Best Headphone Brands

17 Best Headphone Brands for Quality Sound

The oversaturated headphone market is so full of noise, it’s hard to know who’s really on top. This guide to the best headphone brands will find the answer. Well-established companies, like Sennheiser or Beyerdynamic, have reputations of gold, but does that mean they’re the best headphone brands? Bose and Sony are popular, what about them? Or maybe a lesser-known label like Shure or Focal? 

The headphone market contains a large and diverse audience, so no pair of headphones would be a perfect fit for everyone. Purchase the headphones of a brand you trust, with specs you want, at a price you can afford. 

This article breaks down the pros and cons of the best headphone brands and offers some of their best products. 

Top 17 Headphone Brands

ImageProductDetails 
Sony WH-1000XM4
Sony WH-1000XM4

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Sony

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Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Bose QuietComfort 35 II

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Bose

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Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Audio-Technica

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Philips SHP9500
Philips SHP9500

  • Customer Ratings: 4.7 out of 5
  • Brand: Philips

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Beats Powerbeats Pro
Beats Powerbeats Pro

  • Customer Ratings: 4.6 out of 5
  • Brand: Beats

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Skullcandy Crusher
Skullcandy Crusher

  • Customer Ratings: 4.6 out of 5
  • Brand: Skullcandy

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Sennheiser CX 400BT
Sennheiser CX 400BT

  • Customer Ratings: 4.5 out of 5
  • Brand: Sennheiser

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JBL LIVE 650BTNC
JBL LIVE 650BTNC

  • Customer Ratings: 4.5 out of 5
  • Brand: JBL

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AKG Pro Audio K702
AKG Pro Audio K702

  • Customer Ratings: 4.4 out of 5
  • Brand: AKG

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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9

  • Customer Ratings: 4.3 out of 5
  • Brand: Bang & Olufsen

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Jabra Elite 75t
Jabra Elite 75t

  • Customer Ratings: 4.3 out of 5
  • Brand: Jabra

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Shure AONIC 50
Shure AONIC 50

  • Customer Ratings: 4.3 out of 5
  • Brand: Shure

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Focal Listen
Focal Listen

  • Customer Ratings: 4.3 out of 5
  • Brand: Focal

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Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX

  • Customer Ratings: 4.2 out of 5
  • Brand: Bowers & Wilkins

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Audeze LCD-1
Audeze LCD-1

  • Customer Ratings: 4.2 out of 5
  • Brand: Audeze

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beyerdynamic Lagoon
beyerdynamic Lagoon

  • Customer Ratings: 4.1 out of 5
  • Brand: beyerdynamic

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Creative Outlier Air
Creative Outlier Air

  • Customer Ratings: 3.9 out of 5
  • Brand: Creative

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1. Sony

Sony is a historic and well-known name in audio, so most people see them as one of the best headphone brands. Since they started selling the first tape recorders, they have continued to target mainly the audiophile community. However, they do offer cheaper headphones for the average consumer. 

Sony headphones are top-of-the-line, and they don’t cut any corners when it comes to quality and performance. Their sound is bright, with a clean and flat frequency response. They also tailor to the bass-loving community with some extra-bass models. The most well-known Sony’s are probably the WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones. 

Pros
  • Durable
  • Up-to-date technology
  • Wide variety of products
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Sample Customer Review…. I hesitated before purchasing this product since it’s a big investment. The experience is AMAZING so far with sound quality, noise cancellation, built quality, and battery life. I’d strongly recommend this product and can gladly say that this is one of the best headphones out there. Plus, Amazon really exceeds my expectation in terms of shipping & delivery. At first, Amazon promised me that they would deliver the product 2 days after the launch. However, it ended up delivering the product within just 1 day, making me one of the first customers that can try on this product. So 5 stars for Amazon as well!

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2. Bose

Bose, like Sony, is one of the biggest names in audio technology. It would be unthinkable to leave them from a list of the best headphone brands. Their product range is pretty wide, so they have cheaper to more expensive headphones, but generally, their cost is middle-tier. But that doesn’t mean these are middle-quality headphones. Bose focuses on all of the details, offering some of the most beloved and comfortable noise-canceling headphones on the market.

Bose headphones are full of the latest features, and some even offer accessibility features for people with hearing or vision impairments. Bose headphones are definitely durable, but not as tough as Sony headphones—just don’t chuck them at the ground. Bose headphones are better suited for the average consumer than the audiophile or the music professional. Still, it’s no surprise that even audiophiles respect Bose as one of the best headphone brands. One of their most popular models is the QuietComfort 35 II, a Bluetooth and ANC (Active Noise-Canceling) headphone. I’ve owned a pair for a few years now and I LOVE them. They’re comfortable, durable, and have great sound quality. 

