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Best Car Headphones 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2019
Best Car Headphones of 2018
So, what exactly would anyone want to know about car headphones? I know most of us don’t really care much about the history and the origin, all we want to know is which of them is the best. Of course, I will spare you the history and go straight on to the best car headphones. If you’re scouring the market for the best car headphones, you’d better have the right info before spending your money.
I want to find something that’s designed well (both for aesthetic purposes and efficiency). I make the search easier for you, by reviewing the best car headphones on the market.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – [2 Pack] 2 Channel KID SIZE Universal IR Infrared Wireless or Wired Car Headphones Autotain Cloud
Why did this car headphones win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse.
Why did this car headphones come in second place?
The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice.
Why did this car headphones take third place?
A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
Car Headphones Buyer’s Guide
Headphone buying guide: Which are the best of the bunch?
When buying a headphone these days people typically debate the style of headphone they want (in-ear, on-ear, around-ear) whether to go wired or wireless (or even totally wireless) and whether to opt for such extra features as active noise-cancellation to help muffle ambient noise. Oh, and then there’s price. Everybody has a budget.
If you’ve narrowed your choice down, we have plenty of models to choose from in our list of the best headphones, with breakdown of the best headphones in various categories including wireless, sports, noise-cancelling and cheap.
But if you’re still a little lost in the headphone maze, here’s some info that will hopefully help steer you in the right direction.
The size, type and technology of a pair of headphones are all critical to a purchasing decision. But it’s important to demystify the bevy of features and headphone-specific vocabulary. Listed below are the most important features you’ll need to consider before finding the perfect pair of headphones.
Bass: Even at its very best, headphone bass is never the sort of pants-flapping, sock-it-to-your-gut experience you literally feel from massive speakers or subwoofers, but many manufacturers custom tune their “signature sound” to emphasize the lower frequencies, albeit at the cost of instrument separation and natural delivery. Earbuds are tiny and portable, but — except for a couple of high-end models — they can’t compete with full-size, over-the-ear headphones for deep bass response or visceral dynamic range.
Sealed (closed) vs. open: Sealed headphones — the noise-isolating, in-ear models or the full-size earcup designs — acoustically isolate your ears from your environment. Of course, the degree of isolation varies from one pair of headphones to another, and the seal limits the leakage of the headphones’ sound out to the room. Sealed models are ideal for private listening, where you don’t want the sound to be heard by other people. Open headphones — such as foam earpad models and many sports designs — are acoustically transparent and allow outside sound to be heard by the headphone wearer, and a good deal of the headphones’ sound will be audible to anyone near the listener.
Generally speaking, such headphones produce better, more “open” sound than sealed designs. Because they don’t block out everything from the outside world, open-backed headphones are recommended for outdoor activities, such as jogging, which require awareness of your environment.
Pro-style headphones are comparatively bulky and can feel uncomfortably heavy after hours of use. Lighter headband-style headphones are almost always more comfortable than heavier ones. And even if they’re not, they’re less of a hassle to carry around.
Cable dressing and length: Most stereo headphones have just one cable, usually attached to the left earpiece (sometimes called single-sided cabling). Some models — and all earbuds — use a Y-cable that connects to both earpieces (double-sided). The actual cable plug, meanwhile, is usually one of two designs: a straight I-plug or an angled L-plug; the latter may be useful if your portable player has a side- or bottom-mounted headphone jack.
Quick reference glossary
You’ll find a few of the following specifications on the headphones’ box or on the manufacturer’s Web site. Here’s what they mean:
Frequency response: Frequency-response specifications in full-size loudspeakers are generally pretty useless in predicting sound quality, but headphone frequency-response numbers are even worse. Manufacturers have routinely exaggerated frequency-response figures to the point that they’re irrelevant. Even the flimsiest, cheap headphones routinely boast extremely low bass-response performance –15Hz or 20Hz — but almost always sound lightweight and bright. Generally, bass buffs will be happier sticking with larger ‘phones.
Total harmonic distortion: True, headphones with lower actual total harmonic distortion (THD) will sound better than those with higher THD. But the quoted THD numbers — “less than percent” — aren’t helpful in predicting sound quality. Listen to recordings of simply recorded acoustic guitar to assess the distortion of one set of headphones versus another. Some will sound appreciably cleaner than others.
Impedance: Generally speaking, the lower the headphones’ electrical impedance (aka resistance), the easier it is to get higher volume. But here again, the low impedance is no guarantee of high volume capability; other factors can still limit loudness potential. Since many MPplayers have feeble power output — the iPod is a notable exception — smart shoppers should check the loudness before purchasing any pair of headphones. To be sure, listen with your player.
Plastic remote feels cheap
After spending a few weeks with both the 1MORE Triple Driver in-ear headphones and the 1MORE Quad Driver in-ear headphones we were blown away at just how much value each one gave in their prospective price ranges.
There’s very little we can fault the Triple Drivers for. Its rubber cable is annoying and its remote control feels cheap but these are just nitpicks. But, for its price, it’s impossible to do better than 1MORE’s Triple Driver in-ear headphones.
If you have a tendency to lose or break headphones but still value sound quality, it’s hard to think of a better value than the RHA S500u. These headphones have no business sounding so good for the price: Sound quality is balanced with a slight mid-bass bump. Bass is slightly emphasized but not egregiously and features good impact while maintaining good control. And highs, while sibilant at times, makes music sound more exciting.
No in-line controls
For your money, you can’t do any better than Grado’s SR60e. The third-generation of the Brooklyn, NY-based company’s Prestige Series is its best and most refined yet. The SR60e in particular is a smart choice if you’re looking for an entry-level set of headphones that sounds like it should cost you way more than it does. Its open-backed ear cup design makes them a more breathable experience than what most on-ear headphones can deliver. In a few words, it’s our gold-standard when it comes to on-ears. (Our review is for the SR60i, but the newer SR60e headphones are largely similar in design and performance.)
Less precision than open-back cans
The Oppo PM-3’s are a truly stunning pair of headphones. Make no mistake, we’ve reviewed a lot of headphones in the last years but none have we become more fond of than the PM-3.
They’re equally comfortable being plugged into a headphone amp at home as they are commuting through the hustle and bustle of a big city, and they stand head and shoulders above rival products from bigger brands. We really can’t recommend them highly enough, they’re just amazing.
No detachable cable
AKG has the right idea when it comes to budget headphones. Instead of spending lots of money on an expensive, heavy construction, the company has instead clearly spend the bulk of its money on the K92’s drivers, which sound appropriately excellent.
Hinges on arms are fragile
When you buy a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, you’re often trading sound quality for the ability to block out outside noise. It’s a trade that we’ve been willing to make for years because, honestly, we just hadn’t been able to find a headphone that could do both noise-cancellation and Hi-Res audio.
The Sony WH-1000XMis the follow-up to the surprisingly great MDR-1000X. They might have a slightly shorter battery life than Bose’s flagship over-ear headphones, the QuietComfort 35, but Sony’s WH-1000XMoutclass the QC3in terms of both performance for the price and overall feature-set.
Light on features
Continuing the trend that the original NuForce BEstarted, the Optoma Nuforce BE6i are a minor update to an already great pair of earbuds and remain one of our favorite in-ear wireless headphones for the price.Offering good sound, build quality and battery life in its segment if you’re looking for a pair of wireless in-ear headphones that can survive a strenuous work out, the these should be on the top of your list of headphones to try.
Heart rate data not perfect
Since the release of the AirPods the popularity of ‘true wireless’ earbuds, which remove the cable between the two earbuds, have exploded.
