AKG K812 Over-the-Ear Headphones

Style plays a major role in Beats' overwhelming success, but millions of Beats owners will be in for a pleasant surprise when they buy their next headphones.

In fact, I've picked 10 headphones across various price points that I personally prefer to Beats. First up is the AKG K812.

The K812's uber-spacious quality is addictive (well, they do retail for $1,499), and once you get used to it, other headphones sound closed in and claustrophobic.

Photo by: AKG / Caption by:

Beyerdynamic DX 160 iE In-Ear Headphones

This Beats buster makes a lot of bass, but it's not thick or muddy. The DX 160 iE ($120) bass definition is excellent, and this headphone's sound clicked with rock, jazz, electronica, and classical music. Midrange detailing is excellent, but treble clarity is somewhat lacking.

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Hifiman RE 400 In-Ear Headphones

The Hifiman RE-400's sound is so well-balanced and pure, you might not at first realize how good it is. Its unforced clarity is easy to listen to for hours on end, probably because there's no boosted treble or trickery of any kind; the RE-400 ($99) just goes about its business sounding accurate and natural.

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Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Over-the-Ear Headphones

While Audio-Technica claims there's no difference between the sound of the original ATH-M50 and the updated version, we think the new ATH-M50x ($239) sounds clearer with more detailed bass, midrange, and treble.

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Grado SR325e Over-the-Ear Headphones

The SR325e ($295) looks a lot like Grado's traditional designs, but the sound-producing elements are refreshed, so an Audiophiliac review is in the works. This open-back design produces a more spacious sound than most closed-back headphones.

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Beyerdynamic T 51p On-Ear Headphones

The Sennheiser On-Ear Momentum, Bowers & Wilkins P5, and V-Moda XS are all really decent sounding headphones, but the Beyerdynamic T 51p ($289) sounds better and it's more comfortable to wear.

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Shure SE846 In-Ear Headphones

The Shure SE846 ($1,250) is a brilliant design, one that marries state-of-the-art engineering with a rare musicality.

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KingSound KS-H3 Electrostatic Headphones

For audiophiles craving ultimate transparency, the KS-H3 ($875) will be a mind-blowing experience. Voices, acoustic guitars, pianos, horns, and percussion instruments sound more like themselves than they do over other headphones.

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NAD Viso HP50 Over-the Ear Headphones

The Viso HP50 ($299) scores big on comfort and sound, with just the right balance of bass, midrange, and treble that flatters all types of music.

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Jerry Harvey Roxanne In-Ear Headphones

The Jerry Harvey Roxanne ($1,649) is, hands-down, the best-sounding in-ear headphone you can buy. The review is in the works.

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