Pros
  • Good cost-to-quality ratio
  • Optimized frequency curves
Cons
  • Mediocre durability
  • Mediocre battery life

Sample Customer Review…. Ok, these are amazing! I can’t hear a single thing when I turn these on. I was looking for headphones that canceled out noise in the background even when I wasn’t listening to music (I’m a med student and need constant quiet while studying), and these work really well. Here are some details about the features: Features: On the right headphone, there are 3 buttons aligned vertically, the volume-up button, the pause button, and the volume-down button.

This is also where the On button is. On the left headphone, there is a button for Google Assistant, which I highly recommend. Just get the Bose app for headphones and the Google Assistant app and it’ll help you through the set-up. You can even use them on multiple devices at the same time. I use it on my Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Just turn on Bluetooth for all your devices and turn on the headphones and it should connect automatically. Google Assistant is like Siri.

These also allow you to speak into them as it has a mic, so if someone calls you are able to talk through these without picking up your phone. Noise-Canceling Feature Only (No music): If someone in the background is cooking or cleaning I can’t hear a thing with these turned on. With just the noise cancelation and no music, I can’t hear the dishwasher or even certain levels of music playing in the background. I can hear conversation but really low which doesn’t bother all that much.

The noise canceling is really good. Noise-Canceling Feature WITH Music/Video/Sound On: I can’t hear a thing! People have to scream if they need to talk to me. Not only does it cancel out all noise in the background, you don’t need to turn the volume up all the way and kill your ears in order to hear the sound playing. It’s like being in a movie theater. The sound is outstanding and clear! Overall great headphones that do the job right! I feel like I’m in my own world when studying, and even watching shows/movies.

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3. Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica is another smaller name in the mass market, but a beloved favorite in the audiophile community. Their products range from the lower-middle to upper price range, and they have everything from gaming headsets to wireless earbuds to open-back headphones. 

Audio-Technica is well-known as one of the best headphone brands for sonic performance and quality. I’ve had an Audio-Technica record player for years and I’d die before I got rid of it. They’re a pretty progressive company that leads the industry in a lot of ways, and their sound performance is always amazing.

They feature a flat-response frequency that allows for true and clean high-performance sound. This is one of my favorite audio companies—I’m only listing a con for them for the sake of consistency. One of the best products they offer is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x wired headphone. 

Pros
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Flat-response frequency
Cons
  • Expensive

Sample Customer Review…. I bought these primarily for casual music enjoyment. Overall, they’re fantastic headphones that can’t be beat at this price point. Fit- Initially, these headphones weren’t very comfortable. I have a large head and these clamped down too tightly. After wearing them for a week, however, the headphones really broke in. Now I can wear them for 4-6 hours and barely notice they’re on.

The earpads are nice and comfortable and create a good seal around my ears. They’re not noise cancelling, but they still manage to block out most ambient noise. Sound- these sound absolutely amazing. The bass is clear and punchy. The highs are sharp and piercing, but not too shrill. The mids come in clear and vibrant. Every detail of my music is represented wonderfully. While these are technically monitors and have a relatively flat profile, they aren’t cold or dull.

You’d have to pay almost double the price to match the sound here. Bluetooth- The Bluetooth connection is pretty great. The only time I’ve had issues is when I’m walking outside with my phone in my right pocket. The Bluetooth radio is in the left ear cup, and the connection tends to drop when my phone is on my right side. This is a pretty common issue with Bluetooth, however.

As long as my phone is in my left pocket, the signal never drops. I can also walk anywhere in my house with my phone on the kitchen counter and never lose signal. Even more surprisingly, the Bluetooth doesn’t take anything away from the sound. These sound every bit as good as a wired set of headphones at this price range. I’m very satisfied with my purchase. I would recommend these to anyone.

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4. Philips

Philips is a well-known company that makes everything from my favorite electric toothbrush to lightbulbs to audio technology. They make a variety of headphones, most of them in the low-to-mid price range. Their products satisfy a variety of needs, from exercise to commuting to mixing in the studio. The SHP9500 hi-fi wired headphones are one of my favorite Philips products.

