Audiophile headphones are designed for one thing and one thing only: to deliver the best sound quality possible to the listener’s ears. They’re a must-have accessory for anyone looking to seriously upgrade their listening experience. It doesn’t matter if the consumer is a fan of high-fidelity music or just really wants the best clarity possible when they’re listening to your audiobooks, these type of headphones are absolutely crucial for an incredible listening experience.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy finding the best headphones in this particular category. Some manufacturers mistakenly market their headphones as suitable for audiophiles, when in fact, they aren’t suitable at all. Another common problem is that there’s not an audiophile standard the consumer can reference to find out which headphones are the best for them. Which is why we’ve decided to take things into our own hands and list what we feel are the top ten headphones for audiophiles currently available.
Best Audiophile Headphones – Reviews
10Edifier H850 Professional Headphones
These over-the-ear headphones are designed to give the listener an unprecedented audio experience, but do it without them having to spend a fortune. They have a simple and lightweight design that fits comfortably on the ears and have leather pads suitable for noise isolation. These headphones also have 40mm Neodymium magnet drivers that allow for true sound reproduction. These headphones aren’t just good for home listening, however. They can also be folded, so the listener can enjoy their favorite music just about anywhere. Which makes them headphones suitable for the busy music fan who likes to take a few moments out of their day to enjoy their favorite music.
9Audio Technica ATH-M30x
Suitable for studio applications, these headphones have plenty of features which also make them good for audiophiles. They have 40mm drivers that are engineered with copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils and are manufactured with rare Earth magnets. They also have a single-sided cable exit and a 3-meter straight cable that plugs into it. The shape of these headphones is also pretty nice as well. They are tuned for mid-range definition and are designed to provide the listener with true sound isolation. All of this makes it a good mid-range pair of headphones that have a way better sound quality than their price would suggest.
8Philips SHP9500S Headphones
From a trusted name known for producing high-quality headphones, the Philips SHP9500S is designed to reproduce full spectrum sound. They feature 50mm Neodymium drivers that have a sensitivity of 101 dB and a frequency response of 12-35,000 Hz. They have a 1.5-meter cable that gives listeners plenty of space to move around while they’re listening to music and it has a gold-plated connector that ensures a good connection. These open over-the-ear headphones are not designed to seal out outside sounds, but they are specifically designed to deliver the sound quality that people want and expect from their favorite audio equipment.
7Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Studio Headphones
Designed exclusively for studio work, these open over-ear headphones deliver the sound quality necessary for professional music mastering, mixing and editing. These German-made headphones have high-quality drivers which deliver strong bass and transparent treble sounds. They have soft circumaural velour ear pads that are comfortable to wear and a 3-meter coiled cable that gives the user a little bit of extra room to work. Their braided cord terminates in a 6.35mm jack. They come with their own drawstring bag and come with an instruction booklet. Manufactured with quality components, these headphones are sure to provide the listener with many, many hours of listening enjoyment.
6Edifier H840 Noise-Isolating Headphones
With 40mm driver units and a noise-isolating design, these headphones are designed to maximize the audiophile’s listening enjoyment. They have an around the ear design that’s made of soft comfortable leather and which make these headphones easy to wear for long periods. They also have leather headrests that have a steel reinforced headband that increases the durability and flexibility of this product. Another feature that can be found on these headphones is a 3.5mm gold-plated audio plug that makes for a static-free connection between the headphones and the audio source. And since these headphones deliver realistic sounds, they are good for everything from casual listening to studio work.
These Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional headphones are suitable for the serious enjoyment of music at home or in the studio. They are made with unique 45mm drivers that are manufactured using rare Earth magnets and have aluminum wire voice coils that have been clad in copper. These headphone develop exceptional music clarity and deliver deep, accurate bass note reproduction. They have a circumaural design that helps to seal out the noises of the outside world and is useful for use in noisy environments. The earcups on these high-quality headphones swivel 90-degrees for packing away for travel or for one-ear monitoring of sound.
