Star Power: 4 Celeb-endorsed headphones tested and rated

Wired

1. AKG Q460, 2. Monster Beats Pro (Detox Edition), 3. Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviator, 4. Signeo SOUL by Ludacris SL150
Photo Credit: Jens Mortensen

When it comes to celebrity endorsements, headphones are the new basketball shoes. It’s time to separate the sound from the noise..

Photo: Jens Mortenson

1. AKG Q460

A man with 27 Grammys and a producing credit on the best-selling album ever knows a thing or two about sound. Plugging in these headphones from AKG's Quincy Jones line proves it.

 

 

More from Wired.com:  

10 Apps You Should Download Right Now

Dual-Driver Earbuds That Won’t Break the Bank

Despite being the only on-ear model here, the 460s were the most versatile. Listening to Thriller—what else?—was as thrilling as ever thanks to the tight, punchy bass and meaty mids. But there's enough dynamic range and nuance to make everything from Dizzy Gillespie to Daft Punk spring to life.

WIRED Detachable cable. Lightest headphones tested. Clever fold-up design and handsome hard-shell carrying case. Outstanding value.

TIRED Slightly flimsy build. Lacks the noise isolation of over-ear units. Instrument separation could be better. $169, AKG

Rating: 8 out of 10

Photo: Jens Mortenson

2. Monster Beats Pro (Detox Edition)

As you'd expect from the flagship of Dr. Dre's headphone armada, bass is the dominant frequency here. But unlike other Monster phones, these aluminum beasts also give highs and mids their due. The more balanced sound signature lends itself not only to laid-back G-funk but also to classic rock and even classical. Reference headphones they are not, but if you're after pleasingly colored sound, the Pros will keep your head ringing—in a good way.

WIRED Smooth treble and midrange. Built like a tank. Flip-up cup design for DJing.

TIRED Overcooked bass trades accuracy for impact. Chintzy drawstring bag. Nearly a pound of heft plus overly firm earpads. No in-line mic or remote. Way expensive. $499, Monster Beats

Rating: 7 out of 10

Photo: Jens Mortenson

3. Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviator

Skullcandy built its reputation on catering to the style-conscious—good looks over good audio. So it's surprising that Jay-Z's Roc Nation-branded Aviators bring some decent sound quality to the mix. Behind each translucent ear cup, a 40-mm Mylar driver produces crisp highs and a rich, pleasant midrange. Strangely, the Aviators are a bit bass-shy; the shallow and underrepresented Billy Squier drumbeat in Jay-Z's "99 Problems" would make Rick Rubin cry.

WIRED Teardrop-shaped earpieces are the most comfortable of the bunch. Hits an admirable style/performance balance.

TIRED Hip hop branding, but the flaccid bass is better suited to country. No detachable cord. $150, Skullcandy

Rating: 6 out of 10

Photo: Jens Mortenson

4. Signeo SOUL by Ludacris SL150

Luda's stated goal of fusing design with performance is boilerplate for celeb-endorsed headphones. He's got the former taken care of, but the SL150s don't quite measure up to his sonic aspirations. There's bass o' plenty, but it tends to be sloppy and overly boomy. When we cranked the volume on some grimy dubstep, we got unacceptable distortion at the low end. The Signeos fared better with the raw vocals and blaring horns of classic soul, but still not well enough. Somehow even Ray Charles and Al Green seemed distant and formal.

WIRED Good isolation. Stormtrooper white will turn heads. Sturdy case.

TIRED Ham-fisted bass drowns out detail. More fashion accessory than headphone. $199, Signeo

Rating: 5 out of 10

More from Wired.com

100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About

2011 Picks for Android Phones

Exercise Accessories That Help You Measure Up

Why Bugaboo Donkey is the Best of Children's Strollers

 

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Op-Ed: We moved from New Jersey to a villa in Costa Rica and we only pay $400 a month

      The comfortable American dream doesn't compare to this paradise town in Costa Rica, writes Frederick Haywood.

      CNBC
    • David Cassidy Opens Up About His ‘Beautiful’ Son — and Why He Doesn’t Have a Relationship with His Daughter

      After revealing that he has been battling dementia since 2015, David Cassidy is opening up about his complicated relationships with his two children – Beau and Katie. “I’ve never had a relationship with her,” Cassidy, 66, exclusively tells PEOPLE of his only daughter — who has appeared on Gossip Girl and Arrow. “I’m proud of her,” adds Cassidy.

