Top 10 novelty headphones

We look at some of the most interesting headphone designs to hit the market

  • A list of novelty headphones can’t be complete without at least one boutique Japanese cartoon design. These Takara headphones seem like generic clip-ons — until they unfold to reveal the plastic limbs of either Frenzy or Rumble, depending on which model you purchase. A licensed transforming MP3 player is also available.

  • If you want a zany design, you can’t go past Skullcandy. With all of their models available in over-the-top finishes, you’re bound to make a statement 24/7.

  • Recognisable for a completely different reason, AKG’s K1000 headphones are essentially full-size speakers suspended over the listener’s head with the headband. Reminding us of broadcast studio microphones — sans the fuzzy covers — these headphones are as expensive as they are ingenious.

  • Audio-Technica’s ATH-W5000 is a set of headphones with a decidedly retro feel. Packing high quality components into an over-the-ear design, the headphones have wooden outer covers for the ear-cups, making them instantly recognisable.

  • Logitech’s FreePulse headphones are the older, cooler brother of the earlier Curve. With Bluetooth technology and a thin band design, they’re stylish enough to be worn wherever you go.

  • Slightly out of place in such prestigious company, Logitech’s Curve headphones have been chosen because of their ultramodern headband and clip-on design. Moulded out of lurid green plastic, the Curve headphones may not suit all tastes but certainly catch the eye.

  • These Zelco Outi earphones are designed to be attached to the outside of your ears rather than nestled inside. Transmitting their vibrations directly into your ear cartilage, the Outi are designed to reverberate sound through your entire body.

  • They aren’t specifically headphones, but an honourable mention goes to Sony’s new W Series MP3 player range. With a set of in-ear headphones built in to the MP3 player’s body, you’re literally wearing music. It does make changing songs interesting, though, using Sony’s proprietary ZAPPIN technology.

  • As a smaller redesign of the ATH-W500, the ATH-EW9 from Audio-Technica is a set of clip-on headphones that sit on the listener’s ears. With a metal ear-clip mechanism the ATH-EW9 headphones are a pleasant mix of retro and modern styling.

  • Novel for their bulk, prowess and price, Sennheiser’s legendary HE90 Orpheus headphones are one of few models on the market to use electrostatic sound reproduction instead of the moving-coil design used by most headphones. The end result is peerless sound quality with the downside of requiring a dedicated, specially designed amplifier.

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