back to article Ten... celeb headphones

It's boom time for celebrity obsessed audiophiles. The headphone market explosion has seen everyone from 50 Cent to Earth, Wind and Fire slap their names on a pair, whether lending their names to existing products or getting involved in the production process. The spiel accompanying each pair of headphones often makes a case …


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  1. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down

    Oh no! Not 'The Beats'!

    Seriously. Most of these are pure crap. Get yourselves over to and read up a bit then go get some 'proper' headphones/earphones for half of the price or less.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh no! Not 'The Beats'!

      Most of the reviewed items are by Monster cable, who have some very misleading advertising and most people feel are overpriced garbage.

      Sennheiser HD 600 work great for me. Open backed headphones have the best sound, but obviously they aren't silent in use, there's some sound bleed.

      Why spend so much money trying to get detail out of mp3? which is what many listen to with these things.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Just say "no."

      2. Arnold Lieberman
        Thumb Up

        Re: Oh no! Not 'The Beats'!

        Yup, had my HD600s for over 10 years, nothing I've listened to since then comes close. The fact that they're still being sold now shows that they got it dead right.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh no! Not 'The Beats'!

        Spot on. Who on earth would spend £300+ on a set of headphones to listen to an MP3 file? It's a clear case of GIGO (look it up). I can just about understand the multi-thousand hifi lot with dedicated rooms arranged specifically for their sonic sweet spot, but come on, headphones are crap. MP3 is crap. Combine the two and if you spend more than £30 you are fooling yourself.

        1. probedb

          Re: Oh no! Not 'The Beats'!

          MP3 is not crap. Maybe you should do some listening tests and publish those to prove you can actually tell the difference between properly encoded MP3s and the source material before stating audiophile nonsense.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: MP3s are not crap

            With a high enough bit rate, indeed they are not. Even without, Variable Bit Rate can make the test you suggest much, much harder.

            I suspect, though, that there are still people who rate their pocket-held music collection in songs per megabyte. They are probably listening to crap.

    2. Bad Beaver
      Thumb Up

      Re: Oh no! Not 'The Beats'!

      Head-Fi Is The Place. Sorry for your wallet ;)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Had a pair of Sony's which were perfect until one end fell into a bowl of pea and ham soup.

      Now I rely on my set of in ear Klipsch which didn't cost an arm and a leg, are discrete so you don't look a knob an have good sound quality, to my ears anyway.

      1. Mike Flex

        > Had a pair of Sony's which were perfect until one end fell into a bowl of pea and ham soup.

        Did it cause problems with sound leekage?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What a totally pointless article for a site like this. Is there anyone who reads the Reg that is gonna spunk £300 on a pair of likely average-quality headphones that just happens to have a designer label on it? Didn't think so...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Jeebus

      Re: Why?

      People buy iPhones and iPads. So there is definitely an audience for this kind of thing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        So the iPad's screen is average?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why?

          The 3rd gen is, yes. Pre-3rd-gen they were decidedly sub-par. As for the guy below dribbling about,'buying the best,' thanks for making the comparison between iTards and audiophiles, I'd have done it myself but it's more poignant, and dammit just plain funnier, that one of you lot did it first.

        2. King Jack

          Re: Why?

          The screen is not average but the sound is.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I see the correlation you are talking about, quality headphones and quality phone and tablet. I have to agree, if you buy the best, then why not spoil your ears with the best. Never had you down as a fanboys Jeebus!

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: @jeebus

          There is "spoiling you ears" and "throwing money away"... When the premium headphones cost over half the price of your chosen top of the range smart-phone or tablet, I have to react with WTF?!!!

          There is just no justification for those prices. It makes the iPhone profit margin look positively frugal!

    3. Hardcastle the ancient

      Re: Why?

      >What a totally pointless article for a site like this

      I sort of hoped it was ironic, but it wasn't very ironic

      1. Annihilator

        Re: Why?

        "I sort of hoped it was ironic, but it wasn't very ironic"

        Ditto - I assumed they'd all be a pair of cheap-o Alba headphones with an SL2, Yazz or Bros sticker slapped on the side.

        Although now that I look at them again, I don't think it's a million miles out from that...

    4. MnM

      Re: Why?

      My thoughts exactly. These are headphones for idiots, why are some of them being recommended?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        Well judging from the replies in this thread, the people who just bought new iPads to listen to music have definitely shown that they're gullible about paying large sums of money for things not really suited to what they're using them for...

    5. John H Woods

      Re: Why?

      I'll tell you why - the very same reason that even the rubbish reg articles are worth a look - the comments are priceless.

  3. patters

    Because they make a decent wedge on the affiliate links?

  4. Jeffrey Jefferson

    Am I the only one..

    Am I the only one who'd settle for some Sennheiser PX 100-II's? They're £30 and they've lasted me a couple of years.

