best audiophileheadphone

Best Audiophile Headphone Reviews: Things to Consider before Purchasing One

How would you define an audiophile?

Someone who collects HiFi gear as a hobby and spends plenty of money on them or someone who has lots of money, but just wants to show off their audiophilism?

In my case, I’m obsessed with sound. Every once in a while, I’m spending hundreds of dollars on HiFi systems, headphones and amplifiers trying to ingest every innermost detail in the music. I’m interested in a stereo system that could get me as close as possible to listen to plucks, string squeaks, movements, background noise — system that can produce a performance as live as possible.

One thing that can be truly applied to all audiophiles is that we understand that music deserves the best sound.

A great set of headphones can exude a unique feeling, and move you in a different way. And, the effect that is produced is truly surreal.

If you haven’t experienced that feeling yet or are looking to amp your game and embark on a new extent of sounds, then consider the top 10 headphones I reviewed below. All these headphones have one thing in common; they all can make your sound better. Also, I described what could go into making quality audiophile headphones. Let’s discover them:

1. Sennheiser HD 598 Special Edition Over-Ear Headphones  

Best Audiophile headphone

 

The open-back Sennheiser HD 598 headphones feature an upgraded over-the-ears range. The sound is also more detailed than the previous models.

The open-back Sennheiser HD 598 headphones feature an upgraded over-the-ears range. The sound is also more detailed than the previous models.

Densely-padded headband and ear cushions prospered its luxurious design. As a result, the headphones are more visually attractive than their predecessors.

I’m just a regular Joe who loves his music and movies. After using this pair of headphones, I can confirm that they offered superior sounding bass and introduced me to the sounds I had never picked up before.

On deep bass tracks, like the Prodigy’s “FireStarter”, the HD 598 reached maximum volume without a hint of distortion. The headphones are patterned with a cream and brown color scheme. The main construction material of  HD 598s is plastic. Wood-texture veneers enclose the speaker grilles. The high-gloss Burl wood veneers may be a bit fake, but they attach a luxurious feel to the design.

Striking perfect tonal balance, the headphones produce super clean sound and have a wide-open soundstage. The remarkable soundstage provides enough space for you to conserve heavy-metal sounds. The previous Sennheiser HD 595 had a cable non-removal, constricting users’ movement. However, the HD 598’s cable can be removed.

A 2.5-millimeter jack is plugged into the headphones. It plugs into the headphones with a twist-to-lock mechanism. This ingenious attachment connection secures your cable in place. Overall, it is a great set of headphones for an audiophile to experience unique natural sound with precision quality.

What I like

  • Lightweight
  • User-replaceable cable
  • Extremely comfortable design
  • Excellent titanium/silver finish
  • Highly dynamic detailed sound with uniform attenuation

What I don’t like

  • No storage case

Sennheiser HD 598 Special Edition Over-Ear Headphones generated over 2900 reviews at 4.6 out 5 stars on Amazon. Check out more reviews on Amazon!   

2. Sennheiser HD 650 Open-Back Professional Headphone

best audiophile headphone

“simply the world’s best headphone.” ~ headphone.com I was browsing through online marketplaces and retailing sites for HiFi gear, and I came across this pair of headphones. Online reviews, ratings, and experiences with this product have been overwhelmingly positive. Originally marketed in 2003, the HD650 really looks the part.

The headphones look deluxe; ear cushions, densely-padded headband, and the titanium-silver finish can attest to the headphones’ specialty, even before you get to hear them. Someone recommended the HD 600s over the HD 650s to me, but the 650 sounds a lot smoother.

However, the Sennheiser HD 650s are pretty big and much heavier. So, you may only use it for home rather than carry it outside and use it. It packs a moderate weight (9 ounces). So, they may not be suitable for on-the-go use.

What I absolutely love about the headphones is that the HD 650s produce much warmer and smoother sound than other open-back headphones. They also have much deeper bass. At any rate, this is a pretty well-made, comfortable and durable set of headphones.