4Sennheiser HD 579 Open Back Headphones
Powered using specially-designed 38mm drivers with 50-ohm transducers, these Sennheiser headphones are designed to provide reliable sound reproduction to listeners who only expect the best. They have an open back design that fits around the ears and has soft comfortable ear pads that are designed to be easy-to-wear. These headphones also have a 3-meter cable that comes with a 6.3mm jack and also a 3.5mm jack adapter. And they’re just the right size so they’re not too bulky or not too thin. Designed to also provide a nice range of notes and deep bass notes with little to no distortion, these headphones can be enjoyed by audiophiles everywhere.
3Status Audio CB-1 Monitor Headphones
These headphones are designed for two distinct group of people. They are designed for professionals who depend on consistent sound quality from their audio source and for audiophiles who want to maximize the enjoyment they receive from their music. Designed with 50mm drivers, these headphones can deliver a neutral sound signature that doesn’t interfere with the natural characteristics of the source music. They come with detachable cables, both coiled and straight, and can be folded so they can be easily placed into a bag or on a shelf. All of which allows these headphones to be used for a variety of different purposes.
2Sennheiser HD 650 Professional Headphones
Audiophiles who need truly natural sound are increasingly turning to the Sennheiser HD 650. These open-back professional headphones have a frequency response of 10-39,500 Hz and are optimized for higher resolution recordings. Everything has been selected to make these headphones perform as well as possible. They are built with aluminum voice coils and utilize hand-selected Neodymium magnets, these headphones are designed to keep even the hardened music fan satisfied with their sound quality reproduction. They feature a modulated connecting cable that’s made from OFC copper and is reinforced with Kevlar to increase durability. These headphones can be plugged into high-quality audio components included CD, DVD players, and SACD players.
1Sennheiser HD 600 Headphones
Lightweight aluminum coils and Neodymium ferrous magnets are just two of the high-quality components which make these audiophile headphones extremely useful to just about anyone. The magnet system in these headphones is computer optimized to minimize intermodulation distortion and to maximize performance. They also have an elegant designed that finished in black and grey and have open metal-mesh earpiece covers that make them truly unique. These headphones also have an oxygen-free copper cable that’s detachable and is Kevlar reinforced for durability. Designed to produce natural and accurate sound, these headphones can be enjoyed by audiophiles, audio technicians or anyone who wants to get the most from their music.
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Buying The Best Audiophile Headphones
The term audiophile is one that often gets a bad rap. It’s a term that’s associated with individuals who take their music listening seriously—perhaps, too seriously. To put it another way, the word audiophile is a term that has a bit of a negative connotation among some people. We’re not sure why, but we suspect that many people think of audiophiles as music snobs who are intent on telling the rest of us not only what we should listen to but how we should listen to it. We have a different take on the situation, however, and look upon the word audiophile more favorable.
To us, the term audiophile means striving for absolutely the best music experience possible. An experience that transcends the bonds of this mortal realm and puts us in a state of pure bliss. And for that to happen, you have to choose the best audiophile headphones possible. Unfortunately, that’s a task that’s not as easy as it sounds and requires the average person to put away their misconceptions about audiophile headphones and open themselves to the possibilities offered by these wonderful devices. A process that we hope this guide can facilitate, even if it is only in some small way.
Although many people will come to this article, find a pair of headphones that they like from our top list of the best audiophile headphones and then buy them, we also want to offer our readers a different choice. We want to offer our readers the chance to understand how these headphones work and what they should be looking for when they choose a pair. In that way, they can find a pair of headphones that match their listening preferences, regardless of whether they call themselves an audiophile or not.
In this guide, we hope to talk about some of the more important features offered by audiophile headphones, so our readers can find a pair that they’ll enjoy for many years to come. A pair of headphones that will transport them to a different sphere where music and life collide. After all, once a person uses a pair of these headphones, they will never want to buy an inferior pair of headphones ever again.
