Mixdown's Christmas Gift Guide: Headphones

Quality Bargains For The Festive Season

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and we couldn't be happier about it. But between listening to Christmas songs on repeat and trying to perfect our festive decorations, it's not always easy to make time to find a gift for the musicians in our lives. For those who don't want to see their Christmas cheer ruined searching for the perfect present in a crowd of shoppers on Christmas Eve, we've got you covered. Our Christmas Gift Guide is bursting with gear that we're sure your music mates will love, and this page is especially for anyone in need of headphones.

Sennheiser HD 25 Headphones

 

DISTRIBUTED BY: Sennheiser Australia

EXPECT TO PAY: $349

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Honestly, everyone.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

For those of you looking for the ultimate monitoring experience, it is easy to see why so many of the world’s top DJs turn to the HD 25 headphones. These are the next level in monitoring and go that extra step further.

USABILITY:

Incredibly lightweight and adjustable. The headband itself is well padded and can be split in two and separated to find a better, more stable fit on any head.

CONSTRUCTION:

How Sennheiser manage to produce a pair of drivers and house them with so little weight still remains a mystery, but it does not affect performance in any way, that much is certain. Whilst they are on the lighter side, they feel very solid and sturdy.

OVERALL:

Designed for DJ use in high noise environments, the compact, closed design is enough to cover the ears, but not add unwanted bulk. Perfect.

 

Shure SE215 Wireless Earphones

 

 

DISTRIBUTED BY: Jands

EXPECT TO PAY: $239

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Musicians and audiophiles alike who just want to shut the world out when their favourite jam is on.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

The physics behind the humble ear-bud is strange and unsettling at first, but more and more clever as you think about it. They rely on the resonant nature of your skull to enhance the frequency response of the tiny driver delivering sound. The SE215 system affords more definition in the low end and balanced clarity in the highs than most and boasts 37dB of attenuation from outside your ear to boot.

USABILITY:

That amount of isolation, three times that of most reasonable quality ear plugs available, means that you could use Shure’s buds as on stage monitors just as readily as you could talking on your phone or listening back to your latest mixes in privacy on the train.

CONSTRUCTION:

Sleek, black rubber shielding connects the nodes whose battery life is an extended eight hours while Bluetooth connection is engaged.

OVERALL:

They sound good, they look good and they let almost zero pesky ambient noise interrupt your listening experience.

 

Meters OV-1 Headphones

 

 

DISTRIBUTED BY: Link Audio

EXPECT TO PAY: $588

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Audiophiles.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

The headphones offer good isolation and clear audio reproduction with plenty of bottom end. Plus, these are very comfortable headphones for long listening periods.

USABILITY:

They’ve certainly put plenty of thought into this package so that when you buy a pair of Meters headphones, you’ve got what you need and it’s all very nicely presented. Three cables are included - a USB along with two cables that terminate in 3.5mm TRRS connections for use with smartphones and other media players.

CONSTRUCTION:

Ashdown amps are well known for the classic VU meter that adorn the front facia, and subsequently both sides of the headphones feature a built-in VU meter that is backlit and lets everyone in the room know just how exciting your listening is.

OVERALL:

They look great and sound unreal. All you need to do is choose the right cable and sit back to enjoy quality sound from very comfortable headphones.

 

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Red

 

 

DISTRIBUTED BY: Audio-Technica Australia

EXPECT TO PAY: $279

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Anyone wanting a reliable pair of headphones for under $300.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

It’s simple really - these headphones sound great. They’re extremely clear and flat, making them perfect for mixing and monitoring as well as recreational listening. The highs shine through without being too shrill, and the low end is warm without being overpowering.

USABILITY:

The plush leather earcups are soft and comfortable, which is what you’d expect from headphones designed for long usage like monitoring and mixing. The headband and the cups are highly adjustable, making it easy to find the right fit for you in a matter of seconds.

CONSTRUCTION:

It’s funny how the simplest of features can also be the absolute shining light of a product. In this instance, the M50x has a detachable cable which is an incredible feature that I never knew I needed so much up ‘til now. If you’re anything like me, the first thing to always go in a pair of headphones is the cable, so being able to replace that without the expenditure of an entirely new pair is an absolute godsend.

OVERALL:

You’d be hard pressed to find another pair under $300 that even comes close to the quality and comfort these provide. It’s no wonder that the model has been selling like hotcakes for the last half decade

 

Audio-Technica ATH-CKR75BT Wireless Earbuds

 

 

DISTRIBUTED BY: Audio-Technica Australia

EXPECT TO PAY: $249

RECOMMENDED FOR:

 Listeners of all vocation looking to experience unrivalled sound quality and almost undetectable wearability.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

While some inner ear headphones beg a considerable amount of forgiveness from their listener, Audio-Technica’s Bluetooth connection makes no excuses for the limitations of the format. They have instilled their design with the healthiest drivers and the most secure connectivity in order to do justice to the sound they are employed to deliver.

USABILITY:

Bluetooth connects to just about every smartphone and tablet etc. on the market meaning that non-Apple people don’t suffer the wrath of Jobs. Simple controls on the hub in the middle of the cord allow for hassle free telecommunication even when you’re caught off guard.

CONSTRUCTION:

11.5mm drivers throw out a super wide 5-40,000Hz from their sturdy, matched aluminium housing. With the most up-to-date drivers, this unit is compatible with the latest and fastest codecs and won’t be superseded for some time yet.

OVERALL:

If you’re serious about your headset where sound and build qualities are concerned then look no further.

 

Vox amPhones

 

DISTRIBUTED BY: Yamaha Music Australia

EXPECT TO PAY: $119

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Beginner to professional guitarists and bass players that need to practice at low levels without an amp.

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

Coming in four models – AC30, Bass, Twin and Lead, the amPhones series offers a few different flavours, and covers our low end friends too. The model names should give you a fair indication of the tones available with some tweaking - gain, tone, volume and effect.

USABILITY:

It's as easy as putting on a set of headphones and plugging in your guitar. The fact that they run on batteries means that you’re not restricted to any one spot.

CONSTRUCTION:

Well padded and still quite light, the amPhones don’t stray much from your typical headphone design making them familiar and easy to operate. Vox have incorporated technology from one of the industry leaders in Audio-Technica, which adds some street cred to the overall package too.

OVERALL:

An interesting take on the portable/practice amp idea, the amPhones are great for those situations when volume isn’t an option. With two AA batteries lasting anywhere from seven to 16 hours, you’ll get plenty of time for jamming and the added benefit of being able to use them as normal headphones too.  

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