You can buy them at an amazing price, and they offer great sound performance for the cost. Is Philips going to beat Sennheiser in a sound-quality competition? No, but a good purchase doesn’t have to be from the best product, it can also be a more affordable option.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Durable
Cons
  • Mediocre performance
  • Philips doesn’t specialize in audio

Sample Customer Review…. I own 15 closed back bluetooth headphones, some of them top dollar units. Not one of any of them can compare to the clarity you get from the Philips SHP9500. Don’t keep researching, trust your gut and buy these. I do not think I could go back to my other cans now unless I have to get on a plane and need noise cancelling. The bass is here and nice and clean, the mids are strong and the highs are bright but not sharp.

I really feel like I have not properly heard good clean music in years because we get so pre-programmed with today’s std Bluetooth headphones and their compressed sounds. The pads are nice and large, it has to be the most comfortable set I have worn. I do wish the cups were a hair deeper, not that my ears touch anything. They are as light as any headset can be and yet they do feel sturdy enough for daily use.

I know you are reading a lot of reviews, do yourself a favor and make the leap, just place your order, you will not be disappointed. I now have well over $1,500.00 worth Bluetooth headphones that will be collecting dust. For me there is no return.

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5. Beats by Dre

Beats by Dre don’t have the history of the other brands I’ve listed, but they still have a great reputation as one of the best headphone brands. They have a variety of products that range from wired earbuds to Bluetooth headphones, so you should be able to find something that fits your budget. Like Bose, Beats by Dre are not ideal for the audiophile market, but they’re great for athletes, commuters, or the average customer. 

Beats aren’t known for their durability, but they are comfortable and they have all of the latest technology. Most, if not all, Beats have bass boosters, so their products are geared towards the adrenaline junky more than the true-sound-loving audiophile. The Beats Powerbeats Pro’s are probably my favorite truly wireless earbuds for running and exercise, and they look great. They also have an Apple H1 chip, so they’re ideal for iPhone users (but they work great for Android users, too). 

Pros
  • Amazing battery life
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Durability is mediocre
  • Boosted bass and high-end frequencies

Sample Customer Review…. First off, SUPER comfortable and secure. I’ve only been able to use Earhook headphones for ANYTHING even walking as normal Earphones just fall out and in ear headphones will fall out eventually do to sweat and jaw movement.

These things are awesome cause they dont penetrate the ear canal rather they sit and seal right outside the canal. The sounds is good for your avg listener but im not WOWed by the base as most reviews have pointed out its punchy but I dont care for it cause it just sounds good as my Anker Soundcore Spirit X, maybe a tad punchier.

Back to the fit. Its good for big eared people like me. I’ve switched to the smallest silicone fitting because it doesnt seal my ear canal so I can hear everything going on around me while also enjoying the headphones. I know, that defeats the purpose of the seal but its an option if you’re out in public and need to know whats going on around you.

Love the auto off when removing from your ear. Not looking back on this purchase as expensive as it was, its the best earphones I’ve ever used.

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6. Skullcandy

Skullcandy is a newer brand, like Beats, but they’ve found their niche and you can buy them almost everywhere. Their quality has also improved greatly over the years. Their price range is pretty low, so these are probably one of the best headphone brands for someone on a tighter budget. 

Skullcandy headphones come in some of the wildest colors of any brand. If you have a fun and bright personality these would be a great fit for you. While they aren’t the best quality, they are affordable enough to replace if you break them (which is hard to do, they are really durable). Their sound is somewhat comparable to Beats, with boosted bass and high-frequencies. If you’re a skater, an athlete, or just someone who wants fun headphones, I recommend the Skullcandy Crusher Bluetooth headphones, a beloved and stylish fan-favorite. 

Pros
  • Variety of options
  • Affordable price range
Cons
  • Boosted bass

Sample Customer Review…. Swapped my Koss for the Skullcandy Crusher headset. No comparison. Skullcandy Crusher is even better than my Bose external speakers I have hooked up to my Mac. This headset picks up subtle sounds and still delivers great bass, which is adjustable. The adjustment feature and folding capabilities are awesome. I can store the headset and connectors in my Headcase Audio hard case I got from RonsElectronics.com. Everything, and I do mean everything, fits in the case.

I travel all across the USA. You don’t always have access to charge your devices. I charged fully before leaving home. I still haven’t recharged after five weeks of periodic use which is several hours at a time. They are a full over the ear. That helps reduce the noise when in a noisy environment. I have not tried using during a phone call, however I am confident in their performance based on everything else they have done. Big bang for your buck if you want a high end sound for a reasonable price.

