Pop quiz time. What’s the biggest growing sector within the hi-fi industry of the last four or five years? Bluetooth adaptors? Hi-res music streamers? Portable music players? No, give up? Would it come as a surprise if we were to reveal that headphones is the answer? Probably not given the fact that the rest of the page is filled with pictures of them... Headphones have always been popular with hi-fi enthusiasts as the perfect way to listen at home without disturbing others or as an effective solution to making the daily commute to and from work less of a drag. But recently they have become big business and pretty much every serious hi-fi manufacturer (and some not so serious ones) have jumped onto the bandwagon in an effort to grab their share of the profits. 

It’s not entirely clear exactly why it is that headphones suddenly became a must-have accessory among the painfully fashionable – sadly, you don’t see them swanning around showing off their DACs in the same way – but much of the credit is down to the Beats brand, which devoted fashionistas will happily spend £300 on to look the part.

Hitting the jackpot
Through a clever combination of celebrity endorsements and product placements Beats has become the headphone to be seen in, and if you’re in the music business and not endorsing Beats, then you’re not that big a star. While Beats’ owner – hip hop artist Dr Dre – successfully sold the company to Apple last year for a reputed $3 billion, the truth is that Beats headphones aren’t actually great for hi-fi fans. They’re bass heavy and come up rather short when it comes to reproducing those all-important higher frequencies that audio fans love to hear.

All of which means that the smarter headphone buyer that’s interested in audio quality is a bit more discerning, caring less about the logo on their device and more about the important business of how it actually sounds.

This month instead of giving away a single large prize to one lucky person, we thought it’d be nice to spread the love a little wider and so we’ve gathered 14 sets of three in-ear headphones bundles so that you can have a set for each of your devices.

In-ears provide superior isolation to over-ears, allowing you to block out other people’s noise, without disturbing them with yours. They are lighter, more comfortable and can be easily stashed away when not in use. To be in with a chance of winning one of the sets we have available, answer the simple question opposite and post it to us. Good luck!


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