Audiophiles have gotten a lot of bad press recently, what with the apparently silly Pono music player (which plays much higher quality audio files despite almost no one being able to hear the difference) and the news from Wired magazine that "burning in" your headphones has no discernible effect on sound quality. Reading about the truly insane things audiophiles will do in pursuit of the perfect sound, I can't help reflecting back on that unfortunate period in my life when I almost fell down the same rabbit hole.

For me it started with a simple search for better headphones. I think I typed "best headphones under $50" into Google, and what came back was a series of lists, like this one or this one, ranking the best headphones at a series of price ranges. I settled on a pair pretty quickly, and when they arrived I loved them, but those lists had planted their hooks in my brain. How much better would my music sound if I were willing to spend just a little bit more?

I decided to research what headphones I would buy the next time I had ...

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