Brent said: I can’t think of earphones I like better for $200 -- or even for $300.
The gist: Great sound and nine sets of eartips!
Rad said: Altec apparently cut costs in the wrong places: in the electronics and drivers. If you’re going to listen only to spoken word or old-time radio, these headphones will do; but if you want even semi-serious sound quality, be willing to spend a few bucks more.
The gist: Don’t bother with these.
Price: $399 with Cipher and analog cables, $349 with analog cable only
Brent said: If you want top-notch, audiophile-grade sound you can enjoy at home and easily take along to your office, cubicle, or hotel room, I can’t think of a more practical and cost-effective way to get it. This is $4000 worth of sound for $400.
The gist: Unique design delivers stunning sound quality.
Rad said: There’s much to like in the ATH-DSR7BTs. Are they harbingers of the digital future? Perhaps -- but as alternatives to traditional designs of Bluetooth headphones, their time is now.
The gist: New-tech by AT seems to work like a champ.
Award: Reviewers' Choice
Brent said: Their combination of wear-’em-all-day comfort and superbly balanced sound makes the AF1120s one of the most appealing sets of earphones I’ve reviewed.
The gist: A marked improvement over the company’s AF140 earphones.
Brent said: In my experience, the Blue Ellas were unique in their ability to present all elements of a stereo mix cleanly and clearly, without resorting to unnatural-sounding emphasis of any part of the audioband. It’s hard for me to imagine who wouldn’t like their sound.
The gist: These look and sound different than most.
S. Andrea said: Bowers & Wilkins’ latest headphone model isn’t just the company’s own best to date; it deserves to be compared against other truly high-end headphones from the best manufacturers, even models priced much higher.
The gist: Headphone sound to go with your 800-series speakers.
Brent said: They’re super-comfortable, easy to live with, and their few departures from neutrality are subtle enough that I’d consider them characteristics rather than flaws.
The gist: The deviations from neutrality make for a pleasing sound.
Brent said: Not many of us can afford to spend $6000 on headphones, let alone thousands more on an amp to drive them -- but I think if you try the Susvaras at a hi-fi or headphone show, you’ll at least understand why some people would.
The gist: Brent thinks these are the best headphones money can buy.
Award: Reviewers' Choice
Jason said: All you really need to know is that the HP10 is a neutral-sounding phono stage with excellent bass extension and imaging, and just enough sweetness to endear itself.
The gist: Jason hated sending this one back.
Rad said: These are good all-purpose headphones, especially considering their price of $99.99.
The gist: Good, but the Koss BT539ik’s are worth the extra $100 expenditure.
Rad said: Once I got started listening to Koss’s UR42i headphones, I found it hard to stop. You can find better headphones if you want to spend $200 or more, but for $49.99, I can’t think of anything that touches these.
The gist: Here’s that pair of $50 headphones you’ve been looking for.
Brent said: In the Q Adapts, Libratone has created very appealing, comfortably portable, user-friendly, on-ear noise-canceling headphones with great features and very good sound.
The gist: Uniquely styled Danish headphones with a cool bird logo.
Hans said: Schiit Audio’s Jotunheim is an excellent headphone amplifier that I’m confident just about anyone would like.
The gist: Don’t be fooled by the price or the name.