In this review we take a look at the best audiophile headphones specially designed to deliver high-end sound performance for the most discerning of music listeners. These headphones are capable of delivering high-fidelity sound and reproduce the finer details in the music which you might not have noticed before.
The majority of headphones on this list are closed-back headphones which help to enhance the bass response, and they do provide a surprising amount of soundstage and spatial separation considering their closed-back design. These headphones will also require a headphone amplifier to drive them as they have higher impedance than average headphones for the best sound quality. If you are looking for headphones that will deliver impressive sound performance beyond what you have heard so far, these audiophile headphones are definitely a great choice.
#1 Best Overall: Sennheiser HD 800 Audiophile Headphone
The Pros. The Sennheiser HD 800s are some of the best sounding headphones we have ever tested(when coupled with a good headphone amplifier), with depth, tonal clarity and impactful bass. The level of detail that you get with these headphones is on another level.
The Cons. The Sennheiser HD 800s are relatively expensive headphones and are suited for discerning audiophiles who want to take their listening experience to the next level. Because of the open-back design of the HD 800s, the bass response may not be as “tight” for bass heads.
When we first reviewed the Sennheiser HD 800s we were extremely impressed by the sound performance and the level of clarity the HD 800s can take your music up to. The HD 800 uses a patented ring radiator transducer to deliver exceptional sound performance together with 56mm drivers – which are by far one of the largest used for headphones. It also comes with its own dedicated 40mm aluminium voice coil with a 42mm magnet structure for crisp highs and excellent vocals. The transducers have two contact points at the inside and the outside of the ring for better sound control. The HD 800s are open back headphones which help to deliver a level of spaciousness and clarity with full details and dynamic sound reproduction. The transducers are also angled forward to deliver a wide and open spatial presentation which allows you to feel as though you are sitting in a live studio or concert hall enjoying the full orchestra or concert in real life. These headphones are manufactured in Germany with quality components and feel very luxurious. Overall, the Sennheiser HD 800s are hands down some of the best audiophile headphones we have tested and are definitely worth checking out.
The sound signature of the HD 800s gravitates towards the more studio line of headphones with an emphasis on clarity, depth and spatial separation. That being said, it does produce a good deal of bass and lower-midrange frequencies which help to enhance the overall listening experience particularly for bass-heavy music genres. While listening to instrumental and orchestra music through the HD 800s, we were stunned by the level of clarity and depth these headphones had – they could easily pick up instrumental notes in songs that you may never have heard before. The music produced by these headphones have a level of detailed separation and spatial imaging that sounds pretty much real life – you can hear where each sound in the music is reproduced and where exactly the vocals are coming from. In short, you can actually picture yourself in a real life concert hall and hear the sound as though you were sitting there in real life. The bass performance on the HD 800s is relatively good although do expect some level of diffusion due to the open-back design of the HD 800s – they still have pretty good low to midrange frequency response. The midrange tones feel open and spacious, the highs are pristine and clear and the bass is impactful but not overwhelming. In terms of sound performance, we would say that the HD 800s definitely leans more towards the midrange and highs with studio-like clarity.
The HD 800s are very sensitive to the audio source – so be sure to feed a good quality audio file such as compressed FLAC formats for the best sound quality. They will also require a good headphone amplifier to drive them considering that these headphones have a much higher impedance. Ergonomically, these headphones are designed like a tank and can actually feel slightly oversized, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the kind of setup you are looking for. These are definitely not the portable type of headphones that you can carry around. The HD 800s have an ergonomically structured ear cup frame crafted of Leona which is an ultra-lightweight non-resonant material with great strength. It also has stainless steel mesh which protects the transducers. The HD 800 has a damped headband which is sandwiched between several layers of resonance dampening polymers to eliminate unwanted vibrations from being transmitted to the headphone mountings. It also comes with luxurious ear cushions which are made from microfiber ear padding to provide a comfortable listening experience. The HD 800s also come with insulated cables which are impedance matched with a low capacitance feature to shield against any frequency disturbance caused by ambient noises. In terms of design and construction, you are really getting top of the line features with the HD 800 and quality German engineering.
The Verdict? The Sennheiser HD 800s are no doubt some of the best audiophile headphones in the market delivering rich and full sound quality with its massive 56mm drivers. We would say that the HD 800s are best suited for those looking for depth and sound clarity – the spatial imaging and separation that you get with the HD 800s are simply on another level. The highs and midranges are fully reproduced without any distortion at maximum volume levels and you get really clean and distortion-free sound. The soundstage feels extremely realistic as though you are transported into a live concert hall. The headphones are open-back headphones and do suffer from some of the downsides of an open-back design such as less bass response, although they do arguably well on the lower-midrange frequencies. The HD 800s definitely require a good headphone amplifier to drive them, as well as good quality audio source to really allow these headphones to shine and pick up the subtle details in the music which you might not have noticed before. Overall, the HD 800s are definitely one of our favorites and best audiophile headphones that you should definitely try out for high-end listening.
