There once was a time when a pair of headphones had all the comfort of strapping a pair of oranges to your head, and all the fashion consciousness of a '70s shag rug. Thank goodness those days are over; headphones and earbuds these days have become as chic and easy to wear as they are technologically advanced.
Meanwhile, the headphone bargains keep coming and so we return with another roundup of best headphone buys. So if you'd like to get in on the action and show your ears a little bit of love, read on and see what we've uncovered; or, as they say in the world of hi-fi, listen up:
V-Moda Crossfade LP Over-Ear Metal Headphones
Price: $74.99 via coupon code "EMCKAHK72" with free shipping
Lowest By: $50
Is It Worth It?: Killer headphones often sport a frequency response of 20Hz (the really low sounds) to 20kHz (the really high sounds). It may be overkill, but these headphones actually go below and above the range of human hearing, from 5Hz to 30kHz. The savings are hefty, too, as the coupon code takes $105 off the newegg starting price. (You must be a newsletter subscriber to redeem the coupon.) These V-Moda Crossfade headphones were developed over the span of four years in collaboration with top musicians, DJs, and producers — which is not too shabby for a pair of headphones under $100.
Sennheiser MX-470 Headphones
Price: $13.40 via coupon code "AFL4COUPON" with free shipping
Lowest By: $3
Is It Worth It?: Even without the modest coupon price drop, these Sennheiser earphones are a deal on a trusted brand that belongs right up there with Shure and AKG. This model delivers a frequency response of 18Hz to 20kHz. Do note that earbuds in general won't give you the isolation of closed earphones, but in the right environment, they'll do the trick just fine.
Monster Lady Gaga HeartBeats Earbuds
Price: $39.95 with free shipping
Lowest By: $32
Is It Worth It?: Audio products that exploit the name of the latest Star du Jour should make everyone take pause: They're not necessarily better than the non-celebrity trinket, but they might cost more. Monster also spends lots of money to market its products as top shelf, where experienced musicians will tell you that they're just as prone to breakage and fatigue as run-of-the-mill brands. True, these earbuds look a good deal cooler, and with "Dr. Dre club-caliber bass" (there's that name dropping again), they probably work great. But in terms of value, you might be better off passing on these and going with the Sennheiser MX-470s — or rather, three pairs for about the same price.
Sony PIIQ Smooth Supra-Aural Headphones
Price: $17.99 via coupon code "MLC921DN" with free shipping
Lowest By: $9
Is It Worth It?: Now we're talking — though we bet once you put these headphones on, you'll want to keep quiet and perk up your ears. Meritline essentially slashes the price in half with their coupon code, and Sony is one of those aforementioned brands that has earned high marks for reliability and quality over the decades. The 10Hz to 24kHz frequency response is dynamite, and the padding and isolation on these phones offer a nice, snug fit for long hours of musical consumption. As they used to say in the olden days, "With Sony, you get no baloney."
Skullcandy Icon 2 On Ear Headphones with Microphone
Price: $11.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $9
Is It Worth It?: Skullcandy's more about fashion than serious audio quality, but these headphones hardly represent a compromise, with pinpoint frequency response and drivers just the right size (30mm) to shake your bass or thrill you with treble. Additionally, this model comes with a built-in, hands-free microphone.
Front page photo credit: JD Hancock via Flickr