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Introduction

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Normally in the TrustedReviews universe, it follows that newer equals better. A laptop you buy now will have more processing power and a better screen than one you might have bought for the same money two years ago. This year's mid-range graphics card will be an improvement on last year's, and the TV you buy for £700 now will offer a sharper image and a stronger feature set than the one you might have bought for £1,000 three years ago. However, in the world of audio, this principle doesn't always apply. Some of the best speakers, for example, have been out for decades with only minor revisions and upgrades during that lifespan. Similarly, any headphone enthusiast will tell you that some of the best models available aren't new at all; they have taken time to achieve their legendary status, and they still have what it takes to wipe the floor with new contenders.

That's why we've decided to do a couple of new round-ups covering classic headphones and more recent alternatives, looking at specific types or ones that sit at specific price points. Because our coverage of in-ear types is already pretty comprehensive, we're also going to concentrate on over-the-ear types. After all, not everyone prefers in-ear headphones. For some, it's a question of feel and comfort, while others just prefer the sound of classic cans. We're kicking off with a round-up of sub £40 headphones designed for portable use, with favourites from Sennheiser, Koss, Audio-Technica and Grado. Sadly, we proved unable to source one pair on our wishlist - the BeyerDynamic DT-231 - so if any Beyer aficionados wonder why they're missing from the line-up, don't blame us.

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