When it comes to audiophile headphones sound, preferences vary. Some zero-in on bass. Others opt for timbre.
A pure, detailed listening experience from headphones requires time to find just the right mix of features.
For those of you that are particular about your sound preferences, finding the right audiophile headphone can make all the difference.
When researching the right headset, we chose a range of options; from open back to closed back, from high-end to mid-range.
We took into account features all sound lovers can appreciate — whether for studio work or just to vibe out after a long day.
Table of Contents
Top Audiophile Headphones
Our top choices for audiophile headphones cover different budgets, as well as sound preferences. We also covered key features to help you find the right choice.
1. Sennheiser HD 820
- The HD 820 delivers an unparalleled, reference-grade audiophile listening experience in a closed...
- Innovative glass reflectors and frequency absorber systems replicate the wide open characteristics of...
- 56mm Ring Radiator transducers and Glass Reflectors provide total immersion in your music with absolute...
In the late ‘60s, family-run Sennheiser released the first open back headphones in the marketplace.
Today, it offers HD 820 headphones: closed back with an open back look thanks to Gorilla Glass. The glass works with Ring Radiator transducer technology to absorb and harness sound.
You’ll get a surprisingly balanced sonic delivery, minus the distortion challenges closed back headphones are known for.
These headphones offer a 6 – 48,000 Hz frequency response and impedance of 300 ohms for an all-encompassing sound — especially with instrument-heavy music like classical or jazz.
They are made to fit comfortably for long wear. They are breathable to avoid sweaty ears.
Sennheiser headphones are pricey. Yet, like other well-built, reputable brands, they are known to last.
These are splurge-worthy earphones offering a stunning sound experience.
2. HIFIMAN Arya
- Acoustically Invisible Stealth Magnet: Unlike the sound waves created by a conventional magnet, the...
- Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm A breakthrough core technology developed by HIFIMAN and first of its kind...
- Metal and High-Grade Plastic Construction: HIFIMAN designed the Arya's high-quality metal headband with...
HIFIMAN hit the audio market in 2010 with its first offering of Planar-Magnetic headphones.
Today, the brand continues to build on its offerings with Arya, open back headphones with a similar structural design to the higher-end HIFIMAN HE1000V2.
The egg-shaped ear cups with full swivel and tilt movement, padded headband and negligible weight (14.3 ounces) converge to create a comfortable listening experience.
HIFIMAN’s innovative asymmetrical magnet design uses smaller magnets. This results in a more lightweight feel than other Planar-Magnetic headphones.
A patented design, known as the window shade system, delivers a concentrated stream of music to your ear.
The result is a clear, clean sonic presentation straight out of the box. You can actually hear different layers of music and they are delivered in a smooth, evenly distributed style.
Frequency response range is 8 – 65,000 HZ with impedance at 35 ohms to combat overloading of power and offer a casual listening experience.
These audiophile earphones aren’t flashy. They have a black matte finish with a prominent grill design, therefore the focus is on the sound quality, not the look.
3. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95
- LONG-LASTING BATTERY. With up to 38 hours of playtime on a single charge with ANC, Beoplay H95 push the...
- NOISE CANCELLED. Beoplay H95 offer exceptional sound quality through customised titanium drivers and our...
- POWERFUL SOUND. Two 40mm titanium drivers with neodymium magnets have been carefully selected and...
Bang & Olufsen is one of the most respected names amongst audiophiles, and Beoplay H95 is an example of its top-tier offerings.
Its design boasts custom titanium drivers with a proprietary digital signal processing engine. This setup, designed by acoustic engineers, delivers a striking sound profile.
These are wireless adaptive active noise cancelling (ANC) over-ear headphones offering up to 38 hours of listening time on a single charge.
They have a sleek design and fold for easy storage to tuck away in an included aluminum carrying case.
The headphones offer a vast soundstage with a good mix of bass and treble. Mid ranges are full and natural.
No sound leakage here. It’s a clear, balanced private listening experience for those who are on the go for work or leisure.
To be fair they are not cheap, but the sound they offer can contend with more expensive options on the market.
4. Grado SR80x
- 4th generation Grado tuned 44mm drivers, easy to drive 38ohm
- Upgraded braided cable eliminates twisting and kinking, 4 conductor super annealed copper wiring
- Upgraded adjustable padded headband made of synthetic, vegan-friendly material
The Grado Labs is a multi-generation, family-run business in Brooklyn, New York renowned for their stereo headphones.