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7. Sennheiser

Sennheiser is one of the most beloved audio companies and they have been for decades. I don’t see this changing anytime soon, especially because they remain a constant competitor among the best headphone brands. Even though Sennheiser has been around since the 1940s, their technology continues to update and impress. With that many years of buyer feedback and R&D, Sennheiser is a giant in the headphone industry.

While Sennheiser is well-known for its top-quality, audiophile headphones, they also offer models that are affordable for the mass market. They have a variety of headphones, most open-back and wired, but some are now closed-back and Bluetooth. They also offer true-wireless earbuds in the wake of the Airpod’s revolution. Sennheiser even has an app for EQ that’s compatible with some of their newer Bluetooth headphones.

Most Sennheiser headphones have noise-cancellation and are as comfortable as headphones get. They are durable and lightweight—even the newest ones with Bluetooth and other added technology. Their wireless headphone battery life is superb and their Bluetooth connectivity is flawless. And all of this without mentioning the sound, which is clean, smooth, and powerful. It’s impossible to pick a top Sennheiser headphone, but I recommend their true-wireless earbuds, the CX 400BT, for their practicality, sound, and amazing price.

Pros
  • Trusted and innovative brand
  • Great cost-to-quality ratio
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Some products are bad—stick to the best-sellers

Sample Customer Reviews…. All the words. These things are incredible. Perfectly balanced audio out of the box. I dl’d the app but haven’t touched it. Being in the music industry, I have to be able to hear all aspects of what I’m listening to. I only have Sennheiser over-the-ear sets for studio use and these are my first Sennheiser earbuds and let me tell you…these are little love buds for sound. I’d say equal audio to the over the ear sets. I’ve been in the hunt for some new buds and have returned several top names back due to not meeting my needs.

As soon as I started the first track…I knew these were a keeper. As far as noise cancellation. I rated a 4 because I can still hear a little (very little) ambient noise when that ambient noise is at high volume while wearing these. Personally, I like that they don’t kill all outside noise cause I have to be able to hear when people are trying to talk to me. Oh, and only $99 for Sennheiser? C’mon…what are you waiting for. Stop the search…these are your ear buds.

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8. JBL

JBL is another one of the best headphone brands with decades of experience, but they tend to be more focused on the mass market than Sennheiser. However, they do make professional-grade equipment, such as subwoofers, etc. JBL is infamous for their progressive technology—if they want their latest audio technology to do something that’s never been done, they invent new technology.

One of the reasons JBL is so popular is that they offer products even more cost-friendly than Sennheiser. This makes JBL one of the best headphone brands for the casual listener, but usually not for the audiophile. They make a wide variety of headphones, serving everyone from the commuter to the runner to the music professional.

JBL also has some of the brightest colors of any brand, as well as some of the most streamlined designs. Their athletic headphones are lightweight and often even waterproof. All of their products are durable and can handle more than most of the best headphone brands. Sound-wise, JBL tends to land somewhere near Beats, since both companies tend to use boosted bass frequencies. As for Sennheiser, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I recommend checking out the JBL LIVE 650BTNC. 

Pros
  • Durable
  • Powerful and clean sound
  • Great for casual listening
Cons
  • Boosted bass
  • Uncomfortable for large heads

Sample Customer Review…. I made sure to wear and try the headphones for over a month before reviewing it; purchase experience was excellent, delivery happened hours after buying it, way sooner than expected, well packed. Fitting is great: it covers my ears completely and I can use them for hours, very comfortable and stylish. They are very well made; battery life is long and charging time is quick.

As for noise cancellation, I tested it under several different circumstances and I really like it; it works well to the point that I really miss it when not wearing it; I use it more for the noise cancelling than to listen to anything, but don’t get me wrong, sound quality won’t disappoint – it’s just that the lower noise peace that comes with its use in a big city is addictive. It is great for everyday activities and for flights.

So far, zero complaints. I know there are even more powerful ANC headphones, with specific sound quality features, but for my purposes and for the price, it is the best choice. Really satisfied with these.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

9. AKG

AKG is a tried-and-tested label that targets the audiophile community as one of the best headphone brands. They do have low-cost models, but prices ramp up pretty quickly from there. Most of their headphones are ideal for music professionals and audiophiles, but the avid music lover would be overjoyed to own a pair of AKG headphones.

Most AKG headphones are made from high-quality, heavy plastic, so they’re durable but still lightweight. Their sound is what you would expect from a top-of-the-line label—excellent—but they are known for packing some heavier bass than most audiophile brands. The AKG Pro Audio K702 headphones are one of the best options for someone new to open-back headphones, or simply looking for a more affordable audiophile option.