      People
    • Bill Gates supposedly has long way to go to catch the real richest man in the world

      Coming in at around $86 billion, Bill Gates has ridden his Microsoft fortune straight to the top of the Forbes list of the world’s richest men. Then again, the business magazine doesn’t take into account ...

      MarketWatch q 46 min ago
    • NASA announces discovery of 3 Earth-sized habitable planets around single star

      Feb. 22 (UPI) -- NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets surrounding a single star at a press conference on Wednesday -- three of which are entirely within the planetary system's habitable zone. Scientists found the seven planets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf named TRAPPIST-1. Scientists used the Spitzer Telescope to measure the planets' sizes, masses and orbits. "This is the most exciting discovery we've had yet with the Sptizer Telescope," Sean Carey, manager of the Spitzer Science Center, said during the NASA press conference. All three exoplanets in the habitable zone are prime targets for further exploration, but all seven could potentially host liquid water given the right

      UPI q
    • Mom's shocking photo of 10-year-old son depicts painful reality of cancer

      A mom posted this harrowing photo of her son to Facebook. This photo of a 10-year-old boy, bald, pained look on his face, standing in his pull-ups diaper while clinging on to the bathroom sink is quickly going viral on Facebook. The photo may not be pretty, it’s admittedly hard to look at, but it’s a raw depiction of what life is like for a cancer patient — which is exactly why the boy’s mother posted it.

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • A girl named Ehlena and a dog named Wonder win at U.S. Supreme Court

      The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with a disabled Michigan girl whose school refused to let her bring her service dog to class, making it easier for students like her to seek redress for discrimination in federal court. The justices ruled 8-0 that Ehlena Fry, 13, and her parents may not be obligated to go through time-consuming administrative appeals with the local school board before suing for damages for the emotional distress she said she suffered by being denied the assistance of her dog, a goldendoodle named Wonder. "We are thankful that the Supreme Court has clarified that schools cannot treat children with disabilities differently or stand in the way of their desired independence." The justices sent the case back to a lower appeals court to determine whether Ehlena's complaint involves the impermissible denial of a proper special education.

      Reuters
    • Ivanka Trump Wore a $950 Pencil Skirt With a Turtleneck (10 photos)

      Ivanka Trump might have stepped down from her fashion label, but that doesn’t mean her style game has suffered. Now that the 35-year-old daughter of President Donald Trump  has relocated to Washington, D.C., she’s often spotted in on-trend looks in her daily appearances from the White House to the Capitol Building (and the Trump Hotel too). From everyday work looks to extravagant gowns for upscale events, the first daughter’s outfits are generally always sophisticated and refined. Recently, the mother-of-three shared an image alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and her father wearing a sleek black dress — an sleek option she often sticks with. On the same day, the three participated in a discussion on women in business, a platform the 35-year-old mother is passionate about, and helped to launch The Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. Check out some of her most recent looks. Slideshow: Melania Trump Style File  Read More:  Lara Trump Says She’s on #TeamIvanka With Tank Top Related:  Ivanka Trump Supporters Are Boycotting Nordstrom: #BuyIvanka Let’s keep in touch! Follow Yahoo Style + Beauty on   Facebook ,  Twitter ,  Instagram , and  Pinterest .

      Yahoo Style
    • Malia Obama in Ultimate Rich Kids' Ski Trip Pic (PHOTO)

      Malia Obama is on an Aspen vacay that will absolutely make you HATE your life when you see who she's posing with in what has to be the richie richiest photo of all time. Here's the answer key for who's who in this shot, taken last weekend at Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro in Aspen: 1. Malia 2. Elizabeth Tisch, daughter of NY Giants co-owner Steve Tisch 3. Audrey Kotick, daughter of Activision/Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick (think Call of Duty money) 4. Fashion designer Monique Lhuillier 5. Jamie Tisch, ex-wife of Steve 6. Tom Bugbee, Monique Lhuillier's husband 7. Holden Tisch, daughter of Steve 8. Zachary Tisch, son of Steve 9. Tassilo von Furstenberg, grandson of Diane von Furstenberg When President

      TMZ q
    • Trump's Indian American adviser is also fond of beauty queens and stretching the truth