#2 Best Value: V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Audiophile Headphones
The Pros. The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 headphones deliver exceptional value for money, and deliver almost sonically-perfect sound quality with detailed highs, crisp midranges and deep bass. If you are an audiophile on a budget, the M-100 headphones are the ones you should get.
The Cons. The M-100s do not produce as much soundstage or separation as other high-end headphones such as the HD 800s, although they have better bass performance
The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 is one of the best audiophile headphones available on a budget. We were incredibly surprised at how good the M-100s sounded when we first tested them out, and till today they remain as one of our personal favorites. The M-100s are essentially closed-back wired headphones that come with dual 50mm drivers that deliver really crisp sound quality with deep bass. The good thing about the M-100 is that they are relatively lightweight and compact which makes them easy to transport around – this is great if you intend to take these headphones along with you to work or on the go. The M-100s come with a 50mm dual-diaphragm driver with inner and outer rings which provide distinctly clear highs and midranges and clear bass which does not muddy into the other frequency ranges. The headphones deliver immersive 3D soundstage with lifelike vocals and crystal clear instrumental sound reproduction. They are also very comfortable to wear and come with supple memory foam cushions which naturally conform to your ears to provide ergonomic comfort and a good level of noise isolation. The high-fidelity sound performance from the M-100s and low cost makes them a huge contender for the top spot.
The sound quality of the V-MODA is, simply put, outstanding for a headphone of this size and budget. The level of detail that you get with the M-100 headphones is exceedingly good, and you can even pick up subtle details in the music which you might not have heard before. The sound from the M-100 is crystal clear and smooth, with crisp treble ranges and sparkling highs. The M-100 headphones also have a lot of bass and sound very punchy – even more so than the Sennheiser HD 800s which are focused on spatial imaging and separation. Bass-heavy music genres will definitely sound livelier and more pronounced with the V-MODA M-100 headphones. These headphones also produce very good full-range sound quality and reproduce virtually the entire audio spectrum with ease. They have pretty good sonic imaging and separation, although nowhere close to open-back headphones such as the HD 800s. One good trait about the M-100 is that they are noise-isolating and do not leak sound; the bass performance feels more pronounced and tight without muddying into the midrange frequencies. We did not find the highs and treble ranges on the M-100 to high or harsh; everything sounded smooth and well-balanced with great tonal separation. If you are looking for an all-rounded headphone with audiophile quality sound performance without any preference for one music genre, the V-MODA M-100s are a pretty good investment.
The M-100 headphones have a really solid and durable feel with nice polished metal on both cans that gives it a classy appearance. These headphones give you the feeling that they are built to last for a long time and can withstand heavy use. The M-100 headphones are constructed from metal and cushion leather; they also fold inward which makes them compact and portable. These headphones are very comfortable to wear and you can practically listen to these headphones for hours on end without feeling fatigued; it also has an adjustable headband that feels well-padded and very comfortable to wear. The headphones cans have a pretty unique hexagon shape which contours to the natural lines of your ears and minimizes gaps. We really liked the fact that the Crossfade M-100 headphones isolate sound really well and prevent any sound leakage – which helps to enhance the overall bass response at some expense of soundstage and sonic imaging. The entire package comes with the M-100 headphones, exoskeleton carrying case, carabiner clip, microphone cable, audio cables and an adapter.
The Verdict? The V-MODA Crossfade M-100s are some of the best audiophile headphones you can get on a budget that delivers superb sound quality and a very balanced listening experience. They are capable of producing crisp highs, detailed midranges and very deep bass with plenty of depth and impact. Vocal performances sound crystal clear on these headphones without any harshness, and timbre ranges sound silky smooth. It comes with 50mm dual diaphragm drivers that deliver loud sound performance without any distortion. We also liked the sleek and modern design of the M-100 with the polished metal exterior; they are very compact headphones and can be easily transported easily. It also comes with nicely padded leather ear cushions which feel very comfortable to wear and ergonomically conform to your ear size. While the M-100 lacks a degree of soundstage due to its closed-back design, it does perform above expectations while coupled with a good headphone amplifier. Overall, the M-100s are really solid and some of the best audiophile headphones that deliver great value for money and come highly recommended.
#3 Best Adaptive Listening: Nuraphone Audiophile Headphones
The Pros. The Nuraphones provide a very unique listening experience by sonically adapting to the sound profile of your ears and optimizing the sound quality according to your own personal profile. The bass response on the Nuraphones is phenomenal.
The Cons. The Nuraphones have a dual earbud-headphone type design that may need time to get used to. The adaptive sound optimization, while generally good, is not perfect – you may either love or hate the adaptive sound optimization feature that adapts the sound according to your ear profile.
Sonically speaking, it is difficult to find a one-size fits all type of headphone because everyone has different listening profiles and preferences. The Nuraphone headphones provides a unique solution by adapting the sound output according to your ear structure to optimize your listening experience – it even remembers and stores your listening profile in the headphone through the app. For audiophiles, this means that you will get the best listening experience that is optimized for your ears through the Nuraphone headphones.
