If you don’t mind having earpieces jammed into your ear canals and are willing to spend £30 or more on earphones, you can get pretty impressive sound quality out of any modern digital music player. Using drivers around 10mm in diameter, what modern technology is able to eke out of such small things is impressive.
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The most popular type of earphone, or in-ear headphone as they’re also known, is the IEM style. These use foam or rubber tips in order to cut out the noise of the outside world. This isn’t just to get rid of annoying conversations of passers-by, it’s also good for your health. Removing external noise means you don’t have to turn the volume up on your player so high. It’s good for your ears, and conserves battery life too. Everyone’s a winner.
There are also simple earbud headphones that don’t isolate in the same way, but are preferred by people who don’t like having things stuck in their ears.
The big names in audio all tend to have their own ranges – Sennheiser, Sony and Philips are all pretty popular. But there are many other lesser-known brands in earphones that are also worth a look. Be sure to check out Shure, SoundMagic and Jays if you want to give your ears a good time.
Here are our top picks of the moment, all with full reviews.