Best Earphones 2020: IEM, Bluetooth, True Wireless, Budget, Audiophile

Here you can see the best earphones, in ear headphones, earbuds, Bluetooth and even audiophile IEMs to buy right now.

Our pick of the 11 Best In Ear Headphones for all budgets and uses:

We know how important it is to find the right earbuds; whether they are for your smartphone, music player, laptop or hi-fi system.

Whether you call them in ears, IEM, in-ear headphones, earphones, earbuds, or anything else, this is the post for you. We’ve gathered our picks for the best earbuds that you can buy!

 

BEST EARPHONES UNDER £50

1. Final E1000 – £29

final e1000
Final E1000

Developed to plug the gap of entry-level audio, the Final E1000 opens up the world of audiophile audio for budget-conscious listeners. Equipped with the standard E-series dynamic driver tuned to yield high-resolution sound housed in a more basic material, the E1000 conveys audiophile sound without compromising on quality.

READ MORE: Final E1000 In-Ear Headphones

 

2. SoundMAGIC E11C – £49.99

soundmagic-e11c
SoundMAGIC E11C

We have awaited the SoundMAGIC E11C with some anticipation; with various models already available, what can the E11C bring to the table? We have found the E11C to be a grown-up earphone with a keen knack for giving a clear and accurate presentation across the board.  A truly impressive earphone for the price and in our opinion the new budget king.

READ MORE: SoundMAGIC E11C In-Ear Headphone Review

 

BEST EARPHONES UNDER £100

3. Lypertek TEVI – £99

lypertek tevi true wireless
Lypertek TEVI

The TEVI is very impressive, especially considering their sub £100 price point. Offering up a smooth and detailed sound signature that is well balanced yet slightly full. Add to that great stability and functionality and you have a True Wireless earphone that is so easy to recommend, go out and grab one now as they are a game changer in the TW market.

READ MORE: Lypertek TEVI True Wireless Earphones Review

 

4. Periodic Audio Mg (Magnesium) – £99

periodic audio mg
Periodic Audio Mg

These earphones may seem simple – that is what makes them stand out. The Periodic Audio Mg – or Magnesium – brings something very different to the sub £100 bracket of earphones. Inside the Mg is a magnesium diaphragm driver, which delivers bass depth, punch, crispness and impressive treble extension. Supplied with a 5 year warranty, the Mg is designed to last.

READ MORE: Periodic Audio Mg (Magnesium) Earphones

 

BEST EARPHONES UNDER £500

5. Bowers & Wilkins PI3 – £169.99

bowers & wilkins pi3
Bowers & Wilkins PI3

If you want some wireless earphones, and true wireless doesn’t appeal to you – then B&W has you covered with the PI3. These hybrid dual driver wireless earphones use a neckband design, and come with all of the latest features including Bluetooth 5, AAC, aptX and aptX-HD codecs, 8 hours of playtime, and very impressive microphone call quality. The dual hybrid driver setup delivers sound that’s packed with detail and space – with an almost 3D quality.

READ MORE: Bowers & Wilkins PI3 Wireless Earphones

 

6. Oriveti OH300 – £299.99

Oriveti OH300
Oriveti OH300

Oriveti might be a brand that a lot of you have never heard of, yet they are making some of the finest earphones available. The OH300 is beautifully designed, and finished to a very high standard. As for the sound, the OH300 is silky and packed full of detail. There’s a real musicality to the OH300 which makes them one of our favourites for under £300.

READ MORE: Oriveti OH300 Earphones Review

 

7. Final B3 – £439

final b3
Final B3

The third in Final’s B-Series has the stainless steel housings coated with a frosty silver finish. Inside are 2 balanced armature drivers developed by Final. The replaceable cable is made from silver plated copper and compliments the silver housings to give the whole design a bright and fresh look. With the B3 tuning, Final have provided plenty of width and space along with fine detail and clarity.

WATCH VIDEO: Final B3 In-Ear Headphone Unboxing Video

8. Campfire Audio Polaris 2 – £499

campfire audio polaris
Campfire Audio Polaris 2

Like a beacon, the Campfire Audio Polaris earphones have been a guiding light in the audio world, and now it is time to introduce the fully revamped Polaris 2. Campfire Audio have taken this special IEM earphone back to the drawing board and completely reworked its design, except the hybrid driver configuration. Changes to the Polaris 2 include new drivers, stunning facelift, updated Litz cable and MMCX connectors, and a premium leather case.

WATCH VIDEO: Campfire Audio Polaris 2 Earphones Video and Review

 

BEST EARPHONES OVER £500

9. Meze Rai Penta – £999

Meze Rai Penta
Meze Rai Penta

What the Meze Rai Penta delivers are impressive dynamics and a level playing field for all the frequencies. Their transparency allows them to play well with all genres and bring out the best in all of them, it is not a jack of all trades, master of none experience either. Even at low volumes you get the full range and impressive dynamics, yet play them a little louder and they hold the same signature with nothing stepping out of line.