The Jabra Elite Sport are the best of the bunch at the moment. They not only feature great sound quality, but they’ll also track your heart rate during workouts.
Because they need to fit their entire body into your ears the Jabra Elite Sport don’t have as long a battery life as other wireless pairs, but if you want the freedom true wireless affords then there’s little out there that can compete.
The Beats SoloWireless, released in September 2016, looks almost the same as the Solo- and that’s OK. What has changed are features found on the inside, like Apple’s proprietary Wcustom Bluetooth chip, which has drastically improved battery life and makes pairing to Apple devices flawless and simple. Umm…40 hours of listening without recharging? Wow!
It still showcases the hallmark Beats design and is available in many attractive finishes such as glossy or matte black, white, gold, rose gold, and silver. We are loving the matte black and matte silver models because their texture matches the look and feel of the iPhone and is less prone to fingerprints (and scratches). What we love about the newest models of the best selling Solo, are that the appearance is less aggressive and more mature. For instance, you can now pull off a Beats headphone if you are over 2The bright red “B” logo has now been color-matched to the shade you pick.Think more sophisticated and mature.
Whereas some testers weren’t that over the moon about the plastic design, almost all liked the controls of the Beats SoloThe left earcup includes the 3.5mm input for use when the battery is dead. The Beats logo found on the right earcup is actually the button that controls playback, navigates tracks, and answers/ends calls depending on how many times you tap it. Tapping the ring above or below the “B” logo controls the volume levels and the right earcup also controls power and pairing. The Solohas a mic hidden in the ear cup to let you take calls, but it is important to note that this model does not have active noise cancellation. They are fine for those who want some isolation and muffling of outside noises, or don’t want the sound from the headphones to escape and disturb others. They do both well.
One other great feature of the Solois that it folds easily and compactly and comes with a durable and handy carrying case.
When it comes to on-ear headphones, it is very rare to find a pair that is both comfortable and securely fitted. We feel that the Beats Solodoes a good job of marrying these two ideas. The Solofeels substantial and solid, but is surprisingly lightweight. The headband is sturdy – there is no flexing of the material – and the earcups swivel to aid in a better fit.
We had no issues when briskly walking outside and working around the office and house – some testers used them at the gym and on a brisk run, but it is important to note that the Solois not considered sweatproof.
We would definitely recommend them for shorter listening sessions, but for those who wear headphones all day, you are best to check out an over-ear model like the super comfortable Bose QuietComfort 3or the Sony H.ear On Wireless NC.
Time to geek out a bit. The Apple WBluetooth chip is the abracadabra that makes the Soloa better buy than its predecessors. It makes pairing your Apple device as simple as the good ‘ole days when you just plugged in a wire. It also has ridiculously long battery life, touting 40 hours, and the Wacts as the magic wand that stretches out the juice in a same size battery.
The exciting news for some is that you do not have to own an iPhone or iPhone Plus to reap these benefits. The Wchip can work with any Bluetooth-enabled device, which includes any model of iPhone, Android phone, tablet, Mac and many PCs that are consider Bluetooth compatible. If you do not have a newer iPhone you would just simply pair your device the “old fashioned” way. It may take a few more finger swipes and taps, but you can still easily pair and – you do seem to get the same battery life!
If you are not using iCloud, the connection is still very quick, and if you don’t use iOS devices at all, the SoloWireless still operate as standard Bluetooth headphone.When you connect the included audio cable, the Soloautomatically powers down. We found no dramatic difference in audio performance between wireless and wired modes. The same cable even comes with an inline remote for music and phone calls making it pretty versatile.
What impressed us was the soft leather and ultra lightweight brushed aluminum that made these headphones feel like a premium model.
The ear cups were also very pleasant and did not create as much ear fatigue or head pinching as some on-ear models.
Connecting to your device
Another common question is ‘will these headphones connect to my device?’ As a rule, wired headphones will connect to anything with a headphones port and a wireless pair will work with any device that is Bluetooth compatible. And there’s more on this in the wired and wireless section.
Shop all in-ear headphones >
Comfort and style – Compact and lightweight, they are the most portable type of headphones. The wires run from your device to your ear, so they won’t interfere with the top of your head or hair. Depending on the quality of the ear-bud, some models may be prone to slipping out of your ear and others may become uncomfortable if you’ve been listening for a long time.
Sound quality and noise isolation – The sound goes directly into your ears, resulting in good sound quality and noise isolation. Ear-buds that rest on your ears allow more outside noise in, handy if you want to remain more aware of your surroundings.
Durability – The buds for in-ear headphones may need replacing after a while. Models of a better quality are likely to have more durable wires and ear-buds.
Some in-ear models hook around your ear for added comfort and to keep the buds in your ear.
Larger than in-ear styles, headband headphones come in both on and over-ear designs.
Comfort and style – Slimmer on-ear headphones are considered to be more stylish than over-ear, and can be great for travelling and commuting. Over-ear headphones can be bulky, with some only intended for use inside. Both types should be comfortable for long periods of use, with better quality pairs having softer ear cushions.
Sound and noise isolation – Over-ear headphones provide the most immersive experience as they cover your whole ear. On-ear pairs still provide good sound and isolation, but are more likely to have some sound escape.
Durability – Headbands typically offer a good lifespan, and the more you spend, the better quality of build you should receive. Some even come with a carry case, giving you extra protection when you’re not using them.
These plug into most devices with a headphones (AUX-IN) port. This includes smartphones, TVs, tablets, laptops and more. Only a few models need to be recharged and wires make them harder to misplace.
Things to consider – Wires can be fiddly and some newer devices, like the iPhone 7, no longer have a headphones port.
Puro Sound BT2200
While many kids headphones are quite plastic-y the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones look more like a high-end adult audio product, and the cost reflects this, too.
At £89.9buying the Puro BT 2200 is a big step up from most of the £15-£30 headphones listed here.
You don’t get just a more stylish, less kiddy look. The audio quality of these headphones is also noticeably higher, even using Bluetooth.
That’s right, the Puro BT2200 are wireless, too – which is great if you’ve had too many cables damaged by a child yanking them around, or you’re worried about the cable wrapping round a small neck.
Volume is limited to 85dBA, and we found that this was more than sufficient. DSP-based volume limiting means that the electronics actively monitor volume levels, with the limiter kicking in only when the sound reaches 85dBA.
These headphones go further than just limiting the volume. They also block background noise, attenuating 8percent of sound at 1kHz. This reduces the need to turn them up to a dangerous level even when in a noisy environment such as an airplane.
The comfortable ear cushions also help block outside noise. The ear cups and head band are made of durable aluminium, while the ear cushion and band cover are leather. There are two colour models: White/Silver, and Gold/Tan.
Using Bluetooth means that these headphones need to be charged, and the “up to 1hours” of battery life should be enough for most journeys. If the battery does run out there’s a detachable cable included. Volume controls are situated on the left ear piece.
The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones certainly cost more than most kids headphones but the higher audio quality, build and wireless function make them serious contenders as our favourites.
Snuggly Rascals kids headphones
We like a product that tries something different, and that’s the case with Snuggly Rascals over-ear children headphones. These wrap round the child’s head and are adjustable with Velcro. It will even keep little ones’ ears warm, and they won’t fall off or break as easily as normal headphones.
They’re super comfortable, and you can’t feel the flat speakers through the material.
Sound quality was good, even through the fleece and a child’s long hair. Although specified as a maximum 8decibels it’s at the quieter end of the audio spectrum in reality, which will please many parents keen to protect their kids’ hearing.
The speakers can be removed and the headband popped into the washing machine.
percent of profits go to children’s charities, which is another bonus.
There’s a range of great designs: Monster, Unicorn, Plane, Giraffe, penguin, Piggy, Chicken, and Cat.
Like all Smiggle products these come in a variety of patterned colours and look great.
We picked these as they are volume limiting, which we think is important for young ears. Smiggle also has folding and other headphones for kids, but you need to limit the volume at source rather than in the headphones. Obviously, without volume limiting, there’s little to stop the child ramping up the volume if you’re not constantly supervising them.
So we liked the Smiggle Play Headphones from first looks and features. They are also as comfortable as the Griffin KaZoo MyPhones, with slightly better audio quality – but like most of the headphones on test here they won’t satisfy a hi-fi enthusiast!
They are limited to a maximum 85dB, the same as the best other kids headphones tested here. They sound a little louder than the MyPhones, but not by much, and our child tester had complained she found the myPhones a little too quiet.
The styling is pretty cute, but there are options for boys as well as girls, and they are maybe better suited than the KaZoo for older kids as they aren’t animal shaped.Our ten-year-old tester picks these as her headphones of choice.
KitSound My Doodles
Also from KitSound the My Doodles headphones feature 85dB volume limiting, plus a very wide range of colourful designs to choose from.
Sound quality was more than acceptable, not the very best on test here (see Puro headphones above) but decent all the same.
For £1or less, the KitSound My Doodles are something of a bargain. Perfect for school party presents, and inexpensive enough to have a few pairs lying around the house – you know they’ll never be where you need them!
JVC Tiny Phones
The JVC Tiny Phones (HA-KD5) are well made, and feature comfortable soft padding, which also restricts noise leakage. The headband is wide and seems robust.
The volume limiter (85dB) is good – slightly louder than the Griffin MyPhones but much more acceptable than others on test.
The cord is 0.8m, which is about right for laptop/tablet/phone use but might require an extender for TV viewing.
You need to have these headphones on the right way round for comfort. There’s an R and L to show the correct side, but if your kid doesn’t know his or her left from right you may get a complaint every other time they’re put on incorrectly. Hey, maybe it’ll teach them their left from their right!
A bonus with the JVC kids headphones is customisability. The child can decorate the headphones using the supplied stickers that include letters and pictures. We had the purple/pink set in for test and the stickers included hearts, wands, teddies and bunnies – so I’d hope the blue/yellow pair come with more boyish stickers!
To be fair you could slap any old stickers on these or any of the headphones on test here, but it’s a gimmick that will attract some parents – and most kids!
JVC also offers another set of headphones, the HA-KD10, which are a tenner more at £29.99, and differ in that the sound limiter can be turned off with a mid-cord unit. The trouble with this approach is that it allows the child to listen to dangerous volumes and require a battery unlike the HA-KDheadphones.
They do look a bit more grown up, which is important for kids who take their headphones to school. I suppose the idea is that an older child might prefer the option of no limiter but also the parent can switch it on when nearby. iFrogz Little Rockerz iFrogz (from Zagg) make a fun range of kids headphones called Little Rockerz that might not teach your children decent spelling but will keep their headphones pegged back at 85dB and provide fancy dress at the same time.
Audio quality is more than acceptable for kids – we wouldn’t recommend them for audiophiles but for watching movies or playing games they are fine.
We found them slightly louder than the Smiggle or Griffin headphones, but not overly so. That said, we reiterate our advice that children shouldn’t be wearing headphones for long periods in order to protect their future hearing.
Kidz Gear Headphones
The Kidz Gear stereo headphones for kids are nicely padded and extremely comfortable, for ages and over. They have a very long cord (1.5m), which is useful for sitting kids far enough away from the TV set – although some parents found it too long for other occasions when attached to a phone or tablet that needs to be held near, and it does attract the tangles.
They come in a wide variety of colours – pink, orange, blue, green and purple.
In the middle of the cord is a handy volume control dial so the child can turn the sound up and down on their own.
The Wired Headphones feature the proprietary KidzControl Volume Limit Technology that the company claims makes them “the safest headphones available” with an 85dB top level.
I’m afraid that on our testing this claim simply isn’t true. The headphones can reach 108dB until you connect the special volume limiter at the end of the jack. Without this extra piece the sound is unbelievably loud – I actually hurt my ears testing it.
With the limiter on the sound is much reduced, but again I found it too loud – much like the iFrogz version of 85dB.
As these are kids headphones there is a risk in making the limiter a separate (but included with the package) piece, and not just build it into the cord. The child can very easily take it out and then ruin his or her hearing for life. Kidz Gear claims that “always-on” headphones will not work in noisy environments, such as in airplanes, as the limiting is too powerful and so sound can be barely heard by the listener. The option to remove the limiter is therefore a positive feature if this is the case. I’d buy this if trying out the headphones at full blast without the limiter hadn’t hurt my ears.
If the limiter was built in or the max non-limited volume was a few degrees quieter these would have been recommended as they’re comfortable and well built. But I still had ringing in my ears 2hours after foolishly testing them at full tilt. iFrogz Animatone
Another set of kids headphones that rock the animal theme are the iFrogz Animatone – available in three models: red ladybird, blue snail, and green turtle.
Like the MyPhones, the Animatone headphones feature a built-in volume limiter that iFrogz says will not play audio over 8decibels. The unit we tested, however, was much louder than the MyPhones, even though both are supposedly limited at 85dB. As a parent I wouldn’t be happy with my child listening at the volume these headphones pump out so can’t recommend them. iFrogz also offers Animatone ear buds for children, although these are hard to find in the UK. We found these quieter than the iFrogz over-the-ear headphones but still a little too loud. Another problem with ear buds is that they get tied up in knots just by looking at them when they’re off your head. Haven’t you got enough problems with kids’ tangled hair to add tangled earbuds?
The Groov-e Kidz DJ Style Headphones look good, feel robust, come in a variety of colours and are some of the cheapest on test in this round up. They are smaller than adult headphones so fit a child’s head better, but they do expand for larger skulls.
So far so good but here’s the bad news: there’s no volume limiter so children are free to wreck their hearing on full volume. If you can trust your kids to keep the volume low, then these are a good choice but you should be warned that they can go very, very loud (113dB) so you are taking a real risk with your kids’ future hearing.
Another quality budget option is the Sony MDRRF985RK Wireless RF Headphones. These are likely one of the cheapest quality headphones for TV you’ll be able to find. They are quite comfortable and broadcast a full-throated signal over RF (radio frequency), with a maximum range of about 150 feet. Like the Sennheiser 120s, they can transmit a signal through walls, so you don’t have to worry about getting cut off when traveling from room to room.
Sony MDR RF985RK
If you want great TV headphones that are a little more approachable on pricing, you can try out the MDR RF985RK from Sony. These ones can be found online, and it includes a number of goodies that you certainly won’t be disappointed in.
The advantage of operating at a lower frequency, however, is that it tends to have significantly better range. The wireless signal will reach for up to 150 feet, while the typical 2.GHz can only reach up to around 30-60 feet, depending on the layout of walls and other obstructions.
Repair and Exchange
The customers should know that when their headphones go out of order, and they have tried connecting them in each and every mode yet, they do not receive sound signals then one should refer to the service bulletin Audio navigation system.
The product comes with a guarantee period of certain months. When the merchandise goes out of service, i.e. when it stops receiving sound signals the customers should check whether the wireless headphones are in an exchange period or not. If they are, then the customers should immediately contact the team members of the company and get their product exchanged.
Do Not Plug
The customers or the users should make sure that there are no extra wires or plugs attached to the headphones. The extra plugs might cause the sound of hissing from them and would also stop the headphones from receiving proper desired signals.
Change the Wire
While using the headphones with the DVD player, the user should make sure that the connecting cable between the player and the head unit is connected properly. If the cable wire is not corrected properly, there may be the sound of whining or hissing, and that would cause disturbance to the ears of the listener. Hence it is not much advisable to use the merchandise in DVD player mode.
Do not Panic
It is a common problem with many electrical appliances that they tend to stop working after they have been used for a much longer time. Hence the users should not get panicky when their headphones stop working. They should try turning off them and then again turn ON the product. Many times by doing so, many of the electrical appliances tend to start working again.
If the merchandise is Out of Exchange policy, then the customers should refer the Repair Procedure
Repair Procedure : When the merchandise is Out of Exchange then the customers can prefer replacing their audio unit. Also, the customers can try entering the word Audio and select the audio unit removal or installation from the provided list.
Sony H.ear On MDR-100ABN
If your top concern is getting the best sound possible for the money, consider the Sony H.ear On MDR-100ABN. With a mildly forward bass that doesn’t muddy the sound, plus clear, clean highs that don’t pierce, the MDR-100ABN sounds better than headphones that retail for hundreds more. A 20-plus-hour battery life, a comfortable fit, quality active noise cancelling, and super-clear phone calls make this pair a winner for office use, as well. These headphones fold up into a smallish carrying case about the size and shape of a bread bowl and come in a variety of fun yet tasteful colors. While the ANC isn’t the absolute best possible (check out our guide to the best active noise-cancelling headphones for that), it’s still noticeably effective at reducing background noise. Our only quibble is that turning on the ANC feature initially can cause a bit of “ear suck,” or the feeling that your ears need to pop due to a change of pressure.
Who should get this
While some of the headphones in this category have active noise cancelling, their sound quality, comfort, and ease of use were our top priorities in evaluating them. As of now, no single headphone model offers both the best sound and the best active noise cancellation. Unfortunately, that means you’ll need to compromise a little in one area or the other. If noise cancellation is your top priority, check out our noise-cancelling headphones guide instead.
If you’re looking for our take on AirPods and similar types of totally cordless, collarless in-ear headphones (earbuds), check out our guide to true wireless headphones. Bear in mind that when it comes to these kinds of earbuds, the microphone won’t be as good, the battery won’t last as long, and you’ll likely pay a lot more money to get similar or slightly inferior performance as compared with the picks in this review. We still think true wireless headphones are better suited for early adopters at this time, given the high prices and numerous quirks, but that situation will likely change as the quirks get ironed out and prices start falling in the coming years.
One last thing we should mention: Wireless Bluetooth headphones are great for watching movies on your computer or mobile device, but not every television is Bluetooth compatible. Unless you have a receiver that can pair with Bluetooth headphones, you’ll need a transmitter to get the sound from your TV to your headphones, and only one person can listen at a time. Also, Bluetooth can have a latency that can cause a delay between the video and the sound. Generally it’s pretty small, but some detail-oriented people might find the effect irritating. For the most reliability, and for families who want more than one person to be able to use headphones, we recommend checking out our guide to wireless home theater headphones.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Although the Jabra Move Wireless also works wired, the included cord does not have an in-line mic or remote. You need to power the headphones on to take a call, too; if the battery runs out, and you want to get on a call, you’re out of luck. None of the headphones we tested had on-ear controls that worked when powered down, and most of them didn’t have an in-line remote on their included cables, either, so the Jabra Move Wireless isn’t an outlier on this count. But having a remote/mic on the cord is something we’d like to see, despite its being a relatively minor concern.
Speaking of listening while corded, the Move Wireless headphones sounded distinctly brighter in our tests when we listened via cable. Higher frequencies were a bit more prominent, so female voices, cymbal hits, and higher notes on piano or guitar seemed to be a bit louder than normal. It wasn’t bad sounding, but it was a different enough overall profile that we thought it worth mentioning. We also wish that the Move Wireless folded up; these headphones aren’t massive, but the ability to pack them in a smaller space would be a nice bonus.
We also like that the Grind Wireless has easy-to-understand controls. You can adjust volume, skip tracks, and take calls by feel without too much fiddling. The pair offers 1hours of battery life, too, and should you run out of juice, these headphones work both passively via cord and while charging.
However, while the Grind Wireless had decent overall sound quality in our tests, our panelists unanimously preferred the Jabra Move Wireless’s more balanced profile. The Grind Wireless’s boosted bass tended to blur midrange frequencies. The effect was less noticeable when we were listening to songs with a more moderate low end (say, acoustic music or alt rock), but on hip-hop songs with a hefty bassline, male vocals could be harder to make out. This was somewhat counterbalanced by an accompanying bump in the treble, however, so consonants and snare hits still came across clearly.
Our entire panel wished that all of the headphones we tested could be as comfortable as the Grind Wireless.
The Sony MDR-100ABN is available in several colors (including black), in case Bordeaux pink isn’t your flavor. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
A word on aptX
Readers often ask whether the Bluetooth headphones we pick support aptX. If you’re unfamiliar with aptX, it’s a method of encoding and compressing audio that, enthusiasts claim, offers better sound via Bluetooth. For aptX to work, both the device sending the audio and the headphones receiving the audio have to support it, and that’s often hit or miss: For example, a MacBook Pro supports aptX, but zero iPhones do. So before you consider whether aptX in headphones is a factor worth exploring, find out if your playback device even supports it.
But there is some skepticism as to whether aptX encoding is even worth the effort. Panelist and Wirecutter contributing writer Brent Butterworth wrote an entire article on the subject for Lifewire. The verdict? It depends on the person. Brent made a blind test that you can take yourself, comparing the sound quality of MP3, WAV, MPthrough SBC, and WAV through aptX. Generally speaking, most of us who took the test found that the biggest difference depended on the quality of the original file, not on the software that compressed it. This isn’t to say that things might not change as technology does, but for now you’ll need to see if your ears require the extra expenditure for an aptX headphone model.
80Shox BT: With earcups that don’t swivel, it’s tough to get a seal on the Shox BT. But even when we held them in place, the sound was coarse. The lows were dull and lifeless, while the highs had a shushing quality that caused words and strings to lack clarity.
AKG N60 NC: Although we all appreciated the portability of these small headphones, the sound quality wasn’t equal to the price tag. Music sounds uneven, with female vocals and strings overpowering notes from the middle of a piano keyboard down. Electric guitar wails on high notes, but rhythm and bass notes are lost in the mix. Active noise cancellation is middling in effectiveness. They don’t sound terrible, but they aren’t great either.
AKG Y45BT: We all agreed that the Y45BT deserved an honorable mention in this group for being small and comfy and having pretty decent sound. In our tests, however, the bass was a bit boosted, and the boost extended into the lower mids, veiling, for example, guitar sounds. A slight dip in the upper mids that Brent said “makes instruments unnatural-sounding” was enough for us to bump this model from our list of picks.
Audio Technica ATH-DSR7BT: The design of the controls on these is bizarre. A recessed touch pad the size of a kernel of corn serves as the play/pause button. It’s hard to find, and then it responds slowly, so I ended up re-triggering playback when I wanted music to pause. There’s an icy sibilance to the highs, so harpsichord/piano sounds like it has metal strings, and any recording hiss in tracks is amplified. Despite solid-feeling and comfortable construction, there were less-expensive headphones that we liked better.
August EP650: With high frequencies that lacked clarity, weirdly forward mids, and blobby lows, vocals on the EP650 sounded as if they were under a cloth. Not the right headphones for music fans.