Pros
  • Professional
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Clean and powerful sound
Cons
  • Expensive

Sample Customer Review…. AKG K712 Pro is perfect for the classical music audiophile purist. I find the headphones excellent for listening to classical music CDs. For example, when listening to recordings of piano music I hear the full natural range of the instrument from the lowest bass notes to the upper notes of the keyboard with excellent clarity and fullness of tone. Depending on the power of your audio amplifier, you may have to turn up the volume control more than you usually do in order to achieve your desired volume level when listening through these headphones.

I have not tried these headphones with a computer or a mobile device so I cannot comment on their performance in this regard. I use them while listening through my Bose Lifestyle Amplifier and they sound great! These headphones are definitely not for hip hop fans who would desire a lot of artificial bass boost. But if you enjoy hearing a lot of clarity in recordings and prefer pure unadulterated sound, then these are the headphones for you.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

10. Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen is one of the oldest names in music, but they’ve stayed pretty niche for most of their existence. They have been growing in popularity in the last few years, though. Their price range is upper-middle tier, somewhat comparable to Bose. They also tend to target an audiophile community with their high-performance sound, so the price is a steal. 

Bang & Olufsen don’t offer a wide variety of headphones, but it’s for the best. All of their models are loved and cherished by the audiophile community, and they have been improved and meticulously designed with care. Their signature sound is a clean high-range, rich mid, and deep low.

They’re also sufficiently durable and comfortable. In short, these headphones are awesome and you should buy some if you want to impress your friends with some killer sound quality from one of the best headphone brands. My favorites are the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9. 

Pros
  • Dynamic signature sound
  • Incredible cost-to-quality ratio
  • Amazing battery life
Cons
  • Limited range

Sample Customer Review…. All around fantastic headphones for the price. I suppose everyone has a different type of sound that they enjoy but these are perfect for my tastes in every way. Nice and bassy and clear. The EQ in the app is essential in getting these fine tuned to your liking. I got them refurbished and they looked like new with no issues at all. They sound so great I bought a second pair for backups. Highly recommend!!!

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11. Jabra

Jabra has been around for a long time, but they’ve mostly specialized in headsets and other business technology solutions. However, this didn’t stop them from putting some skin in the truly wireless earbud game—and they’ve excelled. They also started making mid-tier, over-ear headphones like the Elite 85 H.

Jabra has been making Bluetooth headsets for years, so their technology is the best there is. You won’t experience dropouts or slow connection speeds with Jabra headphones. Jabra headphones aren’t made for audiophiles, but they’re incredibly practical for the average consumer. Their products are comfortable, durable, and high-quality. The Jabra Elite 75t truly wireless earbuds are one of their best products—with a great fit and 4th generation Jabra wireless technology.

Pros
  • Flawless Bluetooth connection
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Not much variety

Sample Customer Review…. If I had only 1 word to describe these – “perfect” would be it. I’m BT headset aficionado – owned or tried at least couple of dozens of high end ones, including offerings from Sony, Bragi Dash, Jabra etc. and these earbuds are the best by far. Smaller and lighter than predecessor elite 65t which I also owned, last 7.5 hours without recharging, pairing is fast, and once paired – connection is literally instant, faster than any BT headset I’ve tried.

It takes me about 2 seconds to remove them from charging case and put into my ears, and I almost always miss “Connected” voice notification – that’s how fast they connect to the last 2 devices used. Both music and and phone calls are excellent quality, at least on my end of the call. Haven’t heard any complaints about call quality from people, on the other end of the line. I think Jabra put themselves in trouble with this model – I don’t know what they can possibly improve on next year.

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12. Shure

Shure is a smaller, Chicago-based company that’s been making radio parts since 1925. They’re known for music studio headphones, which mostly feature top-tier IEMs and closed-backs. These are a great purchase for music producers, but brands like Beyerdynamic or Audio-Technica are still more trusted by the general audiophile community to be the best headphone brands. If Shure is still a brand that catches your eye with its comfortable ear pads and stylish looks, I recommend the AONIC 50—a great starting point for the first time Shure customer.

Pros
  • Great warranty
  • Excellent sound
  • Fingertip controls
Cons
  • Expensive

Sample Customer Review…. The AONIC 50 is an outstanding wireless headphones. Works with the best available Bluetooth codecs, including Soy LDAC, fits great, and is more neutral than any of the competition under $500. Comfortable and very well built. Very good ANC, although different than Sony’s in the attention to different frequencies for noise reduction.