We were pretty impressed when we first tested out the Nuraphone headphones. The headphone uses soundwave technology and an extremely sensitive microphone to learn your hearing profile and provide you with an optimal listening experience. It also adapts to match your listening patterns and delivers the full-details of your favorite music with clarity. The Nura headphones are capable of producing very deep bass response and come with an in-ear speaker and a bass to over-ear driver which delivers solid deep bass performance while maintaining a level of crystal clear clarity. It also has an active cooling system which draws cool air through the bottom of the cup and pushes warm air out to keep your ears cool after prolonged use and avoid ear fatigue. They also come equipped with apt-X HD for high-quality Bluetooth streaming and 20 hours of battery life with 6 built-in microphones for hands free calls. If you are looking for an adaptive sound listening experience and love plenty of deep bass, the Nuraphones are definitely some of the best audiophile headphones to get.
The Nuraphone has two music settings using the generic and personalized modes and immersion modes. They have a really unique sound profile and can adapt to your ears to provide a really crisp and vibrant listening experience. Turning on the personalized mode really changes the way you perceive music through these headphones – the highs and midranges become increasingly sharp and clear, while the bass hits consistently hard without sounding too overwhelming. Vocal performances and instrumental notes have plenty of separation and detailed soundstage, while rock and pop music sounded almost lifelike and very detailed. The immersion mode that the Nuraphone has truly immerses you into the music and gives you a strong sense of spaciousness as though you are listening to music in a concert hall. You can also further personalize the sound quality through the mobile app according to your preferences which is a great thing. The generic mode sounds crisp and detailed but not as impressive as what the personalized and immersion modes can provide. For audiophiles, we would recommend the personalized mode setting for a tailored sonic experience.
That being said, we did find some instances where the Nuraphone sound optimization was not exactly to our liking – which makes this either a hit or miss. Either you completely love the sound profile on the Nuraphone or hate it, which can be quite an experience in itself. One thing for sure is that the Nuraphone does produce an ample amount of bass that cuts extremely deep, and is really a paradise for bass lovers who want great bass with very good sound quality.
The Nuraphone has a really sleek and unique design and is well-constructed. The headphone cans are made out of a matt-black water-resistant material that feels solid and durable. It also comes with a magnetic clasp to keep the headphones closed while not in use. You can feel straight out of the box that the Nuraphones are high quality and well-made. The headband has a sturdy metallic body with foam padding at the top for comfort. The ear cups are made from padded silicone which provides a good degree of comfort and durability. They have a unique in-ear portion that is surrounded by the over-ear cans that you need to fit directly into your ears – think of it as in-ear and over-ear headphones at the same time. That being said, we found that it is essential to wear these headphones in the right position or you might get ear fatigued after hours of use – it does take some tweaking and adjusting to get the headband in the right positon. The Nuraphone features touch-sensitive controls on the right ear cup and left ear cup – you can set these to correspond to different functions such as pause or playing music or increasing volume in the app. The app works pretty intuitively and also provides a battery indicator gauge which is convenient. The battery lfie on the Nuraphone lasts a good 20 hours of continuous music playtime on a single charge which is good.
The Verdict? The Nuraphone is a really unique audiophile that provides adaptive sound performanceand a personalized listening experience. These high-end headphones are engineered to learn your hearing profile using a built-in sensitive microphone and provide optimal listening sound performance. We were very impressed by how good these headphones sounded when using the personalized mode – the sound quality sounded fuller, richer and much more spacious with greater attention to detail. The bass impact that we got from the headphones is deep and impactful and really provides an immersive sonic listening experience. Bass-heavy music genres such as electronic dance music and rock and hip-hop sounded especially vibrant through these headphones and enjoyable to listen to. It also has a unique active cooling function that draws in cool air through the bottom of the cup to keep your ears comfortable and cool. It comes with a built-in battery that delivers 20 hours of continuous music playtime and 6 microphones for voice call support. Overall, the Nuraphone is one of the few best audiophile headphones for high-end listening that we definitely recommend if you want a uniquely personalized listening experience with deep bass.
#4 Best Stereo Sound: Beyerdynamic T1 Audiophile Headphones
The Pros. The Beyerdynamic T1s produce pristine and crystal clear stereo sound with detailed separation and relatively good soundstage. The highs and midranges sound silky smooth particular in the timbre ranges with the T1s. Vocal performances truly shine with the T1 headphones.
The Cons. The Beyerdynamic headphones have a more diffused bass as compared to the Sennheiser HD 800s. They also have less soundstage as compared to the HD 800s due to its closed-back design.
The Beyerdynamic T1s are some of the best audiophile headphones designed for high-end stereo quality sound with a good emphasis on the highs and midranges. As compared to the Sennheiser HD 800s, the T1s have much smoother highs but a more mellowed soundstage and wider bass dispersion. The Beyerdynamic T1s are high-impedance headphones with a rating of 600 ohms and highly efficient acoustic drivers that delivers transparent and crisp sound performance. The headphone itself is very comfortable to wear and comes with soft ear cushions with memory foam pads that ergonomically adjusts to your ears. The T1s produce deep bass with a great deal of depth and impact with accurate sound reproduction in the lower-midrange frequency ranges. They also come with double sided detachable cables, copper conductors, textile braided connection cables with 3.5mm jack plugs and a screw-on 6.35mm jack adapter. The T1s perform really well when properly amped and emphasize the clarity in audio performances with impressive stereo separation. Overall, these are some of the best audiophile headphones with really impressive sound performance for a set of closed-back headphones.
