This is what your headphones say about you

While you're busy listening, your headphones are talking — about you. What do you want them to say, bud?

Listen up, bud! Headphones matter. Just ask my childhood friend Freddie Beasely, who spent an entire afternoon in the school art department painting his black headphone cables white so that the girls thought he had an iPod. At twenty yards or more, you couldn’t tell the difference — but twenty yards was all that Freddie needed. By the time we were 16 he was going out with Livvy Prince (I know!), and the teachers often permitted him an extra tumbler of beer at intra-school socials. Freddie now works at Goldman Sachs. I’m sure the two are connected.

But headphones have moved on (and so, I’m told, has our school’s famously relaxed policy on childhood beers — the quitters). Here’s what your headphones now say about you.

Apple Airpods

The first time you saw them, you thought they’d jumped the shark. The name doesn’t even work. Sounds like a Glaswegian saying “ear buds” — which would have made far more sense, come to think of it. Apple had finally lost the plot, you said — Steve Jobs would be rolling in his grave. They’ll fall out, surely! And for £159! One of your pals (not a particularly funny pal, but at least he was topical) stuck a Swan cigarette filter in each ear and pretended he was listening to Sean Paul. Everyone at the pub laughed and said, “yeah, they’re rubbish, I’ll never get them.”

But then you did, and so did they, and so did everyone else you know. And you use them to call your mother as you walk around the Fulham Waitrose, and you listen to The Times Red Box Politics Podcast on them as you do your Couch to 5k coronavirus challenge runs, and sometimes you just put them in your ears and don’t listen to anything at all. Still, bloody good bits of kit.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

You fly a lot, we get it. Picked that up from the Rimowa rolling suitcase (stainless steel) with the Gstaad and Tulum stickers on it. Lovely Loro Piana cashmere tracksuit set, too. You’re like Kendall Roy in Succession, aren’t you, only with slightly less daddy issues and moderately better shoes. And noise cancelling is an absolute must for the redeye flight, don’t you find — even in business class and after all that valium.

This is what your headphones say about you

Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II


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Apple AirPod Pros

You’re a graphic designer, but not really. You’re also a photographer, but sort of not. You’re a creative director, that’s for sure — and you’re a freelance brand consultant and digital strategist, too. (You guys heard of TikTok yet?) You often sit in Soho House White City in a plain black cap, and sometimes you appear to be in LA.

So you need good sound quality, yes, but also understated discretion — the kind of understated discretion that says: ‘I’m helping F45 develop their emoji strategy.’ Let’s collaborate.

Sennheiser CX SPORT

Thinking about doing the Marathon des Sables next year? Buy these little puppies and a Camelbak while you’re considering it — and then opt for the Clapham Common 10k instead. Besides, ultra running does so little for your abs. Better just to stick to your 28-day meal plan and your U18s Surrey County rugby shorts and dropping those weights really loudly in the gym. 46 days till Yacht Week. Let’s do this.

Beats Studio 3 Wireless

You ran a Tuesday night club night in Newcastle called Let’s Get F*cked Uppingham!, and know all the words to Lose Yourself by Eminem. You DJ, a bit, sure (CDJs, not vinyl), and once you even almost got into Berghain. You smoke rollies and own one of those tiny little skateboards, and you have to take out your nose ring every morning because KPMG have such a bum out policy on piercings.

This is what your headphones say about you

Beats Studio 3 Wireless


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Looking for something a bit more understated? These are the best true wireless earbuds to buy now…

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