Excellent pass-through settings available for hearing external sounds when necessary. Firmware upgrades are a plus, and the headphones also work with analog cable (3.5mm to 2.5mm) and USB-C cabling (for the latter, you benefit from the internal amp and the highly capable DAC built into the headphone. Great battery life. Excellent microphones, too.

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13. Focal

Focal is known for top-tier audiophile headphones that are made with meticulous detail and artisanship. Their sound is warm and smooth, but some critics think their lower-end headphones lack precision. Focal has a great reputation as a company founded in 1979 and they’re mostly known for their hi-fi loudspeakers. Their headphones carry on this tradition with powerful drivers. 

The best Focal headphones can cost thousands of dollars, for good reason, but they also offer some more entry-level mid-prices products, such as the Focal Listen wireless headphones. These headphones have memory foam ear pads, innovative drivers, and great battery life. Focal is a great brand for anyone who loves the niche underdog or has respect for their name in the loudspeaker industry.

Pros
  • Powerful drivers
  • Well-respected reputation
  • Comfortable and well-crafted
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No ANC

Sample Customer Review…. These headphones are amazing. No noise cancellation-buy some Bose headphones if you prefer that. I love Focal studio monitors and their headphones. These are going to give you a pretty accurate flat EQ response. In other words, they won’t re-shape the music due to having certain frequencies overhyped or eliminated. Beats headphones (most of the other big names) are absolute junk in comparison.

You may look cooler at the beach with them, but if you actually want to hear what the music truly sounds like… these Focals are about as good as it gets, without going into much higher price ranges. The Bluetooth works well, there are no delays when using YouTube, and you can always use the included cable if you’re a true audiophile.

Read more reviews at Amazon.com

14. Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins is another smaller label with lots of history. They make high-quality headphones with studio-worthy performance. They also feature some pretty innovative technology, like the responsive PX headphones that pause when you set them down or lift an ear cup. Like many of the best audio companies, Bowers & Wilkins offers an app that allows you to update the headphones to the newest firmware.

Unfortunately, their app (as of yet) does not offer EQ customization or the like. One of their most popular headphones, the Bowers & Wilkins PX, offers ANC and a powerful driver that won’t disappoint. They also have impressive battery life.

Pros
  • Premium sound
  • Durable and high-quality
  • Innovative technology
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not as established as other brands

Sample Customer Review…. I’ve had these headphones for about 4 months. I wear them to commute to work every day, and have used them on airplanes during 2 cross-country roundtrip flights. I have to say, prior to purchase I had serious concerns about user comfort based on prior reviews. However, after extensive use I’m pleased to say I have experienced zero discomfort.

They don’t clamp onto your head too tightly – to the point that if you lean over to tie a shoe they might start to slip off. The top band is also comfortable, and has never bothered me even during 6 hour flights. I think these are great headphones. I love that they pause the music when removed, and the ability to tweak the noise cancelling to maximize sound quality (whether of the music or to reduce background noise) is great.

If you are on the fence due to comfort concerns raised in other reviews, I’m happy to say that my experience has been great and I’m pleased with my purchase.

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15. Audeze

Audeze is an award-winning brand known for planar magnetic headphones. I’m not going to explain what planar magnetic headphones are here, but just know that it means they are amazing at avoiding transient sound and audio distortion. The cons to planar magnetic headphones are that they’re heavier and don’t offer the most powerful bass, but those aren’t necessarily problems for most audiophiles who care for the cleanest sound possible—which Audeze offers. 

This is one of the most innovative and best headphone brands on this list, and you’ll probably feel a lot cooler if you own a pair of them. They offer a variety of headphones in the mid-to-crazy-expensive price range. A true audiophile would do anything for a pair of these, but for most headphone customers their price is unnecessary. If you are a proud audiophile, I recommend the Audeze LCD-1. They’re one of Audeze’s entry-level products, but they offer planar magnetic technology and a wide dynamic range.

Pros
  • Powerful drivers
  • Amazing warranty
  • Planar magnetic technology
  • Award-winning performance
Cons
  • Expensive

Sample Customer Review… I can’t say enough about the headphones. Within a few minutes of listening, I realized I’ve been listening to music the wrong way for years. With these headphones you will hear things in songs that you’ve been missing this whole time. Besides the incredible, accurate sound, they are the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. The cable is the perfect length and easily removable for storage (in the awesome travel bag that’s included). I understand the price may make you nervous if you’ve never invested in something like this… but treat yourself! You won’t regret it.

