POR­TA­BLE HEAD­PHONES

BIN THE BUN­DLED BUDS, AND IN­VEST IN BET­TER SOUND

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - The Only Products Worth Considering -

Sound­magic E10S £40

Best in-ears un­der £50, Awards 2015 Pay­ing £40 for a pair of buds like these ranks as one of the sim­plest, most af­ford­able and most sat­is­fy­ing up­grades avail­able. In-line con­trols Yes Cable length 1.2m

Sennheiser Mo­men­tum M2 IEI £90

Best in-ears £50-£100, Awards 2015 You wouldn’t think any­thing so small could sound so good – not for just £90. But good they sound, won­der­fully smooth, ex­pres­sive and bal­anced. In-line con­trols Yes Cable length 1.3m

Sony MDR-EX650AP £60

Novem­ber 2014 These smart buds are nicely judged tonally, with plenty of de­tail. Add an ex­pan­sive sound­stage and you’re look­ing at great value for money. In-line con­trols Yes Cable length 1.2m

Fo­cal Sp­hear £100

Novem­ber 2015 These Fo­cals back that a classy de­sign with a full-bod­ied, de­tailed sound that’s se­ri­ously en­gag­ing. They are a com­fort­able fit, too. In-line con­trols: Yes Cable length 1.2m

Klip­sch X11i £200

Novem­ber 2014 As com­fort­able in your ear as a cot­ton bud, the X11is de­liver great sound too – ex­cit­ing yet smooth and in­sight­ful. Highly rec­om­mended. In-line con­trols Yes Cable length 1.3m

Shure SE425 £200

Best in-ears £100-£300, Awards 2015 If you’re se­ri­ous about the qual­ity of your in-ear head­phones, we’d point you here. The en­er­getic, im­mer­sive per­for­mance is ir­re­sistible. In-line con­trols Yes Cable length 1.6m

Sennheiser IE 800 £600

Best in-ears £300+, Awards 2015 You might think it a waste to spend £600 on buds, but don’t make up your mind till you’ve heard these – they’re as­ton­ish­ing per­form­ers. In-line con­trols Yes Cable length 1.1m

Shure SE846 £950

June 2014 Stun­ning de­tail, supreme tonal bal­ance and ex­tra­or­di­nary dy­nam­ics. You just need to en­sure you use an equally tal­ented source In-line con­trols Yes Cable length 1.2m & 1.6m

AKG N60 NC £230

Best noise-can­celling head­phones un­der £250, Awards 2015 The N60s are ul­tra-por­ta­ble and of­fer ef­fec­tive noise-can­cel­la­tion, leav­ing them free to present a punchy, mu­si­cal, bal­anced sound. Quoted bat­tery life 30 hours

Bose Qui­et­com­fort 35 £290

Au­gust 2016 The lat­est Qui­et­com­fort ben­e­fits from be­ing truly wire­less and switch­ing to recharge­able bat­ter­ies. The best just got bet­ter. Quoted bat­tery life 20 hours (wire­less), 40 hours (wired)

PSB M4U2 £250

April 2015 As well as oblig­ing with a pow­er­ful de­liv­ery the PSBS of­fer a choice of lis­ten­ing modes (pas­sive, ac­tive and noise-can­celling), to suit. Quoted bat­tery life 55 hours

AKG K451 £50

Oc­to­ber 2012 Great agility and pre­ci­sion tim­ing com­bined with ex­cel­lent build and com­pact size, makes the K451s a must-au­di­tion pair of cans. Type Closed Con­nec­tion 3.5mm Weight 120g

AKG Y50 £50

Best por­ta­ble on-ears un­der £100, Awards 2015 Our Prod­uct of the Year cans for 2015 are por­ta­ble on-ears, and de­liver a rhyth­mic, clear, de­tailed, dy­namic sound. At this price they’re amaz­ing. Type Closed Con­nec­tion 3.5mm Weight 190g

AKG K550 £100

Best home on-ears un­der £150, Awards 2015 These on-ears, rel­a­tively light and very comfy, are com­mu­nica­tive too, nat­u­ral and un­forced. And they de­liver bass with punch and pre­ci­sion. Type Closed Con­nec­tion 3.5mm/6.3mm Weight 305g

Grado SR125E £150

De­cem­ber 2014 These might have looked at home on the ears of a wartime ra­dio op­er­a­tor, but they sound great. Stay at home, though: they’re leaky. Type Open Con­nec­tion 3.5mm/6.5mm Weight 363g

