With umpteen ways to carry your entire record collection on a device no larger than the palm of your hand, personal music has become a big part of modern life.
But are you getting the best audio quality you and your music deserve?
Never fear. Here are The New Daily’s top eight headphones to rock your world.
Although they’ve been around for a while, Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC9 noise-cancelling headphones continue to be the top choice for value. Ideally suited for travel or study, the audio performance may pale in comparison to more expensive models, but this level of noise-cancelling likewise attracts a heftier price tag from other brands (*cough-Bose-cough*).
Being powered by a single AAA battery means you won’t need to run for a USB charging port when the juice runs out – hello, long haul flights!
Competition in the headphone market has seen Bose’s reputation slide a little over the last few years, but the SoundTrue range is a great embodiment of everything they stand for: style and quality acoustics.
Bassy without being overpowering, the clarity of sound throughout the hearing range makes these simple headphones popular with those seeking the best without the bells and whistles.
There’s a reason Sennheiser’s HD line of headphones has been going strong for many years; value and quality. From the sturdy construction and fit, to the excellent audio performance, the HD 429s is the latest in the line to offer a lot of bass for your buck.
Comfortable enough to wear throughout the working day, these over-ear headphones may not be suited to active pursuits (no roller derby for you!), but will reward you with years of reliable service.
Take one guess why these headphones cost as much as a small pacific island. Slipping on a pair of Shure SRH1840s is like putting your head in a cloud, thanks to the lightweight aluminium construction. This makes a difference when you live in your headphones, as most professionals do.
For anyone with a valve-powered headphone amplifier, the acoustic response on the SRH1840s makes for a warm companion. The audio is as accurate as it is smooth; almost perfect.
Definitely not for travel, unless you ride around in the back of a private limo.
The PUMP HD Sportsbuds are rugged and waterproof, making them the ultimate choice for recreation enthusiasts. Bluetooth connectivity may seem a little luxurious for a pair of sports headphones, but it’s ideal to keep pesky cables away from neck and limbs, as hilarious as that sight is to other runners.
The acoustic performance may not be outstanding, but the military-grade design and bass-heavy response – to keep you pounding the footpath in rhythm – will have you exercising rain, hail or shine.
Bringing noise-cancelling to your workout routine, consider these earbuds the Rolls Royce of in-ear audio. Pricey, but worth every penny for the audio performance and ambient noise eradication, the QuietComfort 20i in-ear headphones will ensure you hear every order your virtual personal trainer barks from your workout app.
If you want the performance, sans the noise-cancelling, try Bose FreeStyle earbuds.
Sealed ear pieces ensure adequate delivery of your audio without entirely blocking out the world around you; which is handy if you like running around your neighbourhood and want to remain aware of your surroundings.
This maker of impeccable, not to mention worth a kidney, home theatre systems also make a mean pair of earbuds. For very discerning audiophiles and those wishing to take a ‘step up,’ the Klipsch Image X10i beat the pants off anything Skullcandy or Beats could dish up, delivering high-quality audio with bass so rich it’ll harden your arteries.
The lightweight design makes them ideal for work or lounging around at home, but the aesthetic won’t lend itself too well to sporting pursuits.