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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Portable headphones

Mark Kwak

Source: Head-Fi

Source: Head-Fi

I am a huge audiophile. Ever since college, I've been obsessed with hi-fidelity sound, and have learned enough about amplifiers, headphones, speakers, digital analog converters, etc. to be ashamed of myself.

I'll definitely do some other posts around headphones in the future, but for today, I wanted to share with you a couple on/over ear portable headphones that I feel merge hi-fidelity sound with beautiful design. After all, Simpler Man is at its core a menswear blog, so I figured it would be appropriate to put some emphasis on aesthetics/design in this post.

Unfortunately, I will admit that all of the following headphones are in the premium category. Sigh, the issue with being into hi-fi. As a result, they'll all be around the 3-400 dollar mark, which isn't cheap. That being said, buying used on Craigslist or eBay can help you save some bucks. So here it goes:

1. Best Design: Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless

Source: Head-Fi

Source: Head-Fi

These headphones from Bowers & Wilkins are beautiful. Blacked out, metaled out, excellent mechanical durability, great sound quality, and wireless. You could actually save some $ by going wired as well. If design is your main criteria, I would recommend these bad boys. They have a slightly bigger version with better sound quality called the P7 as well.

2. Best Noise-Cancelling: Bose QC25

Source: Head-Fi

Source: Head-Fi

In the audiophile community, mainstream headphone companies like Skullcandy, Beats by Dre, and Bose are scoffed at. Largely because they demand a premium in cost for sound quality that is merely acceptable. Over time though one thing has changed, and that is the community's view on Bose's noise-cancellation.

Truth is, the QC25 is straight up the best noise cancelling headphone in the market. It also looks sleeker than its predecessor, the QC15. Especially the blacked out version that hides some of the Bose branding. It has decent sound quality (though it could definitely be improved), and comes with a nice case when storing it away. If noise-cancellation is your main thing, I'd go for these.

3. Best Sound Quality: Beyerdynamic T51i

Source: Head-Fi

Source: Head-Fi

Beyerdynamic is a very well-respected brand in the audiophile community. They make some of the best headphones out there. Their T51i is no exception. It's beautiful, light, small, and punches out amazing sound quality for the size. Again, these are expensive headphones, but they do offer some of the best portable sound quality you can ask for.

So there you go. Three portable headphones for the serious music listener. I'm sorry they are all expensive options, but hey, being an audiophile ain't cheap. Happy Friday folks.