What I like

  • Extraordinary deeper bass
  • Comfortable construction
  • HiFi styling

What I don’t like

  • Expensive
  • A bit heavy
  • Consumes much power

Sennheiser HD 650 Open-Back Professional Headphones generated over 470 reviews at 4.6 out 5 stars on Amazon. Check them out! 

3. Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones

best audiophile headphone

I have previously tried dozens of headphones and spent hours scouring the Internet for the right pair of headphones. But, none could even remotely satisfy my needs for precise sound until I purchased a pair of Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones.

I have owned a product, which I consider to be the perfect headphones in terms of sound quality and comfort. Velour-padded earcups, and headband, and the black matte color scheme is an excellent alternative to Sennheiser’s gray finishes. However, you may not appreciate the design as much as you may for comfort.

The HD 558 is a full-size, over-the-ear (circumaural) headphones. Its over-the-ear construction encloses my ears comfortably. I have a smaller head, so this is a good fit for me. Tracks with a powerful bass line; such as the Knife’s “Silent Shout” blasted through these headphones without any feedback.

What I like

  • Comfortable
  • Superb rich bass
  • High-quality audio performance

What I don’t like

  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Doesn’t favor mobile devices or computers

Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones amassed over 1000 reviews at 4.6 out 5 stars on Amazon. Check them out! 

4. Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Headphones

best audiophile headphone

I didn’t buy this pair of headphones arbitrarily, rather this purchase was the result of much pondering and research and an hour of Internet browsing for a good all-around pair of headphones. I am involved in the broadcasting industry for 16 years.

I owned several pairs of headphones, but none couldn’t deliver the crisp sound this set provides. The industry I’m working in requires capturing natural and balanced sound. And, with an expertly tailored frequency response, the headphones deliver high-quality sound all-around. The reduced weight of the diaphragm, sounds can reproduce to an excellent degree. Plus, soft headband and ear cushioning system will make you feel like you have stuffed animals cuddling with your ears. 

What I like

  • Lightweight diaphragm
  • Excellent sound reproduction
  • All-around open-back headphones

What I don’t like

  • Irritating coiled cable

Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Headphones generated over 600 customer reviews at 4.6 out 5 stars on Amazon. Check them out. 

5. Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7GM SonicPro Over-Ear Headphones

best audiophile headphone

I have been an Audio-Technica fan for 10 years. This Japanese company has been a pioneer in the audio industry for more than 50 years. Being involved with a broadcasting corporation, I have been introduced with several high-tech Audio-Technica hardware. And, I know whatever they produce is among the best.

I bought this set of headphones manufactured by the same company without a second thought. And, it didn’t frustrate me. While the headphones have been advertised as high-resolution. I think they’re even better. Now I’m constantly impressed with the magnificent sounds the headphones produce, which can easily outperform the renowned brands.

What Audio-Technica offered for the price makes the headphones extremely good value. My Audio-Technica headphones come in black and silver, which may strike as simple, but some nice refined blue details can capture the public’s attention. Overall the headphones are designed based on comfort rather than being flashy. The headphones are made of plastic and metal. They are durable enough to last a decade.

What I like

  • Aesthetic
  • Visually pleasing
  • Sturdy and flexible
  • Minimal outward bulk
  • Large and comfortable earpads

What I don’t like

  • Coiled cable
  • Treble is not refined
  • Stiff adjustment slider

If you wish to learn more about Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7GM SonicPro Over-Ear Headphones, check out Amazon.

6. Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones 

best audiophile headphone

It is one of cheapest headphone sets with stellar sound quality. For the modest $100, you can rest assured that the headphones will give you more bang for the buck. To lower distortion, Grado engineered patented polycarbonate materials.

The headphones simply deliver fantastic sound, thanks to its open-back design and standard guts. The pair truly satisfied me with the impressive clarity that I found missing in my previous headphone sets.

The first thing I noticed I started playing SoundGarden’s “Spoon Man” was that subtle music details and delicate overtones that I never knew existed! My music testing revealed a perfect balance established across the audible spectrum. Bass notes were positively delicate.

The open-backed speakers transmit sound waves outward like they would travel in an open space. The open-speaker backs prevent music from echoing around an enclosure.

