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Buying Guide: On-the-go Headphones

Headphone listening has obvious advantages compared to speakers. It's private, you can hear whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. From making our long commutes on the bus more enjoyable to soundtracking a stroll down the street, they have the power to transform our day to day experiences. Considering that most of us do the bulk of our listening on-the-go, you’d be surprised how many people treat headphones as a throwaway item. In the old days, the foamy yellow headphones that came with walkmans or from the average electronics store broke easily, sounded terrible and were extremely uncomfortable. But that's all changed now. Today's headphones are a credible alternative to a pair of speakers and a compact form factor can be an essential tool for anyone who works or enjoys music on-the-go. 

We've put together a helpful set of tips for those looking for the headphone to match their lifestyle and taste. Let us guide you to portable headphone bliss!

Durability - You want your headphones to keep up with you no matter what. Whether pulling them out of your bag, taking them out for a run, or the many accidental snags or mishaps that happen, headphones can see a lot of punishment. We’ve tested the bulk of headphones available on the market and it quickly becomes apparent how different manufacturers prioritize build quality. If you are replacing $25 headphones five times a year, you can see how it quickly adds up! Most premiums brands will have easy to replace parts like a removable audio cable and swappable ear-pads - a big advantage to improve the longevity of your investment. Some manufacturers offer generous warranty or repair services to match their quality. And remember, metal is always more durable than plastic!

Comfort - If a pair of headphones are falling off your head or they make your ears sore they are not the right option for you (no matter how cool they may look!). Especially with in-ear headphones, the fit is crucial to how the headphones will sound. If they don’t fit right, you aren’t hearing all that the headphones have to offer. This is another reason why we truly believe in trying the headphones out before making your decision. The right pair of headphones will allow you to reclaim your commute, the wrong pair could leave you uncomfortable the whole way.

Closed not open - a big part of listening on-the-go is the ability to tune out your surroundings. Look for a pair of headphones that are ‘closed back’. This headphone type will limit the amount of noise that interferes with your music. They are great for blocking out talking and other random noise. If you are traveling on a train or plane, you should consider noise cancelling headphones. They will actively block out constant sounds like the hum of an air conditioner or plane engine. They are not as good as blocking variable sounds like talking however, so prioritize a heavy-duty ear cup design if the noise in your environment is variable.

Freedom from cables - If you are a runner, gym go-er, or just generally want to avoid having a headphone cable get in your way, bluetooth is the answer to your prayers. A bouncy cable can pick up vibrations which will travel up towards the ears adding annoying noise to your music. There are finally some good bluetooth headphones coming on the market that sound close to as good as a wired pair.


Here are some standouts that we feel make the grade. Stop by for a demo and hear them for yourself!



Mies e200 Earbuds 

Simply the best sounding earbud we've heard under $400! With a natural frequency response, you can listen for hours on end without fatigue. For $10, we offer a no-questions-asked 1 year replacement program. Step on 'em by accident and we'll give you a new pair.




 

RHA 750i

Tough as nails - the build quality of these buds are second to none. They also include a multitude of ear pads to fit any ear. 




AudioTechnica ATH-M50

Extremely comfortable and they feature a closed back design. They also have a user-replaceable and removable cable to keep them going for years to come. 





KEF M500

Made from lightweight aluminum and with ear pads soft as a pillow, these will satisfy the pickiest of listeners. They also neatly fold up for convenient storage. 




AKG 845BT

A bluetooth headphone with a metal construction. Sturdy, comfortable, nice battery life and they actually sound pretty close to a wired headphone. 




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