Over the past year or so, I’ve somehow turned my buying/returning attention to headphones. Without realizing it, I noticed 4 sets of wireless earbuds on my shelf and I thought to myself, “How did this happen?” I suppose it applies to nearly anything with me, but I’m always in search of that one thing that can do the best at being utilitarian: great at most things even if not the best at anything. In the past 12 months, I’ve been known to have multiple sets of earbuds, a few wireless earbuds, and at least one set of standard headphones on me at all times.

It really all started with the Bose QuietComfort IIs for me. I literally tried about 5 different brands of over-ear and on-ear headphones trying to find a way to get good sound, comfortable fit, and workable sound isolation from a set of cans that didn’t cost $300. I went through a ton of models before finally breaking down and buying the Bose. They provide great sound (arguably not the best), comfortable fit, and some of the best noise cancellation in the business. Once I landed there, I just stopped looking.

My attention then turned to wireless earbuds after I took the dive with Airpods a little over a year ago. After using them for a bit, I realized how much I love the idea of having a set of headphones I can keep in my pocket for use in nearly any situation. AirPods are a great little package, but they fall short in a few categories. First, they don’t sound that great. They don’t provide a true seal in your ear canal, so quite a bit of outside sound gets in. On iOS or iPadOS, gaming latency is great, but that doesn’t hold for Android or on Chromebooks, unfortunately.