What I like

  • Comfortable
  • Soft and large speaker pads
  • Made of corrosion-resistant substances

What I don’t like

  • An imbalance in volume in both speakers

Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones are awarded 4.4 out 5 stars on Amazon. Check out more reviews on Amazon. 

7. HiFiMAN HE-400i Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones

best audiophile headphone

HiFiMan trumpeted its arousing emergency when it first announced the original HE-400 a few years ago. The headphones acted the part of an authentic pair of audiophile planar magnetic headphones. The model brought HiFiMan commercial success, but it did invoke the feeling of something amiss.

So, HiFiMan decided to retrofit the HE-400 and produced a much-improved version; HE-400i. For example the mids are improved a lot, the improved single-sided planar magnetic driver delivers tighter and tamed bass extension.

If you’re wondering what planar magnetic is, planar magnetic headphones use a diaphragm made of mylar instead of a diaphragm made from plastic. Conventional headphones have a cylindrical magnet and a diaphragm made from some sort of plastic. If you previously used the older HE-500, the first thing you will feel as you put on the headphones is that the headband feels a bit tighter.

However, it distributes the pressure evenly on your ears, so you won’t feel much clamped. The improved HE-400i delivers detailed and subtle sound quality without being squeaky or taxing. The sound transmitted from this pair of headphones is pleasurable, soothing and non-fatiguing over extended periods of listening. Trebles are liquid and well-defined. The bass is sparkling. Overall, the HE-400i offers a better performance than the original HE-400 all the way.

What I like

  • Inexpensive
  • Outstanding clarity
  • Detailed and precise sound quality

What I don’t like

  • Short cable
  • Not so sturdy construction

HiFiMAN HE-400i Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones received 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Check out more reviews on Amazon! 

8. AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones

best audiophile headphone

Actually, when I intended to purchase this pair of headphones, I stumbled upon lots of mixed reviews online. I ended up buying it. Boy, am I not pleased with my purchase? The headphones felt really comfortable to me. The pads may not seem that dense for people with large ears at first, but the pleather air pads can fit any ears, so you will get used to it.

Its driver is covered by foam, so it won’t feel all too uncomfortable. Upon unboxing, you will notice how lightweight the headphones will feel at first. So, it is possible that you may doubt the quality. However, the headphones really have no build issues. High-quality plastic, that really provides the headphones with a sturdy and solid foundation. The looks of these headphones may seem a bit retro as if they were designed in the 70’s. But, they are designed with a few modern touches as well.

They can easily grab your attention. Its sound quality is pretty detailed and excellent. Highs are sparkling, as well as the lows. The headphones are pretty responsive to lows. The bass is firm and well-controlled. But, it is not as super as a pair of Beats’. Overall, the sound feels really great. You will feel as if you were 20 feet away from the guitar and drums. That’s how realistic the sound is.

What I like

  • Crisp and clear sound
  • Well-manicured sound staging and placement 
  • High-end finish and fit comparable to high-street headphones

What I don’t like

  • Clamping pressure

If you wish to learn more about AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones, visit Amazon now. 

9. LyxPro OEH-10 Open Back HiFi Audiophile Headphones

best-audiophile-headphone

I purchased this pair of headphones last October. They rapidly became my favorites. They produce crisp and detailed sound. Plus, the pair of headphones is comfortable to wear. The set is the bit larger than an average set of headphones. I’m a big guy and quite large (6’2″).

I have a pretty protracted set of ears. And, the headphones are a good fit for me. Since they are open-air headphones, you’ll be able to concentrate on your surroundings without taking your mind off them. And, it is a great advantage over sealed headphones like earbuds. The headphones deliver an excellent sound quality across the board.

LyxPro crafted a pair of headphones that is a strong contender among the best within this price range. It delivers focused bass that drops fairly low. I listen to a wide variety of music genres through it; from hip-hop to pop and it never failed to frustrate me and took me as close as possible to live.

The headphones struck a unique sonic balance throughout the audio spectrum. Everything from acoustic music to power pop, the headphones offers impressive clarity with no muffling of voice or distortion. Lastly, the construction of the headphones is pretty sturdy and cabling quality and connectors are well-founded.

