5 summer 2024 headphone trends to look out for


Key Takeaways

  • Listening to music on old school devices like Walkmans and CDs is making a comeback.
  • Wired headphones are back in style and offer great sound quality without battery drainage.
  • Wireless over-ear headphones with noise-cancelling features are still popular, but budget-friendly options are available.

The clocks have moved forward, the sun is out for longer, and flowers are blooming outside. Now that spring is here, not only is it time to enjoy the better weather and the countdown to summer, but there are audio trends to look forward to.

Coming up this season, we’re seeing people going back to wired headphones and retro tech like the Walkman, and we might have some new audio announcements and drops on the way. To know what to stay tuned for this spring, read on.


Why these Chi-Fi wired headphones are my favorite 2024 accessory

While wireless headphones are more mainstream, wired earbuds like the Chi-Fi KZ ZSN Pro X are still an audiophile’s dream.

1 Walkmans, MP3 players, and iPods are back

What’s old is new again


A lot of people, myself included, are feeling pretty tired of being attached to screens all the time. Being beholden to our phones, and especially the streaming apps on there, is becoming a little overwhelming. For some of us, that might mean going back to the basics, whatever that means for each of us. Some might be getting out their cassette tapes and a Walkman, or their old CDs from high school and a portable CD player, or for the younger among us, busting out our old iPods.

It’s also great to get a break from our screens when we only ever seem to be inundated with more and more.

The return to older personal audio technology is exciting for a lot of reasons. First, it’s good to play around with technology that you might’ve not touched for years, or ever, and build a new familiarity with it. It’s also great to get a break from our screens when we only ever seem to be inundated with more and more. And lastly, when it comes to formats like CDs, it’s good to take the time to listen to high-quality music instead of the MP3s we’re used to in the digital age.


I bought an MP3 player in 2024, and for the first time in years, I really listened to music

Sony’s 2017 MP3 player has made for purposeful listening, and even though I’m a rookie audiophile, I think it’s a game changer.

2 Furthermore, CDs specifically are so back

Getting high quality audio doesn’t require a subscription

On the topic of keeping it retro, those CDs you have in your closet still have value. CD-quality audio is excellent, and if you have a treasure trove of lossless music just sitting around, now’s the time to find a CD drive or a stereo and give it all a listen. Buying CDs is also worth your time, you can find a lot at thrift stores or even still at department stores. They’re not obsolete by any means.


6 reasons I’m listening to CDs again in 2024

CDs are a versatile option that toe the line between physical and digital media.

When you hear “CD quality audio” thrown around in audiophile circles, they are referring to 44.1kHz/16-bit bitrate audio, meaning it’s lossless. This is the kind of audio you’ll find from lossless audio options on Apple Music or TIDAL, but instead of having to pay for a subscription, you can actually own that music, it can’t be taken away from you once you stop paying a monthly price. CDs are still very worth your money and time, and there’s definitely a renewed interest in them these days.

3 Wired headphones are bigger than ever

This one is a low barrier to an entry-level trend with high return

Speaking of analog, wired headphones are making a comeback. Celebrities have been seen wearing them, it-girls on TikTok are rocking Apple’s EarPods, and like the previous point, retro is back.

Wired headphones are not only really cool looking and trendy, but they’re also really fantastic audio technology. They’re classics for a reason. You get a longer lifespan out of them since there’s no battery to deplete, they allow you to listen to lossless audio, and there’s no latency problems like wireless headphones have. Plus, a lot of them are on the budget-friendly side.


Wired headphones are making a comeback, and I don’t know how to feel

I was teased for not having AirPods in 2016, and now younger Gen-Zers deem AirPods overrated and wired earbuds cool. What happened?

If you’re looking to follow this trend, you don’t even have to buy a new pair of headphones. Chances are you still have a pair of wired earbuds you used seven years ago that you can fish out of a drawer, and they’ll probably work just as well as they did back then. But you can also get a new pair if you want, there are so many to choose from at different price ranges.

4 Over-ear wireless headphones are still in

Noise-cancelling and Bluetooth are undeniably convenient

Some people just don’t vibe with wires, and that’s okay. Wireless headphones are obviously still sought after and trendy, with headphones like AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5 being just as popular as they were a year ago. Premium noise-cancelling and long battery life, along with sleek looks, will probably never die.

You definitely don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to partake. AirPods Max are exorbitantly expensive, and you can get a great pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones for a lot less. For example, Sony WH-1000XM4 are very popular and frequently go on sale. There are also headphones like the Sony WH-CH720N and the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 that are cheaper at their full prices.


These 5 Sony WH-1000XM5 features may convince me to ditch wired headphones

As awesome as wired life is, the Sony WH-1000XM5 are tempting me to dip my toes in the Bluetooth audio world once again.

5 WWDC could bring Apple audio announcements

Nothing is confirmed yet, but we can hope

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) is happening on June 10th this year, which means we could get some new announcements from Apple about their audio lineup. Could we get a new AirPods Pro 3, or perhaps the AirPods Max 2?


Apple is reportedly prepping 2 budget-friendly AirPods models for September

Both the 2nd and 3rd-generation AirPods are expected to be replaced by new models with improved designs in the fall.

While there have been rumors floating around that the AirPods Max 2 might be released this year, and it would be great to get new over-ear AirPods, there isn’t much to go off of. We don’t really know yet if we’re going to be seeing any announcement about it at WWDC this year, since most of what we know about WWDC has to do with the next generation of iOS and generative AI. But I think it’s still worth considering that we might find out some more about both of these potential releases either in the lead up to or at WWDC, since it would be pretty huge news for Apple’s audio lineup.

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