As with all audio equipment there tend to be a selection of brands which become the real market leaders when it comes to a certain piece of gear, and headphones are no different. Whether you are looking for a set of earbuds to listen to in the gym or on the train or you are after some high quality, expensive headphones for composing your own music, there are a few headphone brands whose names crop up over and over again.
AKG are a European manufacturer of audio equipment with a famous range of amazing headphones. Not available on the cheap, but you certainly get your money’s worth. My current weapon of choice, I have sworn by my AKG’s since I bought them 5 years ago and never looked back.
I have to mention Dr. Dre’s beats, but I should also mention that they aren’t particularly popular with audio professionals. You probably wont see a pair of these in a studio (unless you visit Dr. Dre’s studio) but they do look cool, and there is no denying that the branding of the Beats range of cans has turned them into a key player in the industry. Most in the know will tell you that you can get a better set of headphones from a different brand for a fraction of the price.
In case you couldn’t guess from the name, this is a German headphones brand. Sennheiser has a rich history dating back to the second world war would you believe! In that long chunk of time they’ve become a real front runner in the world of audio equipment, and much like many of the other brands mentioned they manufacture more than just headphones.
Sony are a huge company and have fingers in many pies (proverbially speaking). It is hard to review their headphone range as a generic entity because they offer such a range, from a budget range to an expensive “pro” range. Undeniably Sony have the luxury of a lot of money behind them to manufacture a good range of headphones, maybe not the coolest cans to rock up at a studio with but still a leading brand who have a big impact (and big sales figures).
Bowers and Wilkins
These aren’t just mentioned because of the fact they’re British (like me), honestly! These truly are an elite range of headphones, expect to pay top dollar for the brand but don’t let that put you off, Bowers and Wilkins offer an incredible audio experience. With a history rooted in the swinging 60′s, B & W (as it is often abbreviated) offer home cinema systems, speakers and monitors and of course, headphones. Check out this amazing promo video for their partnership with Maserati. Now that’s branding.
A relative newcomer to the Headphones business, these guys are no strangers to audio equipment offering the most popular range of microphones in the world. As you’d expect, they offer a good range of listening gear too along with many other pieces of sound gear and have become a very important part of the industry.
These should really go next to Beats. A cool set of designs, sure, but not the best sound quality you’re going to get from a headphone brand. Have been described as “plastic toys” though I’d hate to comment on that particular synopsis.
- Audio Technica