Gone are days of gramophones and record players projecting music for all to hear. Since leaving these antiquated instruments in the dust, we as a collective society have underwent a rapid and drastic transformation in the way we consume music over the last 30 or so years. From cassettes, to Walkman’s, to CD players, to iPods and now our cell phones, the one consistent with these devices are the use of headphones.
Headphones have become as essential to one’s daily wardrobe as a watch or belt. For some, headphones are part of their identity, for others, the music that they are able to hear anywhere they go provides the ability to focus, pass time, or escape. Besides these marvelous benefits, the one that is most commonly overlooked is that when the earbuds are in, it acts as the international indicator for “don’t bother me”—regardless of whether music is playing or not.
If you walk into any office building in America, you’ll find a majority of employees with their own headphones, unplugged from the distractions of a hectic office around them, and plugged into their own work, each listening to their music of choice. While members of the old guard may be resistant to embracing the new wave of productivity boosters; for most, silence, one radio for the entire office, or the noise of others are problems of the past, all thanks to headphones and mobile music listening options.
If you’re a student, the sentiment endures. In the past, libraries and other places designated for studying were plagued by the inability of students to effectively block out the noise of others and focus on their own assignments and preparation. Today, students, with all the bells and whistles of modern headphones, have no trouble creating a distraction free zone for themselves, even in the midst of chaos.
Digging deeper, you’ll see people with their headphones on, having escaped from the real word anywhere from the gym, their own home or walking around town—and pretty much anywhere else. In today’s society, headphones have developed into a tool that transcends its original purpose of simply playing music and instead, produces entertainment, relief, and pretty much anything else you want them to. Go anywhere and you’ll see people wearing headphones. Read this guide and you’ll understand what goes into choosing the right pair for you.
Bose SoundLink 741158-0010 Around Ear Wired + Wireless Headphones with Microphone II in Black or White
The crème de la crème of our top headphones list comes in the form of the Bose SoundLink Around Ear Wired + Wireless Headphones II. Although the name of this product includes, “Wireless,” do not be fooled; this product can used wirelessly (Bluetooth), or with a wired connection when the battery needs to be recharged. In fact, a full charge can last up to 15 hours, however, if you’re like what seems to be 95% of the world, your headphones will be close to dead far more frequently than they are fully charged and the wired option will come in clutch.
A bit of splurge, these Bose headphones retail for $229.95 but may be found for less, and are worth every penny. Regardless if you pick Black or White for this products’ color, you are entitled to a package that comes with all the fixings. Along with these premier headphones, you’ll also receive a protective carrying case, USB charging cable and an audio cable.
With a rather large price tag, you might be asking yourself what separates these from the competition. For us, it’s that these headphones will last. Bose has infused impact-resistant materials into the SoundLink II’s, an acknowledgment from the company that somewhere along the lines these will be dropped, and assurance that when they fall, you’ll be able to pick them right back up and continue listening to your favorite tracks.
Since this product can be worn with or without a wire, the audio controls and microphone are right on the ear cup itself. On the small panel, you can go back and forth between calls and music, as well as control volume and other audio functions. As with all Bose products, there is high quality voice and audio technology so that even while outside, or in noisy and crowded areas, you can hear clearly and be heard clearly.
Original Retail $229.95
Sony MDRXB50AP Extra Bass In-ear Earbud Headset
An affordable, yet reliable option, Sony’s MDR-XB50AP model earbuds are the perfect combination of value and quality. Offered in three stylish colors, this is our top pick for those shopping for in-ear headphones on a budget. For those still worried about damaging their shiny new in-ear headphones, a soft carry pouch is also included with each purchase.
Now to the actual features of the headphones. Sony created this product using high-energy neodymium magnets, a feature which brings out the bass in music—perfect for anyone listening to most of today’s hits, namely EDM and Hip Hop. Based on the current music scene, with these headphones, you will be able to identify and enjoy intricacies within your favorite songs that go unnoticed on the radio or while listening with headphones of lesser quality. Recognizing their focal point with this pair, Sony’s bass duct design emphasizes sound isolation, a feature that proves again why those looking for bass need to look no further.
When shopping for headphones, after sound, size and appearance, one of the most overlooked aspects is whether or not you can make a phone call while in use. With this pair of headphones, that is not an issue, due to the multi-function button and microphone. This nifty feature allows you to have a conversation without holding your phone up to your ear, and if you need to have an in-person conversation (rare occurrence these days, I know), you can pause your music, podcast, audio book—whatever with just the tap of a button.
