The latest crop of on-ear and over-the-ear headphones boasts sonics that rival home hi-fis. To test them out, we started with a group of the most promising headphones, then cycled them through our team of eight testers, who spent two weeks working, commuting, and even flying with them while listening to an array of music from hip-hop to classical played through computers, phones, and home stereos. These are the best ones we tried.
Audio-Technica Solid Bass ATH-WS55
BEST FOR: SWEET SOUND ON A BUDGET
No celebrity endorsements or shiny chrome finishes here – these sound shooters emphasize their 40mm drivers. Several listeners called them a bargain, but one warned that the "namesake bass is lacking," so you may want to stay away from dance music with these, but mid-range came through loud and focused. Another griped about their lack of an in-line volume control – a luxury clearly reserved for pricier cans. [$100; audio-technica.com]
Credit: Photograph by Michael Pirrocco