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Take Your Music on The Go: Best Headphones of 2021

  1. Beyerdynamic Premium 600 OHM Headphones
  2. Audio Technica ATH-WP900 High-Resolution Headphones
  3. Sennheiser Audiophile Headphone
  4. Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphone
  5. Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B Noise Canceling Headphones
  6. Sony MDR-NC200D Digital Noise-Cancelling Headphones
  7. JVC HARX900 High-Grade Full-Size Headphones
  8. Koss Porta Pro KTC Ultimate Portable Headphones
  9. Sennheiser HD 200 Professional Monitoring Headphones
  10. Monoprice 108323 Premium Headphones
  11. Sennheiser MM 550-X Wireless Bluetooth Travel Headphones
  12. Logitech Ultimate Ears UE9000 Wireless Headphones
  13. Sony MDR-1RBT Premium Bluetooth Over The Head Headphone
  14. MEElectronics Air Fi Runaway Bluetooth Stereo Wireless Headphones with Microphone
  15. MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones
  16. Sony Active Sport In-Ear Headphones - XBA-S65-B
  17. Koss KSC75 Portable Stereophone Headphones
  18. AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Signature Reference-Class Premium Headphones
  19. Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro Headphones
  20. Sennheiser RS-120 On Hook Charging Wireless Headphone
  21. RCA WHP141 Wireless Headphones
  22. Sony MDR-IF245RK Wireless IF Headphone
  23. Buyer's Guide

Headphones are easily the most popular way to enjoy music, and since the dawn of the portable cassette player, not to mention the more recent dawn of the MP3 player, the market has been growing remarkably fast. This is great for enthusiasts, consumers, and professionals alike, because more competition means better products, lower prices, and more innovation. With the ever-increasing popularity of portable media devices, coupled with the new technologies that arise from their development, the market has taken an explosive upturn in just the last 4 years, and there are now headphones for just about any kind of activity imaginable, catering to a wide variety of listening styles, feature sets, and form factor preferences.

Headphones comes in all different sounds, sizes, form factors, and prices, and before even beginning research, it is best to decide exactly what you will be using your headphones for; this is a factor that should influence your choice just as much as your preferred sound or price range, because ultimately it will have just as much importance in whether or not you are satisfied with your purchase. Choosing the right headphones means knowing how big you are comfortable with them being; there are some excellent Bluetooth headphones, and the Bluetooth feature makes them incredibly portable, and yet I would seriously hesitate to recommend it to someone who will use their headphones mostly for jogging or exercise, because they are enormous! Likewise, we would hate for someone planning to do most of their listening at home to compromise the level of fidelity they are able to experience simply because they liked what they heard about headphones listed in the Running section.

Setting a price limit for yourself can be very useful as well. Audio products are subject to drastic diminishing returns at around $100-$300, depending on how acute one's hearing is, and only those with well-trained or exceptional naturally endowed hearing abilities will be able to notice differences in levels of detail and refinement between headphones above this price range. Many enthusiasts and audiophiles begin their lengthy, often expensive quests for the perfect headphones by doing exactly what you are doing right now, and while we always encourage people to try as many products as possible, we would hate for someone to spend more than they need to just to find a sound they can be happy with.

All that being said, audio preferences are, first and foremost, subjective, and ultimately what matters most is that you enjoy your music, so if you find a sound you really like, stick with it! Most headphones, even those described using similar terms, or possessing very similar frequency response curves, sound very different when the sound hits your ears, so if you've got something that really sounds good to your ears, it's usually a good idea to either keep what you've got, or perhaps upgrade within the same line of products. Again, we always encourage people to try as many products as possible, especially before buying one, but if you find yourself 99% satisfied with a particular product, it's usually futile to go back out and find something totally new in an attempt to correct the one tiny flaw you have found in an otherwise great headphone.

So please, read on, and enjoy! Remember that the best way to learn about headphones is to hear them, so be sure to look up your local HiFi or audiophile store and pay them a visit to see what models they have in stock; the people who work at such places are usually very knowledgeable, and may wind up being an even more valuable resource to you than anything you read on the web.

For more information on what to look at in selecting the best headphones in 2021, We have listed below the best headphones available for you to help you decide what product is best to buy.

What are the best headphones of 2021?

Beyerdynamic Premium 600 OHM Headphones - Best Headphones Overall

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium audiophile headphones are just a little less accurate than our top two picks, but that doesn't mean they don't sound great. What it does mean is that these headphones might be even better suited for fans of rock and electronic music. The DT 990 provide plenty of detail, yet are a bit more weighty in the bass and mid-bass. This can make the midrange seem recessed, but it really isn't, and good recordings reveal this fact.

