When did headphones get so expensive? Seriously now, the price seems to jump up each year, but the quality never really seems to improve, despite how many celebrity names you try and slap on the product. Damn you Dr. Dre for your incredibly profitable marketing schemes, you evil genius!
But for most of us who don’t fall into a grand inheritance or perform hits for the underground super-mafia, the only two ways anyone has been able to earn good money, the prospect of enjoying high quality audio headsets seems to slip further and further away. However, this thankfully isn’t entirely accurate, as a bit of savvy shopping around will highlight and a good pair of headphones might just be a few measly pounds away.
So if you are looking for a way to get around the bank breaking price that even the most basic set carriers these days, allow us to help guide you into the right path, and away from selling grandma to a Cambodian diamond mine.
Audio-Technica is known for making high quality headphones that go above and beyond their relatively modest price point, and the ATH M20 is a shining example of this. Able to seal out sound with large, closed back ear padding, the M20 delivers well balanced, bassy sound that features an unexpected booming quality to help deliver the goods in a big way. The large cord and included adapter allow the headphones to be used through a number of systems, including musical amplifiers, but with the long lead we would hesitate to recommend this product for outside use. That is, unless you want to enjoy the excellent sound quality with a broken neck.
Don’t be fooled by the less than eye catching design, the Nanotubes are a serious contender once you pop them over your ears. With dynamic sound that features a nice amount of treble and deep bass, you can be quickly fooled to think these cut priced headphones are worth a hell of a lot more than the price tag suggests. They can also be neatly folded up to reduce travelling size during cramped, boring commutes. Or you know, you could just use them, but please don’t sing along to the latest Adele album on the train. No one wants that, despite how much you believe in your own skills as a soprano.
“Bluetooth headphones are awesome, cables suck”. What a nice philosophy to have when looking out for a new pair of head mounted speakers, until you realize that you’ll be shelling out a huge amount for the privilege. Lightweight, simple to use and able to handle wireless calls thanks to an inbuilt control system, these are an excellent choice if the Bluetooth blues are calling. A 10-12 battery life certainly sweetens the deal, especially if you have the kind of friends that won’t take a ‘no calls’ text for an answer.
4) Panasonic Retro HTX7: £39.90
Based on a tired and test retro design, the Panasonic HTX7 is an on-the-go budget keeping music lovers dream come true. Featuring powerful audio playback with punchy sound that keeps you on your toes, this headset hits the high notes without leaving you eating discounted military rations for the nest month. The build quality is high here, thanks to a durable mix of faux leather and steel that stands the test of time, no matter how much moshing you may subject it to.
They may not win any awards for their looks or noise isolation, but the small price you pay for the excellent sound quality the HT-21 provides is a genuine steal. With well above average speakers that handle whatever midrange and treble tones you send through it and a compact, comfortable design makes it an excellent choice for smart phone usage. You also won’t suffer any unsightly and unpleasant sweaty ears that large padding can cause, which is one of those benefits that doesn’t become truly clear until you have had to peel off a headset with a hammer and chisel on a hot summers day.