Top 10 Best Buys for 2018
It’s that time of year again. So here’s our pick of the best audio gadgets available – with something for everyone.
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.
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.
At under £40 – the SoundMAGIC P22BT Bluetooth headphone provides high quality at a low price. The design is sturdy and comfortable, with a lightweight foldable headband which is great for portable use. These headphones are easy to use with controls conveniently placed on the left earcup. The most impressive feature is the sound quality – audio is crisp and punchy with plenty of energy, making them a lot of fun to listen to.
SoundMAGIC seems to have nailed the under £50 earphone. If you’re looking for a wired earphone and want to keep the price down, then we believe that the E11C is the one. SoundMAGIC have gone for a mature design, and used a silver plated copper cable to deliver superb sound quality which will compete with earphones over £100. The E11C has plenty of energy and punch with a dynamic and well detailed sound. There is also a 3 button inline control and mic, which is fully compatible with Apple and Android smartphones.
Now, if you’re looking for an earphone with a more aggressive sound then the Flares Jet 2 could be the one. These earphones go loud, and they provide thumping bass and sharp clarity. The housings are made of aluminium and are built to last. There is also an in line single button remote to take calls and the cable itself is strong and tough. The design of the Jet 2 definitely stands out and the shape makes them very comfortable.
For those that appreciate their music a bit more and are happy to up their budget, Final’s E4000 is a superb place to start. Final have been in the audio game for a long time, and their E series shows us what they can do. The E4000 is the sweet spot for me – musical and well balanced sound quality that draws you in, great comfort and design and a nicely made replaceable cable – all for just over £100.
For something so small, the Shanling M0 manages to pack in a load of features. Starting with the design, the M0 looks and feels great. The display is made by LG and is very crisp – and thanks to Shanling’s own MTouch software, the player is extremely easy to use. The sound from the M0 is clear with good bass-weight, punch and fine detail. Thanks to the on board EQ settings, you can add some warmth or sharpness to suit your taste. The M0 can pair with Bluetooth headphones, and the 2-way Bluetooth feature will allow you to connect to your phone to use the player as an external DAC/amp – very clever.
The NuForce BE Sport4 is widely regarded as the go to Bluetooth earphone – and we would agree. At just under £90, they combine good value with superb sound quality – the Graphene coated drivers deliver a crisp and punchy sound with plenty of clarity. The BE Sport4 is IPX5 water resistant and can provide up to 10 hours or battery life. And to top it off, you get 2 hours of charge in just 15 minutes thanks to their Fast Charge feature.
Whether you like to listen to your headphones at home using your computer, laptop or hifi system – the JDS Labs Element will breathe life into your setup. For a long time now, JDS Labs have been making high quality headphone amplifiers and DACs with a simple design and superb value. The Element shows that not only do they have the technical knowhow – they have a great eye for design too. With analogue RCA inputs and digital USB – the Element is extremely versatile and as expected, provides a clean, expressive and powerful sound.
Ever wondered if you could have a high quality headphone amplifier connect to your phone or laptop wirelessly? Well wonder no more. The iFi Audio xDSD is the perfect way for you to get the most from your headphones and chosen device – without adding more wires. Use your phone to listen to Spotify, your favourite podcast or play PUBG and let the xDSD wirelessly drive your headphones, giving them all the power they would need to deliver a balanced and dynamic sound.