Earphones can provide a good sound thanks to noise isolation, but for truly impressive and immersive sound reproduction, on-ear or over-ear headphones are the way to go.
While some sets of cans are simply too big to wear in public, others can prove to be top-notch performers. Still others are perfect for serious hi-fi listening at home.
The 2014 What Hi-Fi? Awards have ushered in seven new pairs of on-ear and over-ear headphones. So, whether you're looking for portable, wireless, noise-cancelling or just an accomplished pair for home, here are the best pairs of on-ear headphones to buy in 2014...
Best portable on-ear headphones up to £100
Tested at £80 - Compare Prices
AKG has bettered its own previous Award-winner with the Y50s. They replace the K451s as the best portable on-ears up to £100 thanks to a new, refreshing style and an all-round solid performance for their size and price. It's also because of this, that the Y50s walked away with the Product of the Year title too.
MORE: Read our full AKG Y50 review
Best portable on-ear headphones £100 - £200
Tested at £180 - Compare Prices
The Fidelio M1MKIIs replace their MKI predecessor as our favourite portable on-ears up to £200. They keep the same impressive amounts of detail, but improve in virtually all other areas, namely precision, clarity and sense of space. Philips has taken a winning formula, and made it even better.
MORE: Read our full Philips Fidelio M1MKII review
Best portable on-ear headphones £200-£300
Tested at £245 - Compare Prices
The T51is finally include the in-line microphone we've been longing for to make them truly portable and suitable for smartphone users. As with their predecessor, the T51is sound truly superb and are easily some of the best at this price.
MORE: Read our full Beyerdynamic T51i review
Best home on-ears up to £150
Tested at £250, now available for £99 - Compare Prices
The K550s have long been a favourite of ours and won the award for best home headphones £150+ at the 2013 What Hi-Fi? Awards. They've since had a price reduction and now can had for under £100, making them an absolute steal.
MORE: Read our full AKG K550 review
More after the break
Best home on ears £150 - £300
Tested at £300 - Compare Prices
The SR325es are the first pair of third generation Grados, and with them, they bring a new generation of sound. They're dynamic, balanced and well-detailed and hardly ever put a foot wrong. Their open-back design does lead to sound leakage, but it's because of this design that they sound so wonderful.
MORE: Read our full Grado SR325e review
Best wireless on-ear headphones
Tested at £250 - Compare Prices
Philips has once again held on to first place in 2014 with the new and improve M2BTs. They sound largely the same as the M1BTs, but that's no bad thing. They remain detailed and don't succumb to harshness often found in wireless headphones. A few cosmetic changes and the addition of NFC keep the Philips Fidelio M2BTs well above the competition.
Best noise-cancelling headphones
Tested at £270
When it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, there can only really be one winner. Consistently proving to be the best option when it comes to blocking out unwanted noise, Bose once again prevails. The QC25s build on the QC15s long running success by improving sound quality and design to be the ultimate noise-cancelling package.
MORE: Read our full Bose QuietComfort 25 review