Last week's column suggested hi-fi desktop audio systems ranged from little eggs with great speaker drivers inside to the imposing yet notepad-thin Mini Maggies from Magnepan.

There's a chance you're like many who crave excellent sound and a taste of that 3-D holographic listening experience but don't have the space or the option to use speakers at your desk. The obvious answer for the desktop listener, then, is a good set of headphones.

What's great about headphones these days is there are many more types and models that sound truly excellent and realistic than ever before in audio's long history.

At the same time, there are far more horrific-sounding headphones out there than good. Because of capitalism and the mass purchasing spree ignited by Beats by Dre, you can get a really horrible set of around-the-ear headphones at nearly any gas station. I think I saw a headphones kiosk at Home Depot recently.

These companies prey upon the general unwitting public's lack of sonic standards, and I'm sure quite a few Skullcandy cheapos are sold from gas stations and hardware stores despite their sonic failures.

Even established, respected brands have discount models that sound like garbage. My wife brought home a pair of over-ear Bose fold-ups a year or two back that shocked me with their limited range and general shittiness. The jury's out on whether they outperform the Home Depot Skullcandies, but what I'm telling you here is real.


Take my word for it — you've got to spend around $300 to get any headphones that are actually technically and musically excellent. And if you do, you'll be enjoying better sound from head cans than anyone has in human history.

That's not to say that if you like music you have to get serious about your headphones. I like and wear sunglasses a lot, but years ago, I decided I'd only buy them from gas stations and grocery stores in order to save money on a very breakable and lose-able commodity.

So shopping for headphones via price point is perfectly fine for many people.

But if you're interested in getting everything you can out of your computer-based music or your desktop turntable (try it, I dare you), you want to buy into the brands that are building them right.

Next week, I'll have some ideas for you.

Read more Taylor: coloradodaily.com/columnists. Stalk him: instagram.com/duncanxmusic.