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Which headphones are best for me?

Offering a massive range of brands and styles, our headphones selection is truly comprehensive. If it’s something for the commute to work, college or school you’re after, then check out our range of in-ear headphones. Small and light, but always chosen for the best sound at their price, these are the most popular choice for music on the go. Ranging from a few pounds to well over £1000, we really do have in-ears for all budgets.

In-ear headphonesIn-ear headphones

For music at home you’ll probably prefer on-ear headphones. Although larger, these generally offer a more dynamic sound and greater long-term listening comfort. Check that the plug size is right for your system as you may find you’ll need a 3.5mm – 6.3mm adaptor plug. There are essentially two types of on-ear headphones: closed back and open back. Closed back offer superior, passive noise isolation for blocking outside sounds. As they don’t tend to leak sound, they’re also more sociable for those around you. Open back designs let more noise in and out, but they also tend to sound more spacious, making them the ideal option if you have a dedicated listening space.

On-ear headphonesOn-ear headphones

For complete freedom from wires, try out a pair of wireless headphones. Like all of the headphones we stock, they come in a range of styles and prices, but they all connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone, computer or tablet. Larger over-ear styles are a comfortable choice for extended listening, while in-ear and true-wireless designs are a great option for those on the go or breaking a sweat at the gym. With the latest innovations in Bluetooth standards, your music will still sound incredible when you ditch the wires.

Wireless headphonesWireless headphones

If you’re a regular traveller then you might want to consider headphones with noise-cancelling. Perfect for use on planes, trains and coaches, these actively block out background noise, making all the difference between a stressful journey and a soothing one.

Have a look at our noise-cancelling headphones.

Noise-cancelling headphonesNoise-cancelling headphones

If music means the world to you (as it does us), then why not check out our premium headphone range. Boasting the finest brands, such as Grado, AKG, Sennheiser, PSB, Beyerdynamic, Shure, Final Audio Design, Bang & Olufsen, Oppo & Audeze and more. Higher quality headphones can deliver astonishing improvements in sound quality with the detail and resolution usually associated with an amp and speakers costing many thousands of pounds. We appreciate that some of these headphones can represent a major financial commitment so we offer a ‘try before you buy’ service and highly recommend taking a listen at one of our stores.

Whichever headphones you’re interested in, don’t forget our Price Beat guarantees the cheapest price available – subject to just a few reasonable terms and conditions.

View our full headphone range

Premium headphonesPremium headphones

How do I get the best from my headphones?

Headphone amplifierHeadphone amplifier

If you use your wired headphones a lot then you may want to look into a headphone amplifier. These employ specialist circuitry to boost the performance of your favourite cans by making sure the signal is as pure as possible; exactly what's needed to eke out every last drop of quality. Many premium headphones require extra power from an amp to deliver proper performance, so if you’re exploring that route, give us a call and we can walk you through the specs.

Most often, headphone amplifiers will have a purpose-built DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter) for a spectacular jump in clarity from your digital music. Some hi-fi stereo amplifiers will have a built-in headphone amp, something worth looking at if you’re a regular headphone listener in the market for a new stereo amp. If you're an audiophile on the go, we have a range of portable headphone amps / DACs for incredible sound wherever you may roam.

See our headphone amps

Headphone driver types explained

Most headphones use a dynamic driver set-up, also known as moving coil drivers. These are the staple choice for headphones. Using air compression to rapidly move an ultra-thin coil of wire, sweet sound waves are produced for you to hear. It’s hard to go far wrong with dynamic drivers as they are effective for all budgets and can produce powerful bass, with crisp, quality sound.

Alternatively, you have electrostatic driver headphones, which work by placing a static (non-moving) electric charge on a film that floats between two perforated metal plates. When audio voltages are applied across the plates, static cling and repulsion cause the entire film to move all by itself. This film is so thin that it weighs less than the air around it, and has no resonances or energy storage, which leads to the colouration inherent in moving coil speakers.

So if electrostatics are so superior, why aren't they more popular? Easy: they require a high-voltage power supply, which usually means use at-home use only, with a hi-fi and/or dedicated headphone amplifier. These types of headphones are typically rare and expensive.

Headphone driversHeadphone drivers

Less commonly used but becoming the go-to choice of the connoisseur are planar magnetic drivers. These sit somewhere between dynamic and electrostatic in terms of their technology. Their magnets push and pull a diaphragm, which is spread across the driver to create a more balanced sound, due to the magnets working more efficiently at a greater density.

Magnetic planar drivers are often used in high-end headphones as they produce a less distorted sound, with excellent transient response and a fine balance with their larger magnetic drivers. These headphones also improve with use, needing to be run in before being at their best, often between 50-100 hours of listening time.

View our full headphone range

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