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Best Headphones for Portable Players

"Listening on the go is becoming more and more popular - especially that now you can store your whole library of lossless audio on to a compact player like the FiiO X3, FiiO X5 or even the Astell&Kern AK120."

Listening on the go is becoming more and more popular - especially that now you can store your whole library of lossless audio on to a compact player like the FiiO X3, FiiO X5 or even the Astell&Kern AK120.

With the potential to have the highest quality audio in your pocket you will want to complement that with the headphones you use. This article will cover how to choose a portable headphone and suggest some of our favourites.

When buying headphones or in ear earphones for a portable player there are 3 main qualities you will be looking for:

Compact

As you will be more than likely using the headphones while travelling you will want them to be small enough to fit into a bag or even fold up for easy storage. You will also want them to be a size that won't get in the way whilst moving from busy train to busy train.

Closed Back / Sound Isolating

As these headphones will probably be used in public, you won't want the sound of your guilty pleasures spilling out to the rest of the train carriage - nor will you want to hear the loud music being played by the youths at the back of the bus. Closed back or sound isolating headphones are perfect for this, as they reduce the amount of sound leaking and help block out external noise.

Easily Driven

The majority of portable players such as iPod, iPhone, Samsung, Sony etc. can give great sound quality but they don't have the most powerful headphone amps on them - when this is the case you want a headphone that is easy to drive so you can get a good volume out of them without maxing out your player.

In ear headphones

The ultimate portable solution are in ear isolating earphones as they tick all the above qualities - here are a selection that I would recommend:

SoundMagic E10 (£34.99)

The go to in-ear for under £60.

Final Audio Heaven II (£89), IV (£199) and VI (£599)

Refined sound with great bass and sharp detail.

Shure SE112 (£46), SE215 (£96) and SE315 (£159)

Well balanced sound with superb midrange. Great isolation and secure over the ear fit.

On the ear

SoundMAGIC P30 (£69)

Best budget portable headphone.

Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear (£169.96) and Full Size (£259.99)

Warm, smooth sound and superb build quality.

KEF M500 (£249)

Clear detail with tight bass and crisp mids. Folds up for easy storage.

Full size over the ear

GermanMAESTRO GMP 8.35 D (£160)

Practically indestructible and one of the best for isolation. Great punchy sound.

Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro (£169.96)

Adjustable bass ports for customizable sound. Another great one for isolation.

Beyerdynamic T70p (£438.95)

Neutral sound with crystal clear detail.

Beyerdynamic T5p (£880)

Studio quality sound on the go.

Ultrasone Edition 8 (£1099)

Audiophile quality sound with superb isolation.

Open back

Now if you don't need complete sound isolation and would prefer an open backed headphone then there a some very good ones to choose from:

Koss Porta Pro (£29.95)

The classic portable headphone.

Grado SR80i (£99.95)

These are very hard to beat for under £100. HiFi quality sound on the go.

SoundMAGIC HP200 (£229)

Smooth and fun sounding with great detail. Very comfortable and good isolation for an open back.

Headphone amplifier

And finally... If you have got your heart set on a headphone that is more difficult to drive then do not fear! Adding a portable headphone amplifier into the chain will solve this issue.

FiiO E12 (£109.99)

Lots of power, bass boost, sturdy build quality and detailed sound.

So hopefully this article has helped you decide on your new headphone - but if you have any questions then do feel free to get in touch and we will be happy to help!

About Shaun Gostelow

Shaun is co-founder of hifiheadphones.co.uk and spends most of his time dealing with the business side of running the store, but still loves listening to music with headphones just the same as ever.
Follow Shaun on Google+
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