If you're reading this, then you've either misplaced the earphones that came with your phone or realized long ago why those tinny, static-spewing things were free. Stellar audio is expensive, but asking about the price tag isn't the only way to hear the difference in quality. Here are the best models on the market for less than $500.
If you want to sit in one spot and listen to music and money is absolutely no object, these will be your new favorite headphones. There are no bells or whistles in Shure's SRH1540 – no noise-cancellation, volume dials, or inline phone controls – just a pure and perfectly-balanced audio profile. The bright, clean sound might seem light on bass, but top-tier headphones tend to force you to retrain your ears. These will have you singing (and hearing) a different tune. [$500; shure.com]