Ausdom M04: The earcups were comfortable. That’s about the only nice thing anyone on our panel had to say about the M0Panelists described the sound as “dull, boomy, muddy, muffled, and blurry.”
Avantree Audition Pro: Sadly, the highs ruined this pair. Tinny, coarse highs on the Audition Pro made guitar sound as if it were in a tin can. The lows were forward and could have somewhat blurry edges but were okay-sounding overall. Additionally, people with smaller skulls might find that the shape of the earcup leaves a gap below the ear by the jawline. But it’s not the fit that’s the dealbreaker here, it’s the drivers.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H4: When we encounter a price tag in the several hundreds, we expect high-end sound. The Hseemed to have quality drivers, but they were voiced all wrong. Our panel disliked the overpresent highs that caused snare hits and consonants to pierce in a fatiguing way. The bass was too forward, as well, and the boost extended too far into the mids, causing vocals to sound, as one of our panelists put it, “as though they were singing through a large cardboard tube.” We are all for a fun bump in the highs and lows, but the heavy-handed way B&O tuned the H4, plus the high cost, did not make a winning combo for our panelists.
Bluedio R Super HiFi Bluetooth Headphones: Our panelists were unimpressed with the muddy, sloppy guitar range, the lack of clarity in the highs, and the nonexistent bass. Add in a plasticky build and unintuitive controls, and it’s obvious why we dismissed this model.
Bose SoundLink: The SoundLink has the signature Bose profile, namely boosted upper bass and mids that lead to a somewhat bottom-heavy sound. In our tests the highs were delicate but had a slightly thin, metallic edge, so strings and voices could sound hollow. These headphones are compact, which we like, but here’s the main problem: They’re too expensive for what you get, especially compared with our picks. In the end, if you’re a Bose junkie, get the SoundLink—you won’t be disappointed. These aren’t bad headphones; in fact, they’re pretty great. But there’s no need to spend so much money on them.
Bowers & Wilkins PX: They’re beautiful to look at. Unfortunately, there are so many problems with these headphones. With the ANC activated, the sound is bizarrely tuned. Acoustic guitar sounds boxy and hollow, as though someone tried to add ambient room EQ to a mix. Bass notes have a reverb-y quality to them, which muffles male vocals. Brent agreed, saying, the PX have “a coloration that made singers sound as if they were singing with their hands cupped around their mouths, as well as a lack of ambience and an unnatural, uneven reproduction of the midrange that made voices sound heavily equalized.” With the ANC off, the sound is tinny and even worse. In addition, the PX are made to auto-pause when you remove them from your head, but unfortunately, it’s too sensitive. While typing my notes looking down at my laptop, the PX kept pausing my music.
Brookstone Wireless Bluetooth Cat Ear Headphones: I bet you thought we’d hate these. But nope! These are just plain fun. They’re heavy, so you can’t wear them for long periods, but they sound way better than you might expect. The cat ears light up, change colors, and function as decent-sounding mini BT speakers. Practical? No. But if you want some cat-ear headphones, that’s probably not what you’re worried about, anyway. For what they cost, these headphones do a darn good job of everything they purr-omise to do.
Creative Hitz WP380: We like that this pair is so portable, but in our tests the sound quality was really lacking. The bass was mushy sounding, and the treble was a crispy, sizzly mess. Everything sounded muddied up, and then there was a weird layer of overly boosted consonants and hi-hat hits. It was kinda bizarre, and not at all pleasant.
Creative WP-450: Nobody liked these headphones. They fit too tightly, and the sound was muffled. Geoff described it as “listening underwater.” I said it sounded like too much reverb on a mixer. It was blurry and sloppy, and not even worth the low price for Bluetooth.
Focal Listen Wireless: CNET said the Listen Wireless sounded bright, and Digital Trends agreed. We do too. The highs are uncomfortably intense. They aren’t hissing or badly made, just badly tuned. The control buttons are also tricky to push, with the functional button being far smaller than the rubberized coating. We were bummed out because the Listen are very comfortable, and other than the highs sounded quite good. If Focal could take the highs down a notch and revamp the buttons, they’d have a great pair of headphones.
Harman Kardon Soho Wireless: Sleek, minimalist, sturdy, really lovely to look at, and really uncomfortable to wear long term. The sound just wasn’t as good as we were hoping for, as the Soho Wireless had a lifeless quality in our tests. Unless you want to make a fashion statement, we’d say to pass.
House of Marley Rise BT: With a forward low-frequency range that lacked restraint, as well as recessed highs, the overall sound of the Rise BT was blurry, muffled, and lacking in clarity. It’s a huge bummer, as we liked the overall chassis design. iFrogz Resound Over Ear: Non-pivoting earcups make the Resound less comfortable than they could be. The bass is muddy and leaves music sounding muffled. They aren’t the worst we’ve heard, but we like our budget pick better. iFrogz Toxix: The name says it all. Uncomfortable fit, terrible, boxy, cheap, sound. There are so many other, better options. iHome iB91: This pair was tinny sounding, plastic feeling, and uncomfortable for us, but it lights up and glows in many colors. If you merely want an accessory for slumber parties, fine. But we don’t recommend the iB9for music.
Jam Silent Pro: If you took a small Bluetooth speaker and put a pillow over it, you would know what these sound like, and the pillow would probably cancel more noise. No.
Jam Transit: The Transit’s downfall is that the bass in our tests was reverby and loud. Even acoustic guitar sounded as though someone were playing in a cement stairwell in a skyscraper. The bass blurred everything. These headphones have a solid-for-the-price build quality, but we can’t recommend them.
JBL E45BT: We had high hopes for the E45BT; it fell just short. The hinges on the earcups didn’t quite adapt sufficiently to our panelists’ diverse head shapes for everyone to be comfortable, and the bass was a little recessed and dull. While it’s possible that the fit issues led to the low-end problems, the result was just unappealing enough for the E45BT to miss out on the top two.
JBL E50BT: This pair had big, floppy earcups that didn’t seal properly, and a sound that was—well, there’s no way around it—pretty terrible. A piano sounded like an old, cheap, ’80s electronic keyboard. Hi-hat hits went “SNAP!” and were generally piercing. Voices sounded weirdly peaked and compressed. Here is a direct quote from Brent: “Who voiced these?! The audio engineers at JBL know better. I liken it to a pharmaceutical company hiring the world’s best medical researchers and then deciding to just sell bee pollen. Why did these end up this bad?”
Here’s what they said
ME: What is the ONE most important technical aspect a person needs to consider when purchasing headphones?
MANUEL: It is not just one technical aspect a person needs to consider when purchasing a headphone. Much more important is to take some time to listen to the headphone carefully and to compare it to others. Only a comparison lets you hear the difference.
Also important to bare in mind are these questions: Where and for what do I want to use my headphones? There are so many different use cases as there are: for sports, on business trips, at home for my TV, etc. And each use case has other features or technical aspects which are important.
ME: What is a myth or misconception people have about headphones (and why is it false)?
SEAN: Along the same lines as the last question, one myth is that the headphones with the widest frequency range spec will sound best. This is a false statement. A frequency range is supposed to state the lowest, and highest frequency that is produced by a headphone. This is incredibly misleading. Firstly, the range of human hearing is around 20Hz to 20 kHz – for someone with very good hearing. Some specs will go WAY past that – like 5Hz to 50 kHz. Which not only is well out of the range of human hearing, but says nothing about what happens between those two frequencies, where our hearing is most sensitive. Our ears are most sensitive between around 800Hz and kHz – the relative amount of energy that a headphone produces in this mid-range area is much more important than what happens at 20Hz or at 20 kHz.