Grado SR80X audiophile headphones are part of the Prestige Series, a line of headphones with 4th generation drivers and a new design that brings together the past and present.
Today’s SR80x is a throwback to the first pair built in 1991 but with upgrades such copper wires encased in braided cables to eliminate bunching and tangling and deliver a pure audio signal.
It also boasts a new speaker design to improve speed, reduce distortion and harness sound integrity.
Frequency response is 20 – 20,000 Hz with an impedance of 38 ohms.
These lightweight, open back headphones employ a dynamic transducer and are ideal for music with intricate vocals and heavy instrumentation.
These are perfect for audiophiles on a budget who want playback with today’s tech while enjoying a retro look and feel.
5. Audeze LCD-X
- THE PROFESSIONAL: Many of the current hit recordings you’ve heard have been mixed on Audeze headphones...
- PLANAR MAGNETIC DRIVERS: Large ultra-thin 106 mm diaphragms with Audeze’s proprietary Fazor elements...
- EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE: Revised 2021 ear pad design with luxurious leather (also available leather-free)...
Audeze (pronounced odyssey) is a leading Planar-Magnetic headphone creator. The LCD-X is the most popular of the brand’s offerings.
These favored headphones are sought after from those on both sides of the booth — from music engineers to discriminating listeners.
In fact, some of today’s hits might have been mixed and produced with Audeze headphones. So, it stands to reason that the playback is destined to be as intricate as it is accurate.
These open back headphones are sophisticated enough for the studio, but also flexible enough to plug into your smartphone or an external amplifier.
Frequency response is 10 Hz – 50,000 kHz with an impedance of 20 ohms.
The design uses a planar driver design exclusive to Audeze. It employs an ultra-thin diaphragm, NASA-grade circuit material and double-sided magnet arrays.
The result is an astounding lack of distortion, accuracy in sound waves and a quick response.
In short, you’ll get a full range of highs and lows with a big soundstage experience. Many claim to hear subtle sounds they never noticed in songs they have listened to for years.
This is a solid option for open back headphones. Period.
6. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
- Wireless on the go design delivers the same critically acclaimed sonic performance as the original ATH...
- Touch control provides convenient access to voice assist Sensitivity - 99 dB/mW Impedance
- Mic and button controls built into the ear cup allow for easy handling of calls music playback and volume...
While these closed back Audio-Technica headphones offer a wired style, we are looking at the wireless set here for a few reasons.
First, there’s no sound love lost in the wireless version. You get the same quality of sound and the option to move freely.
Bonus: They collapse compactly for travel.
The ATH-M50x has been around since 2014 and remains one of the most popular choices among audiophiles. That this iteration is mobile-friendly is a bonus.
Next, the ear cups are as comfortable as they are functional. They include a built-in mic. You can adjust the volume for music playback or call volume with built-in controls right by your ear.
Third, these are an ideal companion to smartphones and tablets, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device that streams music.
The wireless setup eliminates the need to find compatible wired connections (especially when smartphones don’t have a headphone jack).
Finally, these headphones employ touch technology that allows you to tap and hold the ear cup to summon your voice assistant, like Alexa.
These offer an excellent sonic profile as far as wireless headphones go (and for an affordable price point).
If you are a fan of Audio Technica, you’ll be happy to know that these deliver that same signature sound: Deep bass, excellent clarity and realistic tones.
The frequency response is 15 – 28,000 Hz with impedance of 38 ohms. On a full charge, you can expect up to 40 hours of playback.
This is an eye-catching choice for comfortable, everyday use.
7. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
- PROFESSIONAL QUALITY: Perfect for studio and stage recordings due to their high-quality, high-resolution...
- GERMAN ENGINEERING: Experience first-hand, the true quality engineering that Germany is so widely known...
- PERFECT APPLICATIONS: Closed over-ear headphones ideal for professional editing, mixing, and mastering
Beyerdynamic is an award-winning creator of audiophile headphones and other sound technologies.
While Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones are designed specifically for studio work, they can also be used with gaming TVs and listening to music on mobile devices.
The closed back, over-ear headphones are a frequent choice for those who mix, edit and master audio in a professional setting.
Designed for long wear and comfort, the build includes pillow soft ear cups and a spring steel headband to keep the headphones secure and snug.
The one-sided cable eliminates tangling and makes it easy to take them on and off.
