The earphones you got in the box? Tat. Noise-isolating in-ears sound better and get you closer to the music – and they needn’t cost a packet, either.
Shure SE530 £330
Noise-isolating ’phones here can be a little invasive for some, but nothing else burrows quite so deeply into your ears as these Shure SE530s (above left). They’re hugely effective and sound fabulous, but when your earphones cost more than your iPod, something might be wrong with your perspective.
Beyerdynamic DTX 50 £60
One of the most revered names in headphones, and some of the finest performers around. Not up to the standard of the mega-money Shures, but the bass weight is outstanding, detail retrieval is excellent and the sound is fluent and expressive.
Goldring GX200 £50
Better known for its turntable cartridges, Goldring has turned a deft hand to headphones. These GX200s (pictured above) are impeccably turned out, comfortable, and perform fairly well – barring a slightly aggressive top-end. Could be cheaper, though.