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Audio Files: Are Expensive Headphones Really Worth It?

Brent Butterworth tests high-end headphones from Audeze, HiFiMan, JH Audio and more

Focal's Stellia headphones
Focal, a French company known for high-end speakers, recently introduced a few super-high-end models, including the new Stellia, which runs $3,000.

Many people think of headphones as commodity items that deserve little of your attention or budget. Headphone enthusiasts beg to differ. As manufacturers started inching up their prices after seeing the success Beats had selling $300 models, they found ’phone enthusiasts happy to spend more in search of sonic nirvana. The last two years have seen the launch of numerous headphones priced at $2,000 or more … and sometimes way more.

Don’t Take the A Train

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Brent Butterworth

Brent Butterworth has been a professional audio journalist since 1989, and has evaluated and measured thousands of audio products. He is currently a writer at Wirecutter and editor of the SoundStage Solo headphone site; served as an editor at such magazines as Sound & Vision and Home Theater; and worked as marketing director for Dolby Laboratories. He also plays double bass with several jazz groups in Los Angeles.