READ MORE: Meze Rai Penta Hybrid Five Driver IEM Review

10. Campfire Audio Andromeda (2019 version) – £1049

Campfire Audio Andromeda 2019
Campfire Audio Andromeda 2019

The Andromeda sports a five BA design, with two for the lows, one for the mids and two for the highs which benefit from the TAEC treatment. The result is an earphone that has become very well known in the industry recently, with lows feeling fleshy and palpable, mids smooth and natural, and treble strikes a good balance between being revealing and laid back.

READ MORE: Campfire Audio Andromeda 2019 Five Driver IEM Review

 

11. 64 Audio U12t – £1999

64 audio u12t
64 Audio U12t

If you want the absolute best, and are happy to pay for it – then we believe that the 64 Audio Tia Fourte is the one. With the Tia Fourte, 64 Audio has shown that it’s not about the most drivers – it’s how you implement them. With a combination of 1 dynamic, 1 balanced armature and 2 Tia drivers in a fully tubeless design – the sound is like nothing heard before from an IEM.

READ MORE: 64 Audio U12t 12 Driver Universal IEM

 

Have We Missed Anything Out?

Please feel free to leave a comment below and let us know…

Meze Rai Penta 5 Driver Hybrid Earphone Review

Meze never fail to impress, and their new flagship IEM is nothing short of astonishing. With a focus on natural tonality, the Rai Penta offer up an organic yet neutral sound that is sure to impress.

Meze Rai Penta

Aesthetics and Build Quality:

IEM build quality is really on the rise, and the Rai Penta show off how good well CNC machined shells can look. The Campfire Audio line-up have been using this technology for a while and they have their own twist on styling, whereas Meze have gone for a more rounded look with an understated colour scheme.

The detail on the shells is incredible and you can see a lot of work has gone in to getting the finish as flawless as possible. The small vent for the dynamic driver is a work of art and these feel and look very premium.

Build quality is very good as you would expect, the shells being made out of aluminium are solid and sturdy, the MMCX connectors are tight and rhodium plated for durability. The cable is silver plated copper, with a high strand count helping with ergonomics. You can see the solder joints in the clear MMCX connector strain relief which is a nice touch. The 3.5mm jack is also rhodium plated, and there is good strain relief all round.

Comfort and Isolation:

The Rai Penta has a very ergonomic housing with rounded edges and a soft and flexible cable, this all leads to a very comfortable fit. Once you find the right size tips, you can leave these in and forget about them, they should fit most people’s ears well.

 

The Rai Penta are vented due to the use of a dynamic driver, this means there is no driver flex but the isolation is affected a little. They don’t leak, but isolation is not quite as good as fully sealed BA based designs.

Sound:

Bass: The lows on the Rai Penta has very impressive reach and linearity down low, they hit with authority yet extend without rolling off early. You can easily hear the sub-bass however it is not boosted and only comes out when it’s in the recording. They are very transparent and revealing and will bring out the bass when called for, they do however remain incredibly well controlled at all times and never sound congested or slow. The lows have the ability to be full when needed without affecting the midrange at all, and as they are so transparent the amount of body will change depending on the source.

 

Midrange: The midrange is remarkably well controlled and the lows never bleed in to the lower midrange. This leaves male vocals to cut through with excellent clarity and layering without added body congesting the sound. The tonality is spot on though and the Rai Penta are never lacking in natural timbre. Both male and female vocals excel with perfect presence, falling perfectly in line with the rest of the frequency response. It doesn’t matter how busy the mix gets, the midrange cuts through and is never left behind.

 

Treble: The highs extend effortlessly into the black background of the Rai Penta, yet they have great impact and energy without distortion or fatigue inducing peaks. The transition from the midrange to the treble is smooth with no emphasis so they are devoid of sibilance unless it is in the recording. The highs do nothing wrong, perfectly aligned with the bass and mids, they add great air and openness to the sound. Getting rid of sound tubes, and using CNC machining for the sound bores goes a long way in helping the high frequencies breathe and sound as open as these do. They don’t quite reach Andromeda levels of presence and air, but they are not lacking by any stretch.

 

The soundstaging is very good, with great depth and impressive width as you would expect for the price. Separation is a real strong point due to how controlled the Rai Penta sound, they never lag or sound congested no matter how busy the track gets.

Conclusion:

There are so many great models out at the moment that it is hard to pick which are best and thus we always recommend listening before purchasing. What the Rai Penta delivers are impressive dynamics and a level playing field for all the frequencies. Their transparency allows them to play well with all genres and bring out the best in all of them, it is not a jack of all trades, master of none experience either. Even at low volumes you get the full range and impressive dynamics, yet play them a little louder and they hold the same signature with nothing stepping out of line. The Rai Penta is a high-end IEM in all aspects, and delivers a balanced yet musical and natural listening experience.

