Best Earbuds and Headphones in 2021 - Meta review
METHODS If you´re like me, evaluating and comparing products like earphones can be exhausting. In science a meta-analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies. In this unscientific meta review I´ve combined the results of 16 different professional magazine reviews found on Google. Compared to scientific analyses this one is only based on few peoples subjective and maybe even biased opinions AND my creative and ridiculously loose way of analyzing the data. So I take no responsibility for the possible disappointing product choices made based on this blog post:)
5 GOOD TOP-LEVEL CRITERIONS WHEN CHOOSING EARPHONES
Only few reviews had overall TOP10 list of which I prefer. Here are the top-level categories I find essential myself when choosing new earphones:
1. HEADPHONES or EARBUDS 2. WIRELESS or WIRED
3. intended use: a) BASIC LISTENING or
b) ACTIVITIES or
c) STUDIO / AUDIOPHILE or
d) GAMING or
e) OFFICE 4. PRICE 5. LOOKS I found micro level categories like weight, comfort of use, button latency, materials, fitting and looks too indifferent and often speculative. The results of this "analysis" were quite clear. Regarding to the reviews these seem to be best better-than-average headphones and earbuds for basic everyday use - for middle-income people who have better things to do than think too much about earphones.
BEST HEADPHONES FOR BASIC EVERYDAY USE IN 2021 (music, podcasts, TV, office, etc.)
wireless headphones + noise cancelling + audio price: $350-400 COMMENT: These models were listed in over half of the reviews. Haven´t tried these but if I was searching a pair of modern and versatile earphones for basic use I´d consider these. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 were often considered better regarding the noise cancelling. Bet the sound quality is pretty good in them too. Depends on the person if he/she finds headphones suitable for sports. For example for jogging headphones could be better option than earbuds. Instead in the gym earbuds could be a better choice. As a musician and studio worker I think my next pair of headphones is going to be Yamaha HPH-MT8 Studio headphones. That´s because I want my sounds Au naturel - without any "frequency makeovers".
BEST EARBUDS FOR BASIC EVERYDAY USE IN 2021 (music, podcasts, TV, office, etc.) SONY WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earbuds wireless earbuds
+ noise cancelling + audio
COMMENT: Despite the results I´m planning to invest on Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds which also were ranked pretty high in third of the reviews. For me the quality of sound is more important than noise cancelling or design. (And for some reason I´m conditioned more positively towards Sennheiser than Sony.)
Here´s a few notes if you are looking for:
cheap head-/earphones: if you don´t mind the sound or modern qualities like noise cancelling you can basically buy any pair.
expensive headphones: you probably don´t care that prices rarely correlate with quality. But maybe YOU can spot the difference between $400 and $4000 headphones. earbuds for sports: I´d choose a pair that´s specially designed for training with high intensity. headphones for gaming: bet you got the maneuvers to find the most suitable pair.
SUMMA SUMMARUM Don´t know if you got anything out of this. I didn´t. The best way to find earphones that you like the most is by testing them. The second best option is to listen to other people´s recommendations. I´ gonna prepare myself for disappointment and trust my biases and heuristics to choose right. Reviews: