For real music lovers, any brand of headphones does not pass for the best pair purchased. Some factors make a pair of headphones ideal for audiophile use, and the brand name or an appealing design should be the least of worries. I recall buying some second-rate audiophile headphones a few years ago, and I regret that decision to date.
Apart from poor equalization that made the treble blare in my ears with little bass to support it, they had zero noise cancellation, and I couldn’t even listen to the songs properly. Most people opt for such cheap headphones to save an extra buck or two. However, you would rather spend that extra ten dollars and get one of the best audiophile headphones than live with poor music reproduction.
Before purchasing audiophile headphones, you also need to assess their comfort levels. There is nothing worse than uncomfortable headphones, as that alone limits your musical experience. After all, the essence of listening to music using audiophile headphones is to ensure that every tone is clear and profound and the experience created is nothing short of magical.
Here are some important factors to consider before settling on a pair of audiophile headphones.
Important considerations to help you get the best audiophile headphones
CLOSED OR OPEN BACK
Debates continue to erupt about which of these two options is bestter for audiophile headphones. However, neither of them is the better choice; it all depends on your requirements. Throughout history, most people have opted for open-back audiophile headphones as opposed to their closed-back counterparts.
Still, the evolution of technology over the past few years has made it possible to have closed-back audiophile headphones with some of the greatest features and outstanding sound quality. While open-back headphones sound like a band in a concert hall, their closed-back counterparts make you feel as if the band is playing in your head. Open-back headphones reached this milestone due to their ability to emit music in all directions.
Closed-back headphones forge a mini-orchestra feeling inside your head and do not allow the music to escape regardless of your surroundings. The design you choose has to match your lifestyle as well as your musical needs. Open-back audiophile headphones have been in the market for the longest time and are ideal for music producers for mastering and mixing as well as DJs.
However, if you intend to have an isolated musical experience without involving the public, then the best audiophile headphone for your need is a closed-back design.
It goes without saying that a good audiophile headphone has to fit in your ear. Otherwise, it would be tough to enjoy your music. The headphones you intend to purchase might have the best features or produce the best sounds, but they are not worth it if they will negatively affect your comfort when listening to music. Therefore, it is advisable that you opt for headphones with an adjustable headband.
As mentioned earlier, technology has been integrated into almost every aspect of our lives. As such, products that are being released on the market are no longer competing regarding the brand name but through the technological features that they possess. If you enjoy listening to Hip-hop or the classics, then audiophile headphones with massive bass are not the ideal purchase.
Technology has made it possible to achieve proper equalization, and as a result, more people are enjoying music from their headphones. Features such as bass boost and refined sound quality are all a result of technological advancements. However, some features just make the headphones more expensive so while you look out for the audiophile headphones with the latest technological features, be sure that those features are necessary and worth the extra coin.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO USE THE HEADPHONES?
Determining what you are going to use your headphones for greatly influences the decision regarding the type of headphones you purchase. Do you need them for the gym or early morning jogs? Are you looking for a pair that can stay in your messenger bag or bring along on your international trips?
You could also be looking for a pair that easily connects to your hi-fi stereo for intense listening. Identifying your purpose for buying audiophile headphones comes in handy when deciding between a pair of options. Getting the right pair is hard considering the market is flooded with quality headphones. However, after identifying the reasons for your purchase, settling on a particular pair is easy.
A handful of brands dominate the market when it comes to audiophile headphones. While some are overpriced for no reason, others are cheap yet provide superior sound quality. Not to mention, some headphones have a celebrity backing, making them a popular choice among headphone lovers.
Brands such as Sennheiser and Grado are familiar and guarantee quality sound as well as favorable prices. However, do not blindly go for a pair of headphones simply because they bear the name and logo of a famous brand. While these popular brands might have more features and better advertising, there are less obvious choices that might surprise you regarding sound quality, features, and price.
Other factors that you need to consider include the design, features, and your budget. Make a budget and stick to it but ensure that the audiophiles you go for have all desired features such as noise cancellation. Similarly, make sure that as much as the sound quality stands out, the headphones you purchase have a design that appeals to you; appearances matter a lot these days.
Best Audiophile Headphones
Here are the top audiophile headphones currently on the market.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Audiophile Headphones
The QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones from Bose are the perfect combination of quality and design. Aside from the sleek design, these headphones are also engineered with state-of-the-art features such as noise cancellation to keep all the noise out and enhance your musical experience. QuietComfort 35 also mixes world-class performance with superior comfort to give you the perfect pair of headphones.
These headphones also come with a free application meant to ease switching and connecting different devices. Aside from that, the app also helps you personalize your settings such as the ideal treble and bass levels. They also have seamless Bluetooth connectivity and a volume-optimized equalizer, which comes in handy when trying to achieve balanced audio quality regardless of the volume.
