Intricacy stripped down to its essence, JAYS’ u-JAYS On-Ear Headphones were designed with providing detailed acoustics and lasting comfort in mind; the fact that they also look good is simply function projecting form. Each cup boasts 40mm dynamic neodymium drivers within 360° vented enclosures and behind viscoelastic ear cushions that conform to the shape of your ears while worn and create a tight, fitting seal to reduces sound leakage. They also feature a replaceable three-button remote cable, a spring steel headband for a balanced fit, and core parts made of stainless steel to better withstand everyday wear and tear.
Coming in Q3. Learn more at JAYS – $200
Marshall’s line of wireless speakers have been all too reliant on the presence of a nearby power outlet. No longer with the Marshall Kilburn, their first active stereo speaker that cuts all cords thanks to a self-contained battery that powers the device for up to 20 hours per charge. With two 3/4″ 5W dome tweeters and a 4″ 15W subwoofer, the Kilburn is plenty loud, playing your jams through the air via Bluetooth 4.0 or by wire using the included 3.5mm auxiliary cord. Get it in black or cream, each with a guitar-inspired leather strap that facilitates carry.
Arriving in June. Read their press release or grab it then at Marshall Headphones – $300
The acoustical properties of wood set them apart from other materials used in making mid- to high-end audio equipment. Coincidentally, so do their aesthetic properties. Grain Audio’s Walnut Over-Ear Headphones, or OEHP for short, makes use of FSC certified solid walnut enclosures paired with proprietary 40mm drivers, each equipped with a neodymium magnet and a CCAW voice coil for pure, unadulterated sound, just as the artist intended. Other features include an inline mic and remote, thick foam on its over-ear cups for comfort through long sessions, and a surprisingly light weight that complements the latter.
Grab a pair at Amazon or Grain Audio – $200
Outdoor Tech’s Buckshot is a solid no-frills option for listening to jams on a bike. The Buckshot Pro, alternatively, comes complete with all the frills. This portable Bluetooth speaker still boasts a ruggedized IPX5 shock- and water-resistant casing, a rechargeable li-ion battery good for 10 hours of playtime, and a simple rubber handlebar mount that can also strap it to just about anything small. Moreover, it also doubles as as a three-mode flashlight thanks to the plug-on accessory and a backup battery to conveniently recharge your smartphone or GoPro.
Pick one up on Amazon – $80
Waterproof, dustproof, and ruggedized, the Drytunes Waterproof Speaker is your high-fidelity option for outdoor adventures. Drytunes is designed to play with the lid closed: pair it with a Bluetooth enabled device or plug it via auxiliary input, then snap it shut for up to 16 hours of continuous playback time. It also boasts over 400 cubic inches of internal dry storage to stash your more water-sensitive devices, including phones, cameras, tablets, wallets, keys, and more.
Grab one at Amazon – $400
No buttons, no batteries, and no electronics, Tok Tok’s Trobla does one thing and does it well: amplify your smartphone’s sound. Each Trobla is made of either walnut or maple wood and employs a cone in its center to keep tones sharp. It’s also got a hidden stand that pops out when in use to slightly angle the amplifier upwards and works with Tok Tok’s interchangeable smartphone adapters, at $5 a pop, to continue fitting future generations of smartphones.
Find it at Kickstarter – $65
Following up on their highly popular Major comes the Marshall Major II, a refreshed set of on-ear headphones that update performance and fit, amongst others. The spotlight of the Major II is new customized drivers that deliver an overall improved acoustic profile, particularly deeper bass and more detailed highs. Importantly, they’re also more solidly built, in part thanks to a more flexible headband, a durable vinyl finish, and redesigned, beefier hinges that still allow for the cans to collapse down and slip into a pack for easy transport. Other niceties include ultra soft ear cushions that passively dampen ambient noise, dual 3.5mm sockets — one per ear — to customize the side where the cord is worn or to share music with others, plus an inline mic and remote for taking calls or skipping tracks.
Grab a pair in black at Amazon ($100) or in several other colors at Marshall ($120)
There’s no denying the planned obsolescence that goes into the design of virtually all our modern electronics. AIAIAI flips this ugly practice on its head with their TMA-2 Modular Headphones, a set of cans that come together from individually selected speakers, headbands, earpads, and cables for a grand total of 360 combinations. First, choose from PU foam-, silicone-, or leather-padded headbands. Couple these to one of four 40mm drivers depending on your preferred listening profile, add on over- or on-ear earpads made of either PU leather or microfiber, and select one of six cables of varying lengths and with/without 1 or 3 button mics. And if you decide to eventually switch it up — or if any one component fails — swapping parts is as easy as snapping and plugging them in.
Build yours at AIAIAI – $145 to $250
Apple’s purchase of Beats hasn’t brought on any obvious changes to the headphone maker’s hardware — until now. While just skin deep, Beats’ Solo2 Wireless are now also available in Apple colors that include Space Grey, Gold, and Silver, perfectly matching the latter’s lineup of smartphones, tablets, and new MacBook. Otherwise, they still boast the same Bluetooth connectivity, 12 hour battery, RemoteTalk cable, and bass-heavy acoustic profile. Which begs the question of when we’ll see the first completely revamped, Apple-influenced Beats headphones.
Learn more at Beats (or save some cash on the original colors at Amazon) – $300
Fixed cables are problematic when tripped or pulled inadvertently, whether they be laptop chargers or other. Magzet Magnetic Audio Jack solves this problem for the audio jack in a way that’s very similar to Apple’s touted MagSafe adapter. Made up of a MAGjack that plugs into your device’s audio jack and a MAGkap that connects to your headphones’ audio cable, Magzet connects with a satisfying magnetic click and disconnects just as smoothly if pulled upon, potentially preventing your lighter devices from tumbling to the floor when carelessness gets the best of you. Plus, since each set includes multiple Magjacks, you can plug them into your favorite devices and leave them in, preventing unnecessary wear and tear caused by repeated plugging and unplugging.
Find it at Kickstarter – $35