December 10, 2022

Once my headphones are in, the rest of the world is out. I scroll through my playlist and deep dive into my favorite musical tunes. And then I’m in my own little audio world, where everything is peaceful, my favorite singers are my best friends, and they just knohew the right things to say. If you’re a music fanatic as well, you know how important and sacred your personal music time can be, and how holy your relationship with your headphones is. After all, these are the resourceful little things that transport us into our beloved audio world. And, one of the most popular headphones these days are the Apple AirPods Max. But hey! Let’s remember that great headphones go beyond Apple as well. And this nifty list includes all of them – from Yamaha’s wireless noise-canceling headphones to Adidas’ solar-powered ones. Headphone designs these days are at an all-time high, and I’m sure you can’t wait to introduce your ears to them!

1. The Yamaha L700A

Coming from a company that has a reputation for making ‘serious’ audio equipment for serious musicians and audio professionals, the Yamaha L700A looks to treat a balance between being pro-gear and consumer-worthy. It sports a gray design, finished with fabric trims on the headband as well as on the earpieces themselves, making them look like condenser microphones from afar. The wireless headphones fold flat like the AirPods Max, for easy traveling, and instead of touch-sensitive panels or rotary knobs, the earphones actually come with buttons on the right earpiece for that reliable tactile experience.

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2. The Nothing Head (1)

The Nothing Head (1) is a conceptual pair of over-ear cans designed keeping Nothing’s design language and company DNA in mind. Carl Pei’s latest venture has focused on wanting to make products more open, transparent, and fun and the Head (1) is quite literally all those things. It comes with its own Glyph Interface, like on the phone (1), taking the audio experience of a headphone and turning it into an audiovisual one. It acts as branding, doing exactly what the Beats logo did, but better… more importantly, it can act as a notification light to let you know if your Head (1) is connected, or let others know that you’re busy listening to music and shouldn’t be disturbed.

3. Bowers & Wilkins Px8

According to the Worthing, West Sussex-based audio equipment maker, these new headphones have the “best sound quality” ever offered on a pair of cans. That claim is based on the fact that Px8 has 40mm carbon cone drivers angled inside the earcups to produce distortion-free sound in ultra-high resolution at all audible frequencies. For audio lovers, this means a wider and more accurate soundstage closer to what the music composer intended. According to them, it is even better than the five-star rated Px7 S2 which apparently sounds great.

4. The Adidas RPT-02 SOL

Dubbed the Adidas RPT-02 SOL, these pair of over-the-ear cans juice up with natural light or even artificial light. So, they’ll not need to recharge any time soon. These headphones are a follow-up to the RPT-01(not solar-powered) and promise almost double the playback time at around 80 hours. Not to forget that the RPT-02 SOL are solar powered, and the battery keeps topping up as long as you are exposed to good lighting conditions.

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5. The Google Pixel Headphones

Without really any speculation (given that this is a concept), let’s really break down the Pixel Headphones’ design. It’s classic, understated, and feels a lot like the designer borrowed cues from the AirPods Max and the Chromecast. The headrest is slim but padded, and the earcups have a weave fabric overlay with the letters L and R embroidered inside the cups to tell you how to wear the phones. Metal sliders give you precise height adjustment, although the earcups don’t fold frontwards like the AirPods Max, and there’s no awkward charging case/handbag with this too.

6. Bambass

Bambass is a concept for an open-back headphone that uses traditional bamboo weaving as a major component of its sustainable material. It is made up mostly of thin coiled bamboo stripes which are not just sustainable but also bring you a more insulated sound. You get a stainless steel strip to help support the headband that is made mostly from stacked stripes of bamboo. The joint for the earcups have a screw mechanism that allows you to adjust the cups to your comfort. Lastly, you get a single-layer coating of melamine to preserve the life cycle of the bamboo material.

7. Olfoo

Life without headies is unthinkable in modern times for audiophiles at least, isn’t it? This useful accessory has evolved in technology from being wired to truly wireless in the last few years. Features like touch/gesture buttons to toggle the volume, start/stop music, seek tracks, or switch between ANC modes. While most prefer gesture-controlled input, I personally like to have a more tactile experience with my gadgets. Headphones are no exception, and these ones dubbed Olfoo fall right into my alley. The reason is, that they have a physical button that can do all the above tasks with a profound physical input.

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8. Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

This new pair from Sony uses two processors: an Integrated Processor V1 and a 30mm driver unit. The first one uses the HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 to enhance bass production and sound clarity. The 30mm driver unit is for the noise canceling. With these improvements, the headphones offer incomparable noise cancelation. You can switch off the world around you with this thing. The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones’ two processors control eight microphones. The latter reduces the frequency and optimizes noise cancelation.

9. The Thermaphones

Meet the Thermaphones – a pair of cans that alter the temperature to nullify the effect of extremely hot temperature or the chill of winter. These headphones have a hybrid design, wherein, they have temperature-changing earbuds for unique thermal comfort. The earcups on these headphones are compact with protruding earbuds on the inside. This promises superior sound isolation honed by the vacuum seal of the earbuds and topped by the encapsulating properties of the ear cups. Temperature control is achieved via the 2 integrated Peltier chips which are capable of toggling the temperature between 25°C and 38°C.

10. The Samsung Galaxy Level

While the Samsung Galaxy Buds are named because of their ‘bud’-shaped design (they look like kidney beans, personally), the Level headphones are named the way they are more because of how calibrated their sound is. The headphones have a slick outer design that comes with buttons located on the rim around the leather ear-cups, although touch-sensitive surfaces on the sides allow you to better interact with your multimedia, doing things like increasing or decreasing volume, answering/rejecting calls, cycling through music, or invoking Bixby or your phone’s own Voice Assistant.