Six of the best gadgets and gizmos on a theme. This week: Six of the best headphones.
By Peter Jenkinson.
When buying portable music players, many of us are disappointed with the sub-standard headphones included with our new device.
A campaign asking manufacturers to issue better audio delivery systems with their products will have to wait for another day. For now, we've uncovered some of the best headphones, earbuds, earphones, headsets and stereo-phones around.
The measure of each is defined not just by the quality of sound they send into your ears but that they deliver high on the style scale too.
Buds by Bob - House Of Marley Midnight Ravers Rasta In Ear Headphones - £29.99 from www.amazon.co.uk These colourful earphones are just one set in the fabulous range available from House of Marley, inspired by the music of the Jamaican reggae legend. This set is made from aluminium and comes with three ear-tip options for the perfect fit, together with a storage pouch, so what are you waiting for? Turn the volume up to 10 and 'Stir It Up'.
Music Man - Monster Beats Full-Size HD Headphones by Dr Dre Studio - £279.95 from www.johnlewis.com Producing a set of headphones in association with the rapper, record label executive and producer Dr Dre was always going to end up with stunning results in both style and sound delivery. The Studio's headphones have an additional iSoniTalk cable with built-in call answer button, allowing you to pause the tunes and take that all-important phonecall with no extra fuss.
Audio Excellence - B&W P5 Mobile HiFi Headphones - £249.00 from www.superfi.co.uk This is the first foray into the headphones space by audio experts Bowers & Wilkins. The company's traditional approach has won it many fans, with its good old brushed aluminium and soft leather, engineered with splendid sound quality to match. These fold-flat headphones produce very little noise to bother others around you if you're a fan of full volume, and they also come complete with a call enabling cable, making them a top-notch set of cans.
Yours Truly - Audeo PFE 232 Perfect Fit In-Ear Monitor Headphones - £399 from www.hifiheadphones.co.uk The Swiss may be renowned for creating high-quality kit, but very little comes close to this set of in-ear music delivery systems for near-perfection and sheer unsurpassed comfort. This diminutive-looking pair of headphones contains some of the highest quality technology and this combines with a multitude of different-sized tips to ensure that each set fits the wearer better than the proverbial glove.
Uncabled Melodies - Veho VEP-004-BT 360 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones - £38.79 from www.amazon.co.uk This set of foldaway Bluetooth headphones allows you to connect to your mobile without any of that unsightly cable clutter. Its impressive ten-metre range lets you walk around the room without audio interruption, and the set also allows for call taking. You can answer calls with a press of the built-in button and chat away, leaving your hands free. Foldable and comfortable, this is a brilliant set for music fans on a budget.
Killer Looks - AKG Q701 Quincy Jones Signature Full Size Headphones - £499 from www.johnlewis.com The price may be a little bit of a distraction, but bear with us as these are possibly the most technologically-packed headphones in the (only just) sub-£500 bracket. Music scientists praise their "revolutionary flat-wire voice coils and patented two-layer diaphragms", which translates into music into your ear exactly the way it sounded when it left the recording studio - perfect. In the looks department they're superb too, almost taunting the competition.
App of the week: Spotify - iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian Giving you access to millions of tracks, the Spotify music service is like having an unlimited MP3 player on the move.
You can access all your tracks back at base too, via your Mac or PC.
Right now, Spotify is running a 48-hour free trial which is well worth a listen.