Beyerdynamic makes the DT 990 available in three different impedance versions (32, 250, and 600 ohm) to match with different sources (iPad/portable, standard receiver, headphone amp). All have a listed frequency response of 5 Hz to 35,000 Hz, with an efficiency of 96 dB.
Another important thing to note about the DT 990 is the comfortable. These are an over-the-ear design with big padded cushions and a plush headband - just the ticket for extended listening sessions. At a price significantly less than other audiophile grade cans, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium are a budget pleasing way to get top quality sound. Even if you end up venturing further up the audiophile food chain, you'll still want to keep these headphones in your audio gear locker.

Audio Technica ATH-WP900 High-Resolution Headphones - Runner Up

Audio Technica ATH W5000 headphones are immediately visually striking; the housing is made of striped ebony wood, and the overall impression is that these are substantial headphones. Unlike other choices on the list, the ATH W5000 is a closed back design, which make them better for listening in noisy environments. This also gives them a more extended bass response, but this does not mean louder or "fatter" bass, just a little more extension to the lowest notes. These A-T cans also present a large soundstage in part due to the design of the cup. Normally, open back designs are superior in this aspect. Transients are well defined. And you will hear a realistic presentation of stringed instruments and voices, a hallmark of true high fidelity sound.

These audiophile headphones feature dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets and oxygen-free copper voice coils. They are comfortable and suited to all types of music. Frequency response is listed as 5 Hz to 45,KHz, with a sensitivity of 102 dB. The included carry case is a nice touch as well.

The ATH W5000 Audiophile Closed Back headphones may not be the most accurate on our best list, but they are certainly worthy of inclusion on it. If you listen in noisier environments, or don't want to disturb others with what you are listening to, these are a great choice.

Sennheiser Audiophile Headphone - Honorable Mention

If you are shopping for headphones, you'll already be familiar with the Sennheiser name. The HD 650 are just one of many models they offer. Right away we should note that these headphones are not for purists as they have a bit of an exaggerated bass response. But for many listeners they will hit a sweet spot of price, enjoyment, and detail. They are not inaccurate, but they do have a specific sound profile.

The HD 650 is an open back design featuring dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets, aluminum voice coils, and acoustic silk damping material. Frequency response is rated at10 Hz to 39.5 KHz. These are very efficient headphones and can get very loud while playing very clean. If you want to really crank the Mahler. Mingus, or Megadeth, you can do it with ordinary amplification i.e. you won't need a special headphone amplifier for impedance matching purposes.

These reasonably-priced cans could be your entry point into the world of audiophile grade headphone listening, or, if you enjoy their presentation, your final destination.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphone - Consider

Bose is the most recognized name when it comes to noise cancelling headphones, and rightfully so. There is no doubt that the technology Bose uses to cancel outside noises is very effective. It includes microphones both inside and outside the ear cup to sample outside sounds. Plus, the over-the-ear design seals the ears well providing passive noise reduction as well.

In terms of overall audio quality, the Quiet Comfort 15 are good, but not great. Bass response is exaggerated although less so than in older designs. The midrange where vocals and many instruments set in the mix are a bit recessed, with treble rising but not to the point of fatigue. In the environment for which they were designed the shaped frequency response is appropriate, and works with the noise cancellation circuitry to very good effect. Like many NC designs, the QC15 has a cable that incorporates a built-in mic for headset use, and remote for controlling iPhone and iPad functions. A AAA battery is required for the circuitry and is rated for 35 hours average life. Keep in mind that there is no passive mode available. A dead battery equals no sound.

Finally, it should be noted that the QC15 are comfortable and lightweight. Reduction of weight comes at a cost of durability. But, like all things of value, if you take care of them they will reward you with quiet, convenience, and pleasant listening.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B Noise Canceling Headphones - Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Audio-Technica's ATH-ANC7b headphones feature QuietPoint technology that can reduce background noise by up to 20 dB. These over-the-ear headphone use 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets for high efficiency. Like most A-T products, the ATH-ANC7B have a smooth and balanced frequency response and create a fairly big soundstage, better for fans of acoustic, classical, and jazz. But, if you frequently find yourself in very noisy environments, these will not cancel noise to the extent that other choices will. Plus, these are known to leak a little more sound out too. So if you don't want to disturb others, this may not be the best choice.

We should note that these do work in full passive mode, and even if no battery is installed. That's a nice plus. Overall, these noise cancelling headphones from Audio-Technica do a decent job at noise cancellation, and better job at being good reproducers of hi-fi sound. They are comfortable enough for extended listening sessions, and priced very reasonably.