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16. Beyerdynamic

Beyerdynamic is about as old as an audio company gets, and they’ve been one of the best headphone brands for decades. Their products span across a wide variety of categories, and their prices do the same. They’re a high-end company, but they also offer some very affordable, low-cost options. They offer everything from gaming headsets to headset amplifiers to top-notch audiophile headphones.

Their Bluetooth products have high-quality chips that optimize sound performance and connection strength and speed. Beyerdynamic is a groundbreaking company—they even teamed up with Tesla to improve their sound performance technology.

Beyerdynamic headphones have superb sound quality, but the brand is also one of the best headphone brands for durability and longevity. This increases their weight, but it’s all in the name of better sound quality—so I say it’s worth it, right? 

Pros
  • Tesla drivers
  • Long battery life
  • Variety of models
Cons
  • Expensive

Sample Customer Review…. After owning the Bose Quite Comfort and then in my opinion moving up to the Sony’s XM2 model and then moving to the Sennheiser Momentum’s for better sound quality I am glad I now moved to the Lagoon ANC headphones as there is no comparison when it comes to sound quality when comparing these 4 headphones.

You can say what you want about noise cancellation and give the nod to Bose but in all honesty all these headphones do a great job in that regard. Where you hear the biggest difference is in the sound quality. Out of these 4 I would rank them at #1 the Beyer Dynamic Lagoon ANC #2 the Sennheiser Momentum #3 Sony and #4 the Bose. The Bose just don’t have the punch the others do, the sound seems muffled.

The Senns have good sound but a little weak in the vocal and bass. The Sony have a better bass descent mids but lack vocally. The Beyer take care of all this and check the boxes in all categories. When you listen to them the vocals are at the front but not in your face. The sound comes from the middle and is clear as though you were listening to a couple high end speakers in stereo mode. Fantastic sound stage.

The mids and the bass do not over power the vocals but instead support it very nicely and when your talking bass these can go low and not struggle. I listened to some bass heavy songs and these handled it the best followed closely by the Sony’s for bass.

I know the experts always say Bose invented noise cancelling and it’s the best. It might be the best but with these 4 headphones all I can say is I could not see a benefit in noise cancelling from one to the other as I believe they are that close on noise cancellation. In sound quality the Beyer is exceptional and you won’t be disappointed no matter what you listen to.

I would buy these again and again. Also these headphones do not drop the signal from your phone to the headset. I had dropout issues while walking amongst office towers in all but maybe the BOSE. Did not own the BOSE long enough as i hated the sound of them. The other two the Sony’s and the Senns both had drop out moments walking amongst the same towers. The Beyer Dynamic has 0 drop out thanks to APTX and a few other blue tooth options.

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17. Creative

Creative has been an interesting brand to watch, as they make both affordable products targeted towards the average tech consumer and high-quality headphones for the audiophile. This variety makes them one of my favorite underrated brands, and I’m proud to have them on this list. They offer wired and wireless headphones, and their technology is always up-to-date.

I’ve had my eyes on their wireless Creative Outlier Air—and I’m going to buy a pair once my Airpods finish dying (don’t get me started on first-gen Airpods). If you want a competitively-priced and affordable brand, come to Creative. If you want expensive but top-tier headphones, come to Creative. This brand offers it all.

Pros
  • Variety of products
  • Competitive pricing
  • Innovative technology
Cons
  • Unproven brand
  • Lower quality

Sample Customer Review…. When shopping for wireless buds, the most important qualities are sound, battery, and user experience. I can happily say that this excels in these areas with flying colors. Having owned well over a dozen pairs of wired and wireless earphones alike, ranging from $5 to $100, I have a decent idea of what to expect based on price. The Outlier Air perform well above their class, delivering sound that is accurate while remaining punchy, dynamic, and fun.

I got a decent seal out of the provided tips without having to go off-market, but your mileage may vary. The advertised battery life without the case is 10 hours. Though I have not yet put these guys through a 10 hour listening session, this definitely seems like an accurate estimate. I may never have to find out if this is perfectly accurate, as the case holds a massive charge, and the buds charge automatically when they’re put away.

In my experience, battery has never crossed my mind when using these, which is definitely a good thing. The user experience has been solid for me as well. One qol issue that many have already mentioned: the buttons on the monitors are hard to press without shoving them deep into your ear. This might be a deal-breaker to some.

