Should I spend the money on an upgrade?
If you read reviews, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that only way to be happy is to buy the most expensive thing. In a few situations, it might not be worth for you to spend more money.
You may not be able to use the expensive headphones often: Have the amount of money to spend on your only set of headphones? Think about where you will use them most. Do you want a headphone for the gym? Or do you often listen on the subway? Are they for frequent or practical travel on a plane? Depending on your situation, you can get bang for your purchasing sets of less expensive headphones. That suits all of your needs rather than just one that you do not get to use at all. The $300 headphones are amazing. But if you can seldom use them, consider whether your investment is a good one. For the same $300, you could get a cheap pair of workout headphones, a portable pair for commuting, and a set for the office. Then you can enjoy your music all the time.
You mostly listen to streaming music: Over the past few years, this case has been the subject of a lot of discussions. Apple, Spotify, Pandora Music, and all the other streaming music services modify their digital music files to make them smaller. Thus, it is easier to store and stream. This process is “data compression” in regards to streaming services. YouTube and Tidal offer less-compressed music or higher-resolution files. But most other companies have not caught up with that technology yet. What does all that mean in terms of headphones? Though you can the best-sounding headphones in the world, you may not hear a distinct advance in sound quality. If you mainly download HD, listen to CDs, or other high-quality tracks, you should buy a pair of top-level headphones. But if the headphones you have are working fine, hold off on an upgrade.
It’s just not all that important to you: If so, that’s fine! Not everyone needs to spend a lot of money to be happy. Enjoy what works for you and count your blessings. All of the above picks are great for their price ranges. And if you want to spend only as much as you need to get the job done, I am fine with that. Why spend $30 on truffle-covered potato mousse at a fancy restaurant when what you want is $3 French fries? Don’t be pressured and put away your wallet. If you’re happy, I am happy.
When should I upgrade or replace?
When your current headphones start to lose sound totally or crackle: If they are not under warranty, let them go. It’s worth to get a new pair when you can buy a new one for less than $15.
When they do not fit your lifestyle needs anymore: It is not worth to force a set of headphones to fit where they do not work. Though you do not mind big over-ears in public, you cannot afford the bag space? Or so many times have you tossed them on the ground in disgust? Cannot wear the little earbuds for more than 15 minutes because they are so harsh? It’s time for you to get new ones. Headphones bring pleasure into your life. And if they become more drag than delight, it’s time to replace them.
When you truly need more: You need richer, bigger, more lifelike sound. Or you have gotten into listening to HD digital tracks, CDs, or vinyl. Maybe you need noise cancellation to get the plane-engine hum out of your ears. Perhaps you like to analyze the nuances of your favorite recordings. Whatever the reason, make sure take the next step up will make everything you hear sound better. You cannot quite shake it and you have a feeling in your gut. This sounds like you? Take the plunge.
What about the celebrity headphones?
Companies pay celebrities a lot of money to use the image and their brand name on products. In a lot of cases, the celebrity had little to nothing to do with the production and advance of the product. For instance, Britney Spears didn’t make the secret formula for Pepsi. Do not buy the notion that the headphones bearing their name are the ones they use in the studio. Actually, they are not.
Such items are the symptom of a larger problem. Companies believe that if they slap a famous name on something, maybe raise the price tag, you’ll be fooled into thinking they are the good products. Then they earn lots of money from selling the product to people who do not know any better. And that is good if you wear headphones like an expensive hat. But if you want your headphones with sound great, trust your ears, not the celebrity.
This is not just my opinion. I have tested celebrity headphones versus others in the price range all the time. They are not better. For example, instead of the Beats Studio for $270, get the better-sounding Bose QuietComfor 25 for the same price. The Bose QC25 can cancel noise better and it also sounds amazing. The Oppo state that none of the headphones under $400 can have. And if you had the best, why you have to spend the money on others?