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It's hard to imagine a world without stereo headphones, introduced to the world by Koss in 1958. They've become for some an essential part of our music and listening lives. You practically can't go anywhere in public without seeing someone sporting earbuds, big puffy headsets, or designer headphones that look like the hi-fi equivalent of body art. And to celebrate the art of sound, we've got five deals on headphones: ones suited for every personality and listening need.
Is It Worth It?: Sony has a consumer electronics reputation, particularly in audio, that's leaps and bounds ahead of the pack. (You'll often see Sony headphones in pro studios.) These yellow earbuds feature 13.5mm drivers and a gold-plated L-shaped stereo mini jack. And their 12Hz to 22kHz frequency response is insanely good for earbuds. They have a snug "gas-mask" style fitting that will hug your ears better than standard round earbuds. Editors' Choice: Turn it up, dude!
Is It Worth It?: Wireless headphones don't deliver the pristine quality of a wired set, but their cordless convenience for roaming a room with your sounds close at hand is exceptional. These headphones include a built-in FM radio, wireless transmitter (max range of 100 feet), 3.5mm connection, and more. They also require four AAA batteries (not included).
Is It Worth It?: The Wolfson Ambient Noise Canceling In-Ear Stereo Headset comes in Black (pictured) or White and each set features a peak active noise-canceling output of 30dB, 3.5mm plug, in-line music and volume controls, microphone, built-in rechargeable battery, and micro-USB charge connector. They also offer more than 30 hours of HD quality music playback or talk time.
Is It Worth It?: Gear by this venerable Austrian company graces serious recording studios across the world. Though they've moved a lot of their manufacturing to China in recent years, AKG still has a firm grip on sound quality. These headphones, which retail for $79.99, are also suited for hi-fi freaks on a budget. Their self-adjusting headband and closed-back design make these headphones very comfortable. They also feature a gimbal suspension, and leatherette ear pads. What's more, these Editors' Choice headphones offer a 18Hz to 20KHz frequency range to boot.
Is It Worth It?: These Klipsch headphones, which list for $179.99, carry the brand name of a high-fidelity leader. They feature an adjustable leather headband, 40mm drivers, 16Hz to 23kHz frequency response, noise isolating foam ear cups, and more. You'll find the sound quality of these headphones solid, though their extended bass response can cause ear fatigue if you listen for long periods of time at higher-than-normal volume levels.
Front page photo credit: Gay Flair