Monster-sized headphones were all the rage back in the 1970’s. Portable music players began to emerge in the 1980’s, and headphones began to fade. Then Apple debuted the iPod in 2001, which included a pair of sleek, white earphones with every sale, and suddenly, earphones were all the rage for listening to music on the run.

It seems like yesterday that pulling out a pair of Apple earphones and hooking them up to your ears was just about the coolest thing anyone could do on public transport. Today those little earbuds give off a different message. Sure, you own an iPod they say, but you don’t know anything about fashion or music. Because as you may have noticed, just about every second person you walk past on the street now blares their music from a funky pair of headphones. Don’t get me wrong, earphones are still ubiquitous, but high-quality over-ear headphones are emerging as an increasingly popular alternative, despite their girth.

Let’s be real though, the headphone craze is actually quite rational. If you can afford to own a one-thousand-dollar smartphone and fill it with hundreds-of-dollars-worth of music, then it seems like a false economy to listen to it all with hissy earphones.

On the more technical side of things, the key distinction amongst this debate is sound quality. Cheap earbuds may be more portable, but because of their fit and placement in the ear you’ll miss out on a lot of bass notes. Headphones though, deliver superior sound quality, especially when it comes to capturing bass tones. And they’re also great at blocking out ambient noise. All in all, headphones do justice to the awesome tunes the music scene has to offer, and produce a sound quality that their little brother just can’t match. They’re definitely something worth investing your money in.

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