Sony MDR-NC200D Digital Noise-Cancelling Headphones - Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony MDR-NC200D digital noise canceling headphones are unique in that they feature three tailored noise reduction settings (automatically chosen) for noise from airplanes, trains, and office environments. This is an on-the-ear design which means they don't seal the ears as well as over-the-ear phones. Nevertheless, the noise cancellation system works quite well. And, as a bonus, you can wear these with no cord attached and use the NC system to create a quiet space even when not listening to music.

Frequency response is listed as from 8 Hz to 23 KHz. The 40mm drivers deliver a sound that is a little on the crisp side with the upper mids and treble a bit hyped. This is especially noticeable with the noise cancellation on. If you like a very defined treble, these will be to your liking. The noise cancellation system uses a single AAA battery, with battery life rated at 22 hours, a bit on the low side. Unlike some other designs on the list, the MDR-NC200D works in passive mode so a dead battery doesn't end the listening. These lightweight headphones are a good choice if you don't have the budget for more costly headphones from Bose or Polk.

JVC HARX900 High-Grade Full-Size Headphones - Best Budget Headphones

If you want a set of headphones with great bass response, mellow mids, and highs a touch on the crisp side, you definitely need to check out the JVC HARX900 over-the-ear headphones. These JVC phones are a little bigger and a little heavier than some other items on our list, but they make up for it with comfort. The headband is wide, with a large adjustment range, and the ear cups are large and well-padded. The HARX900 use 50 mm drivers with neodymium magnets, and a set of acoustic lenses in front of the driver which fine tune the sound profile. Out of the box they are bass heavy and a bit unbalanced. But after you break them in the sound becomes much more balanced, so be patient with these. Some users have reported removing one of the cloth coverings from the acoustic lens opens up the midrange even more. Research this for more info if it interests you. Frequency response is rated at 7 Hz to 26 KHz. Efficiency is excellent at 106 dB - you can easily use these with an iPhone or Android phone and get plenty of volume. For a rich, full audio experience, perhaps not as accurate as some, but pleasing nonetheless, give the JVC HARX900 your consideration.

Koss Porta Pro KTC Ultimate Portable Headphones - Best Budget Headphones

The original Koss Porta Pro has been on this list before, but the newer Porta Pro KTC Ultimate headphones takes its place. Why? Because many listeners in this price range are primarily using Apple and Android devices as their sound source, and the Porta Pro KTC Ultimate includes a remote control (play/pause, track advance, volume) that works with portable devices and a microphone for headset use. The sound profile of these Koss headphones is the same as the original Porta Pro - punchy bass bordering on being a bit sloppy, a slightly recessed midrange with voices a little more in the background, crisp cymbals and an overall lifted treble response. Frequency response is listed as 15 Hz to 25 KHz, with a sensitivity rating of 101 dB. These folding headphones are an over-the-ear design that keeps the ear pads snug. A "comfort zone" adjustment is provided which slightly changes the overall clamping force. Despite the snug fit on the ears the Porta Pro KTC are very comfortable and very lightweight. Even though the basic design is 30 years old, the Koss Porta Pro KTC provide a clean and exciting listening experience.

Sennheiser HD 200 Professional Monitoring Headphones - Best Budget Headphones

Sennheiser's HD 202 II Professional headphones are a very inexpensive option from a company well-known for quality headphones. The best way to describe the sound profile is "old school" and non-fatiguing, with a big bass, smooth midrange and slightly veiled treble. Frequency response of the neodymium drivers is listed at 18 Hz to 18 KHz. Overall, the HD 202 II are good for long listening sessions, unless you find your ears tend to get a little hot. This is due to the ear seal and the fact that the pads clamp firmly, a plus for passive noise isolation, but a minus for comfort. Despite the less than gaudy specs, these cans are good for many types of music, and a little EQ can add treble zing and tame the bass if needed. In the budget headphones list, the Sennheisers HD 202 II are not our top pick, but are a good choice for those with varied music collections who listen for long periods of time.

Monoprice 108323 Premium Headphones - Best Budget Headphones

Here comes Monoprice again with another super audio value. The Monoprice 108323 Premium Headphones are very inexpensive and have a decent build quality despite being all plastic. With 50 mm dynamic drivers, the 108323 have a full bass response, clear mids, but are shy on the treble. If you like full but not boomy bass, or are more rock and funk than folk, these will be to your liking. The soundstage is not as wide as others on the list, so classical fans might want to look elsewhere. Frequency response is listed as 20 Hz to 20 KHz, with 100 dB efficiency.

