Christmas Gift Guide 2014: 11 headphones for music lovers

AKG K451 (£60)

They're cheap, they're cheerful and they're portable, making them rock-solid commuter headphones. Their sound quality belies their bargain-basement price with clear, bassy details saturating your ears.

Buy the AKG K451

Sony MDR-EX650AP (£60)

Given how much brass is used in musical instrument manufacture, it’s sort of weird that it’s not a material more commonly seen in hi-fi. Sony’s changing all that by utilising trombone metal for the internal sound path and the external enclosure.

They sound superb - smooth and fluid but nicely detailed, too. And they’re as comfortable as in-ears get.

Buy the Sony MDR-EX650AP

More after the break...

Bose SoundSport (£130)

Normal headphones aren’t great for exercise. If they don’t fall out entirely they always work themselves loose enough to break the noise-isolating seal and you lose all sense of bass. And when they are all the way in they block out so much outside noise that you probably won’t be able to hear the bus that’s about to run you over.

These Bose sports headphones solve all of those problems. They’ve got a flap that sort of clips into your ears, so they never fall out. But they don’t burrow right into your brain, either - they instead funnel sound into your ear canal without blocking out all external noise. They’re brilliant.

Buy the Bose SoundSport

Sony PlayStation Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0 (£80)

Sony makes quite a big play about virtual surround sound for PS4 games being the big sell of its first-party gaming headphones, but as far as we’re concerned it’s the only weak part of the package. Ignore it and you’ve got the best looking, most comfortable and neatest stereo solution available for PlayStation. They work with PS3 and Vita, too.

Buy Sony PlayStation Wireless Stereo Headset 2.0


If you want a really really good headphone setup, LHLabs has a really good deal for headphones right now.  $ 999 gets you the Audeze LCD-2s AND their Pulse DAC/Headphone amp. This will be a pretty killer combination.

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