Choosing Headphones is like Choosing Cereal.

Why I’ve slowed down on reviewing new models.

Alex Rowe
3 min readSep 14, 2017

There are too many good headphones on the market right now.

I know that’s a stupid complaint. But it makes it harder to get excited about new models, and harder for new customers to choose from the endless sea of good.

It’s like trying to choose a box of cereal.

In the “old days” of a decade ago, there were about four good models of headphones on the market. If you wanted good sound you bought a studio pair, and if you wanted decent sound and good comfort, you bought some Bose headphones.

Now, after the explosion in popularity of Beats headphones, everyone in the audio industry ramped up production on new models. And as a result, there are a million “totally okay” headphones out there. And more models come out every quarter.

That’s why I’ve slowed down a little bit on reviews.

It’s harder for me to get excited about new headphones or headsets, because they’re probably going to be above the “good” quality threshold just by the law of averages.

After that sound quality threshold, it’s just down to personal taste stuff/build quality/comfort, and there’s only so many times I can obsessively examine that stuff without repeating myself over and over.

I’ve enjoyed dipping into the budget end of the spectrum recently with things like the $60 Astro A10. The quality of that model was impressive, because usually $99 is where headphones start to get good. So, any time someone brings in a nice-sounding and well-built pair under that price, I sit up and take notice.

If you’re looking at two pairs of headphones and can’t decide, and they’re both priced over $99 with tons of good reviews, they’re probably both totally okay.

You’re just going to have to pick one and listen to it to truly know! In this glut of quality products, I’m remembering to trust my ears, and take advantage of return policies when I have to.

I’m interested in hearing Audio-Technica’s weird “direct digital drive” system some day soon. I’m interested in seeing Bose’s QC35 refresh and Sony’s MDR1000X refresh. I’m interested in Astro’s new A20 headset. I’m curious about Skullcandy’s newly announced Hesh 3.

But beyond that, I’m not getting hyped up right now…because there’s so much good stuff out there.

There’s a weird irony to me saying I’m not getting hyped up right after a list of products I want to buy and review. That’s the weird thing: I bet they’ll all be pretty good.



Alex Rowe

I write about gaming, tech, music, and their industries. I have a background in video production, and I used to review games for a computer magazine.