The sound performance of the Beyerdynamic T1s is unique as compared to the Sennheiser HD 800s. The T1s have very crisp highs and much smoother upper-midrange frequencies as compared to the HD 800s. It also has better defined lower-midrange frequencies with a more open, diffused bass response while emphasizing the highs and timbre ranges really well. In terms of highs and treble ranges, the T1s likely outshines the HD 800s. That being said, the T1s clearly lack the soundstage and depth that the HD 800 brings to the table with its open-back design. That is not to say that the T1s are lacking in sound performance; the HD 800s are simply better at reproducing soundstage and effects that make you feel as though you are sitting in a real life concert hall. The T1s have silky smooth highs with great attention to detail and really bring out of subtle notes in the music which you might not have noticed before. We also ran a few FLAC files through the T1s and you can really hear the clarity and level of stereo separation that these headphones have. The sound signature of the T1s is best described as smooth and rich as compared to the more defined quality of the HD 800s; it definitely has a much warmer and mellow sound as compared to the HD 800s.
The T1s have a really solid and durable construction that gives it a really premium look and feel. The headphones are relatively easy to drive with a good headphone amplifier and are more forgiving of the audio source as compared to the HD 800s. The headphones are very comfortable to wear and come with a high-grade protein coated leatherette headband and soft plush ear padding that ergonomically conforms to your ear size. All the component parts of the T1 headphone are made in Germany and you can really feel that a lot of effort went into producing these headphones – the frequency ranges are also harmonically tuned and you get a distinct sense of a much smoother and crisper sound signature from the T1s, particular in the high-end ranges. The headphones are very comfortable to wear and you can really leave them on your ears for hours on end without feeling fatigued as they do go over the ears. The headphones come with a double-sided detachable cable, copper conductors, textile braided connection cables with a 3.5mm jack plug and a screw-on 6.35mm jack adapter for easy connectivity. Do note that these headphones would require some burn in time before the sound starts to feel smooth and rounder.
The Verdict? The Beyerdynamic T1s are some of the best audiophile headphones you can find that delivers superb stereo sound quality and very crisp highs. The highs are bright and silk smooth with very refined timbre ranges. The T1s also have detailed midranges and deep bass which feels tight and impactful. We compared the T1s to the Sennheiser HD 800s and found that while the T1s have much warmer and detailed highs, it does lack in the open soundstage provided by the HD 800s. The bass on the T1s also feels deep and slightly more dispersed as compared to the HD 800s with a mellower and warmer sound signature. Vocal performances sounded almost equally good on both the HD 800s and the T1s, although the T1s definitely shines when it comes to emphasizing those timbre ranges. The T1s have an impedance of 600 ohms and are relatively easy to drive when connected to a good headphone amplifier – they are also less punishing towards to quality of the music audio files. Overall, the Beyerdynamic T1s are some of the best audiophile headphones that does provide really detailed sound quality and it ultimately boils down to whether you would prefer a more spacious sound performance or a warmer and crisper sound signature. The high-fidelity sound performance produced by the T1s is definitely something to be reckoned with.
#5 Best Natural Sound: Shure SRH1540 Audiophile Headphones
The Pros. The Shure SRH1540 are high-fidelity headphones that have very even and natural sound reproduction. The highs, midranges and bass are reproduced evenly without emphasizing one frequency range over another – they sound true to the audio source recording.
The Cons. While the SRH1540 produce really natural sound, they lack soundstage and detail separation as compared to the open-back HD 800s. They have even sound reproduction which does not make these headphones particularly exceptional for certain types of listeners or for bass lovers.
The Shure SRH1540 are audiophile headphones with natural sound performance and clear and even full-range sound reproduction from the highs, midranges to the bass. This means that you would be able to hear everything in your music clearly without the headphone emphasizing one frequency over the other, providing you with really detailed sound quality. The SRH1540 headphones are equipped with 40mm neodymium drivers with really crisp acoustic sound performance and an expansive soundstage. They have a closed-back circum-aural design that ergonomically conforms to the size of your ears for a comfortable listening experience and reduces noise leakage. The headphones have a lightweight construction with air-craft grade aluminium alloy and a carbon fiber cap for enhanced durability; it also has a steel driver frame with a vented center pole piece which eliminates resonance for consistency sound performance. Overall, the Shure SRH1540s are some of the best audiophile headphones that deliver great sensitivity and detailed sound performance and we highly recommend them.