MANUEL: People often think the more bass the headphone has the better it is. That is definitely wrong. The perfect interaction of bass, midrange and treble makes a headphone sound good. But on the other hand, bass is very important — especially a very detailed bass. Bass is not just one deep tone; it can be so multifarious.
ME: What is one headphone feature that is often overlooked that actually makes a big difference in how much a person will enjoy their headphones?
SEAN: Detachable cable is often overlooked. This is one thing that should be considered. A cable will break someday. It is really nice to just be able to replace it – and not have to buy a new headphone. This also allows for accessorizing or customization is some cases. You may want a straight or coiled cable, or one with iOS controls, or whatever the next new thing becomes a couple years from now.
MANUEL: In my opinion next to the perfect sound the comfort of the headphones plays a much bigger role than lots of customers believe. If you listen to your favorite music you don’t want to stop after 1minutes of listening because a headache forces you to put away your headphones.
ME: Put as simply as possible, what makes a pair of headphones “the best” from your perspective?
MANUEL: For me a perfect headphone needs to be lightweight and comfortable and have a big sound stage. But it always depends on the usage. For on the go it needs to be wireless and collapsible. At home it should be an open, wired system. On business trips the headphone definitely needs to have active noise cancelling.
Headphones and comfort
Headphone comfort comes down to mainly these things: earpad material, headband material and tightness. Of course, depending not the type of headphones you choose (on-ear vs over-ear, for instance) these factors will be amplified or lessened.
In my experience the most comfortable headphones are the light on-ear headphones like the Plantronics BackBeat Sense. It’s the lightness, more than anything, that makes those headphones the most comfortable I think I’ve ever worn.
Over-ear headphones, while often producing the best sound, are most likely to cause ear fatigue (again that’s just my opinion). The reason is that if there’s any ear contact at all, there is going to be pressure and that pressure adds up over time.
Most headphones are comfortable for awhile. I’d say most headphones are going to be comfortable for the first 30 minutes of wear no problem. But if you wear your headphones for long stretches at a time, picking a more comfortable headphone is going to be a must.
For example, if you are a pro gamer, if you listen to music or the radio through headphones while you work, if you have a long train commute, if you’re traveling on a long flight… you’re going to want some comfortable headphones.
So if you want over-ear headphones, for whatever reason, and you want them to be as comfortable as possible for as long as possible, try to get some that are light. Next, look for headphones with maximum padding both on the ear cups and on the headband (I really like headphones that have memory-foam padding!).
In terms of the most comfortable earphones, I think silicon tips are probably the winners although I’m a big fan of memory foam earphone tips as well (but some people don’t like the pressure they add as they fill up your entire ear canal to seal out/in all sound). But if you don’t find the right fit in a silicon tip, they will be loose and constantly coming undone, so I’d look for headphones that come with several tip sizes in the box.
Noise-cancelling headphones and earphones
I have a confession to make: I’ve never met a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that lived up to my expectations. There, I said it! The thing is, noise-cancelling headphones (and earphones) DON’T remove ALL sound — which is not what I hoped for when I tried my first pair. The reality is that noise-cancelling headphones could be more accurately labeled noise-dulling headphones.
Before I get into how noise-cancelling headphones work, let me talk a bit more about my experience with them. I do a lot of typing (as you can see) so whether I’m at the office or at a coffee shop, there are plenty of times I want to drown out outside noises so I can focus better (actually I’m a big fan of listening to Brain.fm while I work… you should check it out).
When I’m at the coffee shop, for instance, my noise cancelling headphones don’t mute the outside world (I’ve seen Beats advertise their ANC, or active noise cancelling, models that way). Muting implies total silence. What actually happens is that you can hear less of the outside world. That’s it.
So how do noise cancelling headphones work? They have a microphone that picks up noises and then they issue a sound wave meant to cancel out those outside noises. The idea is sort of like a and a -cancelling each other out to make 0. Sometimes the effect works better than others and often times it sounds a bit like soft static (to me).
The thing is, and I’m totally serious, you might be better off buying noise-isolating headphones, or headphones that try to seal off outside noise just by having thick padding (but don’t employ any electronic backflips or tricks to cancel noise digitally). In fact, many noise-cancelling headphones are also noise-isolating — and benefit from that thick padding anyways.
Noise-cancelling headphones are extremely popular with frequent fliers. That’s because manufacturers do a good job tuning out the sound waves produced by plane engines. And because people on planes can be loud (you know, the proverbial crying baby on a plane or the nosy, talkative person that always seems to sit next to you). I definitely recommend noise-cancelling headphones for travelers: they’re great for music, silence (or as close to silence as you’re going to get) and an in-flight movie.
One cool feature I’ve seen in a lot of noise-cancelling headphones is the ability to turn off the ANC (active noise cancelling) to hear what is going on around you. What this does it turn up the volume of what the mic is picking up and turning down (or off) any music you are listening to. It’s really handy for having a conversation with someone while you’re wearing your noise-cancelling headphones.
As you might have guessed, noise-cancelling headphones are going to use more power (i.e. drain your batteries faster) than “normal” headphones.
For sports and fitness headphones
If you’re rocking Spotify Running, a jogging playlist of your own creation, a workout mix shared with you by your best friend or just the radio or a podcast during your morning treadmill session, you need specialized headphones or earphones. Why? Exercising and music go perfectly together — but cords, loose gear and sweaty electronics are the enemy of a tough workout.
So it stands to reason that sport and fitness earphones should do three things really well. First, they should be wireless so you don’t get tangled up in cords. There is nothing worse than running with a cord jangling against your elbow or flapping around your chest. I hate that! At the same time, it’s the worst when you’re at the gym lifting weights and a cord gets woven into the machine you’re working on. That’s a bad look.
The second thing you need from the best pair of fitness headphones is for them to be secure. You don’t want them to fall out or off or to come loose in any way. And just because you grab a pair of earphones, don’t think they will stay put automatically (just because they are in your ear). I’ve tested several different types of sport earphones that just wouldn’t stay in while I ran. Earphones with ear hooks or bumpers of some sort that wedge into your ears more are the most secure and make excellent fitness headphones.
The last thing you should look for in the best sport earphones or headphones is sweat resistance. I don’t know how much you tend to sweat during a good workout, but just like you wouldn’t dunk your other electronics in a pool or water, you wouldn’t want to soak your fitness electronics in sweat. Circuits and sweat aren’t the best of friends, if you know what I mean. Plus, if you ever exercise out in the rain (or snow, you beast) then you need some earphones or headphones that are weather proof as well.
There’s really nothing extra special about gaming headphones versus “regular” headphones. Other than having a microphone or some sort (which can either be attached or detached, depending on the model), choosing the best pair of gaming headphones is very, very similar to just choosing the best pair of headphones.
For gaming headphones, though, sound is more important than ever. That’s because so many new games take advantage of positional audio (or audio that immerses players in an environment like never before to the point where they can actually hear whether or not an object or player is in front of or behind them). If you don’t have headphones that can help you take full advantage of positional audio, you could be giving other players a real competitive advantage.
Other than sound, I think there are two main things to consider when purchasing gaming headphones aside from the obvious (needing great sound quality). First: comfort. Second: durability.
Comfort is so important for gaming headphones because gamers tend to game for hours on end. I saw a statistic somewhere that said gamers spend an average of 2hours per week playing video games — per week (and that was back in 2014). If you’re going to have something on or around your ears for 8hours each month, it can’t be uncomfortable.
