1. Monster Beats By Dre Studio
Price: £280 ($440)
We thought that the most influential man in hip-hop knew a thing or two about production, but now, we're not so sure. Thick, muddy sound made these the worst of all the cans we tried.
The analogue tones of hip-hop accepted the added warmth with the most grace, but vocals were a little indistinct. The active noise cancellation blocked out environmental annoyances well, although ironically, the headphones actually become one for those in close vicinity.
2. Skullcandy Supreme Sound Mix Master
Price: £243 ($380)
The Skullcandy Supreme's sound is neutral (aside for a dip in the treble), with heavy mids; it could be crisper, erring on the side of warmth, but vocals come through loud and clear.
Electronic genres are flavour of the day, sounding far more vibrant than acoustic/rock productions. Those who dabble in the wheels of steel will appreciate the swoon-inducing ambidextrous ports, easily accessible mute button and clever cue-driving, sound-isolating swivelling earcups. Great for both dancefloor and desktop warriors, but expensive.
3. WeSC Chambers By Rza Premium
Price: £250 ($400)
RZA is the man behind the Wu-Tang Clan, and now he hopes to conquer street style as well as street sound. Aesthetically, the RZA Premium cans do the business, looking sleek, elegant and surprisingly understated, with tiny white LEDs on the chrome earcup trim.
But it's a case of form over function: they feel flimsy and are uncomfortable, with the earcups too shallow, the headband hard and the fit loose - even looking down tests their staying power.
The sound is decent, with smooth mids and a crisp, punchy treble, though the bass is a little flabby and tracks can sound hollow at times. Hip-hop sounds great, with a heavy, warm bass, and surprisingly, rock also shines. The active noise cancellation works fairly well, though it sometimes creates an audible hiss.
4. SMS Audio Sync By 50
Price: £300 ($400)
Manufacturer: SMS Audio
50 isn't a man to do things by halves. These huge, white headphones are guaranteed to draw swagger-inducing glances, and the sound will attract attention, too - it's pumped-up and exciting, nicely balanced and not overly bassy. It's not totally accurate to the music, but it's a lot of fun!
All of our tracks sounded brilliant, and despite the cans' exaggerated size, they're not heavy enough to pin you to the pavement (though we can't promise this won't happen if you're in a bad neighbourhood).
The wireless element was enjoyable, making gangster scenarios such as walking to the printer or brewing tea for colleagues far less of a nuisance than normal. Onto the downsides, then: the headphones don't fold away.
5. Soul SL300 By Ludacris
Price: £270 ($420)
Manufacturer: Soul Electronics
The space-age SOUL SL300s are in no danger of being described as subtle, even boasting illuminated earcup badges. There might be something in the sci-fi concept, though, because once you've got these headphones clamped over your ears, you somehow enter another world.
The active noise cancelling is so effective that you're cut off from mundane reality. It's a fantastically enjoyable effect that's at its best on electronic productions, though audiophiles will likely tear their ears off.
With noise cancelling on, the sound has a mild bass boost, lively highs, held-back mids and a subtle reverb effect; without, the quality rolls off.