Here's a very brief rundown of how we test our headphones, and what we tend to look for.

The Setup

* Would you agree that the vast majority of us use our headphones with a smartphone or laptop? Seems only right that we do the same during reviews.
* If a pair of headphones calls for an amp, we'll use one. Otherwise, we plug straight into the source.
* Format-wise we typically use MP3s, as we feel that's the format most of you use.

The Six

* The specifics: The boring stuff regarding the headphones (who made them, how much they cost, and how they're being marketed).
* The design: What do they look like? Nobody wants to wear ugly headphones.
* The comfort: This is sneaky important.
* The sound: Obviously, this is an essential aspect of any headphone review. We typically run through the playlist below during the testing process, as well as a few sound tests from Audio Check. Another important point is audio-bleeding.
* The build: Will it last long?
* Is it worth the money?: We'll add up all the things above and then come up with an answer to that question.

What We're Looking For

Each writer will have a different set of requirements - especially when it comes to sound - but ultimately if it's built well, feels good to wear, doesn't look like crap, sounds great (whatever that means to the writer in question), and doesn't cost the earth, then I'm sure it'll get the thumbs up from us.

The Playlist

When you test headphones, it's important to listen to music you actually like. So here's 20 songs that are not only massive bops, but represent a wide range of sounds. Our reviewers aren't tied to this playlist, but it serves as a nice starting point should they need some direction.

1. ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ by Max Richter*
2. ‘One Summer’s’ Day by Joe Hisaishi
3. ‘Mountains’ by Hans Zimmer
4. ‘John McLaughlin’ by Miles Davis*
5. ‘You’ve Got to Have Freedom’ by Pharoah Sanders
6. ‘Two Hearts in 3/4 Time’ by The Avalanches
7. ‘Bubbles’ by Yosi Horikawa*
8. ‘Acid Rain’ by Lorn*
8. ‘Golden Arrow’ by Darkside*
9. ‘Tired of Sex’ by Weezer*
10. ‘Kodokunohatsumei’ by toe
11. ‘Weird Fishes / Arpeggi’ by Radiohead*
12. ‘Wesley’s Theory’ by Kendrick Lamar
13. ‘Dip’ by Danny Brown
14. ‘I Really Like You’ by Carly Rae Jepsen
15. ‘Human Nature’ by Michael Jackson*
16. ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ by Sam Cooke*
17. ‘Surrender’ by Diana Ross
18. ‘Girl (feat. KAYTRANADA)’ by The Internet
19. ‘The Hills’ byThe Weeknd*
20. ‘Pray Everyday (Survivor’s Guilt)’ by GoldLink*
*Our condensed, 11-track version features these songs.

Anything Else?

Yes. Some headphones will require a different approach - sports-based headphones being one example - but on the whole, the above should cover everything.