No Beats Please: 5 Stylish Headphones That Don't Suck

We've been seeing more fancy-looking designer headphones in the market these days, and these pricey headphones have slowly turned into an accessory for people to wear and show off rather than to use it to... you know, listen to music. Fashion models are even starting to catwalk down the runway with headphones as luxury fashion accessories.

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Like this one, presumably.


Do a quick search on Pinterest and you'll see a number of boards on outfit inspiration posts completed with a pair of headphones. There are also surveys which show that younger crowds are favouring more stylish and prettier headphones as compared to those with better sound quality but are less trendy or aesethetically pleasing. 

But while a cool headset can surely enhance your 'street style' look, should the sound quality be compromised? How many of these people on the streets actually care about the sound quality of their headphones and are not treating them merely as a trendy (and expensive) fashion accessory to pull off a certain look? Perhaps we'll be seeing fake headphones around in the near future – ie. ear muffs that just happen to look like headphones.


Street style? I don't know though. These look a bit... corky.


The fashion aspect of headphones seems to have worn down their original purpose — not everyone you see strutting their stuff with a headset is doing it for that all-round stereo experience they’re supposed to offer. Of course that’s fine and all, people are entitled to putting weight on their ears for complete silence. The problem is that companies seem to be catching on to the trend, making headphones with designs bigger and bolder, at the cost of sub-par sound quality. Not to mention, many of these are ridiculously expensive.


Yes, we really did mean bigger.


We believe that headphones are still meant to serve their primary function as a music accessory. While their appearance and fashionability may be more socially important now, sound quality and performance should never be compromised. But with all that headphones fashion hype (and we do admit some of these look pretty cool), we decided both is good.

Here are some headphones that sound as great as they look. You might just find something with more value for money, while still being stylish as always. You fashionista, you.


Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears


Sound: A terrific all-rounded package. The crisp highs of these cans are matched by its respectable mids and tight bass response. They're a very versatile pair so you wouldn't have to worry about constantly adjusting EQ.

Design: These Momentum headphones have got to be one of the prettiest headphones from the German brand. Though the choices they offer from their wide selection of colours are more subdued than Beats, its exquisite metallic finish gives off a more luxurious feel (well, they aren’t cheap anyway). The delightfully comfy cushion earpads allow long hours of listening without fatigue.

Where to get it:

1. Amazon (S$313.16)

2. Stereo (S$319.00)

3. Lazada (S$309.00)


V-Moda Crossfade M-100



Sound: The muscular, deep low-end from the M-100 provides a three-dimensional listening experience for all music listeners. Its strength in clarity and mids truly make it an audiophile winner. The overall build is also great for concert and live music use.

Design: Standing out for its minimal cyberpunk-like design, V-Moda headphones definitely stand out from your usual retails headphones, especially with its metal skin that gives it an edgier look if you’re planning to use them as an accessory too. There’s even an option to customise your own design. Sadly they don’t ship directly to Singapore for now, but you can always use a shipping merchant or just get the default design from local retailers.

Where to get it:

1. Stereo (S$459)

2. Amazon (S$340.32)



AIAIAI TMA-2 Young Guru Preset


Sound: The Young Guru headphones offer a vibrant and balanced sound even though naturally it has a stronger focus on bass. Its sound is very smooth and transparent, while colored enough for balanced enjoyment across varying sound quality.

Design: This rugged set sports a cool, minimalist look with a matte black cover and red coiled cables. Apart from their preset headphone designs, AIAIAI provides a unique headphone configuration service that allows you to personalise your headphones, genre categories for you to pick the most suitable pair, and even offers special sets designed by musicians themselves. Each set comes in its separate parts within the box for you to put together, making any part substitutions easier. Fashion aside, the pair is super lightweight, with rubber-covered speaker units, memory foam earpads for ultra-comfort and a convenient cable lock function to boot.

Where to get it:

1. Amazon (S$355.01)

2. Soundbase Megastore (S$339.82)

3. Thomann (S$385.03)


Marshall Major II


Sound: No surprise here, the Major II headphones are ace performers when it comes to rock music. There’s still a crisp vividness within the highs and mids that bring out those little bits and quiet layers we often miss, offering a decent soundstage that's a lot more in-your-face.

Design: This set has a classic Marshall feel to it, with the same cool, sleek look that their amps are known for. With their iconically square speaker units, the headphones come in elegant matte colours of black (with golden accents), pitch black, brown, or white. And if you’d like to flash these guys around all day, you certainly can: they’re light, comfortable, and don’t hurt your ears after long periods. They’re pretty convenient too – providing a detachable cable, inline remote and microphone. What’s more, they’re foldable at the headband for easier storage. Pretty sweet.

Where to get it:

1. Challenger stores (S$179)

2. Swee Lee Singapore (S$139)

3. Amazon (S$120.81 - S$144.60)



Tiesto AKG K167



Sound: Don't be fooled by the endorsement — this is AKG we're talking about. The K167s are a pair of impressive headphones with variable bass and broad frequency range. Its advanced noise reduction is perfect for live performances or if you full noise cancellation is something you’re looking for. 

Design: Designed for club and studio use, these headphones are also great for on the go as its minimalist design isn’t too vibrant but adds a simple touch to finish your outfit, definitely a subtle chic piece. This set of classy headphones comes in another model with a slightly more complex design.

Where to get it:

1. Amazon (S$148.46)

2. Lazada (S$329.00)

3. Rakuten (S$359.00)

Written by Chew Wei Li, Lim Jia Ying & Daniel Peters