This is an over-the-ear design that seals well for decent passive noise isolation. Some users with larger heads report the headband can create some discomfort due to pressure points. However, adjusting the headband, or gently stretching/bending the plastic can often fix this type of problem.

A nice touch is that these Monoprice headphones allow you to swap out the cables, with two cables included (one is 11 feet long). The earpieces will swivel 90 degrees for DJ use too.

These are so inexpensive that you can easily justify buying two, with one as a backup, or one for home and one for office. For casual music listening they are a good choice.

Sennheiser MM 550-X Wireless Bluetooth Travel Headphones - Best Bluetooth Headphones

Hailing from the same German labs that produced the world-renowned HD800, Sennheiser's MM550 represents the current pinnacle of Bluetooth audio. Its smooth, dynamic sound is audibly reminiscent of Sennheiser's house signature, and while its not quite a portable HD650, Sennheiser is making clear steps in that direction. Its bass is smooth and powerful, extending to 60 hz with good power and managing to lend warmth to the midrange without overshadowing details in instruments or vocals. Its midrange is forward but not aggressive; it is silky smooth, presenting vocals in exceptionally pleasing fashion and giving instruments plenty of room to breathe (for a closed headphone) without sounding overly laid-back. Treble is slightly laid back; those wanting a more aggressive sound should look into the more v-shaped UE9000, but the MM550 is certainly no slouch when it comes to detail, and lovers of Sennheiser's house sound are sure to be pleased. There is an SRS button that does increase treble and bass to give a more "exciting" sound that should please those not used to a HiFi sound, but enthusiasts will notice that it does have a mild negative impact on staging; if you buy the MM550 and find yourself reaching for this switch, you may consider returning them for the UE9000, which deliver a livelier sound with more treble and bass out of the box for about $200 less. However those in search of maximum detail and fidelity will likely still prefer the MM550.

Features abound: the MM 550 includes active nose cancellation and accompanying talk through feature, as well as the ability to use with a cable instead of Bluetooth. Its noise cancellation is not exceptional; this is perhaps the one underwhelming aspect of the MM550. It does a reasonable job of blocking outside noise for office or even plane use, but also degrades the sound quality noticeably, compressing the soundstage and muddying the frequency response with extra bass that eliminates the pleasant warmth and replaces it with muddy midbass and additional midrange grain. Highs also lose some of their air and, like the midrange, become a bit grainy. If you plan on using your headphones primarily in NC mode, the UE9000 or a wired set from Bose would be a safer choice... though they might not sound as good!

Noise cancellation aside, these are excellent headphones, and should make you happy if your primary desire is to be wire-free with your portable device, especially if your source supports the Apt-x codec, which takes the MM550-X's fidelity to an even more impressive level for a Bluetooth headset. Those using their 'phones primarily at home may want to look at the similarly a priced RS220 for a more spacious, realistic sound, but if you spend most of your listening time on the go, the MM550-X will make a great companion.

Logitech Ultimate Ears UE9000 Wireless Headphones - Best Bluetooth Headphones

Maintaining UE's industry-wide reputation for top quality gear, the UE900 delivers both sound and features that set the bar high for Logitech's audio branch and their future products. While the sound of the UE9000 is not a noticeable upgrade from the lower-end UE6000, it has an abundance of extra features, and the big one is Bluetooth. It also sports active noise cancellation, as well as a talk through feature. Its sound places noticeable emphasis on bass and treble, giving it an exciting, dynamic sound that works very well with modern music, and is a bit more lively-sounding than the models mentioned from Sony and Sennheiser, though not quite as detailed and accurate as the MM550-X. However, despite not sounding quite as refined as the Sennheiser, I think most people will actually prefer the UE9000: its emphasized bass and treble sound very vivid and exciting, and work very well with modern music, delivering the kind of sound most people expect to hear from an expensive headphone if they aren't very familiar with high end audio products. Its noise cancellation feature is also noticeably superior to the Sennheisers, having a lesser impact on the overall sound and blocking outside noise much more capably. The materials look a bit cheaper than the MM550, but when you hold the headphones in your hands, you can tell they are designed well and built to last. Overall the UE9000 are definitely the safer buy if you are not familiar with high end audio products, and have enough detail to impress the audiophile, while delivering a sound signature that just about anyone should enjoy.

