We've just had a slew of information arrive in the office on new earphone models arriving from Denon, Shure and Ultrasone that range from budget in-ear buds to extravagant over-ear cans. Let's start with the cheapest at work our way upwards, shall we?
Budget Denon buds
First up are Denon's new AH-C360 in-ear buds. Costing just £45 these won't break the bank, but will improve your MP3 player's sound quality over the cheap and functional headphones it was originally boxed with.
Ergonomically styled for a comfortable fit and with a choice of earpiece sizes supplied, the AH-C360s feature Denon's newly-developed Radial Cascade Damper which aims to reduce cable-transmitted vibration noise. Bass reproduction is kept sufficiently deep and punchy, while a specially designed Acoustic Optimizer ensures a dynamic sound.
Solid ear-warmers from Shure
Qaulity in-ear headphone manufacturer Shure has also bolstered its range with three new over-the-ear models offering "professional" audio quality for less money than you might expect. The entry-level SRH240s are designed primarily for consumer listening devices, while moving up a step in quality, the SRH440s (£130) are designed for DJ and console use. At the top-end the all-new SRH840s (£140) promise to deliver "reference-quality frequency response."
If money's no object then the Edition 8 over-ear headphones from Ultrasone could be just the ticket. Although hardly a steal at £1200 a pair, the manufacturers nonetheless claim that they offer "peerless sound quality" alongside a "stunning" build quality.
The mathless sound quality, Ultrasone claims, is primarily down to the S-Logic Plus technology employed by the Edition 8s. At the heart of this is a new titanium-plated tri-bass-tube driver and decentralised driver positioning that effectively pushes the sound around the ear, making it appear as though the listener is listening to speakers positioned only metres away. Of course, at this kind of price you'd be well within your rights not to expect anything less.