The Best Headphones for the 2014 Holiday Season


IMG_0353Last Christmas, my 11-year-old daughter asked for one big item: Beats by Dre headphones. This is what we get for having NFL press conferences play on the TV, I thought, but then I started looking around and on-ear or over-the-ear headphones were everywhere, in all different brands, colors, and sizes. My daughter wasn’t concerned about audio quality, but purely how she looked while listening to her music (in her room with the door closed, where no one can see), yet while looking around, I was a little confused and overwhelmed by the options. After educating myself with help from Monster, the high performance personal audio leader, on quality, types, and even looks, here is how to headphone shop this holiday season.

First, why Monster? Not only are they a local company headquartered in Brisbane, this is the company that designed the original Beats by Dr. Dre. Which means Monster headphones deliver everything Beats have, plus more as they have advanced, and at a lower price point. Monster has been in the audio business for over 35 years, putting all of their in-depth speaker knowledge into headphones. But, my daughter doesn’t care about that. She cares about looks, which is another reason to choose Monster, for the attitude they project. Whatever your lifestyle, they have a high quality, great looking set of headphones to match how you live.

Second, over-ear or on-ear, and why not in-ear? I use ear buds daily, especially while exercising, but when I’m sitting to listen to a podcast or listen to music while working, I want something that sounds better and feels comfortable. For that, I like on-ear. On and over ear are exactly how they sound. Over ear is generally the best sound quality because they block out more external sound. Yet, on-ear may be more comfortable, especially for people wearing jewelry or with long hair. For me, over ear feels a little in the way, and I’m not an audiophile enough to appreciate the sound difference with over-ear. Try them out and pick what feels right. For kids, on-ear works great.

Third, which look? This is when you have to ask who you are and what imagine you are trying to project. Professional person, try the Inspiration. I have them (a gift from Monster) and love them. They look sleek, fold up tight for portability in bags, and sound amazing. Of course, the Inspiration wouldn’t work for my daughter. For her, the N-Tune headphones are perfect. They are brightly colored like candy, have great audio, are durable, and can be found under $100. There are other looks, too. For my sporty son, Monster carries an Adidas line, which are built to survive workout abuse. Or there is the Diamondz line, for people who want a little more flash on their ears. Or the DNA line for a look of cool distinction. Monster really has a product for every lifestyle. Even in-ear options.

Finally, durability matters. We bought the expensive Beats for my daughter last Christmas, and her eyes lit up with joy when she opened them. She used them all the time for a few weeks, but suddenly we never saw her using them again. She finally confessed: the headphones broke. She accidentally dropped them in her room while she was standing up and the headpiece snapped in half. I tried special glues, but they wouldn’t hold together again. Who cares about the quality of sound if the headphones can’t survive real-life use? While at Monster, I twisted and bent the headphones on display and they always snapped back to place. Not only do headphones for kids need to be durable, but those for adults do, too. No one wants to use delicate headphones while working out where they’ll be jostled and knocked around. The Monster products answer that concern and make me feel more secure about sending the money on top quality headphones.

Monster headphones are the way to go. Get the style kids want, with the durability parents want, at a price that works for everyone. The hardest part is picking out which design.

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