The 10 Best earphones

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With sound quality to compete with heavy-duty headphones, here’s our pick of the finest in-ear buds on the market...

1. Shure Se315

£194, shure.co.uk

Shure's reputation comes from its heritage in microphones. It makes great headphones too. These feature optimised bass to improve the low definition sounds of MP3s.

2. Skullcandy Fix

£59.99, skullcandy.co.uk

At the (slightly) cheaper end of a pricey gadget sector, Skullcandy earphones fit well with the extreme-sports audience. They offer heavy bass and a hard trebly noise.

3. Philips Earhook

£40.85, philips.co.uk

Having to grab hold of a bouncing earbud on a morning run is annoying. Philips' Earhooks are customisable to the shape of your ear and feature comfy silicone caps.

4. Atomic Floyd Superdarts

£199, atomicfloyd.com

SuperDarts have had rave reviews, and with good reason. They feature a beautiful stainless-steel remote and noise-isolation. Their USP is two dual speakers in each earphone.

5. Beats Tour

£139.99, store.universal-music.co.uk

Beats are big in the headphone market but they can compete in-ear too. The Beats Tour feature the bass-heavy sound, so good for hip-hop.

6. Apple EarPods

£25, store.apple.com/uk

The EarPods are due to replace Apple's previous terrible earphones. With a distinctive curved look, they improve on bass sound and offer a decent overall performance.

7. Bose SIE2i

£129.95, bose.co.uk

Bose is doing well to fend off challenges from Beats et al. Made for exercising, the SIE2i's offer voice control for iPhones along with a sound quality that is deep and rich.

8. SoundMagic E10

£35, advancedmp3players.co.uk

Perhaps a new name to UK earphone aficionados, but this Chinese brand's offering has gone down well, with What Hifi calling them your best bet for under £40.

9. Bowers and Wilkins C5

£150, bowers-wilkins.co.uk

B&W offers another premium in-ear experience with its C5s. They have a distinctive groove and tight silver loop keep them in your ears.

10. Klipsch S4i rugged

£89.99, klipsch.co.uk

The S4is may look like tiny hair-dryers but they're plenty tough enough. Perhaps their key feature is the on-wire remote control.

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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