Denon's AH-D5000s cost around £500 and are so good we use them as reference headphones. In our opinion, they stand as a benchmark against which all headphones can be judged. Their audiophile sound quality is unrivalled in detail and power. They're beyond the realms of comfortable and they're remarkably open for closed-back headphones. They're our all-time favourites.
Sony's bizarre-looking £300 PFR-V1 headphones are unique in both design and performance. They bridge the divide between open headphones and bookshelf speakers, creating a speaker-like experience you can wear on your head. Words can only describe these to a certain degree; if you've not seen them already, be sure to see our videos here and here, and of course, our full review.
Representing the earphone camp, Shure's SE530s
are arguably the best earphones in the world; they're also among the
most expensive. With three separate drivers in each ear, they produce a
massive wall of sound, each with loads of detail, amazing mids and
skull-crushing bass, but at the expense of your wallet.
Finally, we couldn't forget Grado's fantastic RS-2 headphones. Although now a couple of years old, they still offer stellar sound quality, and Grado continue to produce reference cans that exceed even £1,000. If you're determined to be the most intense audiophile, these should be on your wish list even in 2008.