital inputs in the included transmitter and recharging dock ensure that no matter the source, the RS 220s will play nice.
Looking for some good-sounding yet stylish headphones to replace your device's pitiful pack-ins? These Audio-Technica EarSuit Headphones ($250) should do the trick. Available exclusively in Japan, they feature 40mm CCAW drivers, high-grade aluminum housing for solid acoustics, a unique swing mechanism on either end of the headband that lets you place the earpieces right where you want them, and a flat black cord.
Want to bask in the lush bass of Beats, but find the bright, highly-visible plastic bodies a little too flashy? Say hello to Beats Executive Headphones ($TBA). As the name might suggest, the Executive skips the plastic for a decidedly more high-end look, with brushed metal finishes on the lower stems and earcups and fine leather on the band — black and silver are the only colors you'll find — while still offering the active noise cancellation and crisp, full audio that you'd expect. Coming soon, or just as soon as Dr. Dre gives the "hell yeah" thumbs-up.
Looking for a new set of reference-quality cans? These Audio-Technica 50th Anniversary Headphones ($1,400) should suffice. Created to celebrate the company's golden anniversary, they feature Asada Hokkaido cherry wood housing with an Echizen traditional Japanese lacquer finish, 53mm drivers built with stronger magnetics than previous models, special lambskin earpads for exceptional comfort during long listening sessions, and a gold 1/4" plug that'll look great plugged into the matching Headphone Amplifier ($2,900).
One of the worst things about headphones and earphones — whether they're top of the line multi-drivers or the ubiquitous white pack-ins that come with iPods — is trying to untangle the cord when it's time to put them on. Moshi Moonrock Earphones ($40) take care of this by arriving in a smooth, stone-shaped package that acts as a cord organizer and also protects the stems. Of course, they sound good too, thanks to high-efficiency Neodymium drivers, and thanks to the in-line mic and remote, you won't need to pull them out of your ears just to take a call.
You'd expect high-end headphones to be a little expensive - and you wouldn't be wrong. Sporting proprietary drivers, these Audeze LCD-2 Headphones ($1,000) are designed with pure audio reproduction in mind, and with their thin film diaphragms, push-pull neodymium magnetic structure, Carribean Rosewood oldies, and lambskin leather sloped earpads, they don't disappoint. [Scouted by Mike]
Whether you're performing a live set or simply listening to one on your phone, V-Moda M-80 Headphones ($230) will have you covered. Powered by finely-tuned 40mm dual-diaphragm drivers, the M-80s use the V-Port V3 system to provide plenty of passive noise isolation, and also offer up a high-end metal, memory foam, and microfiber suede build, two Kevlar-reinforced cables — one with a three-button remote and mic — and a hard included carrying case.
Beat the constant buzz of public transport with Klipsch Mode Headphones ($350). These new noise-cancelling cans offer up to 45 hours of active cancelling on just one battery, and feature 40mm woofers, 15mm tweeters, two included cloth cables, leather ear cups, a foldable design, and high-end styling that won't leave you looking overly dorky on your next transatlantic flight.