Brand isn’t promise of excellence, neither is cost within brand name.
The Dr. Dre-certified ‘Beats’ headset series are a great case of branding devoid of substance. They charge the earth and whilst the noise is mostly top-quality, the equipment used are cheap plus the devices are generally very poorly built/assembled. If you ever disbelieve this, go and search the Amazon reviews, or just type in ‘Dr. Dre Beats Headphones are Rubbish’ into Google. You will be astounded (you aren’t) at what comes up.
Industry leaders don’t always offer the best crop, so it is with the heavy heart that I have to admit that any list of leading brands I could give you would be inherently misleading.
Actually, you’ll be far better off if you produce a list of the individual wishes, highlight an important one and look from there. For instance, if you need a headset that you can use inside the gym or whilst jogging, I would need to recommend a totally different pair than I would if you merely desired to look cool.
Personally, I find the Apple headphones that came with my iPod are more than adequate for my basic needs, but the most effective headphones I have ever had were a pair of Urbanista Copenhagen headphones that I reviewed for the website a bit last year. However, those headset will be completely inappropriate for some uses like jogging or running to catch a bus.
For some information about choosing the proper pair, I visited Jamie Lendino’s PC Mag critique, which was posted online earlier this year, the editorial is insightful and provides a inclusive run-down of what different types of headphones can do for you. Lendino says,
“Some people happily spend more than half a grand on a new tablet or portable media device with an estimated lifespan of around three years, yet the question we’re asked often is still, “What’s the cheapest pair of headphones I can buy that don’t completely suck?” Headphones, earbuds, and earphones (we’ll describe the difference between them in a bit) are generally viewed as the least essential link in the musical chain—the part you can easily skimp on. In reality, your headphones are the most important link in that chain: A quality pair has a larger impact than the player itself on how your tunes will sound. Also, if well cared for, they will long outlive your planned-to-be-obsolete tablet, phone, or MP3 player. And you don’t have to break the bank, either”.
Whitson Gordon, at ‘Life Hacker.com’, has an exceptionally helpful article along the same lines, which you can read HERE.
So, to reiterate, brand names like Sennheiser or Shure may have sterling reputations (and the reputations are definitely deserved for a few of these products), but I tenaciously recommend being concerned more with the functioning, function and value of your headset, than with what the logo looks like.