Full-size headphones with inline remote and mic
Full-size headphones give you big sound that's tough to get from earbuds and other types of headphones. But for Mac and iOS users, opting for the comfort and full-range sound of full-size cans usually means giving up the conveniences of an inline remote-control/microphone module. We've rounded up a number of big 'phones that don't require such a compromise. The inline remote on these models lets you control media playback and adjust volume level when used with any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, recent Mac, or recent non-touch iPod. You can also use the module's microphone and center button for making and taking phone calls, as well as for using Siri or Voice Control.
When the $300 Beats Studio, a collaboration between Monster Cable and Beats by Dr. Dre, debuted in 2008, it was perhaps the first full-size headphone that included an Apple-compatible inline remote and microphone. (Unlike the other headphones here, the Beats Studio's remote is a single-button version.) And while many were initially skeptical of its audio chops, it sounds surprisingly good, if a bit bass-heavy. It's also very comfortable, and its around-the-ear earpads and active noise-cancelation dramatically reduce external noise, making the Beats Studio a popular travel companion.
Soul by Ludacris SL300 models
Another hip-hop/gadget collaboration, Soul Electronics' Soul By Ludacris line includes the SL300WB (black and white), the SL300GG (gold and black), and the just-announced SL300CG (chrome/gold), each $300. Like the Beats Studio, the SL300 models feature comfortable, around-the-ear earpads and active noise cancelation for reducing external noise. Each SL300 model folds up to stow in an included bulky-but-rigid case. A fun and funky touch is the light-up ring on each earpiece.
House of Marley Stir It Up On-Ear Headphones
House of Marley's $200 Stir It Up is an on-ear model manufactured using "eco-responsible materials," including recyclable aluminum, responsibly tanned canvas and leather, and FSC wood. The company—indeed affiliated with the family of the late reggae star—says the on-ear pads are soft enough that they provide a good amount of noise isolation. As you might expect, given the Stir It Up's musical heritage, these headphones won't leave you wanting for bass.
Fanny Wang Over Ear Wangs
With its chunky, folding-headband design and comfortable, around-the-ear earpieces, Fanny Wang's $250 Over Ear DJ Wangs (a.k.a. the 2000 Series, available in black/white, red/white, or pink/white) at first glance looks similar to the aforementioned offerings from Beats and Soul. But Fanny Wang has added a couple interesting features that set the Over Ear Wangs apart: A Bass switch provides a purported 6dB boost in bass response thanks to an internal, battery-powered amplifier, and an inline Y splitter lets you share your music with a friend by simply plugging in a second set of headphones. The included hardshell case is, as with similar models, bulky, but a handy carabiner clip lets you attach the case to your bag instead of stuffing it inside.
The company also offers the $300 Over Ear Noise Canceling Wangs (a.k.a. the 3000 Series, available in black, blue/white, or gray/white), which are similar to the Over Ear DJ Wangs but include active-noise-canceling circuitry.
Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) P5 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphones
We've been big fans of B&W's $300 P5 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphones since we reviewed the P5 back in 2010. In fact, it won a 2010 Eddy Award. As we said at the time: "The P5 redefines portable headphones by offering full-size-headphone sound quality and comfort in a package that easily fits in your bag, throwing in outstanding passive noise isolation and beautiful design for kicks. The P5’s construction is superb, and clever features such as swappable, no strain cables and magnetically attached, replaceable earpads add long-term value. Tipping the Eddy scales is the Apple-style, three-button inline remote/microphone module that works with iPhones, the iPad, and recent iPods, iMacs, and MacBooks to let you chat and control media playback."
Incase Sonic Over Ear Headphones
Longtime Apple-accessory maker Incase recently entered the audio market with a full line of headphones. The $150 top-of-the-line Sonic Over Ear Headphones offer impressive sound quality and reflect the company's sleek, minimalist design aesthetic—something any Apple user can appreciate. Incase claims the suede-covered, memory-foam earpieces are custom designed for maximum comfort and sound isolation. The Sonic is available in white with orange trim; gray with blue trim; or black with green trim. Each model includes two inline-remote-equipped cables—one to match the headphone color, the other its trim.
Marshall Major FX
Venerable pro-audio vendor Marshall recently debuted the $140 Major FX, a headphone designed for the rigors of use in the studio, on the road, or just around the house. The large, soft earpieces offer noise isolation, and the partially coiled cable lets you stretch to grab that switch or knob that might otherwise be just out of reach. When it's time to pack up, the Major FX folds up into a compact bundle. If you're the nostalgic type, you'll appreciate that the top of the headband is made of the same vinyl used in Marshall amplifiers.
V-Moda Crossfade M-80 and Crossfade LP
It wasn't too long ago that V-Moda was known for its stylish and good-sounding in-ear-canal headphones, but the company now offers a couple standout full-size headphones. The $199 around-the-ear Crossfade LP (right), available in black/chrome, white/chrome, red/black, gunmetal/black, or black/purple, offers a bass-heavy sound and significant isolation. It's also available in a limited edition LP2 version that offers slightly more-balanced sound and a minimalist design, and an LP Custom version that lets you choose the colors and even the design on the LP's metal earpiece "shields."
The more-compact $229 Crossfade M-80 (left) is an on-ear model that still provides surprisingly good noise isolation, along with more-balanced sound than the Crossfade LP, in a tiny package that's built like a tank. You can purchase additional earpiece shields for the M-80, sporting either V-Moda's stock designs or one of your own.
Both models include a hardshell carrying case, two detachable cables with the inline remote/mic module, and a two-year warranty.
Sol Republic Tracks and Tracks HD
Sol Republic's $100 Tracks and $130 Tracks HD are billed as "virtually indestructible" and "the world's first interchangeable headphone." The former claim refers to the fact that all Tracks headbands are made of the company's FlexTech polymer compound; the latter claim alludes to the Tracks' removable earpieces and cables, which can be easily swapped out. The Tracks is available in black, black/white, or red/white; The Tracks HD is available in silver/black, silver/white, and silver/gray. According to the company, Tracks HD uses upgraded audio components that offer deeper bass and clearer treble.
Sol Republic has also collaborated with Colorware to offer custom-color versions of the Tracks ($225), the Tracks HD ($250), and replacement headbands ($50).
Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviator
Originally known for skater gear, Skullcandy has made a name for itself in the audio market with the $150 Roc Nation Aviator, available in brown/gold, white/chrome, or black/chrome. (The Aviator is also currently available in two $180 special editions, the Chad Reed Two Two, and the Ting Tings.) A collaboration with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation imprint, the Aviator sports a stylish, retro design; spring hinges and copious padding for comfort; and audio that's a bit bassy, but a fun listen. When traveling, the Aviator folds up to fit in the included soft pouch.
Klipsch Image One, Reference One, Mode M40
Veteran audio vendor Klipsch has wholeheartedly embraced the Apple ecosystem with three full-size headphones sporting a three-button inline remote/mic. The $150 Image One (left) and $180 Reference One (middle) are on-ear models with earpieces that fold flat for easier packing. The $350 Mode M40 (right), to be available soon, is an around-the-ear model with active noise-cancelation circuitry and thick padding for travel comfort. The M40 also features dual drivers in each earpiece: a 15mm tweeter and a 40mm woofer.
Bose QuietComfort 15
Bose has long been the king of noise-canceling headphones, though the past few years have seen a number of quality competitors vying for the crown. The company responded with the $300 QuietComfort 15, which Bose claims offers better sound quality, better noise-canceling technology, and longer battery life than the Quiet Comfort 3 we favorably reviewed. The QuietComfort 15 also folds flat for travel and includes the requisite three-button inline remote/microphone module.