How do I find the best headphones for music? What is the best way to choose a good pair of headphones that will last me long? How can I be sure not to spend too much on something terrible or of poor quality? These are common questions when looking for an item in this category.
With so many options available, it’s hard to know which one is right for you. Fidlar will help with this article by giving you our list of the top 22 headphone brands and models for 2021, plus some tips on how to make your decision easier! You won’t want to miss out on these helpful tidbits.
Top Rated Best Headphones For Music Lovers
|Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones with Mic for...||23,218 Reviews||$248.00||Buy on Amazon|
|Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, Sienna – Wireless Earbuds for Running and...||20,208 Reviews||$109.11||Buy on Amazon|
|Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones (Black)||7,152 Reviews||$74.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Superlux HD 681 Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones||2,154 Reviews||$34.95||Buy on Amazon|
Headphones are an integral part of any music lover’s life. They provide the listener with the ultimate experience in sound quality. However, with a plethora of options to choose from in terms of size, material, and price range, choosing what type of headphones to purchase is difficult.
Different types of headphones have different pros and cons, which makes it hard to narrow down your choices, but this article aims to provide a helpful overview.
Sony WH 1000XM4 Wireless
Best Headphones For Bass
We’ve found the Sony WH 1000XM4 to be the best for music with more deep bass. These Bluetooth headphones are comfortable and have a bass response that is a bit too loud for some, but it will please EDM and hip-hop fans who want more thump.
Headphones Connect companion app, which grants you access to a graphic EQ and audio presets to fine-tune your listening experience. The headphones have an amazingly effective ANC system, which filters out a wide variety of outside noise, including passing trucks and the high-pitched hum from an AC unit.
Sony WH 1000XM4 allows you to enjoy your music in noisy or crowded areas. They should last over 37 hours on one charge. However, they also come with a 1/8 inch TRS audio cable that allows passive audio playback in the event of a dead battery.
The microphone’s sub-par quality recording and muffled voice make them not the best choice if you are a frequent phone caller. Although it can take some getting used to the touch-sensitive control scheme, it is pretty easy once you get it. These headphones are among the most bass-friendly we have tested.
- Powerful custom ANC
- Detailed sound
- App-based intuitive controls
- Sensational timing sense
- Two simultaneous Bluetooth connections are supported
- Soundscape with punchy bass and immersive sound reasons
- Battery life is 30 hours
- High price
- No IP rating
- No aptX/aptX HD support
- Multipoint support is currently unstable
- The USB-C port can’t be used to play audio
- 360 Reality Audio has a limited number of users
- People might be put off by the samey design.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
The best professional over-ear headphones
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Although Beyerdynamic is not as well-known as Sennheiser, it has a long history of making high-quality audio gear. The company’s DT770 and DT880 over-ear headphones are renowned for their quality build and sound quality.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro is the most notable of all the headphones. It’s an open-back version of the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro. This headphone was awarded Editor’s Choice because of its design, imaging, and value.
The headphones cost the same at $599 / PS589 / AU$1,159, so there won’t be any specials on either one. Sound is what makes the difference.
The DT 1990 Pro can be used in the studio or at home for severe analytical listening because they are open-back. The sound can penetrate the walls, but the good news about the DT 1990 Pro is the open-back design that gives you an excellent sense of space.
The soundstage is vast, allowing even the most inept listener to locate the exact spot where each instrument is.
We think the DT 1990 Pro headphones are the best. However, we also recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro, a closed-back model that is more socially friendly.
- Noise cancelling tech improved
- DSEE Extreme audio upscaling
- Multipoint pairing
- Not Water-resistant
Jabra Elite Active 75T Truly Wireless
True Wireless connection alternative
The Jabra Elite Active 75 are a great option if you prefer the feel and look of true wireless headphones. Although they aren’t as comfortable as the Sony WH 1000XM4 wireless and can’t block as much ambient noise, the Jabra’s lightweight design makes it easy to grab and go.
These wireless in-ear headphones are packed with a lively sound profile. They add a lot of thump to your mixes and make vocals and leads shine. The companion app offers a graphic EQ with presets to adjust the sound to your liking. Even though their battery life lasts for about 6.5 hours, the case can hold three more charges.
