With hundreds of pairs of headphones on the market and a huge number of styles available, it can be tricky to find the right headphones for your particular listening needs. If you're into dubstep you'll want potent bass, while jazz and classical fans are likely to appreciate a more balanced and detailed overall sound.
You'll also need to choose between over-the-ear, on-the-ear or earbud styles. Yes, it's complicated, but that's why we've gathered together a list of the very best sounding pairs available right now across a range of different styles and prices.
Sony Prestige MDR-1R
The MDR-1Rs are beautifully designed, full-size, over the ear headphones with exemplary build quality. The metal earcups can pivot both horizontally and vertically and this, combined with their unusually soft and pliant ear cushions, makes them very comfortable to wear. It also ensures they produce a good seal on the ears that helps to block out external noise. Sonically they're great all-rounders that suit a wide variety of music styles. Their potent low-end response is thankfully free of boom, but because they're capable of delivering excellent clarity and punch they'll satisfy discerning audiophiles as well as the bass-obsessed masses.
Denon's AH-D600s ditch the classic wood styling of the company's elitist D7000s in order to appeal more to the Beats by Dre crowd. Some may miss the sophistication of the wooden enclosures, replaced here by synthetic materials, but the new muffs help to make these cans much cheaper. Despite their £500 RRP you can currently pick them up for £200 online. At the lower frequencies they're supremely powerful and can deliver a punch to your head that feels almost strong enough to seriously compromise the structural integrity of your skull. They also sound great for higher-end synth parts, overdriven guitars or shimming cymbals.
Klipsch Image S3
Available in red, green, pink or grey, the S3s look very stylish by the standards of in-ear headphones. Also, because they're small and lightweight you can keep them jammed in your lugholes for hours on end without them becoming uncomfortable. In terms of audio quality, the S3s deliver stonking performance for the price and are best suited to pop, rock and dance music. Overall, these in-ear headphones are a great choice if you're looking for a set of earbuds to replace the headphones that came with your MP3 player, as they won't break the bank, but are comfortable to wear and sound great.
V-Moda Crossfade M-100
The Crossfade M-100s are V-Moda's best headphones yet, as they not only look stylish, but sound great too. The ear cups' metal shields can be swapped out and replaced with customised ones that have been laser engraved with your own logo or artwork by V-Moda. Sound-wise, these cans are engaging and lively with lots of detail, but none of the harshness you sometimes get on these types of models. The bass is punchy and deep, so brings out the best in rock, or any bass-heavy music. What really makes the M-100s special though is their killer combination of features, build quality and sound for the money.
Do you shake your head in disbelief at the £100 asking price of many of the big-brand headphones on the market now, but still lust after something that's better than the earphones supplied with your MP3 player? If so, the JVC Flats are the cans to go for. They may feel a little bit plasticky, but they're both lightweight and comfortable to wear. As the name suggests they can also be folded flat and because they come in multiple colours you can match them to your favourite jacket or hoodie. What's really surprising is just how good they sound, given their minuscule price tag. Sonically they're nicely balanced, not overloaded with treble or bass, and much cleaner and more detailed than you'd expect at this price.