We’re halfway through 2017 and we’ve revised our best headphones list! There’s a few complete newcomers here, a couple upgrades and a few classics that refuse to budge because they’re just that darn good. From sub-$50 right up to $1,500+ we’ve got an audio experience to match your budget. From ultra lightweight cans to open back monsters with impeccable audio, unbeatable noise cancellation, wired and wireless options and the best bang for your hard-earned dollar, we’ve got the best headphones for you. No matter where you stand in your personal audio journey, there’s something here for everybody. njoy!
Sennheiser HD 800 S
Let’s get this out of the way up front: the best headphones you can buy right now are the Sennheiser HD 800 S. While they require an amplifier—and must stay indoors—this set of audiophile headphones is the closest you’ll come to listening to music in a perfect acoustic chamber. These cans supersede the legendary HD 800, and don’t seem to fall short of their predecessors in any way; they even add the option to use a balanced 4-pin XLR connection (cable included). They’re comfortable, easily maintained, and extremely good performers. They’ll set you back $1,700—but if you want the king of personal audio, you’ve got to pay a king’s ransom. Compared to the Orpheus, these are a steal, because they’re actually in the realm of possibility. This is purely a performance pick, so you may find that other features are more important to you. If you need isolation, wireless connectivity, or a microphone: keep reading.
V-Moda Crossfade 2 WirelessFull Review
If you want wireless headphones, one of the best pairs you can get right now are the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless. These are the newest offering from the company and they claim these are their best pair of headphones yet, they just happen to also be Bluetooth. If you enjoyed the M-100’s you’ll likely enjoy these. They have that same stylish and bold V-MODA design and don’t sacrifice comfort thanks to plush memory foam ear-ads that keep your ears happy and also do a solid job at isolating outside noises. The ear cups can swivel up to 90 degrees and they also maintain their signature CLIQFOLD design which allows you to fold these up to a size that’s way more convenient for travel.
You’ll have no problems just throwing them in a bag, but if you don’t feel like possibly damaging your investment they also come with a nice hardshell carrying case to keep them safe. V-MODA claims that you can expect around 14 hours out of these when connected via Bluetooth, but we got closer to 12 in our full review. Should you forget to charge them up you can also plug in the included 3.5mm cable and hardwire them to your source device for hi-res audio. Speaking of sound quality these do support aptX if you get the Rose Gold model, but if you get a different color you’ll miss out on that feature. That said, the sound these pump out is still impressive with plenty of bass to make your music sound fun and crisp highs that don’t skimp on detail. The Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones aren’t cheap in any sense of the word, but if you decide to spend the money you won’t be disappointed.
Sony makes plenty of great headphones and pop up on a few of our best lists, but this spot goes to the MDR-1A. They have large comfortable padding that make these perfect for longer than average listening sessions, and the sleek look won’t be out of place whether you’re around the house or in the office. Because this is Sony we’re talking about, the MDR-1A’s also come with a Hi-Res certification, and then some. In order to obtain the certification, a pair of headphones need to be able to reach 40kHz, but these go a step further and can reproduce sounds all the way up to 100kHz. Of course, you won’t be physically able to hear the difference but it’s good to know that Sony continues to push the limits. These have a nice and tight low end that will make bass-lovers happy without scaring away people who prefer less bass driven sound. Yes the lows are strong, but they’re nicely controlled and don’t overstep their boundaries. Even better, they have a high sensitivity and can be powered by your average smartphone with no problems. One downside to be aware of however is that even though you can rotate the ear cups to easily fit them in the included carrying case, these don’t fold down to a more compact size. So if you’re looking to use these for commuting or traveling make sure you have space for them. If you can afford a little more, you really can’t beat the Oppo PM-3 closed back planar headphones at $399.
Bose QuietComfort 35Full Review
When Bose followed up the massively successful QC25 headphones with a wireless version, the QC35s, we all stood up and paid attention. If you love that signature Bose ANC but had always wished they were wireless, the QC35 are specially for you. When it comes to traveling, the QC35s are absolutely perfect. No wires means no tangles and compatibility with everything that has Bluetooth. Of course, if you’re going on a plane you can always hardwire in an audio cable so you can watch the on-flight movie even if the battery dies. But you’ll be good for around 20 hours of playback before that happens, with both ANC and Bluetooth turned on. These headphones are also super comfortable, ridiculously light, and can easily fold down to about half of their original size. The Bose QC25s were known for their great ANC, and that’s still the case here. Besides the ANC these have all the basic playback controls you could want built into the ear cup. Control volume, change tracks, pause/play music, and access Siri or Google with a few buttons.
Sennheiser HD1 Wireless
If $1,700 for the HD 800 S is a little steep for you, how about something a little more reasonably priced? The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2.0 (now known as the Sennheiser HD1 in the U.S.) is what you’re looking for, coming in as our best all-round pick. Sure, there are audiophile headphones that sound better, or Bluetooth headphones with a better range, or less expensive headphones with better active noise cancelling, but if you want a pair of headphones that are top contenders in every one of these categories these are the way to go. They have active noise cancelling, great sound, are comfortable, and they’re wireless. They have a solid 22 hour battery life and that’s with ANC and Bluetooth turned on. They fold at the hinges for easy traveling and you can also make crystal clear calls.
- See also: Best wireless bluetooth headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xFull Review
- Related: Best noise cancelling headphones
Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2Full Review
If anything in this world is subjective, it’s sound. These are some of the best headphones we found, but we’re certain there are more. Drop a comment to let us know what headphones you think are the best.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Checkout these related best lists:
- Best headphones under $50
- Best headphones under $100
- Best headphones under $200
- Best on-ear headphones
- Best earbuds (in ear headphones) of 2017
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