The Shure SRH1540 headphones have a frequency range between 5 Hz to 25 kHz which is really wide. The headphone utilizes 40mm neodymium drivers that provide relatively good soundstage with clear extended highs and warm bass response. When we tested the SRH1540s, we found that these headphones are capable of reproducing the entire audio spectrum in an even and natural way without any artificial enhancements. This means that no frequency overrides another frequency and they have really well-balanced highs, mids and lows. The SRH1540s are capable of transitioning from deep punchy lows to crisp highs very smoothly. The highs and midranges sound detailed and crisp and the headphones also retain a solid bass response which does over muddy at all into the midranges. Vocal performances sound natural with dynamism and crystal clear timbre ranges. Instrumental and guitar performances sounded natural without being too warm – they sound exactly how they should be on the recording without any alteration. Compared with the Sennheisers and the Beyerdynamic headphones, the Shure SHR1540 has the most natural and evenly sounding signature across all frequency ranges. They also provide relatively good soundstage and detailed separation, although they do not sound as open and airy as the HD 800s.
The SRH1540s are a very comfortable set of headphones to wear. The ear pads are padded with micro-fabric which makes them feel softer and lighter on the ears. It also comes with a strap-like headband that feels more stretchable and conforming to your head shape – the headband is fully adjustable. The headphones look really sleek and modern when worn and have a premium feel to them with its aluminium alloy and carbon fiber construction. The SRH1540s have dual-exit cables with gold-plated MMCX connectors which provide a secure connection and detachability for easy storage. The headphone uses oxygen free copper cables with Kevlar reinforce jacket to prevent tangling and improve sound performance. It also comes with replaceable ear pads made with Alcantara and low density memory foam for comfort. We liked the fact that Shure also provided additional cables, replacement ear pads and a zipped storage case. The headphones also come with a user manual for easy reference. Do note that the SRH1540s have to be properly amped for the best sound performance and are relatively sensitive to the source audio files.
The Verdict? The SRH1540s are some of the best audiophile headphones that deliver natural and even sound reproduction. We were able to hear the highs, midranges and lows evenly with great clarity – it has a frequency range of 5 Hz to 25 kHz which is great. Where these high-end headphones shine is the ability to reproduce the audio spectrum evenly without emphasizing one frequency range over another – the highs sound crisp with good timbre ranges, and the bass hits hard and feels impactful without muddying into the midrange frequencies. The sound performance from the SRH1540 headphones is spacious with detailed separation, although they do not sound as open as open-back headphones such as the HD 800s. The SRH1540s use 40mm neodymium drivers that deliver really natural sound performance and can be driven easily by a headphone amplifier, with relatively good sensitivity to the audio source. They are capable of picking up details in the music which you might not have noticed before. It also comes with a full lightweight construction with aluminium and carbon fiber frame construction that makes it feel lightweight and very comfortable to wear. The headband is fully adjustable and conforms easily to the size of your head with a very flexible design. Overall, the SRH1540s are definitely some of the best audiophile headphones for those who value high-fidelity sound performance with great fidelity to the natural sound of the source audio.
#6 Best Sound Transparency: Master & Dynamic MH40B1 Audiophile Headphones
The Pros. Compared with the SRH1540 headphones, the Master and Dynamic MH40B1s have superb sound transparency and bring out every single detail in the audio recording with pristine accuracy – everything is laid bare for your ears while listening to the MH40B1 and it does not attempt to mask the sound quality. They are also some of the most comfortable audiophile headphones we have tested.
The Cons. The MH40B1s, while producing crisp full-range sound, lack some of the soundstage and spaciousness that can be heard with the Sennheiser HD 800s. That is not to say that they lack soundstage, but rather that the soundstage is not as good as other high-end audiophile headphones we have tested.
The Master and Dynamic MH40B1s are audiophile headphones that deliver high-fidelity sound performance with very good transparency and pristine clarity. The MH40 headphones come equipped with 45mm neodymium drivers that deliver natural and detailed love sound performance and can practically expose any flaws in the audio recording. The headphones are tuned to provide great sound across a wide range of music genres and should also be amped for best sound performance. These headphones look luxurious at every angle and are designed with quality materials including premium leather, stainless steel and aluminium for a classy appearance. It is also fitted with lambskin ear pads which rest softly on the ears and prevent ear fatigue after prolonged periods of wearing. The headphones itself is quite lightweight with a forged aluminium body and the cans are designed to be noise isolating to keep out background noises from entering. It also comes with an easily accessible mute button and interchangeable ear pads for convenience. Overall, the MH40s are some of the best audiophile headphones for those who enjoy listening to music as it is with an emphasis on texture and transparent clarity.
The sound performance of the MH40 audiophile headphones is exceptionally clear and detailed. We were particularly impressed by how well-balanced the sound from these headphones was – they can practically strip down the audio recording and allow you to listen to almost every single detail in the music which you might not have noticed before. The lows and lower-midrange frequencies are very well defined and do not muddy into the upper frequency bands. The bass response on the MH40 hits hard and has plenty of depth and does not sound overwhelming at all. The midranges are pristine and clear and do not sound abundantly bright or overemphasized. The highs and timbre ranges on the MH40s really shines and brings out the sparkle in the music with very crisp vocals. The timbre ranges sound very smooth without any harshness – cranking up these headphones to maximum volume did not produce any distortion as well. The sound signature of the MH40 headphones is slightly darker when compared to the SRH1540s and they have less soundstage as compared to the Sennheiser HD 800s, although they still provide really good soundstage and separation for a set of closed back headphones. The sound quality on the MH40 headphones is precise and never over exaggerated – everything sounds in place as it should be and balanced really well.
