Buying headphones is tricky, and for most people usually a case of trial and error, after error, after error.
First you have to find a form factor that fits into your life. That could be anything from high-tech battery-powered Bluetooth cans or audiophile-quality home stereo headphones to cheap and cheerful (and replaceable) earbuds, and everything in between.
Then you have to pick your style. Are you a rock 'n' roll roadie unloading apps, a hip-hop mogul making business deals in neon boardrooms, or (more usually) a regular commuter trying to look like either of the above?
And even once you know where you want to fall on the style-features matrix, you still have to figure out which of your options is going to actually, you know, sound decent.
To help sort through this confusion we've pulled together a buyer's guide (above) and a list of our 9 favourite headphones, regardless of price or form factor. Hopefully it will give you some inspiration to find the audible companion you've been looking for.
Bowers & Wilkins P3
These headphones won <a href="http://www.t3.com/reviews/b-and-w-p3-review" target="_blank">T3's music gadget of the year award</a>, and if you try them out you'll see why. The sound is beautifully rendered, while the build quality and styling is pretty flawless. (£169)
RHA make great headphones right here in Britain, and while we were generally fans of their more-expensive 750i in-ear phones <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/26/rha-m750i-review_n_3995780.html">we found them a bit heavy and 'brutalist' for our taste.</a> The <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/RHA-MA600i-Isolating-Headphone-microphone/dp/B00ELAM8M8/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1383836542&sr=1-3&keywords=rha">MA600i variants</a> are better overall. They're lighter, smaller, cheaper and still have great sound-quality with excellent noise isolation.
Sol Republic Tracks HD
Sol Republic's 'Tracks' headphones (£79.99) are solid, well-designed, powerful -- and totally overshadowed by the fact that they're <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/15/sol-republic-tracks-v8-review_n_2695230.html" target="_blank">virtually unbreakable, and thus impossible to stop fiddling with.</a>
Bose QuietComfort 20i
These in-ear headphones are among the best we've ever tested - and you'd hope so, <a href="http://www.bose.co.uk/GB/en/home-and-personal-audio/headphones-and-headsets/acoustic-noise-cancelling-headphones/quietcomfort-20i-headphones/" target="_blank">because at £259 they aren't cheap</a>. What you get for your money is a combination of great, rich basic sound, brilliant noise-cancelling tech and the most comfortable fit you can find without involving a custom-made solution.
These unique headphones are not only designed by Philippe Starck, and as such gorgeous, but are also wireless, have touch controls on the ear piece and are NFC enabled - meaning you can transfer music to them with a single tap. They also know when you've taken them off, and automatically pause when you do. (£250)
Klipsch X7i Earphones
<a href="http://gdgt.com/klipsch/image/s4i/" target="_blank">These light-weight, durable and well-rounded earbuds</a> are a good step up from the basic Sennheiser CX 300 IIs, but they won't break the bank either at £149. The noise isolation alone is worth the price.
These headphones have won fans all around the world for one simple reason: for this price (£50) <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/AKG-K451-Foldable-Mini-Headset/dp/B005LBQ7BY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383837172&sr=8-1&keywords=akg+headphone" target="_blank">you can't do better</a>. They sound excellent, fold up neatly to stow away in a bag, come with a basic cable and a cable with a built-in three-button remote and won't leave you bereft if you lose or break them.
Marshal Major 50
These <a href="http://www.marshallheadphones.com/headphones/major/major-50-fx" target="_blank">limited-edition Marshall headphones</a> come with all the unique styling and sound engineering you'd expect for the amp masters, along with some extra design touches for good measure. They include gold-rimmed pads, inscriptions on the inside of the headband and a remote/microphone control on the cable. For £140 they aren't cheap - but there're no other headphones around with this kind of rock pedigree.
Jaybird Freedom Sprint
These resilient, water-resistant Bluetooth headphones are designed for exercise, and come with a set of neat ear-moulding foam inserts to keep them tightly in place when you're running. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/24/jaybird-freedom-sprint-headphones_n_2009106.html" target="_blank">For £105 it's hard to find a better pair of sport earbuds.</a>