One potential drawback in an increasingly wireless headphone market could in fact be the wired design here, but for those who enjoy the feel of this type product, and do not want to worry about Bluetooth connectivity issues or losing two small earbuds, this is a great listening option.Original Retail $49.99
Sony MDRXB800 Extra Bass Over-Ear 50mm Driver Wired Headphones - Black
When these headphones are placed on your ears, it’s as if two pillows are injecting music throughout your body. The Sony MDRXB800 headphones offer the softest ear pads we have been able to find, providing optimal comfort for your musical escape. For most headphones, you can use them as a one pair fits all solution, but for these, well these are made for music. At under $100, you are granted the privilege of owning headphones with power unmatched by others at this price point.
This particular pair of headphones is not made for on-the-go listening, but rather stationary use. Due to the sheer size of these headphones, they would not be our top choice for the walk to work, but once you’re at your desk, there’s no better option for honing in to the task at hand while blocking out any extra distractions. By the products’ own description, these headphones feature a tight acoustical seal and high sensitivity driver units which produce powerful and dynamic bass response. All in all, they’re telling you to prepare yourself for some of the clearest and dominant audio you will find in a pair of headphones.
With a product that has ear pads as large as this one, it is understandable to have some concerns regarding storage while not being worn. To the consumers delight, there is no need to worry as this pair folds up within itself, minimizing the area it would take up on a desk or in backpack. Additionally, unlike most pairs of headphones on the market today, these do not have a microphone and therefore cannot be used to make phone calls.
In not offering a microphone feature, Sony is subtly emphasizing that these headphones are solely designed for music consumption, and with the emphasis on bass, something tells me that the engineers behind this are hoping that said consumption is done so loudly.Original Retail $89.95
Bose QuietComfort 25 715053-0010 Acoustic Noise Cancelling 3.5mm Wired Headphones for Apple Devices
Ah, those two words we all want to hear— “noise cancelling.” For when the static of the day becomes overwhelming, sometimes you need to cancel it out. If you’re like most people, tuning out the outside world, for even just a brief while, can make the difference between a good or bad day, and that solace is what the Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones offer.
You may have noticed that the product name mentions these headphones are for Apple devices, though if you’re an Android user, there’s good news ahead. Bose offers two versions of this same product, one that is compatible with Apple products, and another that works with Samsung and Android devices. The main aesthetic difference between the two models is that the Apple version is available in Black or White, while the Android version is only offered in Black.
Complete with next level comfort, you’ll find support surrounding your head with cushions around the ear cups, as well as on the headband. Coupled with noise cancelling ability, these headphones are a delight for air travelers and those travelling by train or walking through a noisy city. With acoustic in the product name, it is no surprise that the QC 25 headphones bring out the best in guitars, vocals and percussion. While those are the highlights of these headphones’ musical capabilities, longtime users know there are no lowlights when it comes to other forms and styles of audio.
Adding to the value of this product is the ease of storage; with ear cups that fold in, and a durable carrying case, you’ll be able to tuck these away anywhere—assuming you’ll even want to take them off your ears.Original Retail $129.00
Avantree ANC032 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones with Mic - Wireless or Wired
The Avantree ANC032, a true Swiss army knife of headphones. Affordable, reliable and versatile—all wonderful features that go into your perception of headphones, all of which have meshed together so wonderfully with this Aventree product. Although most of their potential applications are spelled out in the title, we think it’s important to once again emphasize what these headphones have to offer.
With this product, you’ll be well equipped to listen to music, watch TV, cancel the noise around you and stream live videos with no sound delay (when using an Avantree adapter)—wired or via Bluetooth. Despite there being only one color, Black, what you get with these is a pair of no-nonsense, practical headphones for every aspect of your life.
Like most products that feature noise cancelling capabilities, these headphones have a specialty; cancelling consistent low frequency background noise such as crowds and train stations. Where this product will not help as much is with abrupt noise, like yelling or a car horn, though if a car is honking, it’s not a bad idea to pay attention.
In some cases, people may have sensitive ears that may become irritated if cup-style headphones are worn over extended periods of time. With the Avantree design, the headphones sit on your ears, rather than around them, providing extra support and letting the user choose where the headphones are placed on their ears.Original Retail $49.99
Finding the best corded or wired headphones can be a challenge. We’re actively working on a detailed buying guide to further help you make a decision on which are good and which are great wired headphones. In the meantime, we hope these questions and answers help in your wired headphone search.
What are the best wired headphones?
For each person, the “best” wired headphones in subjective. Are you looking for the best wired headphones for EDM? If so, the Sony MDRXB50AP may be a good, cheap option.
If you’re looking for the best wired headphones that also have a microphone, you probably want to stay away from the Sony MDRXB800 as they do not offer the microphone function.
If you’re looking for good wired headphones that you can use for a commute on public transportation, you’ll want to look for headphones that offer noise-cancelling technology like the Bose QuietComfort 25 or Avantree ANC032 headphones, especially if you’re on a budget.