Philips Fide­lio M1MKII £135

May 2015 The Fide­lios of­fer an un­usu­ally smooth de­liv­ery and plenty of weighty, punchy bass. Clar­ity and pre­ci­sion are fur­ther strong points. Type Closed Con­nec­tion 3.5mm Weight 166g

Bey­er­dy­namic T51i £245

Awards 2014 It’s sat­is­fy­ing when great de­sign, pre­mium build and top per­for­mance all come to­gether. These on-ears re­ally do sound as good as they look. Type Closed Con­nec­tion 3.5mm/6.3mm Weight 174g

B&W P5 Se­ries 2 £250

Fe­bru­ary 2014 Clear, pre­cise sound, bags of de­tail, punchy rhythm – these gor­geous ’phones have the lot. We can’t think of any­thing to say against them. Type Closed Con­nec­tion 3.5mm Weight 195g

Grado SR325E £270

Best home on-ears £150-£300, Awards 2015 If you don’t mind the sound that leaks from them, you’re free to en­joy the fluid dy­nam­ics and won­der­fully mu­si­cal pre­sen­ta­tion. Type Open Con­nec­tion 3.5mm/6.5mm Weight 330g

Philips Fide­lio X2 £230

Oc­to­ber 2015 The X2s have a smooth, neu­tral sound, great rhythm and punchy bass. Su­pe­rior de­sign helps make them supremely com­fort­able too. Type Open Con­nec­tion 3.5mm Weight 380g

Sennheiser Mo­men­tum 2.0 £270

Best por­ta­ble on-ears £200-£300, Awards 2015 We love the de­sign but it’s more than just pretty – the Mo­men­tums 2.0s are com­fort­able on your ears and fold neatly off them. Type Closed Con­nec­tion 3.5mm Weight 240g

B&W P7 £330

Septem­ber 2014 Worth ev­ery penny. The solid build qual­ity and comfy fit we ex­pect, but the level of de­tail and dy­nam­ics swept us off our feet. Type Closed Con­nec­tion 3.5mm Weight 290g

Shure SRH1540 £400

Best home on-ears £300+, Awards 2015 Once the mu­sic starts you’ll fo­cus on the ex­pan­sive, beau­ti­fully bal­anced sound. There’s agility, en­thu­si­asm and gen­uine mu­si­cal­ity too. Type Closed Con­nec­tion 3.5mm Weight 286g

AKG K812 £1100

Oc­to­ber 2014 For out­right in­sight you’d have to spend thou­sands more than this on speak­ers be­fore you get close to the res­o­lu­tion and agility on of­fer here. Type Open Con­nec­tion 3.5mm/6.3mm Weight 390g

Bey­er­dy­namic T1 Gen­er­a­tion 2 £800

Au­gust 2016 Six years on and the T1s are just as stun­ning and have a few re­fine­ments. These ‘phones are in­sight­ful, com­fort­able to wear and a joy to lis­ten to. Type Semi-open Con­nec­tion 3.5mm/6.3mm Weight 360g

Sennheiser HD800S £1200

June 2016 If the price in­vites doubts, rest as­sured the per­for­mance is ab­so­lutely worth it pro­vided your source and am­pli­fi­ca­tion are up to the job. Type Open Con­nec­tion 6.3mm Weight 330g

AKG Y50BT £150

Best wire­less head­phone un­der £250, Awards 2015 By wire­less stan­dards, they’re ex­cel­lent. Clar­ity and in­sight are par­tic­u­lar strong points, but it’s also a great de­sign. Fold­ing Yes Quoted bat­tery life 20hrs+ Wire­less range n/a

Philips Fide­lio M2BT £185

Janaury 2015 Blue­tooth here is the su­pe­rior aptx ver­sion. There’s also NFC con­nec­tiv­ity and – most im­por­tant – a rich, bal­anced, mu­si­cal sound. Fold­ing No Quoted bat­tery life 10hrs Wire­less range 15m

B&W P5 Wire­less £330

Best wire­less head­phones £250+, Awards 2015 All the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the P5 Se­ries 2 with­out the wire. The Blue­tooth con­nec­tion works well and the sound is nigh-on as good as the Se­ries 2. Fold­ing Yes Quoted bat­tery life 17hrs Wire­less range n/a

Sennheiser Mo­men­tum 2.0 Wire­less £380

Best noise-can­celling head­phones £250+, Awards 2015 5 Take the Mo­men­tum 2.0, add aptx Blue­tooth and ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion and – Very de­sir­able. Fold­ing No Quoted bat­tery life 22hrs Wire­less range 10m

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