Multi-device pairing is possible so that you can keep connected to both your smartphone and laptop at the same time.
If you are looking for a more comfortable over-ear design with a powerful ANC system, the Sony is one of the best-sounding wireless headphones. The Jabra is a smaller and more portable option if you look for the best headphones that you can carry around easily.
- Smaller more compact design
- IP57 water-/sweat-/dust-proof design
- HearThrough transparency mode (allows ambient noise in).
- Solid construction
- Battery life is longer: You can use your battery for 7.5 hours between charges
- Compatible with the Jabra+ Sound App
- Inadequate active noise cancelling
- No wireless charging
- Buttons actions cannot be customized (Yet, promised feature via update).
- AirPods Pro works better to make calls
- Good quality, but not exceptional mic quality
- AAC only, no aptX
- Buttons for sensitive skin
- It feels less solid than the Elite Active65t
Sennheiser HD 800
The best headphones for balanced sound
If they weren’t best prices over $1,000 / PS1,000 / AU$3,000, the fourth entry in our list of best over-ear headphones would have been the first. The Sennheiser HD 800 headphones are a beloved pair of over-ear headphones that sound great and have been praised by audiophiles around the globe.
These headphones are very sturdy and made from high-quality plastic reinforced with a metal frame. They also have a braided, detachable audio cable. The ear cups are well-padded and comfortable, so you won’t feel any discomfort even while long listening sessions. They are also very breathable so you won’t sweat as much when wearing them.
They sound amazing when paired with the proper hardware.
They are costly and will require additional audio equipment that the average consumer is not ready to purchase. These are the headphones you need, or should you want, be able to enjoy amazing over-ear headphones.
- You can be as detailed as your headphones will allow.
- They are light for their size
- Huge sound
- HD 800 treble tamed
- It is enormous
- Require high power amplifier
- Zero isolation of sound
- Not for bass heads
Apple AirPods Max
Apple’s original on-ear headphones are worth the huge price
The Apple AirPods Max is surprisingly expensive wireless noise cancelling headphone. However, they do not cost as much as most premium headphones.
To get the best out of these apps, you will need an iPhone or iPad. You can use them with non-Apple devices using Bluetooth 5.0 standard, but you will miss many unique features.
If you’re an Apple fan, the Apple AirPods Max wireless headphones are your best bet. They are so authentic, detailed, crisp, and spacious that you can compare them to the best wireless noise-cancelling processor in the market. You start to think of them as a good hi-fi product.
They are more expensive than other products in the same class, but they are still worth it if the quality is paramount. Apple claims that the battery life can be used for around 20 hours on a single charge.
- Superior sound quality and noise cancellation
- Cinematic spatial audio
- Superior build quality
- Case almost pointless
- Not included: Audio cable
- Practically Apple-only
These wireless and noise-cancelling Sonys set a new standard at the money.
The brand’s value is only being surpassed by the successors (above), but the Sony WH1000XM3 cemented its position as the king of noise-cancelling headphones. It beat rivals such as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, Bowers & Wilkins PX to the top place when they first appeared. This feat is no easy feat considering the brand’s reputation.
How did Sonys achieve this? They offer a comfortable, snug fit that can be worn all day or to sleep. You will also find many useful features, such as an Atmospheric Pressure Optimizer that maximizes noise-cancelling performance at high elevations. What about long flights? You needn’t fear screaming children again.
It’s the sound quality; however, that truly stands out. Sony headphones make use of analog amplifiers to great effect. They have a tremendous sense of spaciousness, lots of detail, and enhanced dynamics.
Each instrument has room to breathe, and the sound is clear. You feel as if you are in the same room with the band. It’s simply amazing.
- All-round, natural sound quality
- The best noise-cancelling available
- Supremely comfortable
- At first, touch controls feel awkward
Best Headphones For Vocals And Instruments
We’ve found the Philips SHP9500 to be the best headphones for instruments and vocals. The SHP9500 headphones have a neutral and flat mid-range that allows vocals and other instruments to be reproduced accurately and clearly.
Their open-back design will enable them to create a large soundstage that will immerse you in your audio.
The headphones are well-made and comfortable. They have large, well-padded ears cups that allow for airflow. You won’t feel fatigued even if you wear them for a long time.
These headphones have excellent audio delivery. Once you’ve found the right fit, seal, and position, you will experience consistent sound every time you use them.
They lack the low bass expected of open-back headphones. These headphones are not designed to block background noise. This means that others can still hear your audio even in moderately noisy environments. These headphones can still be used to support vocals and leads.
- More extended bass response and less neutral mids
- Comfortable design.
- Good audio reproduction.
- Durable build.
- These headphones are heavy and bulky.
- They leak a lot because they have an open-back design.
- By design, very sensitive to ambient noise
The best audiophile headphones at an affordable price
Audeze’s LCD-1 open-back headphones have brought their uncompromising technology down at a reasonable price. These headphones are great for listening to music in perfect isolation. However, some sound will leakage can be expected.
No matter what material you listen to or the volume, the LCD-1s’ overall presentation is well-crafted, engaging, and completely believable. You’ll be able to listen to music that you have never heard before, and it will not matter if you don’t believe you are being presented with the whole picture.
You can listen to music you have heard many times before, and the LCD-1’s may find something new.
- Clear, transparent, and accurate sound
- Tonal balance is completely neutral
- PM headphones are less expensive than most
- A bit limited dynamic range
Sony’s best true wireless earbuds to date
Sony has created a stunning pair of wireless earbuds with the WF1000XM4 and built on its enormous success.
It’s full of dynamics and detail. The performance is balanced sound with precise bass notes, crisp vocals, and taut, clear bass notes. Their musicality is infectious.
The eight-hour battery life promised by the Sonys is sufficient for those who value battery life. This is extended by the wireless charging case, which opens it for an additional 16 hours.
Sonys are very comfortable to wear, with touch-sensitive controls as well as eartips that offer excellent noise cancelling. This, combined with the outstanding noise cancellation provided by Sony’s Integrated Processor V1, or WF-1000XM4, makes it difficult to fault.
IPX4 water resistance is available. Also included are clever features like Quick Attention and Speak-To-Chat, which allow you to have a conversation with your earbuds without taking them out. The WF-1000XM wireless earbuds are the best.
- Clear and detailed bass performance
- Amazing sense of musicality
- Battery life is class-leading
- Sony’s Multipoint feature is missing
- There are not many options for ear tips
- No aptX HD
Superlux HD 681
Best Budget Headphones For Music
We’ve found the Superlux HD 681 to be the most affordable headphones for music. These headphones have a balanced sound profile with some brightness. Sibilants can be too piercing for some, but they are still suitable for many audio genres.
The best headphones are lightweight and comfortable with large ear cups. Their semi-open fitting makes the passive soundstage seem larger, more natural, and more open. They don’t have much in the way of accessories, but they come with a cloth pouch that protects them from dirt and scratches.
They feel cheap and cheap due to their plasticky construction. They don’t block out background noise and can leak audio at high volumes. They are more affordable and offer more quality sound, but you can use them for music sound.
- Sound fantastic
- Lightweight design.
- Sensitive to noisy environments, by design.
- Quality of plasticky construction
Bowers & Wilkins PX7
The best over-ear headphones for low latency
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones are a great choice if you are looking for noise-cancelling headphones that are class-leading and affordable at $399 / PS349 / AU$600.
The PX7 is a high-end over-ears headphone that offers sophisticated noise-cancelling and much-improved sound quality.
Plus, this headphone is packed with aptX Adaptive, which improves stability and latency between your headphones and your device. Also, they offer high-quality streaming aptX HD (24-bit) added to the package.
- Highest-in-class sound quality
- Battery life competitive
- Strong Bluetooth connection
- Earcups don’t collapse
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus
Cambridge’s Award-winning recipe has been refined to include app support and extra sonic clarity and detail
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We loved the original Melomania 1 wireless earbuds from Cambridge. The compact, easy-to-use, and affordable design (below) was a massive hit in 2019. We are raving about the new Melomania 1 Plus because of the added features such as EQ customization, a slicker paint job, and app support.
