Budding Bradley Wiggins? Get a winning workout with these champion headphones

Alex Yau
June 8, 2015

Whether you’re a budding Bradley Wiggins or casual gym buff, music can turn any regular workout into a winning one.  There’s no use having brilliant music on your phone if your ‘cans’ can’t cut it. And if you’re serious about music you can forget the headphones that came boxed with your handset.

Top sound and build quality take a back seat on these bundled units. Quality headphones cost more. But you’ll realise why as soon as you strap them on and listen to your favourite track. How do you choose? Well, do you like – thumping bass or twanging treble? We surveyed a range of headphones to find you a pair that even Sir Bradley Wiggins would approve of.

Frequency response

When buying a pair of headphones, you’ll probably spot ‘frequency response’ on the box. ‘Frequency response’ is the range of bass, mids and treble (high noises) you hear. Frequency response is measured in Hertz (Hz). This relates to the number of times a soundwave (the invisible waves that carry sound) repeats every second.

So a soundwave that repeats 50 times a second would be measured as 50Hz,. One that cycles 20,000 times a second would be measured as 20KHz.

Sound at the bottom end of the spectrum is more bass-heavy. Sound at the other end – treble – sounds much higher.

Human hearing only covers 20Hz to 20KHz. Animals such as dogs can hear beyond 20KHz.

Particular headphones go outside the human hearing range and, for example, have a frequency response ranging from 16Hz to 20KHz. Some argue that this is a gimmick because of the limited hearing range humans have. We’ve tested headphones outside the normal human hearing range to see whether there’s any noticeable difference.

Aurvana In-Ear 2 Plus

Price: £99.99
Frequency response: 15Hz – 16KHz

Bradley Wiggins

The Aurvana In-Ear 2 Plus provided the best bass out of all the headphones we tested, which shows what a difference going outside the human hearing range can make. They provided a good balance of bass and treble, and we experienced no discomfort throughout use.

Jabra Sport Rox

Price: £119.99
Frequency response: 15Hz – 16KHz

Bradley Wiggins

Overall sound quality impressed us throughout our tests, which is partly due to the headphone’s use of Dolby sound enhancement. These are an ideal choice if you want a good balance between bass, mid-range sound and treble. Even with the correct earpiece size, they were a little uncomfortable compared to the other headphones in our test.

Olixar X2 Pro

Price: £60
Frequency response: 60Hz – 20KHz

Bradley Wiggins

We can’t fault these headphones for comfort. They were easy to connect to our device and the option to fold them up makes them extra portable. The treble was warm, but the bass could have been heavier. The fact that the
frequency response only goes as low as 60Hz is probably the reason why the bass was a little weak.

Happy Plugs

Price: £24.99
Frequency response: 20Hz – 50KHz

Bradley Wiggins

Like the Olixar X2 Pro, the bass was a little weak. One positive the Happy Plugs have over all the other products is the lack of noise leakage. When we took them out of our ears and whacked the sound up to full volume, there wasn’t much noise coming out of them. This means the Happy Plugs won’t annoy anyone nearby.

Bassbuds Classic Collection

Price: £39.95
Frequency response: 15Hz – 20KHz

Bradley Wiggins

As you can tell by the name, the Bassbuds’ focus on thumping bass sounds make them perfect for bass-lovers. This does drown out the treble, however, which might put off those looking for a more balanced sound. Built-in Swarovksi crystals also make them look more expensive than their affordable price tag might otherwise suggest.

Dr Dre Powerbeats2 Wireless

Price: £79.95
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz

Bradley Wiggins

These were the most comfortable of the in-ear and Bluetooth headphones we tested. There was a good balance between bass and treble, whilst the ear clips ensured they stayed securely in our ears during our running tests. We could also hear exterior noise quite easily, despite the comfortable snug fit. Perfect if, like Bradley Wiggins, you want a pair of headphones that provide excellent sound quality without falling out of your ears.

Dr Dre UrBeats

Price: £169.95
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz

Bradley Wiggins

The bass in these headphones were very high, almost to the point where they overtook any other sound. They were comfortable, but there was a lot of noise leakage at higher volumes.

Sennheiser PMX 686

Price: £79.99
Frequency response: 18Hz – 20KHz


Slightly uncomfortable when we put them in our ears, especially with the correct earpiece size. These were the best for mid-range sounds, but there was quite a lot of leakage at higher volumes and they were a little confusing to fit at first.

Ted Baker Dover

Price: £79.95
Frequency response: 10Hz – 40KHz

Despite having the lowest frequency response (10hz) of all the headphones we tested, the bass wasn’t that noticeably different when compared to the Bassbuds, for example. Although we prefer the Dover’s more subtle design, that isn’t enough to justify the £20 price difference.

Sennheiser RS 185

Price: £299
Frequency response: 17Hz – 22KHz

As the most expensive headphones in our list, you’d certainly hope they’d deliver. Thankfully, they did. Sound quality was excellent and the headphones brought out tiny details in songs that we couldn’t here with the other

Plantronics BackBeat FIT RS 185

Price: £99.95
Frequency response: 50Hz – 20KHz

The Plantronics BackBeat FIT were a little uncomfortable to wear. This is made worse by the lack of additional earbud attachments and volume controls, which other Bluetooth headphones in the test did have. Sound was decent, even if the high treble did take focus away from bass noises.

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