How to choose the best headphones
For some people, picking the right headphones is a task completed by inserting the standard iPod earbuds from Apple in place and moving on with the rest of the day. For others, that previous sentence amounts to aural sacrilege. But picking out the ideal set of headphones isn’t nearly as scary or complicated as you might think. It all depends on what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend.
If money is no option and you demand the best noise cancelling theater in your ear headphones you can get, Best Buy has a most versatile selection, including a pair that CNET named as the best noise cancelling headphones of 2012. The Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones are not cheap at $299.99, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for being able to block out the outside world almost completely.
If you’re looking for a more unique listening experience, Target sells several lines of the Beats By Dre headphones including the sleek, lightweight Solo HD Over-Ear model. While celebrity endorsements rarely speak positively about a product, the Beats brand of headphones has been critically lauded for a while now, albeit not for their adherence to a classic overall mix. The Beats headphones specialize in accentuating the bass in the mix, so they’re a great pair of headphones if you’re listening to music that also emphasizes bass.
There are less expensive options available, too. You don’t have to spend $200 to get a decent pair of headphones. In a previous life as a part-time DJ, I always liked the flexibility and dynamics in the Skullcandy Skullcrusher. I’ll readily admit to buying these at the last minute from RadioShack out of necessity, but they sound fantastic and at $69.99 they are significantly cheaper than the previous options.
If you’re crowdsourcing your headphones, it’s hard to ignore Grado, a brand known for its high-quality phones. Their Grado Prestige Series SR-60i has nearly 400 reviews at Amazon and it still has a nearly 5-star rating. That’s fairly persuasive. They’re not noise cancelling so you might hear a bit of background noise. But, like the Skullcandy headphones, they’re also much less expensive at $79.00.
See, headphones aren’t some scary thing that only super smart audiophiles can understand. It doesn’t take a snob to understand the difference between good and bad sounding headphones, and luckily there are price points for nearly every kind of music consumer out there.