Sometimes they are bargains, those lucky times when the price you pay for something is exceeded by the value of the product you get.
Most of the time life isn’t this kind and you have to accept that if you want high quality you’re going to have to pay for it.
Headphones are a case in point.
Once or twice I’ve had cheapish pairs that have turned out to be really good but most of the time cheap sets have been tat that have broken after five minutes, been horrible to wear or provided a terrible sound.
With headphones, a low price generally means low quality – but the reverse if also true, if you are willing or able to pay more.
The Sony MDR-1000x headphones have an RRP of £360, which is a lot. But you get what you pay for, and these feel, look and work exactly how a £360 pair of headphones should.
They show their class right away as you take them out of the box, feeling how solid and substantial they are. There are no rickety joints and no scrimping on the construction.
Despite their sturdiness, they are lightweight and comfortable. The dominant material is smooth black plastic, which helps to give them a stylish but modest look, while the padded leathery material covering the cups and the underside of the head strap is wonderfully soft and plush.
When you put the headphone on there’s almost an audible slurp as the cups suction on to your ears. It’s like they are flicking a switch and turning the outside world off.
Setting up the headphones to work wirelessly is a piece of cake – just hold the power button for a few seconds to couple them with any Bluetooth device. Once done, they will automatically connect next time you use them.
Once the noise-cancelling kicks in, just about all external noise is cut out, leaving you in your own blissful zone of solitude and peace.
As well as keeping noise out to give you a pleasurably quiet commute, the headphones also do a great job of keeping noise in so you can have your music, games or videos at a decent volume without disturbing anyone around you (not that many people care about being considerate).
At home, I had music playing at a pretty high level in our silent living room and my daughter still couldn’t hear anything when she was right up close to my ear – so I know I’m not bothering anyone on the train where there is louder ambient noise.
These have the best noise-cancelling I have experienced.
I always find it difficult to put sound quality into words, and the best way I can think of to describe how the 1000x headphones play is rich, deep and detailed. It’s a lovely full and rounded sound that isn’t in any way tinny or too heavy. I said detailed because I’ve picked up numerous subtle layers to songs which I hadn’t previously heard when listening to them without these headphones.
Beyond these qualities, the best thing about the headphones is their snazzy controls. Tapping the outside of the right cup pauses and plays music, while swiping in different directions changes the volume or switches songs. It’s brilliant being able to put them on and play music straight away without fiddling about with my phone or digging my iPad out of my bag.
Battery life is another good feature - I've used these a couple of hours a day for the past week and have only needed to charge once.
It’s easy to see why the luxurious 1000x headphones were chosen for trials of an innovative ‘sound menu’ on-board Eurostar trains recently and why tech sites have been raving about them.
I’ve never been able to look around a train carriage before and be confident my headphones are better than everyone else’s, but I can with these.