In terms of microphones I would say this: look for a pair of gaming headphones with a mic that won’t pickup backgrounds noises. Nobody wants to hear your cat or baby brother in the background.
Other than what I’ve talked about already, choosing a pair of gaming headphones really comes down to the design and just picking a pair of headphones that makes you look as fierce or nerdy (whatever you’re going for) as possible.
unique headphones and earphones with very unique features
Headphones are headphones are headphones, right? Wrong. While I’ve already covered the headphones you’d expect to exist in the world — headphones that fit over your head and play music, namely — I’m going to cover some unusual and unexpected headphones in this section. While I think traditional headphones are probably always going to be around in some form or another (because people will probably always want to just listen to music), I also think we are going to see a lot of interesting new headphones released in the next half decade.
Like many simple gadgets, headphones are starting to be able to do more. While many of the established (and respected) headphone makers continue to manufacture the same old style of headphones we’ve become accustomed to, there are several startups doing their best to upend the status quo by producing headphones that show movies (seriously), headphones that send sound through the bones in your head and thus need not even cover your actual ears, earphones that are custom-molded to your ear shape, headphones that let you share music wirelessly with your friends and even headphones that double at fitness monitors (think Fitbit for your ears).
In this section I’m going to explore some of the coolest, most unique and out-of-the-box headphones there are. Some of them definitely stretch the definition of headphones altogether. But if you’re looking for some headphones that are different from what your friends are rocking or just want headphones that feel more cutting-edge, these are going to be some of your best options.
Arc Wearhaus headphones let you wirelessly share music with friends
The Arc Wearhaus is a new type of headphone with social features and personalization options. It’s killer feature is that it allows you wirelessly share the music you are listening to with a friend (or friends) who also have Arc Wearhaus headphones. It doesn’t matter what source your music is being played from either! Another cool thing about these headphones is that you can customize the glowing ring of light on each side with any color you’d like for a more personalized look.
Normal headphones are guaranteed to fit perfectly
The (new) Normal headphones are the successors to the highly individualized 3D printed (old) Normal headphones. Normal headphones are unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. They are truly wireless (there’s not even a charging cord as there’s a built-in USB port that folds down from the headphones themselves).
Normal headphones are adjustable thanks to their 5-axis rotation, come in leather and silicon styles, have “fit dots” that come in a ridiculous amount of sizes to ensure an actual perfect fit (so they won’t fall our of your ears, ever), capacitive touch controls and an awesome hour battery.
Oh, and watch the video… this brand has a major attitude.
Sony is a brand that is known for making consistently great headphones (I’d say near the end of the top brands list). Sony has A LOT of headphones to choose from. From a Waterproof Walkmans to extra-bass Bluetooth headphones to ultra-affordable in-ear headphones, there’s literally something for everyone. The styles and colors can be pretty unique as well.
Most current handsets support voice dialling. Activating voice dialling with Bluetooth Headphones is a case of simply pressing a button and saying the persons name that you want to call. Depending on your phone and headphones, it is possible to answer, end and reject calls all through voice control. For the best compatibility for voice dialling we would recommend Bluetooth Headphones made by the same manufacturer as your handset.
The closed-back Edifier H840 has audio quality which belies its entry-level price. Low-cost headphones can emphasise the bass a little too much but the Edifier H840 has a good balance throughout the frequency range, with midrange and treble coming through with impressive clarity. Bass is there too, and prominent enough to give a bit of weight to those basslines without stealing the show.
Build quality is also impressive for headphones at this price; they are quite rugged, but light and comfortable as well.
They can be used either in the home or as a portable model, since the closed-back design offers good isolation from exterior sounds and the H840 can be powered sufficiently by a phone, or a portable music player.
The new HP15from SoundMAGIC is perfect for those who want to treat themselves to some excellent sound and build quality, but without breaking the bank. The HP15comes with a sturdy carry case and an extension cable for more options if listening at home, but is otherwise suitable for portable use, being of a closed-back design. Be aware however that whilst the HP15will work well with commercial genres, classical or similar may require more amplification than a phone/handset can provide on its own, as those music types generally have quieter recordings, with less dynamic compression applied during production.
The HP15sound has a good amount of well controlled bass from its 53mm drivers, and midrange/treble are clear and present. It’s a comfortable sound, and it is not likely that listener fatigue will set in.
A relatively new maker, MrSpeakers has certainly caused a stir with their line of planar-magnetic models recently. Not least with the Aeon, a lightweight design which hits heavy with some excellent sound quality. The design lends itself well to portable uses, although additional amplification may be required if using with a phone.
The sound is fairly well balanced with a little extra bass and lovely clear midrange and treble. The Aeon is well suited for all genres, but a real treat with anything likely to get you moving!
Pioneer’s new SE-Monitoris where headphones start to get sumptuous and luxurious! Build quality is like an executive car, and the plush padding is much the same. The SE-Monitormay be a little heavy for some at 480g but they are made for relaxing at home and swallow up the sides of the head with their huge earcups.
The sound is as you would expect from Pioneer at this price, with well-controlled bass doing just what it needs to according to the music genre being enjoyed. Higher frequencies follow suit and remain faithful to the music, only to add a little bit of extra excitement and glamour to proceedings, whilst staying very relaxing.
Sennheiser is no stranger to premium headphones, and has followed up on the excellent HD800, released a few years ago. Some felt that the HD800 is incredibly detailed but at the cost of a certain amount of musicality, so Sennheiser now has the HD800S which offers a little more in the way of ‘soul’. Bass is very responsive to what different music genres need without overdoing things, and midrange/treble give some excellent soundstage and imaging with a slightly gentler presentation when compared to the older HD800.
The HD800S is however just as comfortable as its older brother the HD800; these models can be worn for hours on end with no trouble.
Audeze has plenty of models, but at the top of the range we have the planar-magnetic LCD-Top notch build quality is to be expected at this price, including unique drivers which feature NASA technology in their nano-scale diaphragms. These light, thin diaphragms can move very quickly with no inertia, making transient response times very fast, and bass precise with nice extension and very good control.
Made from 30 year old Macassar wood, the earcups are set off by bright silver grilles making the LCD-a treat to look at as well as to listen to. As well as the excellent bass, midrange and treble follow in good order with a smooth transition between, but with perhaps a slightly recessed midrange, putting bass and treble at the forefront of the presentation.
The headline figure is the total battery life, and obviously that’s a key consideration, but it’s also worth checking out if the headphones you’re looking at have a quick-charge option. This will usually net you an hour of power for just ten to 1minutes of charging, which is perfect if you only realise you’ve run out of juice just as you’re getting ready to run. Generally you’ll get at least six to eight hours of battery life from most Bluetooth headphones, but expect more like three to five from truly wireless earbuds.
Naturally you want to be able to control your music without having to get your phone or MPplayer out while running, so check out the remote on any running headphones – it’ll either be on the strap between the earbuds, or built into the buds themselves. The main factor here is how fiddly it is. They can be very fiddly, and fiddly is annoying.
Many cheaper sets of Bluetooth headphones match the stats of far more expensive pairs – on paper. When you try them and discover their connection drops the moment they are more than 10cm from your phone, you’ll realise where the money was saved. If you keep your phone in your pocket or in a bumbag when running, you need a strong Bluetooth connection or your tunes will never make it to your ears.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Bluetooth Wireless Earphones for Working Out
There are several pairs of headphones on the market that will monitor your heart rate while you run, and some even use that info to coach you through a session. They use light to detect your pulse from within the ear, a place used by doctors because of its accuracy, so you can expect good results.