Although the original Melomania 1 is now available at a substantial discount, we recommend this new model. Although there is no background noise-cancelling, those who do not need it should add the latest Melomanias models to their shortlist.
The Melomania 1 Plus is a great choice for a rich, engaging and expansive listening experience.
- Dynamic expression added to your words
- Excellent clarity at the level
- Slick app support
- No noise-cancelling
The best value wireless headphones
The Philips PH805 is a great value at $199 / PS160 (around AU$290). These best wireless headphones are over-ears and wireless and use Bluetooth 5 to connect. High-quality audio playback should be possible.
The over-ears Philips PH805 can playback up to 30 hours from a single Lithium-Ion cell. Integrated mic provides active noise cancellation in each earcup.
- Very well made
- Battery life of 30 hours
- A punchy, controlled, and detailed sound
- It could be more effective to cancel out noise
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
The best over-ear headphones for forgetful types
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These Sennheiser over-ear headphones are excellent in terms of audio quality. They have fantastic sound quality with high levels and warm bass.
Although customizable noise cancellation is great, it doesn’t meet the same class-leading standards as Bose and Sony. The battery life is also not as good as the Sony WH1000XM4, and they are more expensive.
Why buy the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2019? If you are interested in Tile tracking and prefer the industrial design and premium materials, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019) could be the right choice.
And if you choose them over the Sony model, you won’t lose any audio quality. They are genuinely comparable in this respect.
- The best audio out of true wireless earbuds
- Battery life respectable
- Design refined
- USB-C charging
- Touch controls that are frustrating
- Do not always leave them on when you place them in the case
- Comparable to other models, this model is more expensive
Sennheiser PXC 550-II
The best understated headphones
Sennheiser PXC 550 – II is a significant upgrade to the PXC 550 model. It features a new Bluetooth standard, enhanced audio, intelligent capabilities, and impressive build quality.
The PXC550-II over-ear headphones cost a little less than the Momentum Wireless. They are also a bit more straightforward in appearance and have a more sophisticated sound.
- Judicious sound
- Battery life is excellent
- Looks exquisitely high-end
- Terrorists struggle with trebly recordings
A hugely talented and affordable pair of cheap wireless earbuds
Panasonic is not a brand that comes to mind immediately when you think about wireless earbuds. It might be, though. They are wireless noise-cancelling headphones that were the first venture of RZ-S500W, and they perform admirably for their price.
The specs are detailed, including noise-cancelling technology, Ambient Mode, twin microphones for voice calls, and a battery life of 19.5 hours (6.5hrs with the buds and 13hrs with the charging case). The case is small and pocketable, with three white LEDs that provide long-lasting battery life.
A quick 15-minute USB C quick-charge can provide 70 minutes of playback. Each bud has touch controls that are intuitive and responsive so that you can control your music and toggle between noise-cancelling modes without any fuss.
To help you find the right fit, there are five sizes of ear tips. This was a bit of a mixed bag. We would recommend trying different sizes to get a better fit.
Both noise-cancelling, as well as sound quality, are outstanding. The low end is very responsive, and there’s a lot of texture across all frequencies. The music sounds clear, and the earbuds have a lot of refinement, which is reasonable considering their price.
These Panasonic earbuds offer great value for money.
- Expansive detailed presentation
- Excellent noise cancelling
- Amazing touch controls
- Some people may have difficulty fitting in.
Austrian Audio Hi-X55
These wired over-ears are the best headphones in class
The over-ears wired Austrian Audio Hi-X55 is a great product. They are well built and can relay a track accurately. They are not for everyone; they may not be as easy to use as other rivals and can be difficult with some recordings.
This sets the Austrian Audios apart from their closest rivals, the Sennheiser Momentum, and Philips Fidelio X3. While these other pairs offer warm and comfortable listening, the Austrian Audios sound more professional and analytical.
You won’t find a better analyst at this price if you want the real sound of a track. It is worth auditioning.
