Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Headphone recommendations (or “Why I hate my ears”)

My cheap framed headphones that I’ve been using since last summer packed in on Sunday (or rather stopped working on one side) so I’m on the lookout for a new pair. I’m looking for something that roughly matches the following:

  • Costs no more than £20 (and preferably under £15)
  • Must be available from a reputable UK retailer (i.e. not eBuyer)
  • Has resonable/good sound quality
  • Has a frame of some sort

The last point is key, since bud earphones like those that came with my iPod Mini don’t work with my ears. They only just stay in when I’m sat down – if I’m walking around, they constantly fall out. This has been a problem for me with any bud earphones and isn’t specific to the iPod ones. Therefore, I need a frame to hold the speakers in place.
Headphones with earclips are another option but in the past I’ve found these to be uncomfortable and require more effort to put on.
I’ve never been a fan of my ears – compared with the rest of my head they’re pretty large, and at school I occasionally got teased for it. If it were possible, and if I had more money than sense, I’d possibly consider having them re-shaped, but it’s not something I’m too bothered with right now.
So yeah, headphones recommendations please 🙂 .


  1. I have been told to recommend the Sony MDR-V300 headphones from my “audio friend”.
    Nothing wrong with eBuyer by the way. I’ve personally had no problems with them. But I have with Dabs.

  2. Have you thought about the in-ear style buds, the expensive ones apple sell or the sony variation (the model of which I forget).
    I really like the in-ear ones, they give good volume are nice and convenient and actually block out a lot of external sound.

  3. I too can’t really use buds – they just make my ears sore after a bit.
    I have those exact headphones (Sony MDR-V300) and I love them. I walk to and from work daily with my iPod, and I am extremely grateful for my MDRs.
    They’re not bulky, and the sound quality is brilliant (another of my gripes with buds is that they just sound rubbish and weak).
    I did feel a bit of a spectacle for a few days, as they are pretty obvious compared to buds, but now I can’t walk to work without them.

  4. I can’t wait to see what people recommend here. The ipod headphones are a real niggle, and I can’t figure out how people hear their music while rattling along the jubilee line (practically had to ram mine into my ear canal) – so I’ll follow this thread with interest.
    Right now, in the office, I’m wearing my trusty sennheiser HD40s ( bought for £20 years ago at Richer Sounds ( What I like about them is the the actual speaker components come away from the band, which is much better if you drift off to Brian Eno whilst in bed.
    Alas, that missive notwithstanding, it looks like sennheiser have completely changed the range and I can’t find anything comparable, although the HD433 seem to come close.

  5. I’ve had some sony headphones for years that I swear by. They actually go inside your ears haha. Must have had them for about 4 years ‘cos i used them for my old minidisc walkman so i dunno what the current model is.
    I don’t know what you call the type of headphones either and i seem to remember that they were quite expensive, they are a bit like earbuds except that there is a piece of silicone rubber in the shape of a pod that protrudes from the speaker part and goes right inside your ear, bit like having an earbud surgically implanted.
    The sound is incredible and completely cuts off any environmental sound. Also, if you think the bass is slightly lacking on an ipod than these are ideal, the bass is amazing, probably because its right up against your eardrum lol.
    Anyway, because it actually goes inside your ear it stays firmly in-place.

  6. As far as MRKisThatKid says I have a similar thing made by sure but they cost around 50 quid and are a bit of pain to get in your ear properly and a pain to take out. I personally love my sennheiser PMX60s they were 30quid but they have come down no idea what they are now but they are amazing sound quality and are light.
    Hope you find what your looking for …

  7. I used to have the same problem with bud headphones (I only buy them because they are quite cheap, don’t mind being sat on and can easily be put in a pocket). But here’s how I worked around it
    1) Put bud headphone in ear (most important part)
    2) With cable loop from the bottom of the ear to the top with the cable being held between your ear and your head
    3) Have cable hanging down from top of the ear down to mp3 player.
    The “loop around the ear” helps prevent cable stress and keeps the bud in your ear (well, it works for me…)

  8. I just tried that now and as well as looking silly it didn’t make them stay much longer than otherwise 🙁
    Thanks for the recommendations everyone, keep them coming 🙂

  9. I too have annoying ears that don’t work with most buds, they generally stay for a while, but are prone to falling out, and make my ears sore after approx 30mins-1 hour of use.
    The only ones I have found to be comfortable and that actually stay in, are the Sony ones mentioned earlier in the comments for this post, with the bud plus bud style phones, model no: MDR-ED21LP
    They’re in the Fontopia headphones section.

  10. I personally use the grado sr 60’s, which cost $69 us, i don’t know how much that is in pounds.. but they are truely great. they are comfortable and most reviews say that they sound as good as headphones three times their price. If you love music, then you need good sound!