Back to School 2016 Buying Guide: Top 10 Headphones

Whether or not you're heading back to High School for yet another year or heading off to college for the first time, it's always great to have your own private little escape. For many, that comes in the form of great music and a great pair of headphones. Great for focusing in the library, tuning out your new annoying roommate and a whole lot more, a good pair of headphones can last you for years if you take care of them, and will be a faithful friend for all of your experiences for a long time to come.

Rock Jaw Clarito

Rock Jaw is a name that not many of you will have heard of, but they're a British firm that specialize in making the best-sounding earphones they can for the smallest price tags they can. Their Alfa Genus V2 model has been surprising listeners for some time now, but the Clarito are even cheaper, and even better value-for-money. If you need a good pair in-ear headphones and don't want to spend much at all, these are just $30 from Amazon, and they sound as if they cost three times at much.

Master & Dynamic MH40

Fast becoming a big name in the audio world, New York's master & Dynamic focus on creating good-looking headphones that sound fantastic, and will also last for decades. We reviewed these quite some time ago, and were super-impressed with the genuine lambskin leather and CNC-milled aluminum used throughout. They sound like a high-end HiFi has been planted in your head, and they're so well made they'll last you a lifetime if you look after them right. A little on the pricey side, these are a pair for those looking to make an investment of sorts, or those that well, just have a little more cash to play with.

MEE Audio Pinnacle P1

If you're the type of listener that would prefer a pair of in-ear headphones to a pair of the headband style, MEE Audio's Pinnacle P1 won't disappoint. They feature detachable cables - making them easy to repair with a simple change (there are two in the box) - beautifully hand-finished earbuds and one of the most detailed and balanced sound signatures you can get at this sort of price range. At $200, they're not the most economical pair of earphones out there, but they look great and sound wonderful, punching well above their weight.

V-Moda Crossfade Wireless

One of the only wireless pair of headphones in our list, and for good reason, the Crossfade Wireless from V-Moda tick all of the right boxes, despite their hefty $300 price tag. With custom plates available to change the overall look of the ear cups themselves, a stylish hard carrying case made just for these and some great cables included, this has the right level of accessories that you'd expect from such a pricey pair. They also sound great, whether wired or wireless and they have one of the longest wireless ranges available for a pair of wireless headphones. Decent value, nice and stylish and they sound great as well, there's not much to dislike about these, really.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless

The other pair of wireless headphones on our list are a long-awaited follow-up to a well-known classic, the QuietComfort from Bose. This time around, they're about $50 more expensive, but they're fully-wireless and feature stereo microphones to keep out as much noise as possible, as well as to make sure you're heard. Comfortable, great-sounding and one of the best pair for keeping outside noise from getting in the way of your music, these are a great pair. Especially for those that travel a lot and spend a lot of time looking to drown out the outside world with their favorite tunes while they try to get some serious work done.


The AKG Y50 are a fairly uncommon pair of headphones, which has always been a bit of a head-scratcher. After all, these are some of the best value-for-money that you'll find from a respected brand like AKG. They sound great, don't break the bank and they look good as well. Available in a range of different colors, as well as being nice and lightweight, these are an affordable and stylish pair of headphones to buck the trend a little bit, while also getting some of the better sound quality available at this sort of price range.

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7

These are a pair of headphones that some of you might be familiar with, and for good reason. Not to be confused with the popular and at times disappointing, Audio-Technica ATH-M50X, the ATH-MSR7 is an altogether better proposition. They not only sound better, but they look better and seem to be built out of strong stuff as well. With a balanced and extremely detailed sound signature, these are a pair that might seem pricey, but they punch well above their weight and they should suffice even the most demanding listener.

Focal Sphear

From renowned French speaker company, Focal, the Sphear's are a pair of casual in-ear headphones that look good, are simple and easy to use, and don't ask the user to do anything special. That seems like very pair of earphones out there, until we consider just how great these sound, and then things start to fit into place. These are a great pair of earphones that sound excellent, with lots of detail and a nice, warm tone running throughout everything. A little on the pricey side, there are a number of different accessories included, and these seem perfectly well-built, too.

Marshall Monitor

Like your rock music? Play in a band? Then the Marshall Monitors will be the perfect pair of headphones for you. They look like they were designed to be paired with an old set of Marshall cabs, and the boomy, warm sound they pump into your ears says as much. They're great for rock music as well as most modern music, and they're a nice way of wearing something stylish without following along with everyone else's tastes, too.

LSTN Troubadours Zebra Wood

If you're in the market for a pair of headphones that truly look good, then you might like a pair of LSTN, a firm that's looking to do a little good with their headphone sales, aside from just making some money. This is the Zebra Wood pair, and they look great, as well as being comfortable and sounding good, too. They might not be the best out there, but they look brilliant and there from your usual pair of headphones, that's for sure.

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About the Author

Tom Dawson

Former Editor-in-Chief
For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, growing up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles has fed into an addiction to everything that beeps. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I love watching the platform grow. As an avid reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android, Google and mobile technology as a whole.