The Headphone Bazaar

There are plenty of dandy devices out there, from high-end noise cancelers to low-priced earphones to take to the gym

Digital music players abound. Whether it's the ubiquitous Apple (AAPL) iPod (consumers have purchased some 70 million of them in the five years since they were introduced) or the myriad alternatives from rivals such as Microsoft (MSFT), SanDisk (SNDK), and Creative Labs (CREAF)—just about everyone, it seems, sports a portable player these days. But as popular as these gadgets have become, most elicit a common complaint: The stock earphones just don't cut it. They're often ill-fitting and produce suboptimal sound.

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