Sony MDR-1RBT Premium Bluetooth Over The Head Headphone - Best Bluetooth Headphones

This rendition of Sony's new flagship portable headphone sounds a bit different from its cousins, but still performs very well; much better than anything Bluetooth we had just three or four years ago. One place the MDR-1RBT will really blow buyers away is its bass. While its wired cousin, the lead model of the series, has a bit of extra bass, the BT variant takes it to a different level. No other wireless headphone I've heard, Bluetooth or otherwise, puts out quite this much bass, something most manufacturers have struggled with until now; the quality and texture isn't quite up to par with the UE9000, but it definitely emphasizes bass more than the UEs and will impress the Beats crowd, even next to the Studios, when it comes to bass power and impact, and without muddying up the midrange beyond the modest warmth and resonance it lends to instruments and vocals. It has a slightly relaxed treble presentation compared to the wired models, but it's hardly dark or veiled, and plenty detailed, though not quite on the same level as the UE9000 or MM550-X. It lacks the active noise cancellation sported by its competitors, but does block a decent amount of noise with its incredibly comfortable memory foam pads, which are the best in the business according to my ears, very comfortable and they breath reasonably well, too. They are very well built, sharing nearly 100 percent of the physical design and materials with other 1R models. Connectivity is solid, with no cutouts or skips in my testing at close range, and they are easily usable up to 30 feet, which is standard for high quality Bluetooth devices. The 1RBT is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a Bluetooth headphone that packs a wallop, and makes a great gift for your favorite bass head; at a noticeably lower price than the UE9000 and MM550-X, it is perhaps the safest choice for first-time buyers of quality headphones.

MEElectronics Air Fi Runaway Bluetooth Stereo Wireless Headphones with Microphone - Best Bluetooth Headphones

Though most of the larger cans reviewed for this list are designed for portable use, they aren't exactly "throw and go" headphones; with a price tag under $100 and a slim, lightweight form factor, the AF32 definitely qualify as portable in every way imaginable. Granted, a folding frame would be a welcome addition to Meelectronics' next model, but this one gripe aside, nothing stops the AF32 from going anywhere you do, and can be worn comfortable around the neck when not in use without getting in the way. Sound quality is easily on par with, or better than, similarly priced competitors and even more expensive models, including on-ear models from audiophile favorites like Sennheiser and AKG. The AF32 sports a bassy yet clear sound that is never sibilant and doesn't allow bass to overwhelm its slightly sweet midrange; detail in the upper registers may be disappointing to audiophiles used to a more "HiFi" sound signature, but they really have nothing at all to be ashamed of for the price, and the tonal balance is one that will appeal to those looking for a commuting companion: the extra bass helps maintain listenability at lower volumes despite the poor isolation of its on-ear design. The sound also has a pleasant spaciousness, something rarely heard in closed-back headphones of any kind for less than $100, especially on-ear varieties. Call quality is very good for a headset without a boom mic, Bluetooth or wired, and you should be clearly audible in all but the noisiest environs. Overall there are really no serious shortcoming to be found in the AF32; anyone looking for an affordable earpad style headphone should have these near the top of the list.

MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones - Best Headphones for Running

Meelectronics has a great reputation among enthusiasts as a reliable manufacturer of good quality budget earphones, and the M6 is no exception. Sporting a duo of design features typically seen in professional in-ear stage monitors, the M6's ergonomic design secures the earphone in the concha portion of the ear, while an over-ear style cable helps it remain in place and keeps the wires out of the way. The M6's sound is characterized by slightly emphasized bass that does not intrude into the rest of the sound spectrum, and a generally smooth, well-rounded presentation that goes very well with most music. The M6’s midrange is exceptionally detailed for the price, and while the treble is not extremely prominent, it is not a serious shortcoming, and is still more detailed than most headphones in its price range. The bass is very, very nice for the price, letting you hear all but the deepest notes, and never causing problems with the midrange; it is boosted, so lovers of a cleaner, more analytical sound should probably look at the XBA-S65, but for the price it is an extremely balanced, well-rounded sound that I’m sure most users will have little, if anything, to complain about.

Sony Active Sport In-Ear Headphones - XBA-S65-B - Best Headphones for Running

Sony has a huge lineup of ear hook style headphones, but most fall admittedly short in the sound quality department. The XBA-S65 is the exception; it isn't audiophile grade, but it is definitely a cleaner, clearer step up from their usual budget offerings. Without extra bass, it may sound a bit thin or boring to some, even most, users, but those who prefer a more analytical sound will find that the XBA-S65 makes a wonderful companion for deliberate listening. In my time making headphome recommendations for friends and acquaintances, I have discovered that there are two styles of listening while working out. Most people seem to prefer a sound that has extra bass to keep the beats pumping and energize them to keep pushing, but some prefer a more focused and intentional approach, zoning in on details and immersing themselves in the music to distract themselves. The latter is, in my opinion, who the XBA-S65 are designed for: the sound is not very involving, but actually rather dry, almost sterile, and while its not my preference, I can see how focusing on the details might help some people pass a seemingly tedious workout more quickly. It serves this pourpose rather well, and with its sturdy build, sweat-resistant filter system, and well-designed ear hooks, I'm sure it will be appreciated by many.

