Author Jacqueline Detwiler Photography Thomas Liggett
1. Say you’re walking around town enjoying a good song, and you get a call. Do you really want to go digging around for your phone while simultaneously juggling a wire-y, iPod-y mess? With Phiaton’s PS 210 BTNCs—which allow you to answer phone calls through your headphones via Bluetooth and a controller—the good news is you won’t have to.
$129 / amazon.com
2. Ladies, you’d never put on a pair of grubby white rubber earrings, so why would you leave the house with those run-of-the-mill earbuds nestled in your expensive blowout? That’s the logic behind Frends’ new Ella B Gold line, which offers ambient-noise isolation, cloth-wrapped wires and jewelry-inspired bud covers. Oooh. Pretty.
$99 / wearefrends.com
3. The titanium coating
on the NuForce NE-700M sound drivers isn’t to ensure they can survive in space, but to prevent the type of sound distortion that can make Pink Floyd sound like Ariel Pink. These earbuds offer a cohesive, rich sound, and are comfy enough that you can make it all the way through The Wall without tweaking their fit.
$75 / estore.nuforce.com
4. Just how many individual sound drivers should the ideal earbud hold? If you said two hi-def subwoofers and a hi-def tweeter, Shure’s limited-edition SE535LTD model is for you. The sound from these little earphones is so voluminous, in fact, you might be tempted to pull them out and check whether they’ve sprouted another head(phone).
$549 / shure.com