I also wish these had some version of audio pass-through. However, the features that are present are more than fair for the price. The buds automatically pair to your device when they are taken from the case. You can listen using only one earphone while the other is charging. Putting them away automatically turns them off, and the lights on the case display an adequate amount of relevant information.

Overall, these are among the best truly wireless earphones you can get. In terms of bang for your buck, they may even be the best on the market.

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Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing

Battery Life  

The majority of choice wireless headphones have a life of 15 hours or higher. Wireless earbuds last between 5 and 10 hours and offer extensive usage with bundled case chargers – it is a good idea to make sure that one is included.

Design 

Design is usually the most important over every other factor.  Do you prefer headphones that go in your ear, ones that go on your ear, or ones that go over your ear? Wired or wireless? High-tech or simple? Since you’ll likely use these headphones for multiple occasions, you want to choose the options that best suit your lifestyle. Whatever kind you choose, make sure that they are well built, carry easily,  and will be comfortable for however long you expect to wear them each day.

Studio Quality Sound 

No matter how you intend to use your headphones, the quality of sound should be the first thing considered.  Even the best brands offer a wide range of sound signatures. A “flat” sound is most common for professional headphones. These models carry an immaculate sound that reflects the arrangement of the original artist. While these headphones do their best work in the studio, they are also loved by audiophiles for listening to music wherever they are. 

Popular brands such as Beats, JBL and Skullcandy offer a more well-rounded EQ curve. This includes raising the bass level and losing treble clarity. These headphones are great for more upbeat music tempos, but their particular EQ sculpting makes them not good for the studio.  If you want the absolute best sound from your headphones, you should be looking for high-quality drivers as well. Drivers transform electrical signals into sound. Larger drivers produce a sharper and more dynamic sound. 

However, not all large drivers are better sounding than ones that are smaller. If you want plenty of bass, you need a larger driver.  However, if you want an airier tone, smaller drivers might be fine for you. Testing several types is a sure way to figure out which drivers are best for you. 

Durability 

Sound is a very important factor for headphones but, if they’re fragile, you won’t get their full sound.  It’s especially important to find a durable pair of headphones if you want to take them with you as you travel each day.  When looking for more durable headphones, examine what they’re made of.  Steel, aluminum and carbon fiber are all good materials for the frames. 

As far as ear pads go, genuine memory foam works well compared to standard foam which offers less comfort and durability.  Brands like Sony, Audio-Technica and Beyerdynamic are also known for their durable studio headphones. Because they have wires and are not noise cancelling, they will not fail easily.  If you want the most durable headphones available, seek out one of these designs.

Comfort 

Whenever you’re going to be listening for an extended period of time, it’s critical that the headphones you buy are comfortable.  In most cases, headphones that go over your ear will be more comfortable than models that go on your ear, which could press into your ears if you keep them on for a while. 

Good ear cups also make a difference. Look for cups made of memory foam and make sure the headband has plentiful padding so that the headphones remain comfortable. The best headphone brands also offer wireless model options. These eliminate the need for cable connection, so you won’t have to carry your devices while you listen to music. 

Intended Use 

The main focus of studio headphones is music.  There is no call support, no apps, and they do not perform well wireless compared to most other headphones. However, the audio they provide is excellent, particularly with open-back models with a sharp, bright tone.  If you’re interested in a home studio, these headphones would be great for you. You should also take a look at our audio interface directory, which can help you master recording home studio tracks. 

Headphones targeted at the average consumer often have a less balanced tone, without the sharp precision of studio models. They often have significant bass and treble alterations that make music sound fuzzier and less clear . To go with music, these headphones also have microphones and phone adaptability included.  If you travel a lot and need one pair of headphones that does everything, brands such as Sony, JBL or Beats will be your best options.

Accessories 

Headphone accessories are equally important as the headphones themselves, especially wired ones (the manufacturer includes the aux cable).  Models that come with a case to carry them in, charging cord, user manual, and extra pairs of ear cups/tips are good buys.

Conclusion

Wow, that was a lot of options! If you can’t narrow down the 17 best headphone brands listed above, figure out what your needs are and how each brand would suit you. Do you need headphones for running? Look towards Beats or Bose, not at an audiophile brand. Are you a music producer? Check out Beyerdynamic or Audio-Technica. While these brands were ranked 1-17, none of them is the clear winner. There isn’t a single, top headphone brand for everyone, but there are the best headphone brands for you.

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Contributors: Dawson Graham, Noah Ellington

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