Music on the move: cans and buds for the daily commute

It’s a great time to be a music lover on the move. No longer do audiophile commuters have to compromise on sound quality; with smartphone sound quality improving with every new iteration, the days of having to tote around a portable digital-to-analog signal converter (DAC) are almost behind us.

Not only that, but technology has advanced to the point where you don’t need a home entertainment system to enjoy quality music on the go. With music streaming services like Spotify Premium and Tidal offering lossless-quality music for download, you’re going to want to make the most out of your audio experience. Whether you want the best noise-cancellation, or bone-conduction, or a simply the best sound quality, here is the best audio gearto fill your commute with music.

Sennheiser PXC 550

Image: Sennheiser US

Another hallowed brand in the audio world, Sennheiser is far from a newbie to portable headphones. With their Urbanite series and more recently their Momentum line being among the go-to choices for audiophiles on the go, Sennheiser is looking to dethrone the reigning king of active noise cancellation, Bose.

And it looks like the PXC 550 is about to commit some serious regicide. The new Sennheisers are controlled entirely by touch controls on the earcups – swipe up and down to increase or decrease volume, or left and right to skip tracks. There’s no power button – the headphones automatically switch on when unfolded, and are turned off by closing them.  And did we mention that they’re entirely wireless? Sennheiser’s latest is the way of the future.

Bose QuietComfort 35

Image: Forbes

Love them or hate them, Bose has always been the go-to brand for active noise cancellation technology. Even with Sennheiser’s PXC 550 seeking to usurp the throne, Bose’s latest QuietComfort 35 shows no signs of giving it up easily.

The QuietComfort 35 finally brings wireless technology to the legendary QuietComfort series, and still boasts the best noise cancellation technology in the business. Putting these on is like listening to your tunes in the dead of night, eliminating all but the loudest and most sudden of noises. Odds are, with their incredibly ergonomic earcups and soft Alcantara-wrapped earpads, you’re more likely than not to fall asleep wearing these babies.

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC

Image: B&H Photo Video

A revision of the revered ATH-MSR7 released in November 2014, Japanese audio brand Audio-Technica has somehow managed to improve on perfection by adding active noise-cancelling technology to these beautiful headphones. Streamlined and stylish in black with silver edging, these headphones look as good as they sound.

Even without the noise-cancelling technology, the MSR7NC is a pure delight to listen to. Perhaps the best example of Audio-Technica’s house sound in a portable headphone, the MSR7 really lets female vocalists shine with sparkling treble, and a surprisingly large soundstage for a closed-back. And certified with the Hi-Res Audio label, you’ll get the most out of your high-quality FLAC files out of the MSR7NC.

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium AS600

Image: Aftershokz

Let’s say you’re a fitness junkie who loves some music on the go. Don’t like the bulk of headphones, and would rather have the convenience of a pair of earphones instead? Designed to be lightweight, incredibly tough and water-resistant, the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium look to be your device of choice.

Using revolutionary new bone conduction technology, the Trekz Titanium sit outside your ears and conduct sound through your cheek bones, instead of directly into your ear canal. This allows cyclists and runners to enjoy their music while maintaining awareness of oncoming traffic and other potential hazards.

Noble Katana

Image: Super Best Audio Friends

Some might balk at the idea of paying a cool $2,600 for a pair of earphones, but to the serious audiophile, the Katana is an absolute steal. Noble is a household name among audiophiles, with their previous in-ear monitors (IEMs) among the most highly-regarded all over the world. From the entry-level Savant, to their flagship K10 IEM, each of Noble’s products is an absolute work of art.

So what justifies the Katana’s astronomical price tag? While most IEMs use one or two balanced-armature drivers on each side, the Katana features not one, not two, but a whopping nine drivers crammed into each monitor. Combined with the incredibly comfortable universal fit and the pristine build quality, the Katana is a piece of gear as well-crafted as the sword it takes its name from.

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