      NEW DELHI — Chicago industrialist Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar kept the Delhi press corps waiting for over an hour before he finally showed up with a Bollywood starlet in tow -- a woman he euphemistically refers to as his “daughter.” Kumar, 68, was there to discuss his role as “chief architect” of the Trump campaign’s outreach to the Indian-American community, but first things first: “You can clap now,” he instructed. The Indian-born Kumar -- one of Trump’s major donors and a tireless surrogate -- may be an unconventional choice for a U.S. ambassador, but countries around the world are dealing with rumors of unconventional American ambassadors heading their way. The notion that Sarah Palin would go

      Washington Post q
    • Amber Tamblyn says this is her baby’s name and she can’t be serious

      Amber Tamblyn and David Cross just welcomed a brand new baby girl into the world earlier today, and we are so excited…

      Hello Giggles
    • Amazon’s One-Day-Only, $8.62 Discount Is Too Good to Miss: Here Are 5 Things You Need to Buy Right Now

      Attention shoppers: Big things are happening on Amazon today. For one-day-only, the shopping site (which rarely offers discount codes) is giving customers $8.62 off any purchase of $50 or more with the code “BIGTHANKS” at checkout. It actually reflects Amazon’s record-high 86.27 ranking by the Harris Poll of Corporate Reputation. Which really just means it’s time to get your credit cards out!

      People 29 min ago
    • 5 Things About 'The Walking Dead' That Make No Sense, at All

      When it comes to a zombie apocalypse, we can only stretch our imaginations so far. Here are 5 things about 'The Walking Dead' that we just can't believe.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • Kellyanne Conway sidelined from TV after Flynn debacle

      Kellyanne Conway, once the most visible spokesperson for the Trump White House, has been sidelined from television appearances for making statements that were at odds with the administration's official stance, White House sources told CNNMoney on Wednesday. Conway has not given a television interview since early last week. On that Monday, she claimed that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had the president's "full confidence." Hours later, Flynn resigned. The following day, Conway claimed Flynn had offered to resign, even though White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump had asked Flynn for his resignation. She has not given a television interview since then. Those statements,

      CNN Money q 28 min ago
    • Snoopy Snuggles! Hoda Kotb’s Newborn Daughter Haley Joy Gets Oversized Gift from Andy Cohen

      Hoda Kotb‘s adopted newborn daughter Haley Joy is already being showered with gifts from her mom’s famous friends! On Wednesday, Kotb shared a sweet photo to Twitter of an oversized Snoopy sent to Haley Joy from Bravo personality — and Peanuts superfan — Andy Cohen. Kotb surprised Today audiences on Tuesday when she announced she had adopted Haley Joy.

      People
    • Money
    • Mexico fumes over Trump immigration rules as U.S. talks loom

      By Alexandra Alper and Anahi Rama MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Senior envoys of President Donald Trump are likely to receive a chilly reception in Mexico on Wednesday, after the United States issued new immigration guidelines that deeply angered the southern neighbor the day before bilateral talks. Trump's administration on Tuesday unveiled plans to consider almost all illegal immigrants subject to deportation, and will seek to send many of them to Mexico if they entered the United States from there, regardless of their nationality. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are due to arrive in Mexico on Wednesday afternoon for talks on security and immigration.

      Reuters 58 min ago
    • 50,000 San Jose residents under evacuation orders in San Jose

      New mandatory evacuations have been issued overnight in San Jose as flooding continues to spread along Coyote Creek. The city estimates 14,000 residents are in the mandatory evacuation zone.

      KGO – San Francisco
    • Supreme Court rules for disabled child and her dog in lawsuit case

      A unanimous Supreme Court said on Wednesday that the parents of a girl born with cerebral palsy can sue for damages after public school officials barred her service dog from her classroom.

      National Constitution Center
    • Police release audio of suspect in Indiana girls' deaths

      DELPHI, Ind. (AP) — A teenage girl turned her cellphone on and recorded a man saying "down the hill" before she and a friend were killed along a northern Indiana hiking trail last week, authorities said Wednesday.

      Associated Press
    • This photo of Angelina Jolie as a child at the 1986 Academy Awards is ICONIC

      Is there anything more iconic than Angelina Jolie as a child at the 1986 Academy Awards?! Before the days of couture dresses…

      Hello Giggles