Headphones are expected to be a hot gift this year, according to Consumer Reports' holiday poll. One big trend-celebrity-endorsed headphones.
Are they the best? Listen up to hear what Consumer Reports' tests turned up.
Beats by Dr. Dre has celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Kanye West touting its headphones. Lady Gaga even designs for the brand...
And they're being worn by Consumer Reports testers-to be evaluated, that is. They also evaluated headphones from traditional big names like Bose, Sony, and Panasonic.
Jim Willcox of Consumer Reports says, "The models in our tests ranged from about $10 to $350."
They included studio-style headphones, which are good for listening to music at home, and portable ones, which are better on the go. Also tested-noise-canceling and noise-isolating earphones, which block outside noise to varying degrees.
Consumer Reports' audio experts, who've tested hundreds of headphones, say you can't buy by brand.
Willcox says, "Monster's Beats by Dr. Dre headphones have done well in our tests. But one model, the "Solo," which costs about $180, didn't do as well. In fact, it was one of the lowest-rated models we tested."
But you don't have to pay for pricier celebrity headphones to get very good audio quality. The studio-style Sony PIIQ headphones are a Best Buy at just $35.
If you prefer a portable set, the Sennheiser headphones are also a Best Buy at $40. They're model CX215. A plus-they reduce outside noise.
If you're interested in wireless headphones, Consumer Reports did find a very good set, but they're expensive. They're the Sennheiser model RS180. It's a studio-style set that goes for $330.