1st Place: Ultimate Ears 700 Noise-Isolating EarphonesPersonal preference is a significant factor in deciding what earphones you should consider. Do they look good? Do they sound good? Will people know I have an iPod if I wear these? Getting good value for money is an important consideration, too. The Ultimate Ears 700 earphones may not be white, but they do have an attractive, compact design that still manages to accommodate dual drivers in each earpiece, without breaking the bank.
The sound signature of the Ultimate Ears 700s may not suit everyone, tending towards mid- and high-end clarity rather than low-end fullness and overall warmth, but if it does suit your tastes the output is delightful. £130 could buy you a lot of things, sure, but if you enjoy listening to music reproduced with a level of quality bundled earphones will never afford, you'll be hard pushed to do better elsewhere without spending a fair bit more money.
Read the full review of the Ultimate Ears 700 Noise-Isolating Earphones.
The upshot of the custom fit is a pair of earphones that you'll be happy to wear day in, day out for hours at a time with no trace of discomfort. And, of course, the improved noise isolation means you can appreciate the impressive audio quality of the hf2s all the better - we've yet to find a better sounding pair of single-driver 'phones.
Read the full review of the Etymotic Research hf2 Custom Noise Isolating Earphones
3rd Place: iBasso D2 Boa Headphone AmplifierIt's a sad but undeniable reality that the vast majority of portable music players (iPods notoriously so, for example) aren't exactly renowned for the ground breaking quality of their audio reproduction. But with a headphone amplifier such as the iBasso Boa D2 exist you can take that meagre output and turn it into something much more befitting a quality set of headphones.
You'll need to have invested in a half-decent set of headphones to fully get the benefit, but if you do the results are excellent. Fuller, richer, crisper and warmer sounds will be yours to enjoy. Better yet, the Boa D2 also doubles as a USB DAC for your PC!
Do you need a dedicated headphone amp? No, but once you listen to your music through an iBasso Boa D2 you'll never want to be without it.
Read the full review of the iBasso D2 Boa Headphone Amplifier