Forget about Dre: 5 sets of headphones that are better than Beats

Forget about Dre: 5 headphones better than Beats
The Beats beaters

Apple is rumoured to be in the process of buying Beats for a whopping $3.2 billion. While it may be the streaming aspect of the company - and its relationship with big music labels - that attracted Cook and co, if it does purchase the company it will also have headphones that are loved by fashionistas but ridiculed by true audiophiles.

TechRadar has been lucky enough to try out a whole host of headphones over the years and here is our pick of the best - the 'phones Apple should consider buying before signing over its hard-earned to Dr Dre and his cohorts.

Oh, and as a special bonus, we've added what we felt was the worst pair of earbuds we had to subject our ears to.

1. ACS T1


Yes, they are expensive but they are custom fitted for you

The ACS T1 headphones are not cheap: the earbuds cost around a thousand dollars. But for this price they are custom made, have a triple-driver in-ear monitor and have been refined by audio engineers to make sure sound is clear as a bell.

Our reviewer said: "These earphones are simply amazing. If you can overlook the practical issues of keeping them safe, can afford the hefty asking price and love pristine sound quality, these things are the luxury-purchase you've been saving up for."

Read more: ACS T1 review

2. Creative Sound Blaster EVO ZxR

Creative EVO ZxR

Primed for your PS4 - these are great gaming cans

This set is one for gamers: the EVO ZxR come equipped with all manner of technological wizardry, including IT pass-through, NFC compatibility, noise cancelling and the fact that they work perfectly with the PS4.

Our reviewer said: "This is a great headset that does a good job with music, movies and games - it's not for audiophiles but the features on offer make it a superb all-rounder."

Read more: Creative Sound Blaster EVO ZxR review

3. Bowers & Wilkins P7

Bowers and Wilkins P7

P7 is audio heaven

If you have expensive taste and want your beats not to sound like they have come from a tin, then definitely consider the Bowers & Wilkins P7.

These cans not only look good with generous leather pads encasing your ears, but they sound great too, providing an all-round sound rather than one that is bass laden.

Our reviewer said: "They're expensive, they don't flatter badly ripped tracks and the audio isolation is poor, but the sound quality is absolutely fantastic. If someone gave us a set, we'd give them a big kiss."

Read more: Bowers & Wilkins P7 review

4. Klipsch Image X7i

Klipsch x7i

Klipsch are made for iPhone but sound great with an music player

There aren't many in-ear headphones on our (good) list, but the Klipsch Image X7is are a notable excpetion. They offer superb sound quality and Klipsch's style is in perfect keeping with Apple's.

What you get is sound quality that is best described as warm, lively and full, with pin-sharp detail and stereo separation atop a mix that's got plenty of well-judged bass tones.

Our reviewer said: "Earphones with a three-button remote and a 'Made for iPhone' badge are ten-a-penny, but we've not come across a pair as tiny as the Klipsch X7i."

Read more: Klipsch Image X7i review

5. Oppo PM-1 review

Oppo PM-1

Oppo PM-1 - the best you can get, if you are friends with your bank manager

Deep breaths, here: the Oppo PM-1 headphones will set you back £1,099. That is one thousand and ninety nine British pounds. The equivalent of US$1,838 and AU$1,957.

Yes, you could buy 92 pairs of Apple EarPods for the same price, but these are brilliant headphones that house some incredible innovation. They make use of planar magnetic driver technology - an alternative method of driving headphones and speakers where the norm is to use dynamic "moving coil" drivers.

Impressive, most impressive.

Our reviewer said: "These are probably among the best headphones ever made by mankind but you're going to need some stellar ears and a bank account to match."

Read more: Oppo PM-1 review

And one that Beats beats...

Rock Jaw i3D

Rock Jaw i3D

Well, they look nice

There's not much more we can say about the Rock Jaw i3D that our reviewer hasn't already said, so over to them:

"They look great, they're very comfortable and people will think you've spent a fortune on them. It's just a shame that the sound quality is worse than bad: we tested three pairs and they were all dreadful."

Read more: Rock Jaw i3D review

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.