Whether your precious hours this summer are going to be spent on long flights to exotic places, interailing in Europe, backpacking in Asia, sun-worshipping on idyllic beaches or – like us, sadly – commuting to work, the soundtrack to your movements should be crystal clear. So, we’ve pulled together the top five affordably priced headphones around at the moment to accompany you and your antics. Of course if money were no object there are some pretty cool looking Ethiopian sheepskin leather covered headphones from Ultrasone that’ll set you back about £1,800. We have no idea if they’ll sound good but you’ll sure as hell feel comfortable. Since money is an object, for us at least, all the headphones featured below range from £55-69.
We were actually given a pair of these from those lovely guys at Vice/Noisey to try out, and our feedback is very positive. As part of Philips’ CitiScape series, these headphones are designed with the urban commuter in mind. On-ear isolation cushions enclose the speakers around your ears to keep out the noise of a rumbling train-carriage or a crying baby. The MusicSeal design ensures no noise seeps out to the person sitting next to you either. The headphone cushions are made from ultra-soft memory-foam that hugs your ears in the best possible fit. The frequency response is naturally warm and clear thanks to some finely tuned 40mm drivers, and it also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily switch from listening to music to taking calls on the go.
These TADs are designed with a perforated aluminum honeycomb case that allows a more natural sound reproduction, with better air flow and reduced vibration. Perfect if what you’re looking for is natural acoustics and to accommodate a vibrant frequency range. They also come equipped with a dual-headband and velvet earpads.
If electronic music with deeply low sub-frequencies is what you are prone to listening to, Sony’s Xtra Bass headphones are for you. The headphones also have lovely mids and soaring highs so every element of a track can be heard acutely. They come with a gold-plated 3.5mm stereo jack, leather ear pads and are easily foldable for perfect portability.
Fashioned from real wood, these headphones from Griffin look pretty beautiful. More importantly however, is their wide frequency response. The acoustic qualities of the wood breed warm overtones in the mid-range and smooth low frequencies that are perfect for bass-heavy tracks. It also comes with a detachable 1/8″ cable with a built-in mic button that can control Siri, answer and hang-up calls, and control music selection.
I’ve owned a pair of these for a year now and haven’t looked back. The bass and mid-range on these headphones is beautifully rich and warm. Where it really shines though is in higher frequencies, where tracks come to life with stunning clarity. The headphones have an ergonomic design for a very comfortable fit and a closed circumaural shape to eliminate outside noise.