The Master & Dynamic MH40 headphones look really sleek and premium – you can tell that the manufacturers put in a lot of effort into making these headphones look really aesthetically pleasing. The MH40 headphones include dual port, mute buttons, removable ear-pads, dual audio ports together with an in-line microphone; it also folds flat for easy storage. The headphones are made from a combination of steel and aluminium parts with the steel going on pressure areas for durability. The headphones are admittedly heavier than most headphones but are actually comfortable to wear due to the soft lamb skin ear pads – these ear pads conform ergonomically to your ear size and allow you to listen to these headphones for hours on end without feeling fatigued. The headphones also do not exert much clamping force and do not feel too tight, which is great. From an aesthetic and comfort perspective, the MH40 headphones really scores high points in this area.
The Verdict? The Master and Dynamic MH40 audiophile headphones provide an impressive combination of sound clarity, comfort and aesthetics. While Master & Dynamic is certainly a new comer to the headphone game, they produce really quality products that deserve special mention. The MH40 looks and feels premium from the beginning, and are made of aluminium and steel for a comfortable fit. The soft lambskin ear pads are a vital factor to making these headphones so comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and provide relatively good noise isolation. Where the MH40 headphones shines is in its sound clarity and transparency – you would be able to pick up all the details in the audio recording and particularly for vocal and instrumental soundtracks. They excel at providing crisp highs and smooth timbre ranges. The sound signature of these headphones leans more towards the darker side. While the soundstage of the MH40 is pretty good, it is not as good as the Sennheiser HD 800s due to its closed-back design. That being said, we were very impressed with the immersive and rich sound quality from the MH40 headphones. We definitely recommend these audiophile headphones if you are looking for something new to try out and they deliver crystal clear high-fidelity sound quality.
#7 Walnut Audiophile Headphones: Fostex AMS-TH-610
The Pros: The Fostex TH-610 deliver high-fidelity sound performance with full-range sound and great attention to detail. The midranges on the TH-610 are particularly good and well-pronounced. The impedance on the TH610 is only 25 ohms which means that it can be used with smartphones.
The Cons. The leather cups are a little large and can make yours warm after prolonged use. The matte wood cups are scratchable and require extra caution while handling.
The Fostex TH610 are solid audiophile headphones that deliver really crisp sound quality with great sound extension and detailed midranges. These are some of the most aesthetically pleasing headphones we have tested and come with a full black walnut wood design that provides an exquisite feel – they are very nice headphones to hold and wear. The TH610 comes equipped with 50mm neodymium drivers and dual diaphragm for extended highs and natural sound reproduction. It comes with a 6.3mm gold-plated stereo standard plug which needs to be plugged into a headphone amplifier for best sound performance. The headphones are pretty comfortable to wear with plush and soft ear padding that feels good on the ears. The TH610 has a frequency response between 5 Hz to 45 kHz, a sensitivity of 98dB with an impedance of 25 ohms and a maximum input power of 1800mW. It also comes with a leather-like pouch for easy storage. Overall, the Fostex TH610s are audiophile headphones that really deserve a closer look especially if you prefer walnut-type headphones for its warmer and darker sound properties.
The sound performance of the Fostex TH610s is really impressive with a very smooth and refined sound signature. The acoustic drivers are capable of delivering high-fidelity sound that feels faithful to the audio recording and audio source. The highs are crystal clear with very smooth treble ranges – the timbre response on the TH610s was sublime without any harshness. Because the TH610s have such a wide frequency response from 5 Hz to 45 kHz, it delivers practically full-range sound quality that you can actually hear and feel the difference – you can even pick up details in the music which you might not have noticed before. The midranges on the TH610s are a true winner – they are clearly defined and do not cross over into the other frequency bands which gives the TH610s a pretty unique sound signature. The midranges pick up nuances and acoustic in the music which are brought forward in the audio recording. The bass response on the TH610s is naturally strong and hits really hard but never overwhelming. This means that you could use the TH610s to listen to bass-heavy music genres as well as vocal and instrumental music and get consistent high-fidelity sound performance regardless of genre. The TH610s also provide really good sound separation and great soundstage for a pair of closed-back headphones, presenting a good spatial image of the sound.
The Fostex TH610s are essentially closed-back headphones which provide really good sound isolation and better bass impact. Compared with the Sennheiser HD 800s, the TH610s lack the soundstage that the HD 800s provide but have better bass response and full-range sound performance. The walnut finish on the TH610s looks really exquisite and gives the headphones a premium vibe – they look great when worn on the head or while holding them. The headband is fully adjustable and is well-padded for comfort when resting over your head. The ear pads are also very soft and comfortable to wear, although they may cause your ears to feel slightly warm after prolonged periods of use. The TH610s come with detachable cords which are tangle free and easy to hook up to your amplifier or audio source. Construction-wise, the TH610s are very solid and durable headphones and look aesthetically stunning. The only downside to the TH610 walnut wood finish is that it can be easily scratched, so handle these headphones with care.
