Headphones are a wonderful thing; letting you hear your music, radio, books etc without annoying other people (most of the time) but the actual style of headphones is up for debate today. While the majority these days go for the small in-ear style white headphones, I prefer to go with the bigger over ear style. Not just because the sound quality is far superior but as a bonus, they are a much healthier choice as they don’t promote bacteria growth like the smaller in-ear buds do.

I LOVE music, and have always had good headphones to listen to good music my last pair were Grado’s and there sound was extraordinary. Now matter what volume, or what style of music they let the detail flow, without becoming blurred or crackly; but the style and comfort were no where near as great as their sound. Grado had obviously spent all the budget on the speaker parts and the rest is cheap plastic and shiny vinyl. Comfort was so poor that I had to add extra foam under the head strap to be able to wear them otherwise the metal bar would dig into your head, not to mention the dreadful adjustment system which was clearly not up to the job with the headphones needing to be moved and adjusted every hour or so.

But that aside they are great headphones and now it seems that design and music can go together with headphones from several companies.

Firstly there is the Bowers & Wilkins P3 headphones which really do have a nice clean design. The use of the same fabric on the ear pods and the cushion strip on the head strap, or the brushed steel look on the outside of the ear pod, keep it looking elegant but more importantly comfortable. They look like they could be slipped on to your head and remain there all day long without causing any headaches. Yes you could say they look a little disjointed because of the twin bar connection between the head strap and pod but I think they are a classy looking design, something that B&W are getting known for.

Beats by Dr Dre have been making quite a noise on the headphone market since they arrived in 2008. The Solo shown here is personally the better design as it has the thin head strap and uses contrast colours well to highlight the beats logo. The head strap flows seamlessly into the holder for the ear pod. The same design keys are used in the top of the line studio headphone although the colours are a little more forward. A big drawback is the use of plastic but clever texture and some colour highlights do lower the visual of the plastic. While the design of these look sleek, as with my current Grados, they still lack that much needed comfort which could have been helped with just a small amount of cushioning in the head strap.

The other speaker company that is now making a nice headphone is PSB Speakers, not a run of the mill brand but a sister company to NAD. The M4U 2 headphones combine the design elements of the B&W and the beats products to make a sleek and stylish headphone. A thin stripe over the head strap and the brushed metal of the ear pod make it have that premium look. I have never been a fan of the vinyl for the soft pads on the ear pods as they can make your ears a little sweaty, I prefer the fabric of the B&W although that is a personal thing but if you’re looking for a good compromise of quality and comfort, these look they have could tick both boxes.

Just so you know, we’re not paid or perked to mentioned any of these headphones, we’re just big music fans and great quality sound.

Images from Grado Labs, Bowers & Wilkins, beats and PSB Speakers.

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