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.
Polk Audio UltraFocus 8000
BEST FOR: FREQUENT FLYERS
These noise-canceling headphones are well built, with a cool carbon-fiber band. They're smart, too, with a push-to-hear control that amplifies external voices. Listeners across the board raved about their clear highs, deep low end, and wide soundstage. "They gave De La Soul punishing bass and fluttering highs," said one. [$350; polkaudio.com]
Credit: Photograph by Michael Pirrocco