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Words by Mr Gavin Brett

Music is fighting a battle royal. The digital world threatens not only to deliver artists a life of diminishing returns, but the very sounds those musicians create are now being electronically compressed, converted and streamed into the ether with scant regard for the final audio quality reaching our ears.

For most, there's no noticeable difference. But for the purists - those audiophiles who aurally examine each envelope of sound as if their lives depend on it - it's sonic sacrilege. And the sublime listening experiences of old must be faithfully recreated through time, investment and, among towers of high-end kit, only the finest headphones in existence.

Ironically, of course, it's thanks only to the ingenuity of increasingly smart digital technology that headphones are now so advanced they can outperform an amp and speaker setup that costs tens of thousands. And then there's the construction materials, mined thoughtfully from mother nature (mahogany), aerospace (titanium and aluminium) and science (advanced polymers), in order that we hear not just each note with atomic precision, but everything above, below and beyond the frequency. Nothing can escape these cans, and neither will your affections after you've experienced our selection, above, of the eight best.

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