Do you prefer an in-ear fit? Just as impressive is the Austrian Audio Hi-X50.
- Analytical sound, precise
- Premium construction and finish
- Removable and replaceable lead
- Simple and elegant
Marshall Major III
This model is another top-of-the-line, offering unique features you won’t find in other models within the same price range. It combines classic design with modern technology.
This product combines comfort with the ergonomics and functionality of 3D hinges. The ear cups are soft, and the headband is padded. It also has a thick loop wire and a reinforced rubber damper.
It also features a multi-directional control knob that allows you to manage audio playback and phone calls. It can also be used to reject, end, or answer calls even if your phone is in your bag or pocket.
Unique vinyl is used to create the texture on the exterior of the earcup, headband, and ear cushions edges. Each earcup is engraved with the Marshall Script logo. Bluetooth aptX is supported, allowing you to stream high-quality audio from compatible devices when paired.
It is tuned with inbuilt 40mm dynamic speakers for smooth miss, improved bass, and clear highs.
The headphone can be wired or wireless, depending on what you prefer. You can connect to devices that don’t support Bluetooth using the wire. You can use the wire as a remote microphone or inline mic. It can play music for over 30 hours per charge.
- It can playback for longer periods of time
- The earcups have soft edges.
- It is tuned and engineered with built 40mm dynamic drivers.
- It would be great to have a carry case
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
The best noise-cancelling over-ear headphones
While they may not be as good as the Sony WH1000XM3’s battery and price, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones700 are still a great pair of over-ear headphones.
They offer world-class technology by active noise cancelling on music and phone calls.
We recommend the Sony WH1000XM3s over the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones700 if you decide between the two. The latter is more expensive and has longer battery life.
However, the Bose cans are a great choice, and you won’t regret it.
- Active noise cancellation
- A lively, fun sound
- Elegant design
- Battery life is very short
V-Moda M-200 Studio Headphones
The best headphones for those that like to customize
The V-Moda M-200 is the pinnacle of wired headphones. While wireless headphones are more convenient than ever, some people still prefer the corded experience.
Professionals like DJs and editors, for example, are among those who prefer a corded experience. The wired headphones are preferred by gamers and audio enthusiasts alike for its reliability.
The M-200’s design is classic V-Moda. The earcups still retain V-Moda’s iconic hexagonal, angular design. It also has an excellent build quality with a mixture of plastic, aluminum and sweat-resistant, PU leather.
The M-200 is expensive, but it’s worth the investment for its sound quality and resolution, as well as the unique, customizable plates.
- Great balanced sound
- Amazing build quality and materials
- Not wireless
- Excessive clamping force
JBL Tune 750BTNC
The best cheap over-ear headphones
JBL is a well-known brand in the world of Bluetooth headphones and speakers. The brand is solidly reliable, and consumers know what they can expect from it – decent sound quality at a reasonable price.
This is what we did with the JBL Live650BTNC last year. Now, the JBL Tune750BTNC is ready to replace them with a premium set of over-ear headphones.
JBL Tune’s 750BTNC are great sounding, look great and fit perfectly. Although you may miss waterproofing or other minor features, the JBL Tune 750BTNC is reliable and simple to use. However, at this price, it seems foolish to complain.
- High-quality sound quality
- Active noise cancellation
- There is no waterproofing
- Battery life is not impressive
Earfun Air Pro
Earfun now adds noise-cancelling technology to its budget-friendly wireless earbuds recipe.
Earfun continues to build on its Earfun Air success by adding more features to the ‘Pro’ model. The main addition is active noise cancellation. A 10mm driver is included, as well as three microphones per earpiece. The price is still jaw-droppingly affordable, despite the claims made on the spec sheet.
These are a great value for money. They fit snugly, can be connected easily, have reliable controls, and offer basic, but active noise cancelling profiles. You can also charge your device via USB-C and detect wearers.
The sound quality is excellent for the price – it’s clear, transparent, tinny, full through the bass and overall musically pleasant. We’ve never seen anything that can do everything the Earfuns can do.
