HeadphoneInfo.com 2011 Select Awards

From over-ear to in-ear, high-end to high value, the staff of HPI has selected the very best headphones of 2011.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

What a crazy year it's been for HeadphoneInfo.com! In the year prior to the alleged date of the apocalypse, we've seen some really impressive sets of cans, and some really, really bad ones. For now, it's time to give credit where credit is due, and laud the conquests of the headphones our staff has determined to be among the best for this year. Without further ado, we give you the 2011 HeadphoneInfo.com Selects Awards:

Headphones of the Year

Audio Technica ATH-AD900

($299.95 MSRP)

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The Audio Technica ATH-AD900s offer an open soundstage, flat frequency response, and accurate sound. A smart choice for the modern audiophile, the ATH-AD900s are some of the most comfortable headphones we've reviewed this year. With great marks across the board, these over-ears strike the perfect balance of price, performance, and comfort.

(Read full review.)

Headphones of the year, runner-up

Beyerdynamic DT 860

($240 MSRP)

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These cans are very competitive, but small issues kept them from winning out in several categories. In this case, it's comfort. The DT 860s have amazing audio quality for the price and are truly remarkable in their own right. The only thing keeping them from the top spot it the extreme difference in comfort to the similarly amazing Audio Technica ATH-AD900s.

(Read full review.)

Best Travelers' Headphones

Sennheiser IE 8i

($450 MSRP)

sennheiser_ie_8i.jpg

With the ability to go anywhere and plug into just about anything, the Sennheiser IE 8is offer some of the best travel options for use by globetrotters. Though many headphones we've reviewed include an adapter to allow you to listen to the in-flight movie, few of these attenuate noise passively, fewer still are as light and easily portable as these small wonders.

(Read full review.)

Best traveler's Headphones, runner-up

Sennheiser PXC 450

($449 MSRP)

pxc450.jpg

If price is no object to you, it's hard to find better headphones for the international traveler than the Sennheiser PXC 450s. With decent active noise canceling and an extremely comfortable wear no matter how big or small your head is, these cans will help you forget that you're stuck on a plane, train, or automobile for the several hours you're there.

(Read full review.)

Audiophile's choice

Audio Technica ATH-AD900

($299.95 MSRP)

AD900.jpg

The Audio Technica ATH-AD900s offer an open soundstage, flat frequency response, and accurate sound. An attractive option for the audiophiles among us, the ATH-AD900s not only offer great sound, but also a level of comfort so seldom reached with headphones. These are perfect for audiophiles to listen to for hours on end.

(Read full review.)

Audiophile's Choice, runner-up

Beyerdynamic DT 860

($240 MSRP)

dt860.jpg

Kept from the top spot by only a minor blemish in frequency response, the Beyerdynamic DT 860s are impressive headphones in their own right. With low distortion, outstanding tracking, and a very flat frequency response, the DT 860s are among the best-performing headphones on the market for audiophiles.

(Read full review.)

Best Mid-range

Sennheiser HD 598

($329.95 MSRP)

HD598.jpg

Extravagantly accented, the Sennheiser HD 598s also offer a extravagant sound for the price. Comfortable and durable, the HD 598s offer a flat frequency response and compete well with other models in the mid-range.

(Read full review)

Mid-range, runner-up

Beyerdynamic DT 860

($240 MSRP)

dt860.jpg

With incredible sound quality for the price, the Beyerdynamic DT 860s were kept out of the top spot here simply because they did not have the maintenance options of the HD 598s. With impressive sound and Beyerdynamic's efficient design, the DT860s offer their premium audio quality at a mid-range price.

(Read full review.)

Best Isolation

Monster Turbine Pearl

($229.95 MSRP)

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When you're out in the world, you're going to want noise attenuation of one variety or the other. After testing a litany of headphones, we found that the Monster Turbine Pros offer the most isolation without using a noise canceling circuit that, ironically, adds distortion to your music. If you're interested in protecting your hearing, or just want to drown out the world, the Monster Turbine Pearls are your best bet for doing so.

(Read full review.)

Best Isolation, runner-up

V-Moda Vibrato Remote

($129.99 MSRP)

vibrato.jpg

V-moda goes out of their way to make sure that its consumers are aware of the risks of noise-induced hearing loss, and includes information along with their packaging on the subject on the subject of prevention. While their Vibrato Remotes are impressive in that they attenuate noise better than most standard earplugs, they just barely attenuate less noise overall, making them worthy of mention in our awards.

(Read full review.)

Best Value

V-Moda Remix Remote

($79.99 MSRP)

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By cramming a lot of performance in a tiny package, the Remix Remote by V-Moda gives you superior noise attenuation, versatility for smartphone use, and extreme portability for a cost that's far lower than their performance would suggest. If you're looking for in-ears on a budget, give the bass-heavy V-Moda Remix Remotes a look.

(Read full review.)

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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