Koss KSC75 Portable Stereophone Headphones - Best Headphones for Running

The KSC75 is a time-tested industry favorite, and has a huge enthusiast following for a good reason. Its forward, aggressive sound makes it a great choice for working out: an extra dose of bass and sparkly highs give the KSC75 an exciting, engaging presentation that will help keep you on pace. They are no slouch when it comes to detail and air, either, and make for extremely enjoyable headphone that can be used just about anywhere. Their compact design and diminutive price tag put them well within the "throw in the bag and go" category, and their semi-open design allows them to be used anywhere without dangerously isolating the user from the environment; this makes the Koss less than ideal for bus or train-bound commuters, but everyone else will likely appreciate their versatility. Their ear clip design fits very firmly for most, and should stay secure for all but the most erratic workouts. The KSC75 are low-profile and lightweight, and stay out of the way for almost any type of exercise. Between their design and sound, they make a nearly ideal workout companion, and are the kind of headphone that will make you wonder what spending a few extra dollars on your next pair might yield.

AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Signature Reference-Class Premium Headphones - Best Mid Range Headphones

Sporting perhaps the most spacious sound of any headphones under $1000, the AKG 700-series headphones are an excellent value for those in search of largely neutral, open sound, and the Q701 is easily the most versatile of the lot. They are ideal for critical listening applications, but due to slightly lean bass, anyone mastering with them should be mindful not to add in extra lows, lest the recording come out bloated. At 62 ohms, they do not require an amp to sound good, but their true potential can only be unleashed with a full system.

The Q701 are practically built for classical music lovers, with their luxurious velour pads and light grip to ensure comfort for hours, and their huge soundscape and balanced tonality, which render orchestral music very realistically and with an open, airy sound that is never sibilant or aggressive, giving instruments distinct space and recreating more headroom than any headphone I've heard aside from the renowned Sennheiser HD800. It is not quite as sharp-sounding as the HD800, though, remaining free of harshness despite its airy, moderately emphasized treble response. The bass delivered by the Q701 is clean yet smooth; it lacks the real slam delivered by some other headphones, and is definitely not for real bass lovers, but it extends deep and has a nice body without any bloating or bloom, and has a very pleasant, atmospheric quality when properly amped. It is slightly looser than the DT880, so electronic music fans or those who like their drums nice and punchy (though never boomy) should look at the Beyers instead. Their midrange is full and ever so slightly warm, making them better for relaxed listening than the occasionally-sterile DT880, which is designed for similar purposes but has a slightly cleaner, albeit less involving, midrange. The two are quite similar on paper, but in practice the DT880 has noticeably punchier bass, as well as slightly sharper treble and less prominent midrange, giving it what enthusiasts call a little bit of the "v shape" signature, whereas the Q701 is closer to being truly flat. For this reason, the Q701 is my top pick for this price range, and an easy choice for lovers of a true-to-life, reference grade sound.

Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro Headphones - Best Mid Range Headphones

Ask any professional audio engineer what headphones they using for critical listening, and there's a good chance the name Beyerdynamic will come up. The DT880 is not their top of the line, but is definitely their best bang for buck full-size headphone, and is easily detailed and resolving enough for just about any critical listening purpose imaginable.

Its bass is punchy and big enough to sound "bassy" with the right source, amp, and music, but its also very well controlled, and extends to the limits of my hearing with good definition when properly amped; it will not please a true basshead, but it has excellent texture and detail and will definitely deliver hours of enjoyment to those who appreciate bass quality more than quantity. Its treble is sparkly and exciting, occasionally lending a slightly metallic tone to treble-heavy electronic music and tracks mastered for extra "sparkle;" those with ears that are sensitive to treble may prefer Sennheiser's midrange models, which have a much smoother sound that is a bit easier on the ears. Others, however, will likely find the DT880's highs to be exciting and even euphoric with the right music. Its midrange is slightly recessed and not quite as involving, and might be considered sterile by fans of a fuller, throatier sound, but they are still very detailed and tonally accurate, reinforcing the DT880's natural role as a studio tool.