The Most Important Feature Found On Audiophile Headphones
Before we get into the individual features that a consumer should search for when buying a new pair of these headphones, we want to talk about the most important feature of all: Flat Response. Flat response is a term used to describe when an audio system or pair of headphones outputs all of its frequencies equally. That means that the equipment doesn’t fudge with the original audio signal pulled from the source. No particular frequency is halved or boosted, so the listener gets to listen to an authentic reproduction of their favorite music. And this is why audiophile headphones are not only suitable for individuals who want to listen to their music the way their favorite artists intended on it being listened to but is also good for studio purposes—where a flat sound is better for working out various mixing situations.
The Headphone’s Sound Drivers
With most headphones, the larger the sound driver, the better the sound, but things are a bit different with audiophile headphones. These headphones aren’t simply interested in reproducing “more” sound, but they want to accurately represent the sound derived from the audio source. Therefore, some of the best audiophile headphones available are the ones that are made with rare Earth elements, or aluminum coils and Neodymium ferrous magnets. The best headphones use computers to accurately design these components down to a very fine level, so the consumer gets the most accurate sound reproduction possible. And as far as speaker size goes, the consumer should look for sound drivers that are at least 40mm or higher to ensure the best sound expression possible.
The Headphone’s Cord
Yes, when it comes to these types of headphones, even the cable matters. To ensure the best transmission of the electrical impulses from the audio source to the sound drivers, consumers should look for headphones that feature oxygen-free copper, otherwise known as OFC copper. OFC copper is a highly conductive copper alloy that has had its oxygen levels reduced to .001% or lower. What’s so great about this material? This material reduces the possibility of possible audio signal transmission, which simply means that the sound signal is transmitted over this material and doesn’t degrade in any way during the transmission possible. This results in better sound reproduction.
Closed Or Open Back Headphones?
For years, electronic and audio magazines have recommended that audiophiles choose open-back headphones for the best listening experience. And that’s because with open-back headphone the sound output from the drivers don’t bounce off the earcups and bounce back towards the drivers, which can result in distortion issues. The rationale is that by allowing the sound to escape through the back of the headphones, the music can better breathe. Although that is true, the problem is that many open-back headphones allow outside sounds to leak into the earcups, and this can also result in music distortion to the listener.
Fortunately, many of the newer headphones for audiophiles fix the problems that closed-back headphones with distortion in some clever ways. One way they do that is by using Gorilla glass and special chambers that absorb sound to collect all of that sound and prevent it from bouncing around and back towards the driver. This works exceptionally well at improving the audio’s precision, but these technologies also can greatly inflate the price of the headphones. In our experience, if the consumer doesn’t want to spend the extra cash on these closed-back headphones, then there are plenty of open-back headphones that do a great job of allowing music to breathe and do it while preventing outside sound from leaking in. We’ve even listed a few of these headphones on our top list.
Choose High-Impedance Headphones
When most people choose headphones, they ignore the impedance specifications listed by the manufacturer. And that’s a shame because this is probably the most important feature to consider when buying a new pair of headphones for audiophiles. Most ordinary headphones that people frequently buy have an impedance of 50 ohms or less, which is fine for most people. Headphones in this impedance range sound just fine when used to play music over a standard radio or smartphone. However, for most audiophiles, headphones in this impedance range just aren’t going to cut it. That’s because if they want to get the most out of their high-end stereo system, then they are going to need something with a bit more kick. Audiophiles who are interested in getting the best sound out of their headphones are going to want to choose headphones in the 300 to the 600-ohm range.
Audiophile Headphone Can Be Used By Everyone
The above points will allow anyone to buy the best audiophile headphones possible. And we think that everyone, and not just audiophiles, should check out these headphones. This is especially true if the want to listen to their music the way the artist intended and without distortion.