The Verdict? The Fostex TH610s are arguably among the best audiophile headphones if you are looking for a walnut-wood type headphone with its unique wood acoustic properties. These high-end headphones are very comfortable to wear and come with walnut cups which look and feel stunning. The sound signature on the TH610 is best described as fun and slightly darker – they produce very crisp highs, detailed midranges and the bass response has plenty of depth. Where these headphones shines is in the level of detail that you get with the midranges which surpasses most headphones we have tested. It also has some of the widest frequency ranges from 5 Hz to 45 kHz which delivers full-range sound quality. The build quality of the TH610 headphones is simply top-notch and feels very comfortable to wear without exerting too much clamping force, although the soft padding on the ear pads may cause your ears to feel warm after some time. We would also recommend burning in these headphones for up to 12 hours to optimize the sound quality and run these headphones through an amplifier to bring out the sound quality. Overall, the TH610s are definitely audiophile headphones that you would want to check out especially if you are looking for a wood-type headphone with crisp highs and detailed midranges.
#8 Fun Sound Signature: Bowers & Wilkins P7 Audiophile Headphones
The Pros. The Bowers & Wilkins P7 audiophile headphones have a fun sound signature and deliver that extra kick for bass-heavy genres such as electronic, trance and techno soundtracks, while maintaining crystal clear clarity for classical and instrumental music. Note that these are not your typical neutral sounding headphones.
The Cons. The headphones are slightly heavier and do not automatically disappear on your head – the ear pads can also cause your ears to feel warm after extended use. If you are looking for true high-fidelity sound, the P7 headphone sound signature may not be suited to your liking.
The Bowers & Wilkins P7 audiophile headphones are headphones designed for those who prefer a more fun sound signature with punchy beats and tight bass. These high-end headphones are capable of adding a nice kick to bass-heavy music genres such as dubstep, electronic dance music and techno while maintain the consistency and clarity with classical music or vocal performances. The P7 headphones are equipped with headphone drivers that perform more like a hi-fi speaker with a diaphragm for focused sound quality and good separation. The P7s come with a dual cavity cushion design that ergonomically fits around your head for a comfortable listening experience by putting a consistent volume of air in between the driver unit and your ears. They also feature a pretty durable construction with solid metal hinges on each side and are foldable for portability. The sound quality on the P7 headphones is optimized to sound livelier and more fun with a frequency range between 10 Hz to 20 kHz. If you are looking for an audiophile headphone that will deliver great sound for any music genre with a richer and fun sound signature, the P7 headphones are the way to go.
The P7 headphones perform really well for a set of closed-back headphones and produce a rather fun sound signature that sounds rich and forward. The highs on the P7 headphones sound crystal clear with great attention to detail – the timbre ranges are accurately reproduced and make vocal performances sound smooth without any harshness. The midrange performance of the P7 is what makes these headphones really shine – and you can literally start to pick up details in the music which you might not have noticed before. The midranges are rich with plenty of texture and depth, which really immerses you into a different environment while listening to the P7 headphones. At its peak, the P7 headphones do not distort or sound recessed at lower volume levels. The bass on the P7 headphones hits hard and has a good amount of depth and substance; it makes the beats of the music come to live and is a really nice addition to electronic and trance genres. On the whole, the P7 features a richer presentation as compared to other audiophile headphones on this list and certainly a more engaging and forward sound signature as compared to other traditional headphones that focus purely on audio fidelity. That is not to say that the P7 does not perform well with classic and vocal performances – it sounds more vibrant and illustrious than anticipated.
The P7 headphones have a sturdy and durable construction with a premium touch. The P7 is constructed out of high quality materials and you can even smell the leather on the headphones straight out of the box. The headphone is sturdy and does not exert too much clamping force on the head which makes them relatively comfortable to wear for a set of closed-back headphones – do note that you may need to wear these headphones for some time before they loosen up. It also comes with tangle-free cords that are slightly thicker and are of good quality. The P7 headphones are very comfortable to wear and we had no issues wearing them for 3-4 hours straight, although they may start to feel warm on the ears. The leather on the ear pads feel smooth and are gentle on the ears which help alleviate the strain over time – do note that the cans have a rectangular design which helps to put a consistent amount of air between the drivers and your ears in the cavity. Overall, the design and construction of the P7 headphones is top-notch and pretty comfortable for a set of closed-back headphones.
The Verdict? The Bowers & Wilkins P7 are audiophile headphones suited for those who enjoy and richer and more fun sound signature. The sound signature of the P7 headphones is uniquely playful, with rich and vibrant midranges, detailed highs and good bass response. These are not neutral sounding headphones but can deliver really punchy and enjoyable beats for bass-heavy music genres such as electronic and trance genres. Vocal performances are brought to the front and are more forward sounding with crisp highs and timbre ranges. The P7 headphones are equipped with Hi-Fi driver units and designed like a hi-fi speaker with detailed soundstage and some spatial imaging. The P7 headphones also have top-notch quality construction with solid metal hinges on each side above the ear cups. The ear pads are made from authentic sheep leather and feel very comfortable on the ears – it also has a good degree of noise isolation which helps to keep out background noises while listening to these headphones. Overall, the P7 headphones are really good audiophile headphone for those looking for a fun, forward and detailed sound signature and we highly recommend them.