It is certainly still an enjoyable headphone to listen to, at least for some, but its less involving midrange serves as a reminder that the DT880 is designed to be a clear window into the music, as opposed to most consumer-oriented products which tend to add a certain coloration to music to make it more enjoyable. If you are comfortable with the sound delivered headphones from companies like Bose, Monster, Sennheiser, Koss, VMODA, and other companies that target their products directly at the mass market, you may want to avoid these Beyers, unless you either have the chance to demo them, or know you are looking for something with a cleaner, flatter sound.

That said, there are few better headphones for critical listening purposes, and many come to enjoy the sound of the DT880s for pleasure listening as well. One would be hard pressed to find a more detailed, accurate pair of headphones for the price; many actually prefer them to the higher-end DT990 for their more neutral response, and if you favor a brighter sound, these could easily become your favorite headphones.

Sennheiser RS-120 On Hook Charging Wireless Headphone - Best Budget Wireless Headphones

Lovers of Sennheiser's revered PX100 take note: the RS120 offers Sennheiser's famous house sound in an on-ear package, and is wireless to boot. While not quite as bassy as Sennheiser's famous earpad fan-favorite, a shortcoming that is to be expected from most wireless headphones, it offers a warm, forward, enaging sound that could only come from Germany's largest audio firm, and has an incredibly wide genre bandwidth. While its earpad design limits its ability to portray spacial cues necessary to fully enjoy orchestral music, and likely wont be bassy enough for lovers of modern pop, electronic, or rap, it serves just about any other genre well, from rock to jazz to string quartets. Its real strength lies with vocal-centric music, which is presented in a forward, engaging fashion with just the right dose of warmth. The low profile design and excellent battery life make it ideal for anyone who wants a headphone that can be worn around the house while working or doing chores without getting in the way. It is not the transportable wonder that the PX100 has become famous as, but it can serve the same purpose around the house that the PX100 fills out and about, with the added convenience of being wireless; lovers of Sennheiser's best portables will not be disappointed with the sound, and anyone else looking for a convenient, low profile basic headphone for listening around the choice will likely be just as pleased.

RCA WHP141 Wireless Headphones - Best Budget Wireless Headphones

The RCAWHP141 are a very affordable set of wireless cans that don't stand out in any way, offering everything one could expect from a wireless headphone without any serious flaws, but not exactly blasting the competition away. Their use of the lower frequency 900mhz spectrum gives them excellent signal penetration, making them great for wearing around the house, but the range is not quite as good as sets using the 2.4ghz spectrum, meaning that outdoor use isn’t quite as feasible as with some other sets, and connectivity is not quite flawless; considering the price, however, they perform quite well, and those expecting perfection in this area should be looking to spend considerably more. The WHP141 does require a bit of extra volume from its source, but once properly set up, they deliver a slightly warm sound that is pleasing to the ears and very much characteristic of budget headphones; they are no slouches for detail though, definitely offering a noticeable jump in quality from built-in speakers that come with most TVs and computers. For the $30-$40 or so they typically fetch online, they are a great buy.

Sony MDR-IF245RK Wireless IF Headphone - Best Budget Wireless Headphones

If you're looking for a wireless set of the ear pad variety, and are afraid the more expensive RS120 might not fill your bass cravings, Sony's entry into the same market should do the trick. Sony has a real knack for packing a lot of bass into their wireless cans, and I wish they'd share the trick with Sennheiser, because each excels in different areas of sound presentation. While Sennheisers tend to be more detailed and realistic, Sony really delivers the fun, and I imagine the majority of listeners of modern music will prefer the IF245RK model without question. What it lacks in detail, it more than makes for with bass impact, and should sound great with modern music, especially pop and rap; electronic music lovers may want a little more treble to give those synthesized blips and beeps a bit more edge, but music that focus mostly on bass and vocals, like the aforementioned genres, will sound as expected.They won't put full-sized Beats to shame, but they do sound better than the more expensive Solos, and although they can't be used on the go, if you like to do your listening at home, I bet you will enjoy these Sonys.

Buyer's Guide

What must you know before getting your headphones?

Like fine wine, headphones have matured significantly over time. They are simply not what they used to be. Once generally seen as fashion accessories or perhaps some nerd insignia, the present Post-Covid-19 era has metamorphosed them into necessities and they have become significant gadgets to modern living.

This shift has made the decision-making process of buying the best headphones a pretty tedious one. You want to pick from the very best options of headphones that blend seamlessly into your style, work schedule, and most importantly, your budget. Being able to buy the best headphone that ticks these checkboxes might be a little bit tricky.

If you read this buying guide to the end, you will be able to identify for yourself the clearest cut ways to buy your favorite headphone - one that would take your lifestyle to a boss level, improve your work efficiency, and cut out all other external noises. And will lift your spirits while at it too.

What are the best styles of headphones you can buy?