 

Sound:  4/5

Comfort: 5/5

Build: 5/5

Value: 4/5

Best Over Ear Headphones 2020: Open, Closed, Wireless, Audiophile

Our picks for the best over ear headphones: open back, closed back, wireless, audiophile, and much more.

Our picks for the best over ear headphones – open back and closed back

We know how important it is to find the best headphones for you; whether they are for your smartphone, music player, laptop or hi-fi system.

Here you can see the best of the best full size headphones to buy in 2019, 2020 and beyond.

BEST CLOSED BACK HEADPHONES

1. Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO – £125

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

The Beyerdynamic DT770 creates a spacial soundstage more akin to an open-back headphone, and delivers full bass with accurate highs and mids. What’s more, these are profoundly comfortable. 

BUY HERE: Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro Studio Headphones

 

2. Sennheiser HD820 – £1999

Sennheiser HD820
Sennheiser HD820

The HD820 is Sennheiser’s first closed back audiophile headphone release and it promises to be quite special. Based on the same design as the HD800S, the HD820 uses Gorilla Glass as its transducer cover and the curved shape of it allows the sound waves to reflect to an absorber – resulting in minimal resistance and creating an open sound that you would normally expect from an open backed headphone.

READ MORE: Sennheiser HD 820 Audiophile Headphone Review

 

3. Focal Stellia – £2799

focal stellia
Focal Stellia

Focal headphones are not only known for their excellent sound quality – they also look stunning. And the Stellia is no different. The finest materials have been used to create this closed back headphone, including a Beryllium dome electrodynamic driver. With a unique finish, inspired by the colours of cognac and mocha – the Focal Stellia looks as good as it sounds.

READ MORE: Focal Stellia Closed Back Headphone Review

 

BEST OPEN BACK HEADPHONES

 

4. MrSpeakers Ether 2 – £1900

mrspeakers-ether-2
MrSpeakers Ether 2

The Ether 2 have a great sense of neutrality, at the same time they offer an enjoyable listening experience and they never sound analytical. There is a hint of added body that creates a smooth listening experience that can be enjoyed for hours on end. 

READ MORE: MrSpeakers Ether 2 Open Back Headphone Review

 

5. Meze Empyrean – £2699

Meze Empyrean
Meze Empyrean

The unique construction of the Empyrean was designed with the shape of the human ear in mind. As a result, they enjoy a greater degree of imaging than you’re likely to find anywhere else. Each Empyrean is hand crafted to exacting detail, and that level of precision is not only visible, but audible. 

READ MORE: Meze Empyrean Open Back Headphones Review

6. Final D8000 – £2999

Final D8000
Final D8000

The planar magnetic magnificence of the Final D8000 creates a listening experience without parallel. The unique construction, including a damping system (the same used in condenser microphones) allowing for a sound that surpasses the abilities of most planar magnetic and dynamic equipment. This requires a dedication to exacting detail you can only see in Final. 

BUY HERE: Final D8000 Audiophile Headphones

 

BEST WIRELESS HEADPHONES

7. Bowers & Wilkins PX – £329

Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX

The B&W PX is the ultimate portable headphone. With the latest aptX HD Bluetooth technology, wireless sound quality is of the highest level. Providing a very well balanced sound with tight bass – bass heads may want to look elsewhere – crystal clear clarity and superb soundstage. The PX also has adaptive noise cancelling and uses six microphones to help block out external sounds – allowing you to focus on the music. Along with the advanced technology – the PX has superb build quality and comfort – making them our go to recommendation for wireless headphones.

BUY HERE: Bowers & Wilkins PX Bluetooth Headphones

 

8. Audeze Mobius 3D – £349

Audeze Mobius 3D
Audeze Mobius 3D

Audeze have created a superb all rounder in the Mobius. Whether music, films or gaming is your thing – the Audeze Mobius does it all extremely well. Inside the housings are planar magnetic drivers, providing sound quality that even the audiophiles out there will appreciate. Then the 3D emulation technology delivers a superb surround sound experience, perfect for watching films or playing Fortnite and thanks to the integrated head tracking – you’ll hear sound effects as if they’re really there.

BUY HERE: Audeze Mobius Gaming Headphones

Have We Missed Anything Out?

Please feel free to leave a comment below and let us know…

Meze 99 Classic Headphones Review – Yes I Wood!

..be careful where you use the Meze 99 Classics because you’ll be dancing before you know what’s happening!

Meze 99 Classics -Review- Yes I Wood!

meze-2a

 

In this world, we are used to things either being pretty, or useful. If you’ve ever tried to use a golden spanner, you’d have found it about as useful as a framed picture of your own intestines. However the Meze 99 Classics are claimed to be as good for listening to music as they are attractive; can it be true?

