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headphone guide
By Aron Vaughan

Your Guide to the Best Headphones for the Holidays: 2022

When it comes to headphones, there are lots of options. With so many brands, specs, price ranges, and categories, analysis paralysis can easily set in. As the holiday season begins, barrelling inevitably toward the most wonderful (and expensive) time of the year, give yourself peace of mind by knowing you did your gift-giving research. Or, even better, we can do it for you! As an early Christmas present from the Innovation & Tech Today family, here is a curated list of headphones for every budget!

Gaming 

Headphones are not just a luxurious addition to the gaming experience; for pro gamers, they’re a necessity. It’s crucial to have a crisp, clear microphone for streaming, and surround sound is a must to enjoy the truly immersive experience that gives serious gamers an edge over the competition. 

Best Overall: Audeze Mobius

$400

Audeze photo

The advanced 3D sound processing on these Bluetooth wireless headphones are what really set them apart from the competition. 

The integrated head-tracking and sound localization combine for a true immersive 3D surround sound experience, and the closed-back design ensures no bass escapes into the ether.

Planar magnetic drivers offer detailed sound and enhanced dynamics for video games, movies, and music. 

With the full-time gamer in mind, Audeze also spared no expense in designing a headband and earphones with an ergonomic fit for long-lasting comfort. 

Additional features include separate on-ear dials for mic and headset volume, Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity for wireless music listening and phone calls, and a detachable boom microphone with separate volume control. 

Best on a Budget: HyperX Cloud II

$70

HyperX photo

After a recent price drop from $100 to $70, the HyperX Cloud II headphones are a true steal. Even at its original price, this gaming staple is a solid all-around option.

Built for comfort, the memory foam, premium leatherette, clamping force, and weight distribution add up to a headset that will not feel intrusive through long gaming sessions.

7.1 surround sound can be toggled on for improved positional audio and an expanded sense of space, and the detachable, noise-canceling microphone keeps communications clear and reduces ambient noise so it won’t affect the user’s voice chat.

Studio

Studio headphones are held to the highest of standards because each individual sound has to be heard accurately to identify flaws and make necessary adjustments during production. And like gaming headphones, studio headphones have to be comfortable as they will likely be glued to a producer’s head for hours at a time.

The precise nature of live and studio mixing demands top-quality hardware, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they need to break the bank. Advances in technology and the availability of components allow both the amateur production hobbyist and seasoned rock royalty producer to enjoy the best the industry has to offer. 

Best Overall: beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

$150

These headphones are designed for critical music and sound monitoring, providing a perfectly neutral listening environment with exceptional isolation and top-notch impulse response. High frequencies are translated into an analytical and differentiated sound. Ultra-low bass sounds are defined and reproduced crisply.

The closed over-ear design are ideal for professional recording and monitoring. 

And, the soft, circumaural and replaceable velour ear pads ensure comfort during long recording and post-production sessions.

Best on a Budget: AKG K240 Studio Semi-open Pro Studio Headphones

$92

AKG photo

A favorite among producers for decades, AKG continues to live up to its reputation with the K240 Studio Semi-open Pro Studio Headphones

Reliable, comfortable, and totally accurate, their unique semi-open design and highly efficient transducers provide the user with an extremely wide dynamic range, breathtaking detail, and phenomenal sensitivity. Users have also consistently remarked on the model’s longevity and durability — a crucial quality for mobile live recording. 

On-the-Go

The advent of wireless earbuds has changed the landscape of choices wearers have for their commutes, runs, and everyday tasks. One of the most important factors in choosing an earbud is knowing it will do what it is designed for — staying in your ears. Rigorous workouts and constant jostling during rides on public transportation can cause earbuds to come loose. The last place you want them to fall is on the subway or a public gym floor. That’s why our picks for the best on-the-go earbuds have practicality in mind. 

Best Overall: Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds

$194

Every surface that touches your ear is made of soft silicone — not hard plastic. And when you move, StayHear™ Max tips keep your earbuds in place. An umbrella-shaped nozzle spreads pressure evenly across your ear for comfort, stability, and passive noise blocking. All while an extended fin tucks into the ridge of your ear for an even more secure fit.

Bose also raised the bar by integrating world-class noise-canceling technology, so you can enjoy your commute time immersed in your favorite novel instead of the conversation next to you. 

Best on a Budget: Jabra Elite 3

$80

Jabra photo

The Jabra Elite 3 earbuds don’t feature noise-canceling technology, but they do come with almost everything else.

They have 6mm drivers, four microphones for calls and Jabra’s HearThrough transparency mode. Qualcomm aptX HD audio is supported for aptX-enabled devices.

Battery life is rated at up to seven hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels, with the case storing an extra three full charges (28 hours total). They have an IP55 water-resistance rating, which means they can take a sustained spray of water and are also dust-resistant. As with the other new buds, you can use either bud independently in a mono mode. 

Jabra also brings a sleek design to the table and a fit that will hold up in through intense workouts and the daily grind.

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Your Guide to the Best Headphones for the Holidays: 2022

October 20, 2022
By Aron Vaughan

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