It is said that readers of Ian McDonald's meticulous Revolution In The Head , a 2007 set of mini-essays that dissected every Beatles' track ever recorded, went back and listened to the songs as if for the first time ever, hearing music they'd heard thousands of times before as if with brand new ears.
Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless High-End Stereo Headphones Photo by BEYERDYNAMIC . ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Unbeatable comfort and battery life — they literally go on for days — make these among the best wireless headphones on the market. A significant step above better-know high-street names, we reckon this audiophile upgrade more than justifies the hike in price.
Despite their comfort (the soft headband is made from Alcantara leather, the 'details' are aluminium), they’re a touch bulky. Not an issue for daily home/ office use, but regular commuters may wish to look elsewhere.
$555 (P28,996.94) on Amazon
Beoplay x Rimowa Photo by BEOPLAY . ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The less we spend (if we spend anything) on music, the more we spend more on the hardware to play it on. Iconic luggage brand Rimowa has recently launched a series of high-profile collaborations, with Supreme, Off-White and Fendi, among others. Joining up with high-end audio brand Beoplay makes sense, given the links between music and travel.
The headphones and the case compliment each other, using enduring luxe materials like anodised aluminium, cowhide leather and lambskin, to create a unique product that may well become a collectors’ edition in years to come, and sounds as good as it looks.
$900 (P47,029.03), limited collection
Hifiman Arya Full-Size Over Ear Planar Magnetic Audiophile Adjustable Headphone Photo by HIFIMAN . ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Basically every set of headphones you buy, from cheapo earbuds from some street store to more expensive sets like Bose's QC35, conduct sound in the same way, using a combination of a magnet, a coiled wire and a diaphragm that pumps back and forth to make noise – think of a dance music video director’s shortcut: showing a pair of giant speakers thumping along with the bass.
So-called ‘planar magnetic headphones' use a combination of magnets and thin wires to produce sound that uses more power, has noticeably more clarity and costs a lot more to manufacture. The superbly-named Hifiman are the dons in this area and these over-ear, full-size offerings will immerse you in a world of unbelievable sound.
Grado Grade PS1000e Professional Series Open Backed Headphones Photo by GRADO . ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Brooklyn-based Grado Labs has been hand-building high-end headphones since the early 1950s, which may or may not account for the fact that they tend to make you look like a WWII fighter pilot off for a dogfight.
Distinctive looks aside they have the sharpness, heft and detail more commonly found in loudspeakers, not headphones. Made for home hi-fi listening, as there's little sound isolation, so they leak music like mad. The fact that they are built to outlast your hi-fi make them a lifetime investment.
£1,884 (P119,803.96) on Amazon
Audeze LCD-4Z Open-Back Over-Ear Headphones Photo by AUDEZE . ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Outrageous build quality — it’s an all-metal construction, and demands a strong neck — with a beefy sound profile to match. Particularly well suited to emphasising cutting-edge studio-produced pop and rock, these come into their own when listening to rap, hip hop and drum and bass, where you can feel every bass wobble and pause for breath.
$3,995 (P208,763.20) on Amazon
Focal Utopia Over-Ear Headphones Photo by UTOPIA . ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
With their dynamic sweep, Utopia, from the French brand Focal perform that ‘studio sound’ trick of making you hear each instrument simultaneously, but in separation: listening again to something from Neil Young’s 1970s acoustic output is particularly gratifying.
In this territory MP4s off your iPhone aren’t going to show off your new cans to their best advantage. You’re going to want to run them through a decent headphone amp too — try the Chord Mojo.
£3,499.00 (P222,460.57) on Selfridges
Sennheiser Orpheus HE 1 Photo by SENNHEISER . ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Sure, they cost the same as a Lotus Elise. But does a Lotus Elise come with a stereo with spring-loaded tube amplifiers? No, it does not. Sennheiser’s claim that they’ve created a work of art has some grounding – its amplifier sits on a housing crafted from glass and a block of Carrara marble, the same stone Michelangelo favoured.
Switch it on and it takes a few seconds before the amplifier tubes stand to attention and the black lid opens to release the headphones within. Not one for the airport hand luggage, then, but for the serious home audiophile there’s nothing currently better on Planet Earth.
$59,000 (P3,083,486.37) on its website
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk .
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.