- Bass weight that is solid and accurate
- Effective noise cancelling
- Beautiful build quality and finish
- Harsh upper midrange
Buyers Guide When Choosing the Best Headphones
How to Choose Fantastic Headphones for Music
Audio quality and comfort are the two most important things to consider when choosing the best headphones for music. It is possible to find lower-priced models on the internet, but it can be hard to navigate.
Larger diaphragms generally have better performance and response, especially at the low end. They have a greater magnetic field to disturb and vibrate. Over-ear models can provide better audio quality, but they are less effective than overhead models.
How well they are designed will determine how effective they respond. For long listening sessions, a pair of headphones must be comfortable. To ensure maximum comfort, look for padded earcups or headbands made from memory foam.
You won’t find anything remarkable unless you spend more than $100, but some models we highlighted that are just a fraction of the price are comparable to models selling for far more.
Closed cups are also a smart choice as they are more discreet and isolate the listener from the environment.
What are the main types and uses of studio headphones?
There are three types of studio headphones: open-back on the ear, closed-back on the ear, or in-ear. For recording purposes, closed-back headphones work best because they completely enclose your ears.
The padding around your ear prevents any spillage (unwanted traces of backing track being lost and ending up in your recording). The padding provides additional comfort.
Spill can cause problems if the performer prefers to hear their performance at a specific volume. This type of headphone is ideal for recording performers using microphones.
Although they are less common, open-back cans are lighter and more comfortable than regular cans. Open-back cans are more suitable for programming, mixing, and recording, as they have a greater risk of audio spillage. These headphones don’t block external sound noise as well as closed-back options, so there are some compromises.
Unless they are extremely high-quality, however, in-ear monitors (aka IEMs) are best used on-stage monitoring. We wouldn’t recommend in-ear headphones in this situation, but we have recommended several quality pairs in this guide for those who will be splitting their time between studio and stage.
Which headphones are the best overall?
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro headphones are our top pick. They are going to sound great and offer good value for money. The Sony WH-1000XM4 is our top pick if you are looking for all-rounders. It has a great sound, active noise cancellation, wireless connectivity, and a compact design that makes it easy to carry.
What should I spend on headphones?
It all depends on your budget. You don’t have to spend a lot to get great sound. You can find great budget headphones for as low as $100/PS100/AU$150. If you are looking to save money, check out JBL and Jabra.
The price of high-spec noise-cancelling headphones and wireless headphones is higher than the average. True audiophile headphones are more expensive, but they will last for decades if taken care of.
Are studio headphones really that comfortable?
Headphones for studio are not the only thing you should be comfortable with. Comfort and acoustic exclusion are two reasons why padded earpads are essential. They can stop outside noises from getting in and, if you use them for studio recording, they will prevent noise from your backing tracks from getting into the microphones.
The padding surrounds the ears and allows you to focus on what you are listening to.
It would help if you also thought about hygiene. People lose heat through their heads, so ensure that your headphones’ ear cups and headbands don’t make you sweat. Studio environments can get hot and stuffy, so it’s essential to avoid making others sweat.
The headband should be sufficiently padded to not dig into your head during long sessions. Otherwise, you will constantly be needing to take it off to give your head some rest.
Should I mix on headphones?
Headphones can have a stereo image that is too wide, a poor frequency response, and a lack of crossfeed between the left and right ears. It is possible to mix headphones and get great results, provided you keep this in mind.
How loud should I mix on headphones?
Sweetwater is a firm believer in mixing at safe volumes. The sweet spot for mixing is between 70dB and 85dB. This is crucial no matter how you listen to your mix. But with headphones, it’s even more important. After all, drivers are less than an inch from your ears!
Is it better to make beats in headphones or speakers?
Your studio speakers are the best way to mix and create beats. They have a flat frequency response which is a big advantage over headphones, which can be unpredictable. Because headphones are made with comfort in your mind, they can be very unpredictable.
If you’ve been looking for the best headphones, we hope this article helped narrow down your search. We know how hard it can be to find a high-quality set at an affordable price, and we want to make that process easier for you. Let us know if there is anything else we can help with within our blog post conclusion below!
Last update on 2021-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API