Considering the QuietComfort 35 headphones are wireless and have a battery life of over 20 hours, they are the ideal pair of audiophiles for traveling, working out, or any other outdoor activity that requires efficiency.
Sennheiser HD 700 Audiophile Headphone
Sennheiser has been in the headphone industry for quite a while now and is regarded one of the best brands. Their headphones are nothing short of high-quality and the Sennheiser HD 700 can attest to that fact. While they might not be wireless, these headphones have an open design that ensures comfort and excellent audio quality.
One of their best features is specially-tuned and highly-efficient drivers, which help deliver high sound pressure levels. Also, a flat frequency response comes in handy when minimizing distortion. What’s more, intermodulation distortion is also significantly reduced thanks to a highly optimized ventilated magnet system.
This magnet also helps reduce air turbulence ensuring that your headphones don’t allow any external noise. Sennheiser also used an aesthetic dual-material yoke to increase these headphone’s stability and minimize any influences to quality sound. They might be a little pricey, but these headphones are worth the purchase.
Recommended: Gaming Headset Under $100
Audio Technica ATH-AD900X Open-Back Audiophile Headphones
They might not have the best design, but the Technica ATH-AD900X make up for that with impeccable sound quality. These open-air headphones render clear and natural instrumental and vocal reproduction, which is just about as good as quality sound can get. Just like their counterparts above, these headphones are not wireless.
However, a long cord that comes with an auxiliary jack makes the headphones effective no matter where they are used. Voice reproduction is also bettered by features such as CCAW voice coils and aperture drivers. Regarding comfort, Technica ATH-AD900X headphones do not have any pressure on your ears, which gives them a natural sensation. These ear pads are also entirely fitting, which further adds to their comfort.
Apart from the complete fit feature, Technica ATH-AD900X headphones further add to your listening convenience by using 3D Wing Support Housing, which provides a vibration-proof mechanism for better support. If you are searching for affordable headphones with amazing features, then look no further than the Technica ATH-AD900X.
Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Audiophile Headphones
The SRH1540 Premium Headphones from Shure are the epitome of 85 years of audio experience. The closed-back headphones not only have an outstanding design but also contain modern features such as Neodymium drivers for enhanced acoustic performance and a steel driver frame for improved linearity. The steel driver has a vented center pole piece that helps in the elimination of any internal resonance for incredible sound quality at any volume.
The Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones also have a closed-back design, which enables them to comfortably rest over your ears and reduce any noise from the background. Besides, an ergonomic dual-frame makes the headphones adjustable for better listening comfort. The frame is made from lightweight materials, which helps the headphones remain light.
The Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones also have dual-exit cables that are easily connectable and detachable and replaceable slow recovery foam ear pads for outstanding comfort. The price might be a tad prohibitive but when you take their features and classy design into account; these headphones are undoubtedly worth the investment.
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone
The Sennheiser HD 650 has such a simple design it’s hard to believe they are produced by one of the greatest headphones brands. However, these audiophile headphones guarantee transparent and well-balanced sound as well as hi-resolution recording. The Sennheiser HD 650 also features a classy titanium-silver finish that makes their design stand out.
These dynamic hi-fi stereo headphones also have systems with narrow tolerance and are handpicked in pairs. Just like in most Sennheiser headphones, the Sennheiser HD 650 also features Neodymium ferrous magnet systems, which improves dynamic response and sensitivity. These headphones can also directly connect to stationary hi-fi devices such as SACD, CD, and DVD players.
The Sennheiser HD 650 is also light and come with peace of mind considering they have a 2-year international warranty. They might be a little expensive, but the Sennheiser HD 650 headphones contain almost all the features you would look for in the best headphones.
Read: Best Soundbar Under $200
Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless Over-Ear Audiophile Headphones
The P7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones from Bowers and Wilkins are either recertified, wired, or wireless. This feature is a vital factor to consider when buying headphones and considering these headphones have all three options; there are fewer reasons not to buy them. Especially with the five-decade audio experience from Bowers and Wilkins merged with features such as Bespoke acoustic technology and a foldable design.
These headphones also provide high-quality and professional sound whether by using cables or Bluetooth aptX technology. Bowers and Wilkins are known for producing some of the best and most durable loudspeakers; as such, the company borrowed some of its advanced loudspeaker designs to give these headphones controlled sound movement and enhanced sound quality.
Aluminum ensures that the headphones are light and durable while sheepskin leather guarantees they provide a luxurious experience. A 17-hour battery ensures that you use the Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones for the longest hour possible while a 2-year warranty provides security.
Purchasing audiophile headphones is not an easy task especially with all the counterfeit products that have flooded the market recently. Nevertheless, you can still get the best headphones with a little research and proper information. These are some of the best audiophile headphones in the market, with the buying guide above, you can easily land the pair that best suits your preferences.