iPod Headphones

What are the best headphones for the iPod?

We've asked that eternal question many times. What are the best all around headphones for the iPod? First we must define best and then narrow down a price range. The best all around headphones for the lowest price range are usually over the ear style "open" headphones. This means that the headphones have a strap that goes over your head and ear pads that completely cover your ears. These are "open" designs and they're going to leak sound so people around you will easily hear what you're listening to. Open style headphones usually have the least amount of problem producing deep bass for an inexpensive package. Since price is always a concern we'll eliminate the most exotic options and since the iPod itself only has a limited power output, we'll have to stick with some moderately sensitive cans that can pack a punch with lower voltages.

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All around best sounding headphones for the iPod.

Grado Labs SR 60: Hands down. These headphones have been consistently rated by the experts as the "best" all around for the iPod and at the low cost of $70 it's an affordable model too. Don't let the looks fool you; they look like a prop from the set of an old Dr Who episode. But that's just part of their charm.

Honorable mentions.

Sure E4C: A classy design of in the ear headphone. It's the choice for those who can afford its $200 price tag that want an ear canal invading musical experience with good bass extension.

Sennheiser PXC-250: Need noise canceling cans for iPod music on the go? Running any media device in transit is extra relaxing with a nice set of noise canceling headphones. Why spend big bucks on overpriced Bose noise canceling cans when you get the audiophile choice for about half the cost.

Here are some general guidelines for headphones for your iPod. Remember that like home stereo speakers, there is no substitute for large drivers in your headphones. As a general rule the bigger the drivers the better potential for sound. Only up to a point however. There is a physical property of speakers (headphones included) called sensitivity, it's a rating of decibels out from a given voltage in. Voltage of the line out of your iPod is proportionate to the volume in decibels for a given sensitivity of your headphones drivers. When you use very sophisticated cans like Sennheiser's HD 480s or Grado Labs 325i- widely considered two of the world's best headphones- you're unlikely to get enough current from the headphone output on the iPod to drive headphones of this magnitude. This can be easily solved with a separate headphone amp.