    1. DrBobK

      Re: Am I the only one..

      ...or, for somewhat more money - Sennheiser HD-25 - apparently indestructible, comfortable, fabulous sound, and most definitely head-fi approved....

      1. Thpeed

        Re: Am I the only one..

        Yes - The HD25 or DT1350 would probably be better than these for the same kind of price and they are easy enough to customise if you want something that looks fancy ;)

      2. Christine Hedley Bronze badge

        Re: Am I the only one..

        "...or, for somewhat more money - Sennheiser HD-25 - apparently indestructible, comfortable, fabulous sound, and most definitely head-fi approved...."

        They are pretty hard to destroy. Mine are HD25SPs that I paid £90 for back in 1998 and they're still going strong; by that time I'd managed to get through numerous pairs of headphones which typically lasted all of six months apiece, whereas these just keep on going and sound fantastic. I have managed to damage the cable a couple of times over the years thanks to rank carelessness, but they're easily and cheaply replaced. Not bad considering they've seen extended daily use over that time.

    2. Alan Edwards
      Thumb Up

      Re: Am I the only one..

      Yep, another Sennheiser fan here. I'm still using some MX500s that must be getting on for 10 years old now. I've got some MX660 and MX880s too - all brilliant, but I don't like the sticky rubber cable on the new ones. I hope the 500s never die!

      I've even got some MX 2-somethings (MX-260?) for £10 that are surprisingly non-rubbish for so little money.

      CX300 Mark 2s are worth a look if you want noise-isolating cans, but I'd give the original CX300s a miss. Very sensitive to where you put them in your ear, and a bit bass-light even when you put them in right.

      I was hoping the article would try and work out how much the endorsements added to the cost, and would compare them to non-endorsed kit for the same sort of money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only one..

        CX300 IIs are OK... to be honest they are no good for me though, I've been through two pairs in two years due to the connections breaking. I'm not even especially violent with them! Decent sound quality though, but nothing on the Klipsch S4s or the Marley Redemption Songs. Had a pair of HD595s for years, though unfortunately the plastic microcrack problem is present in them so have started to break, and I'd have to replace them with the 'orrid looking HD598s. Hearing a lot of good things about the HD600s though, so might give them a go.

  5. Thpeed

    Team GB headphones

    I know Adidas are giving some custom headphones to Team GB - They should sound better than most celeb ones as they are based on the sennheiser HD25.

  6. h3

    I have broken a set of HD25's within 2 years they are not that robust.

    I have some Technics DJ Headphones that have lasted a decade though. (Need a new cable really but Panasonic actually sells spares). They are good DJ headphones bit heavy though to use for normal stuff.

    Both cost about £100 or so but £10 a year average for the Technics makes it cheaper than I spend on in ear ones. (Normally have a pair or 2 a year usually when have genuine sennheisers that are going EOL).

    I read an article in an engineering magazine about engineering headphones to fail (after about 18 months).

    The Celebs are not ones I trust (Not that I really trust any) for this type of thing either.

    (Stuff that Richie Hawtin uses - or anything that the pink floyd sound engineer puts his name on I might take a look at).

    The stuff that is worth having is usually stuff that was made specifically for that person and then decided to be mass produced after.

  7. David Barr
    Thumb Down

    Really Reg?

    So, was this a can't be bothered I'll just make up some ratings piece, or were you paid for these reviews?

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Really Reg?

      Amazon pays affiliates a % of any sales that came from links on their site. There's your reason.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Really Reg?

        They're selling themselves cheap if it's they just get Amazon referrals out of recommending this garbage.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Beyerdynamic DT770M monitoring 'phones

    The only closed back 'phones you'll ever need - no celebrity endorsements needed, although they will set you back about £150. Good for mixing, mastering and general listening.

    For the iPod? A set of Sennheiser in-ear 'phones that cost me about £40.

    Whilst I quite liked the look of the Bob Marley 'phones, a lot of the other stuff strikes me as being overpriced rubbish. The cynical might argue that this is pretty much SOP for anything made by Monster Cable.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Late for 01/04/2012, or early for 01/04/2013??

    As for the headphones mentioned above, you can keep them all, I bought a set of "SoundMagic PL30's" in China and they are awesome.

    It is such a pity they charge £30+ for them in the UK ($17 in the USA)

  10. Dana W

    Beats? You have to be kidding.

    I own some Marley cans I got used and they are very nice. But Beats? Seriously? Horrible. All bass. if all you want to listen to is rap and hip hop, then I guess. But Classical? No way, I'm a prog rock fan. I tried some Alan Parsons through them. Sounded like a tin cup and fit your head like a wood vise.

  11. Alan 6

    House of Marley

    Got a set of Marley earbuds, cost about £30 and they're excellent.

