Once my headphones are in, the rest of the world is out. I scroll through my playlist and deep dive into my favorite musical tunes. And then I’m in my own little audio world, where everything is peaceful, my favorite singers are my best friends, and they just know the right things to say. If you’re a music fanatic as well, you know how important and sacred your personal music time can be, and how holy your relationship with your headphones is. After all, these are the resourceful little things that transport us into our beloved audio world. And, one of the most popular headphones these days are the Apple AirPods Max. But hey! Let’s remember that great headphones go beyond Apple as well. And this nifty list includes all of them – from temperature-regulating headphones to sleek headphones that transform into a spiral-shaped speaker. Headphone designs these days are at an all-time high, and I’m sure you can’t wait to introduce your ears to them!
1. The Yamaha L700A
Coming from a company that has a reputation for making ‘serious’ audio equipment for serious musicians and audio professionals, the Yamaha L700A looks to treat a balance between being pro-gear and consumer-worthy. It sports a gray design, finished with fabric trims on the headband as well as on the earpieces themselves, making them look like condenser microphones from afar. The wireless headphones fold flat like the AirPods Max, for easy traveling, and instead of touch-sensitive panels or rotary knobs, the earphones actually come with buttons on the right earpiece for that reliable tactile experience.
Life without headies is unthinkable in modern times for audiophiles at least, isn’t it? This useful accessory has evolved in technology from being wired to truly wireless in the last few years. Features like touch/gesture buttons to toggle the volume, start/stop music, seek tracks, or switch between ANC modes. While most prefer the gesture-controlled input, I personally like to have a more tactile experience with my gadgets. Headphones are no exception, and these one dubbed Olfoo fall right into my alley. The reason is, that they have a physical button that can do all the above tasks with a profound physical input.
3. Sony WH-1000XM5
This new pair from Sony uses two processors: an Integrated Processor V1 and a 30mm driver unit. The first one uses the HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 to enhance bass production and sound clarity. The 30mm driver unit is for noise canceling. With these improvements, the headphones offer incomparable noise cancelation. You can switch off the world around you with this thing. The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones’ two processors control eight microphones. The latter reduces the frequency and optimizes noise cancelation.
4. Anis Jabloun’s Bang & Olufsen Concept
This concept design almost looks similar to B&O’s first wireless on-ear headphones, the BeoPlay H8 which launched way back in 2015. A key difference, visually speaking at least, is that the inner part of the cups is completely transparent. In theory, this has no effect on the quality of the audio the speakers put out, but it does send a clear (pun intended) message to anyone who sees it. Just like the cups, the sound you should expect from a B&O-branded headphone is crystal clear and unadulterated.
Meet the Thermaphones – a pair of cans that alter the temperature to nullify the effect of extremely hot temperature or the chill of winter. These headphones have a hybrid design, wherein, they have temperature-changing earbuds for unique thermal comfort. The earcups on these headphones are compact with protruding earbuds on the inside. This promises superior sound isolation honed by the vacuum seal of the earbuds and topped by the encapsulating properties of the ear cups. Temperature control is achieved via the 2 integrated Peltier chips which are capable of toggling the temperature between 25°C and 38°C.
6. The Samsung Galaxy Level
While the Samsung Galaxy Buds are named because of their ‘bud’-shaped design (they look like kidney beans, personally), the Level headphones are named the way they are more because of how calibrated their sound is. The headphones have a slick outer design that comes with buttons located on the rim around the leather ear-cups, although touch-sensitive surfaces on the sides allow you to better interact with your multimedia, doing things like increasing or decreasing volume, answering/rejecting calls, cycling through music, or invoking Bixby or your phone’s own Voice Assistant.
7. The Dyson Zone
The Dyson Zone is a first in many ways. It is the company’s first stab at the growing wearables market, specifically the ill-named “hearables” that refer to headphones and earphones, especially those that connect to smartphones. The exact specs of Dyson’s first headphones are still undisclosed, but there are already a few key features it has mentioned that will have audiophiles curious about this new contender. At the top of that list is active noise cancellation or ANC, which is becoming a standard with over-ear headphones these days. That alone already gives the Dyson Zone a leg up among other audio accessories, but that is honestly just the tip of the iceberg.
8. The Beoplay HX
Feature-for-feature, the Beoplay HX seems like they were designed to compete with the AirPods Max… and probably even win. The wireless over-ear headphones have the highest battery life in their category (with the AirPods Max falling short by 10 hours, and the Sony WH-1000XM4 by 5). They’re outfitted with ANC (active noise-canceling) on the inside, and when the feature’s switched off, the headphones last well beyond 40 hours on a single charge. The headphones come in black (with an all-white variant launching in a month), featuring a body made from recycled plastic, capped off with a radial-brushed aluminum disc.
9. The Noveto N1
What the Noveto N1 does is different. Rather than pressing speakers against each ear, the N1 sits on your desk and ‘beams’ audio towards your ear just like a regular Bluetooth speaker… but what it also does is make sure the audio doesn’t go anywhere beyond your ear. It doesn’t travel sideways to someone sitting beside you, doesn’t travel behind your ear or to your partner standing right behind you. It just travels exactly to both your ears, creating ‘invisible pockets of sound’, or invisible headphones.
These sleek and futuristic headphones have a hidden secret – they transform into a speaker! Usually, once you’re done listening to your favorite tunes, you simply place your headphones on your desk or any other preferred spot, however, Helix’s soft headband and ball joint arm, allow you to easily twist and mold the headphones, enabling them to transform into a spiral-shaped speaker. In their speaker form, the headphones also look like a cool little sculpture, something you can place in your room, and are sure to be asked questions about! The headphones come amped with an accessible dial that allows you to control the volume, and change the songs, by lightly adjusting the dial. The dial also works perfectly when Helix is in its speaker form.