Grado Labs' RS2e

Grado Labs' RS2e

When it comes to headphones, finding a pair that effectively recreate the experience of hearing music live isn't easy. And, to complicate things more, there are so many options, from inner-ear, to on-ear, to over-ear, that it's often difficult to tell the differences. But with a new, classy-looking model from Brooklyn-based Grado Labs, the RS2e headphone comes close.

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From the brand's Reference Series, the RS2e's quality lies in its handmade design, including a visible difference from the rest of the competition – and it's not just the Mahogany or the leather strap. "Closed backs just don't sound as good," says Jonathan Grado, of Grado Labs. Its latest open-back headphone, the RS2e might be its best argument yet: A reengineered, less-resonant, wood-and-metal air chamber pairs with a more accurate 44mm driver to produce a full, rich sound that's second only to sitting center stage.
[$495; gradolabs.com]