(2012) Headphones and Related

Kinivo BTH220Price: $44.99

Website: www.kinivo.com

Rad said: The Kinivo BTH220s offered very exciting, very good sound, as well as the freedom of wireless Bluetooth. (Warning: Once you’ve experienced this freedom, you maybe never want to be wired again!) And they cost amazingly little. Amazon sells them for $29.95, but you can probably find them for less. At that price they’re a true bargain, and high on my value-for-dollar list. I’m happy to have rediscovered them.

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The gist: Good sounding wireless ‘phones for a pittance.

SMS Audio Sync by 50 CentPrice: $399.95

Website: www.smsaudio.com

Rad said: I liked the SMS Sync by 50s. They’re comfortable and have good overall sound quality, especially with vocal music. But for a $399.95 pair of headphones, they have too many big and little problems -- the worst being the drifting Kleer signal and how little they masked outside noises -- for me to recommend them without hesitation.

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The gist: Worth closer to 50 cents than 400 bucks.

Logitech UE 9000Price: $399

Website: www.logitech.com

Rad said: Logitech’s UE 9000s have a lot going for them. They’re solidly built, have a shiny, gleaming appearance, provide excellent sound whether used wired or wireless, and come with a practical carrying case and a better-than-usual warranty. What’s not to like?

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The gist: Wireless and neutral 'phones.

RHA SA950iPrice: $59.95

Website: www.rha-audio.com

Rad said: The RHA SA950i headphones are a genuine bargain. They will give you an ampleness of bass and a balance of sound that are usually heard only from headphones costing much more. They’re light, comfortable, stylish, have a detachable cord, and a terrific warranty. If you’re on a budget but still want excellent sound, especially good bass, these could easily be the headphones for you.

Reviewers' Choice

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The gist: Cheap’n’good headphones from Scotland.

Polk UltraFocus 8000Price: $349.95

Website: www.polkaudio.com

Rad said: Polk Audio’s UltraFocus 8000 active noise-canceling headphones offer much. They sounded better than any of the commuter headphones I’ve auditioned, and are easy to operate. They’re smartly and simply designed, with superior build quality.

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The gist: Knockout headphones from the venerable loudspeaker company.

MartinLogan Mikros 70Price: $149 per pair

Website: www.martinlogan.com

S. Andrea said: The Mikros 70s’ detail and clarity are excellent with small- to medium-scale music. Though they won’t substitute for studio headphones for more complex fare, they won’t discourage you from listening to such recordings. The Mikros 70 delivers a sonic balance that strives to please, regardless of musical selection or driving equipment. Tastes varying as they do, there’s no guarantee that you’ll like the flavor of sound offered by the Mikros 70s -- but I sure did.

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The gist: The vaunted speaker company makes a pretty good earphone.

B&W P3Price: $199

Website: www.bowers-wilkins.com

S. Andrea said: If you come to the P3s from a pair of earbuds or the average small headphones, you’ll likely be amazed at how much bigger and more open they sound. And when you turn up the volume, they won’t complain -- they’ll just get more enveloping. Bowers & Wilkins’ P3 headphones offer a very satisfying sound wrapped up in a stylish, go-anywhere package.

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The gist: 801s wrapped around your ears?

Beyerdynamic Tesla T 70Price: $595

Website: www.beyerdynamic.de

S. Andrea said: Their greatest strengths are levels of focus, clarity, and detail that are rare among dynamic headphones. Their closed-back design only augments that sense of detail, and seems to have no adverse consequences. If you strive to hear everything that's on your recordings, the Beyerdynamic T 70s should definitely be on your audition list.

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The gist: For the discriminating classical listener.

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