Rock out with stylish ear candy

Jordan Bodkin

Today’s music is all about the deepest bass and the most killer beat, and these types of sounds can only come from something a little more substantial than a couple of strips of white dental floss hanging from each ear.

This trend of production-heavy music forced fashion and function to collide in a new wave of powerful, often colorful and always sonically savvy headphones.

Don’t think that a good set of headphones means putting two big, gray satellite dishes on your ears. While default in-ear buds are designed to provide a sleek and small feel to musical enjoyment, many companies are now manufacturing more comfortable, form-fitting and totally fly styles of headphones that don’t compromise sound quality for sleekness. Headphones come in a huge range of styles, sizes and functions that can help you express your personality without downgrading your sound quality.

Producer Dr. Dre attempts to fill the void left by run-of-the-mill earphones by releasing his own line of high-quality, high-fashion headphones called Beats by Dr. Dre. The line’s on-ear, noise-cancelling reproduction of sound allows you to experience well-produced music the way it was designed to be heard. The higher-quality Studio line runs at about $350, and a smaller alternative pair for almost $200. Lady Gaga recently followed Dr. Dre’s lead and came out with her own line of Heartbeats — diamond-shaped, in-ear buds that promise to deliver the highest quality of recorded audio playback — for about $120. If the diamond shape weren’t enough, Heartbeats are available in a variety of colors, including white, pink and black.

Renowned headphone manufacturer Skullcandy released a new line of fashion-inspired headphones in June. The RocNation Aviator headphones, priced at about $150 and inspired by the look of aviator sunglasses, are iPhone compatible and have great playback frequencies. Their sleek rocker style is perfect for people wanting their headphones looking as fierce as the beats dropping in their ears.

Skullcandy offers many other lines of headphones, each with different colors or styles to choose from. The company covers all sorts of fashionable appeals, from zebra-print fur to hard neon plastic. Each one is sure to make a statement. The caliber of the headphones and earbuds ranges from DJ-worthy sound reproduction to relatively generic frequencies, so be sure to check the quality of the headphones before choosing your pair purely for the aesthetics. Prices range from $20 to $150, but they pretty closely correlate to the quality of the sound — so, in other words, you get what you pay for.

Poor-quality headphones degrade sound reproduction values and ultimately provide a listening experience similar to the kind you would find in an elevator. To put some good music in your ears, put some quality headphones on your ears. It’s that simple.