Retrevo Holiday Headphone Shopping Guide

With the holiday season upon us, ideas for gifts can often be few and far between. Perhaps a new pair of headphones could help fill in your shopping list. Here are some headphone recommendations that could work for just about anyone.

Along with the picks of our favorite headphones, we added some info about some of the differences you will find between sets.

Your typical college kid may not worry as much about having perfect audio reproduction, so earbuds can often be a good bet. They often do a good job isolating sound and provide a very ‘intimate’ sound stage to enjoy the tunes.
Skullycandy INK'd (~$10)
These are the standard for “cheap and good” earbuds and offer a stylish design and some decent audio reproduction.
Sennheiser CX300 (~$20)
These are fantastic earbuds and provide great sound with a great price.
Sennheiser CX500 (~$30)
A good set of headphones, these buds improve upon the quality exhibited in the CX300’s
Open-Ear Headphones
These types of headphones have an open space around the driver, which provides a good soundstage and a ‘natural’ sound. The downsides to these are that they leak sound both in and out the headset, which means that sound from the set can be heard in the room and ambient sound can be heard while wearing the headphones.
Grado sr60i (~$80)
These are one of the most recognized and respected headphones in the industry and are well-known for performing far beyond their price tag.
Grado sr80i(~$100)
The sr80i’s are nearly identical to the sr60i’s but improve slightly in sound quality.
Grado sr225i (~$200)
These are a good value for a great set of headphones; these bear close resemblance to the rest of the Grado family. Good for the fledgling ‘audiophile’ in all of us.
Sennheiser HD595 (~$250)
This is one of the higher-end Sennheiser headphones you can buy and they offer superior sound and an extremely comfortable fit.
Sennheiser HD800 (~$1500)
Um…only get these if you feel your loved one is a true audiophile – these have often been touted as the best headphones you can buy. A slighter cheaper (yet still very good) set is the Sennheiser HD650's.
Closed-Ear Headphones
These headphones have their drivers completely shielded, which can offer superior noise-cancellation to open-ear headphones. They also have the advantage of not leaking sound, which means you can blast your tunes at a pretty high volume without disturbing someone nearby.
Sennheiser HD448 (~$70)
These are some great starter headphones and will meet the needs of most any audio-lover.
Audio Technica ATH-M50 (~$160)
These headphones have received great reviews for their good value, faithful reproduction, and as a fantastic studio monitor set.
AKG 70 "Whites" (~$260)
These are one of the better offerings from AKG and have received rave reviews for its build quality and faithful audio reproduction, a good set for an avid music listener or DJ.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noise-canceling headphones are closed-ear sets that use an electronic signal processor to ‘cancel out’ incoming sound waves to provide a quiet listening stage. These are great for people who travel a lot or just occasionally need some quiet time.
Bose QuietComfort (~$300)
These headphones have received rave reviews for the ability to effectively mute outside noise and give you a nice quiet soundstage to enjoy the music with.
Sennheiser MM 550's (~$320)
If you desire better audio quality with your noise-cancelling headphones perhaps these Bluetooth-enabled cans are a good choice.

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what about wireless? Have you rated those?