 

The name Meze brings up images of eating al fresco whilst overlooking the Mediterranean, and since the number ’99’ is attributable to a type of ice-cream here in the UK, a very enjoyable experience is brought to mind. We take our minds off food for long enough to put these headphones to the test..

 

Pros:

  • Looks lovely
  • Sounds excellent
  • Good fabric coated cables
  • 1.2m and 3m cables included
  • Hard carry case

 

Cons:

  • Some older recordings can seem overly bassy
  • Cables are a little stiff

 

meze-1a

 

Design and appearance

As mentioned, the 99 Classics do make quite an impact visually; wooden earcups are paired with a headband design which makes a feature of a strong, supporting outer frame. This is coupled with a more yielding strap, suspended to fit the head automatically. It’s a design which might have been borrowed from the Wright brothers; so hopefully this construction of wood, metal and space will enable us to fly!

The Meze 99 Classics are also available in two other versions, besides the maple and silver type in the pictures. These are with a darker walnut wood for the earcups, with either silver details on the headband/earcups (walnut silver) or gold (walnut gold).

Earcups are pivoted where the headband joins them so they fit against the head very nicely, making them both comfortable and effective at keeping exterior noise to a minimum. Cables are a little bit stiffer than they would be ideally, but this is not a big deal.

 

Durability & build quality

Being ostensibly portable headphones (there’s a 3m cable in the box as well as a 1.2m cable with mic), the Meze 99 Classics look as if they can tolerate a bit of hustle and bustle; there are no obvious weaknesses and the cables are quite sturdy with strain reliefs in the usual places. The supplied hard carry case looks very useful for keeping the headphones in top condition.

 

meze-4

Comfort

The Meze 99 Classics are certainly among the most comfortable portable headphones; the clamping force exhibited by some portables is not needed here; instead the wide and self-adjusting headphone strap helps to keep the headphones in place, distributing the grip around the head and keeping pressure off the ears. The earpads may be a little on the snug size for some and might be a little hot in warm temperatures; we’ve not had any problems though.

 

Sound isolation

These headphones are very good at eliminating outside noise, and are effective in preventing any sound leaking out too. A really good seal can be achieved thanks to the way the headband connects to the earcups, and very little can be heard with music playing, so take care out there!

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READ MORE: B&W P7 Wireless Bluetooth Headphone Review

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Sound characteristics

The 99 Classics are definitely tuned with the mass market in mind, and their sound will appeal to most people who listen to music whilst on the move. It’s a good balance between detail and warmth, with a good bass kick as well.

 

Bass

The Meze 99 Classics should please any bass fan; there’s a roomy feeling sub-bass which seems to surround the head – it’s a good ‘party’ feel. With older recordings, lower frequencies can be picked out, and if you weren’t aware of those vintage basslines before, you will be now! The bass has a certain tangible quality which gives a nice body to proceedings, and has good definition; helped along by an uncluttered midrange..

 

Mids

The fleshiness of the bass is paired very nicely with midrange details, with clear harmonics adding some nice realism and space. There’s a surprising amount of detail, yet the Meze 99 Classics still have a fun sound. The midrange also contributes a spaciousness to the party with its detail; soundstage is actually quite impressive.

 

Treble

Treble is crisp and clear, but still balanced well with the lower frequencies; there’s a natural element to it which takes the edges off. Definition is good; percussion is rendered quite convincingly and wind instruments have a brash rasping quality. Again, this detail contributes to a feeling that the listener is truly in the midst of some fun and atmospheric action.

 

meze-3a

 

Soundstage & Separation

I cannot fault the Meze 99 Classics at what they do here; soundstage is wide, involving and very impressive for a closed back headphone. With midrange and treble harmonics giving a three-dimensional quality to each instrument, good separation and imaging are very successfully achieved.

 

Music Genres Good For and Why

Due to the way the bass response on the 99 Classics picks out bass frequencies from older recordings, these can sound quite different from how we’re accustomed to hearing them. Sometimes this works really nicely, sometimes the added bass gets a little too much. However with dance, rap and pop genres the 99 Classics are in their element and their bass response fits in very nicely. It would be a shame not to mention classical music (the genre the 99 Classics might have been named after) which came as a nice surprise when it was tried; it’s a very wide and engaging performance with lots of air and space. These headphones may have a fun sound, but they can definitely cope with serious pieces too.

Summary

I have to admit to hearing some things for first time whilst using the Meze 99 Classics; a bassline might have a little bit of texture to it which had previosly eluded me, backing singers surround me rather than standing at the back, and synths appear to be fresh and immediate with a new vitality.

The Meze 99 Classics work very nicely with decent gear, but they are also right at home when connected directly to a phone; be careful where you use the Meze 99 Classics because you’ll be dancing before you know what’s happening!