    I tried a set of Beats headphones at the time and there was so much bass it swamped the rest of the sound. Maybe the have to sound so bass-heavy to compensate for the tinny output from iPods and the like

  12. Cameron Colley

    I'm too poor.

    So I went for the ATH-M50.

    IEMs seem to be more expensive, or perhaps I'm manipulated enough, so I went for some Ultimate Ears -- other manufacturers produce good products also.

  13. DrXym Silver badge

    The reason for these reviews

    The Register frequently comes out with lists of expensive overpriced tat and I think I've worked out why. It's all an elaborate science experiment to calculate from their Amazon affiliate profits what percentage of their readers are rich and stupid.

    £369 for a pair of Monster ear buds... ffs.

  14. The Alpha Klutz
    Thumb Up


    quite happy with my AKGs and the outlay for a quality pair was minimal compared to some of this.

    you are not even a real man until you drop your headphones on the floor daily. And the AKGs still work fine, I have damaged my hearing with them quite severely, because you can just keep turning them up and they get more awesome linearly. and they never distort, ever. they also have quite a good amount of padding to shield out the shit awful sound of reality and suffering and the like. even so, i turn them way up so that i cant hear the shit awful sound of my own thoughts.

  15. spider from mars


    any chance of a roundup of bluetooth headphones? (headphones, not headsets, or those poxy earpieces)

  16. Linker3000


    Sennheiser HD485s for listening at home. Must be at least 7 years old and sound great.

    Sennheiser PX100s when I'm at work or out and about. About £39.

    Pack of 10 in-ear phones off Ebay for listening to the radio in bed at night - works out at 37.5p/pair so it doesn't matter if I fall asleep with them on and trash them. One set lasts about 3 months.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Linker3000

      Re: FFS

      And by 'one set' I mean one of the ten pairs.

  17. DF118


    Never thought I'd see RegHardware turn into a chav dealer bling roundup bazaar.

    I wish this whole "headphones as fashion statement" fad would just fuck off. I was in a Superdry shop today* and it says it all that in amongst the overpriced, over-branded, 14-million-variations-on-a-theme tat they are also now selling their own range of (presumably rebadged Skullcandy) cans, available in all the muted earth tones of the rainbow.

    * I know, I know. In my defence I was with the missus, and don't worry I was rocking my best coder chic of black combats, black boots, ill-fitting black raincoat and black Front 242 t-shirt. I made the whole place about twenty degrees cooler just by being there.

  18. Joshua Murray

    Celebrity Headphones? No thanks!

    I care far more about the quality of the sound reproduction and build quality than branding or celebrity names.

    I use the following, after years of trying lots of different cans:

    * Sennheiser HD-650 and Graham Slee Solo amp at home.

    * Sennheiser HD-25-1 MKII and Graham Slee Voyager amp for travel and bed.

    * Ultimate Ears Triple-Fi 10 with ACS Custom Ear Moulds for travel and work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Celebrity Headphones? No thanks!

      HD-25's are great, but even better value were the British Airways ex-concorde SD-25's with the same drivers at about £25 on ebay when they grounded the planes.

      After losing (and getting fed up of cleaning) several sets of in-ears at work I decided to get some headphones. I settled for a £15 set of Koss porta pro's, they're one of the best sets of headphones I've owned and would be cheap at 3x the price. The only downside is they're quite leaky.

  19. pardonme
    Paris Hilton

    House of Marley phones


    bit confused as the Marley headphones are labelled as 'Redemption Song', but the image appears to be of the 'Zion'.

    2 questions: Which did you review? and

    is it worth the extra 30 quid to get the Zions?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: House of Marley phones

      I bought the Redemption Song after this review, and looking at some others around the interwibble too. Build quality on these things is astounding, and they sound amazing to boot. I'd say they were better than the Klipsch S4As.

      I can't say too much about the difference between the Zions, but I thought I would let you know I am very happy with the Redemption Songs.

  20. Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance

    A couple of alternatives

    I've got five or six pairs of headphones. I use them for tracking and mixing. Not got any super expensive pairs.

    Over a hundred quid is expensive for me. I know people that pay around THREE THOUSAND POUNDS. Maybe they know something I don't know. I jolly well hope so. It really does NOT make their music any better.

    If you are mixing on cans or even if you want a better experience listening to your music, check out Isone Pro or Redline Monitor, they are both highly regarded in the audio world for when you need to replicate how sounds come out of the speakers (as you would in a mix), but you need to use cans. They use some kind of psychoacoustic jiggery pokery and can be tuned and adjusted accordingly. Once you have tried them you won't be able to go back, for mixing anyway...

    Check out this thread for all you wanna know:

    Funnily enough, I know the guy that started that thread and he is one of the culprits. I'm not sure if it was 2 grand or 3 grand he spent. You think I'm joking? He is an absolutely incredible artist and musician, but he was before anyway.