You’ll hear detailed, intricate sound with a prominent bassline. It’s less surround sound and more transparent — no extras — just the cleanliness of a sonic production.
This is thanks to Tesla technology which employs a dynamic neodymium driver. The transducers ensure a smooth sound experience without distortion, even at high levels.
These headphones can reproduce a vast frequency range with an impedance variance of 32 to 250 ohms, depending on the application (smartphones to studio work).
The DT 770 is built for pros but priced for all.
8. AKG Pro Audio K712
- Over-ear design maximum wearing comfort for long work sessions
- Sophisticated open technology for spacious and airy sound without compromise
- Improved low-end performance by 3dB for more powerful sound imaging
AKG headphones and microphones have shared space with musical greats such as Stevie Wonder and Aerosmith. It’s an award-winning brand with proven expertise in sound delivery.
And, AKG delivers sound with style. The Pro Audio K712 headphones have an eye-catching design, but these reference studio headphones have the bones to back up the aesthetic.
Through the conscientious integration of specific transducers and flat-wire voice coils, your ears receive pure, sophisticated playback — accurate reproduction of music and lyrics for precise listening.
They are designed for long wear; the leather headband is soft and the entire unit is lightweight. Ear cups are huge and flanked with velour and memory foam.
You’ll enjoy spacious sound with this open back headphone choice. The frequency range is 10 – 39,800 Hz with an impedance of 62 ohms.
These headphones aren’t just for musicians, they are for lovers of Hi-Fi sound. For those who don’t want to miss a thing.
9. Shure AONIC 50
- PREMIUM WIRELESS STUDIO-QUALITY SOUND: Engineered from decades of professional experience. No cords. No...
- ADJUSTABLE NOISE CANCELLING & ENVIRONMENT MODE: Eliminate distractions for a truly immersive listening...
- BLUETOOTH 5 WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY: Enhanced stability and a range of up to 30 feet (10 meters). Pairs to...
Shure has been an innovator in sound since 1925. Today, Shure is a respected, leading producer of wired and wireless sound isolation and noise cancelling headphones.
AONIC 50 is a closed back wireless set of cans that provide a mobile listening experience. The sound doesn’t suffer from a lack of wires, but you have the option to connect if you desire.
It includes a premium amplifier in the design that works with codecs like Qualcomm aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, Sony LDAC, AAC and SBC.
This choice boasts adjustable noise cancellation. It has fingertip controls for calls, playback and volume.
They fold flat for easy travel. The robust build makes them rugged enough for frequent wear but still comfortable enough for long sound sessions.
Battery life is great. You’ll get up to 20 hours of uninterrupted audio on a single charge.
These audiophile headphones use Bluetooth 5 technology to pair with portable music players, laptops, smartphones and tablets easily, receiving signals from up to 30 feet.
Overall, these headphones are reasonably priced for what they can do. You can use them professionally or casually, connected or untethered.
10. Philips SHP9600
If you’re looking for a budget buy, check out the SHP9600 audiophile headphones by Phillips.
They offer powerful components like 50mm drivers and neodymium magnets affordably. The open back design is as crisp and clean as the sonic delivery.
The level of sound detail is impressive for the price. You get a frequency response of 12 – 35,000 HZ and impedance of 32 ohms. A good range of highs and lows with ample bass.
Additionally, these headphones are engineered for comfort and extended wear. They offer an adjustable padded headband and large cushioned ear cups.
This model comes with an attachable boom mic that can turn your headphones into a headset for gaming or conference calls. You will need to purchase an additional splitter to use the mic.
This is a solid choice for an audio newbie who appreciates good bass, a mix of clear frequencies and smooth delivery.
With audiophile headphones, it’s important to focus on your “must-haves” before shopping.
- Wired or wireless? Wireless allows for more freedom and flexibility. It’s also ideal for Bluetooth devices without headphone jacks. Wired earphones are great when you have different audio components to connect to.
- Professional or casual use? Pro headphones tend to cost more. For casual playback, skip specs like high impedance (100 ohms or more) or DAC connectivity. Just focus on the features you need.
- Open back or closed back? Open back headphones have sound leakage. If you want a private listening experience select closed back.
- Quick use or long use? For extended listening, choose options that focus on comfort. Look for large, padded, breathable ear cups that swivel and padded or flexible headbands.
Bottom line? Find headphones with the perks you want at a price you can live with. It will make everything you listen to that much sweeter.