There are some fully waterproof headphones available, but for running you just need to ensure they can withstand a sudden storm or an especially sweaty session without packing up. Look for a minimum rating of IPXfor running headphones that won’t let you down when wet.
The Website Urban Dictionary defines Bass Head as
Simple enough! In today’s world of audio, getting your fix of bass is never too far away. You can go to your favorite club and catch a great EDM, drum & bass, or hip hop set. You can get a ridiculous sound system for your car that will set off other car’s alarms as you drive by. You can also get a subwoofer to accompany your speakers, and take your bass at home or in your music studio to the next level.
But what about headphones? Reproducing and truly feeling those low lows within the confined space of a headphone ear cup is challenging. Lucky for you, nearly every headphone manufacturer has honed in on the need for headphones that excel at thundering bass, and today there are tons of options for you to consider. We did some serious research and put in hours of testing between dozens of models to bring you our guide to the best headphones for bass.
V-Moda Crossfade M-100
As the direct link between you and your music, your choice of headphones is an extremely important and personal one. With so many headphones now on the market it can be a difficult task to settle on the right pair for you. While no headphone is perfect, the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 comes about as close as possible. Stellar sound, fantastic bass, and immaculate construction make it one of the top performing headphones around.
Sound and Bass Response
The fantastic build and extra features mean nothing however if the sound quality isn’t there and fortunately the M-100 provides excellent sound across the spectrum. The highs shimmer and have a warm feel to them, which is a nice contrast to the shrill piercing highs of many lower end headphones. That’s not to say the high end is reduced at all. On the contrary the M-100 can reach frequencies of up to 30kHz, about 10kHz higher than the human ear can detect. It’s simply that those high frequencies are not screeched into your ear. Instead the best tones are brought out and the harshest ones are reigned in. The middle range is less prominently featured. It certainly doesn’t disappear; it just won’t jump out at you. It complements and reinforces the high end and the low end well.
On to the Main event: The bass of the M-100 is a force to be reckoned with. V-Moda’s 50mm “Dual Diaphragm Drivers” pump out some of the most powerful bass on the market. Reaching down to 5Hz (the average person can only hear down to ~20Hz) the M-100 has no difficulty reproducing even the deepest sounds in your favorite music. The sound is as pure as it gets with no distortion, even at the lowest frequencies, played at the highest volumes. Despite having such a strong low end the bass does not overpower the higher registers (which is a common issue with other bass heavy headphones). Instead, it feels more like placing a subwoofer along two already nice speakers, enriching the sound rather than overpowering it.
One additional fun feature of the M-100s is the customization. In addition to the four color options currently offered, you are able to have any logo you want laser-etched into the “shield” on the side of the ear cup. These laser-etched shields can be a multitude of colors in aluminum or fiber. Alternatively if you really want to step it up, you can choose to have your design 3D printed into the shield. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, you can even choose to have your shields made of precious metals such as silver, gold, or Platinum (it should be noted that these are purely aesthetic choices and the more valuable materials do come at an up-charge).
Sennheiser MOMENTUM 2.0 Over-Ear
It’s hard to make a “best headphones” guide and not have Sennheiser show up to the party. The German company is no stranger to making very well-loved headphones for all applications – super high-end audiophile, studio, DJ, casual listening, in-ear… and now, amazing bass response. To be fair, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 2.0 Over-Ear Headphones, much like the V-Moda M-100, are not marketed specifically for their bass response. These are marketed as achieving audiophile sound quality, yet maintaining daily portability. And granted they do a really good job at that, but the reason they are on this list is because they are widely regarded as some of the best headphones for bass. Let’s find out why…
Build and Features
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 2.0 are the top-of-the-line of the MOMENTUM series, and improve on the first generation MOMENTUM over-ear headphones in just about every way. From the moment you take these out of the box, they ooze quality and polish. You get a luxurious semi-hardshell case covered in a felt-like material, and a soft pouch for even more protection. This headphone folds for portability, which is a plus (folding mechanism seems durable). While you don’t have as much customization available as the V-Moda M-100, these do come in color options:. It’s all subjective, but we’re not a fan of the brown. Ivory is nice if you’re going for more of a classy look, but the ones we opted for are the lean-and-mean black color which looks great (you can never go wrong with black). Style-wise, these are on-point. Whether you’re just looking at them or wearing them on your head, they look really proportional and polished. You’ve got brushed metal, a leather headband with contrast stitching, and the Sennheiser logo is hologram-like and changes color depending on the angle you’re looking from. Again, premium all around. The construction overall is very solid, and mostly metal and leather (as opposed to Bose and Beats that have a lot of plastic).
The MOMENTUM 2.0 comes with a detachable 3ft cable of pretty average quality (V-Moda’s cable wins hands-down here). When you’re buying these from an online store, you can pick between Android or iOS, which affects the integrated in-line remote. The 3.5mm plug has a unique locking mechanism so that it stays in place and can’t easily be yanked out (a feature we can appreciate).
Sound and Bass Response: “Immediately apparent over the previous iteration is the tighter control of the attack and the more precise rendition of decay resulting in one of the best bass performances that I have heard, period.”
However, the sound quality extends well into the mids and highs. The mids in particular are extremely detailed, making these well-suited to listening to genres like jazz and classical; The smallest nuances can be heard in vocals and guitars. In terms of isolation, while they don’t block external noise to the extent of a noise-cancelling headphone, the MOMENTUM 2.0 does a really nice job. Unless you crank them to near max volume, they don’t leak much noise to the outside due to a good seal.
Japanese company Audio-Technica is well-regarded in the headphone world for making some “best in class” headphones for all sorts of uses. We’ve previously written a glowing review of Audio-Technica studio headphones, so we were excited to try out some of their bass-heavy offerings. The Audio-Technica ATH-PRO700MKtakes a spot as one of the best headphones for bass available today.
Sweetened vs. flat frequency response
When you listen to the same material through different headphones, you’ll hear differences that are due in part to “sweetening.” Sweetening refers to the EQing of the headphones to make the music sound better. In open-backed headphones and many earbuds, for instance, the bass frequencies may be emphasized to counter the natural leakage of bass through the open back or ear canal.
Most general-listening, consumer headphones are sweetened in some way. There are two common sweetening modes: Free Field (FF) and Defined Field (DF). The first simulates an open listening environment without reflection, and the latter simulates an enclosed listening environment such as a room. For critical listening such as monitoring a mix, you don’t want any sweetening at all, but rather a flat frequency response that lets you compare and set levels precisely.
Fit and comfort
Comfort is important. Any headphone will feel fine worn briefly, but when worn for long periods, many become uncomfortable. Wear the headphones for at least 20 minutes before deciding about comfort. The larger the ear cups the better when selecting closed-back, circumaural headphones. For headphones that rest on your ear, smaller is better, and fabric padding or leather can soften the pressure.
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Headphones have a closed-back design that blocks loud external noises while preventing recorded sound from leaking into open mics.
The headband also influences comfort. Most headphones have an over-the-head style headband, but behind-the-neck styles are also available. Earbuds dispense with the band entirely, so are more comfortable in that regard. Whatever the type of headband, you want it to be adjustable. Another feature for enhancing comfort is the rotating cup, especially on over-the-ear phones. You can adjust them to your head to reduce leakage and increase comfort.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Car Headphones wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Car Headphones
- №1 — [2 Pack] 2 Channel KID SIZE Universal IR Infrared Wireless or Wired Car Headphones Autotain Cloud
- №2 — Matone Bluetooth Headphones
- №3 — XO Vision Universal Infrared Wireless Foldable Headphones for In-Car TV