    Ok, I just bought a pair of Presonus HD-7 from Scan and they cost me 33 Quid with delivery. They are superb, better than my high-end Sonys that are an 'industry standard' - they are almost too bright to listen to, this is why you shouldn't believe what other people say, but try them yourself. The Presonus cans look damn cool, are built very solidly and are comfy for long periods. Really amazing for the money.

    For 30 Quid inc. delivery from amazon you can get a pair of Sennheiser HD-202s. They have a slight edge over the Presonus soundwise, but are nowhere nearly as solidly built or cool looking. I wear my HD-7s when I'm working in Studio One Pro coz I like to be coordinated and chic. Looking cool is important to me yah!

    Which is why you won't see me looking like a right twat on the tube, with people that 'know' pointing and sniggering like beavis and butthead: hjarhag hharhgh he's wearing Dr. Beatz doood..haerhgh aahrhgheahh

    Really if you fall for the Monster bull, you don't just need your ears examining but your head too. Remember the trick with the coat hangers. Look it up if you don't.

    Now, when I am rich and I know wtf I am doing, I might splash a few hundred or so on a nice pair of cans, but after getting burned by my 'industry standards' I will want to have a damn good listen to them first. Check out the reviews on the HD-202 - you will get the picture.

    If you can't stretch to 30 Quid, check out the Koss UR-20s - they are mind blowingly good for 15 Quid. But they don't look 'cool' ;-) They actually sound slightly better than ones I have costing literally 10 times more. And they are SUPER comfortable.

    And if you do want a cheap 'industry standard' pair of cans for tracking and mixing - check out the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro - you can get them for about 60 Quid if you shop around. Justin Frankel - the guy that codes REAPER and coded Winamp uses them. 'Nuff said. He's not just cool, he's like (hey eh) totally awesome dood (eh eh)...

    And I think he might be able to afford a 3 grand pair of cans, don't you?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A note on curly cables

    They can be seriously useful when you're trying to move around a large console whilst mixing a live band.

    Here speaks a user of some seriously battered Beyerdynamic DT100s. I have yet to find anything as wonderfully comfortable (though I will admit mine are a bit lacking in bass, something solved by the DT150s)

    1. Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance
      Thumb Up

      Re: A note on curly cables

      Now the DT100s really are an industry standard. Super comfortable and pretty decent sounding for what they are: a tracking pair of headphones. As ubiquitous in their black and white finery as those damned NS10s. Sound better too ;-)

      Haven't tried the DT150s.

      Don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but this site should be checked out if you are thinking of spending over £50 on some cans:

  22. Anonymous Hero

    Celeb cans.....meh.

    Tyler Hertsens who appears now and again over on's Home Theatre Geeks ( did a pretty good review last year of celeb cans:

    You can hear him talk about them on HTGs:

    Suffice to say that in many cases you're paying a serious wad just for a name.

  23. probedb

    Custom molds

    For the price of some of these you can get proper 2/3 way custom molded IEMs. Why would you pay extra for something just because it has someone's name on it?

  24. Kevin7

    It's one of those things where the responses to the reviews are far more useful than the reviews themselves. I've always suspected that these pseudo-luxury brands are overpriced shit and the responses seem to confirm it. They have saved me a great deal of money and that the people who buy them are gullible, vain tools.

  25. Lloyd

    Why all the negativity towards Beats?

    I listen to them on my daily commute, admittedly they're not mine, generally belong to someone stood 5ft away and spew forth R&B dross but I listen to them nonetheless, I don't really have a choice without putting ear plugs in.

  26. Andy Livingstone

    Terminological Inexactitude

    There are Headphones. There are Earphones. There is a difference. Surely a technical reviewer knows about that? Reviews irrelevant till subject knowledge evident.

  27. Sonny Jim
    Thumb Up

    Gotta love the Sennheiser HD-25's

    Comfortable to wear, they sound alright and although they aren't indestructible as some people like to make out, the last pair I had lasted for 10 years.

    For the life of me I don't know why anyone would want to wear in-ear headphones, hat fanciers maybe?

  28. SteelVenom

    Klipsch X10 FTW

    I have the original Klipsch X10's.

    I've never had a pair of in-ear headphones that cancel noise as well as these.

    The only complaint I have is that the bass can be a little weak but, considering these are tiny headphones they sound magnificent.

    I wouldn't waste money on any audio product that attributed its self to a rapper. You know all that headphone is going to do is boom as much base as possible. As someone who likes my music with other instruments besides percussion I think I'll stick with brands that attribute themselves to high fidelity.

  29. Lamont Cranston

    Dr. Dre Beats Solo?

    Is "putting my name to some high-priced headphones" the new "spanking the monkey"?

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