Earbuds

These are the commonest types of headphones. They rest in your ear and are light, compact, and flexible. They deliver decent audio quality and provide decent noise cancellation.

In-ear headphones

These are similar to earbuds but sit deeper in your ear canals. They offer some sort of noise reduction with a soft lining usually made silicone that ensures an air-tight fit.

On-ear headphones

These headphones are shaped like flexible headbands and fold over your head to rest on your ears but not over them. They largely block out noise and allow ventilation for your ears.

Over-ear headphones

They come with a similar design to on-ear headphones but totally envelop your ears and block out all external noise completely. They are equipped to give you a great stereo studio experience. They offer the best sound quality.

What kinds of headphones will suit you?

The teeming amount of headphones in different sizes and from different brands available on the market can be overwhelming and time-consuming without a guide. However, you will be able to get your pick from the best headphones 2021 guarantees if you use this buying guide. You will be delighted to know that what our selection of headphones has in common is the stylish comfort they give, their sleek design, and the sterling audio qualities they deliver.

Their features include:

Noise reduction

These headphones are equipped with a special technology that systematically prevents ambient noise from ruining the audio quality of your headphones. They are also designed in such ways that they envelop the ears to block out most of the external noise but not shutting it out completely. They are usually cheaper than noise-canceling headphones.

Noise cancellation

These are ideally designed to fully eliminate all background and external noises. This is achieved with micro blockers in the earbuds that carefully trap surrounding noise and filter them out completely so that you can fully enjoy them without needless distractions. This would help conveniently take phone calls in crowded places without the risk of missing out on crucial information.

Wireless connectivity

Carrying a tethered headband around can be more than a little bit cumbersome for more than some. You should not have to worry about lines and cables when you should be beating your deadlines. You should buy for yourself a wireless headphone that blends comfort with portability. Wireless headphones will typically come with Bluetooth or infrared technology. Whichever catches your fancy, wires aren’t getting in your way.

Long battery life

As an extension of wireless connectivity, most wireless headphones will come with built-in batteries that are rechargeable. You want a headphone with a high-capacity battery that will last long on a full charge. It should also charge quickly so you can get back to enjoying your music quickly.

Weather resistance

If you're an athlete and are looking for headphones you can always slip on while you work out to prevent the infiltration of liquids like water and sweat. Our selection of headphones comes certified with different IP ratings which is the global rating for imperviousness. From 0-9 with 9 being the highest, you can always save yourself the stress of having to wipe your headphones every minute or if you're an outdoor person, you can enjoy soulful experiences without worrying about what wet weather can do to your headphones.

Bone sound conductivity

Talking about innovations, headphones have been innovated enough to acquire some degree of bio-tech. Some headphones are equipped with a unique design that allows them to deliver sounds by vibrations through the cranial bones. This allows you to optimize your headphones while being alert to external sounds especially when you're in traffic or running through deserted woods.

Microphones

This addition always adds a satisfying oomph to your headphone user experience. You would find microphones quite indispensable if you're having online meetings or if you're a gamer, they give you a 360-degree experience.

How much would headphones cost?

Headphones are made by different brands, in a range of sizes, and serve varying functions. You can buy some of the cheapest headphones at $29.00 and the range spirals up through some Bang & Olufsen headphones priced at $850 to some of the most expensive luxury Focal Stellia headphones dangling at $2400. They are simply the best headphones known to man (if you ignore their price, of course) as they offer precise audio quality. Hence, you should understand that the underlying factor is a positive quality: price relationship.

Best Headphones FAQs

What is the difference between headsets and headphones?

Headsets are basically headphones with an attached microphone. Headphones don’t come with attached microphones. In terms of sound quality, headphones generally perform better than headsets as they are dedicated to producing sound. That’s not to say that headphones don’t come with microphones – many in fact, do. The microphones on headphones will however, usually be very low-profile and may not perform as well as those on a headset. It is often recommended that a separate microphone be used with headphones.

What wireless headphones have the best connectivity?

A major concern for wireless headphones is connectivity. This is because hiccups and stutters can ruin the quality of audio and can be annoying if not outrightly damaging. Fortunately, headphones equipped with a connectivity chip that works with the Bluetooth 5 chip offer seamless, hiccup-free connectivity.

Should I go for wireless earbuds?

Some may rue the flimsy-looking visage of wireless earbuds but that cannot remove the fact that they're the most convenient to use. Better than some over the ears cylinders that are the Apple AirPod Max or the AKG Y50 BT that are going to warm up your ears like a can of soup. Just snap the earbuds on and enjoy your day. And they are super portable too.

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