What I like

  • Open-air design
  • Interchangeable ear pads
  • Crystal-clear and crisp sound

What I don’t like

  • Short cable
  • Bulky design

LyxPro OEH-10 Open Back HiFi Audiophile Headphones received 4.4 out 5 stars on Amazon. Check out Amazon for more reviews! 

10. Panasonic ErgoFit RP-TCM125 Earbuds Headphones

best audiophile headphone

Panasonic is a brand name that most of us are familiar with. This Japanese company is usually associated with quality electronic products and celebrated worldwide. But, who would have thought such an electronic giant would market a low-priced pair of headphone?

Although it has a pretty feasible price attached to it, it can deliver a worthy set of headphones. I initially bought this set of headphones to use while doing chores around the house. Now it has become my important gear that I bring to school and plug into it while riding the subway.

The headphones do not let noise stand in your way of listening. I was first concerned with the noise that transmits up into the user’s ear when the cord hits something. But, the set proved unobtrusive and noise can’t disturb the sounds you’re giving a listen to. When it comes to durability, I’m pretty sure you won’t find any headphone set as durable as this one. It’s one of the best-selling headphone sets too.

When I first started unboxing the headphones, the cord struck me as thin and feeble. But, it proved incredibly strong. For the price, the sound quality of these in-ears can compete with any high-end headphones.

What I like

  • Inexpensive
  • Silicone-made earbuds
  • Durable and high-quality
  • Suitable for active and gym people

What I don’t like

  • Doesn’t have a microphone
  • Doesn’t come with non-tangle style wiring

Panasonic ErgoFit RP-TCM125 Earbuds Headphones generated over 4400 customer reviews at 4.2 out of 5 stars

Things to Consider before Purchasing a Set of Audiophile Headphones

⊕ Design – the newly manufactured and popular headphones demonstrate that design actually matters. Design elements are interconnected to prepare the listener for a unique experience. Your headphones’ design is something that can boost your morale and encourage you to pick them up and wear. The same principle stays true when you’re taking a break from your workout session and wear your set and you instantly feel energized for another intensive workout session.

⊕ Sound Quality – it is the most important factor to determine high-quality headphones. You can expect all high-end, powerful headphones to deliver extreme clarity and impressive performance and immerse the listener in the sounds. However, as the headphone brands differ from each other, so does their sound quality.

Each headphone brand has their own distinctive sound quality. Some headphones tend to transmit warmer, soothing sound, while others produce analytical sound. Play some of your favorite songs on your MP3 player with the headphones and evaluate each pair carefully.

⊕ Durability – the reason why most of the people buy new headphones is that the old ones somehow break. However, audiophile headphones are not so renowned for their durability. They tend to get expensive. So, when you invest hundreds of dollars on a pair of headphones, you are expected to take care of it. Store your audiophile headphones in a secure place or use them carefully. If you have a pair of in-ear audiophile headphones, it is a good practice that you store it in a hard-shell pouch. Always avoid storing your headphones disorderly or leaving them tangled. Do not toss them around either.

⊕ Open-Back vs Closed-Back Headphones – closed-back headphones isolate noise and you from the outside world. They excel at isolating noise. Usually, a closed-back pair of headphones is constructed with a large pad that cups your ear and an insulated capsule of plastic that covers your ears.

Once you wear the headphones and turn up the music, the music combines with light noise isolation blocks the sounds of the outside world and focuses on the sounds of the music. They do a pretty good job at isolating the noise of your surroundings and sink you in the music sounds. Open-back headphones are exactly the opposite of closed-back headphones.

If closed-back headphones are experts at isolating the noise and catching the headphones sound, then open-back headphones do not block ambient noise, rather they let air pass freely in and out of the headphones.

Closed-back headphones are useful for minimizing the music leaking out of the earpieces. And, open-back headphones are useful for making aware of external surroundings.

⊕ Earbuds – earbuds or in-ear headphones consist of tiny earpieces that go inside your ears. Earbuds are popular because of their portable nature, which is pretty effective if you would like to use them on-the-go. They tend to more comfy than over-the-ear headphones.