#9 For Professional Musicians: Grado PS500e Audiophile Headphones
The Pros. The Grado PS500e audiophile headphones deliver pure Grado dynamics with warm colors, full-bodied vocals, rich highs, detailed midranges and a silky smooth top-end. They are the go to headphones for those looking for sound clarity and soundstage.
The Cons. The Grado PS500e are built for professional musicians who want to hear their music as it is, and may not be suited for bass-heavy music genres. This could be both a strength and weakness when deciding whether these headphones are the right ones for you.
Grado headphones are all about the crisp highs and midrange sound performance, and the Grado PS500e are not exception. The PS500e headphones are essentially audiophile headphones designed for professional musicians to clearly hear every single detail in the music, and are the younger brother to the PS1000e headphones. These high-fidelity headphones come with redesigned 4mm speaker drivers and a metal and wood hybrid air chamber for silky smooth highs and sound reproduction. It also comes with an improve 8” conductor cable design. The headphones have a hidden mahogany core and powder-coated aluminium housing parts which reduce sound resonances through the headphones for an undistorted music signal. The PS500e headphones have harmonic colors, full-bodied vocals and an ultra-smooth high end sound reproduction with its signature Grado sound performance. They work best as professional monitor headphones for musicians, although their sound signature is really sweet to listen to for music lovers alike. If you are looking for a solid audiophile headphone that can really deliver on signature Grado sound quality, the PS500e headphones are the ones to get.
The Grado PS500e headphones give the listener an almost sonically perfect listening experience with an incredible level of detail that we have not experienced before. The headphones add a certain dynamic and dimensionality to the overall listening experience – you feel as though you are sitting in a real life concert hall while listening to these headphones, with musical instruments played in front of you. You also get a clear picture of where the vocals are coming from which is really good. The PS500e headphones are capable of providing an expansive listening experience at all angles, front and back which is really impressive. As with most Grado headphones, the PS500e headphones really shine when it comes to guitar and voice performances – you can literally hear every single detail in the soundtrack and these headphones will expose any flaws in the audio recording easily. The highs and the midranges on the PS500e are solid and well-defined, and they also add a mid-EQ punch to the bass that actually makes up for the bass response at the low-end frequency ranges. In short, the Grado PS500e headphones reproduce the tonality, timbre, life and vibrancy of all the instruments and the musicians behind the instruments – you can clearly hear the guitar strings vibrating, the stroke of every piano key and the afterglow of cymbals. Listening to the Grado PS500e is akin to re-listening to your entire audio album through more sophisticated lenses.
The Grado PS500e headphones are neither large nor fragile. They are sturdy headphones that are compact enough to be transported around, and durable enough to withstand prolonged use. Surprisingly, the Grado PS500e headphones have relatively low impedance and can be driven without the need for a headphone amplifier, which may be a good thing depending on your setup. The headphones come with soft and plush ear padding that feels comfortable on the ears for long periods of listening; the headband is smooth and feels nice and comfy when worn. These headphones come with a metal and wood hybrid air chamber which makes them sound really crisp – it also features an 8” conductor cable design. The aluminium parts on the PS500e headphones look really sleek and nice to touch, which adds to the overall premium feel of these headphones. It also comes with a 44mm acoustic driver that delivers really crisp audio sound performance. While the PS500e headphones are designed primarily for musicians for professional monitoring, they are definitely audiophile headphones for music lovers alike who want to listen to high-fidelity sound performance and the intricate details in the sound. They are high-end headphones that should not be overlooked.
The Verdict? For a long time, the Grado PS500e audiophile headphones have been used by professional musicians for monitoring – and they have consistently exceeded expectations. The headphones have spatial and dynamic imaging that instantly projects you into the core of the music – listening to the PS500e sounds as though we were sitting in a real life concert hall. Every single detail in the music, especially the highs and the mids, are brought forward for you to closely appreciate every single instrumental note that comes through. The soundstage and separation from the PS500e is simply incredibly for a pair of closed-back headphones. It also comes with a hidden mahogany core and powder-coated aluminium housing parts which help to reduce sound resonance for distortion-free sound performance. They are a set of headphones capable of producing rich harmonic colors, excellent vocals and ultra-smooth highs and timbre ranges. They are audiophile headphones suited for those who want to appreciate the finer details in classical and instrumental music and we highly recommend them.
#10 Best Frequency Range: Denon AH-D7200 Audiophile Headphones
The Pros. The Denon AH-D7200s are some of the best audiophile headphones that deliver incredible full-range sound with a frequency range of 5 Hz to 55 Hz. It has a level of pristine tonal balance and sound clarity rare heard in headphones. The walnut wood finish is a nice added touch.
The Cons. The Denon AH-D7200 are costly headphones. The leather on the ear pads is synthetic, while the headband is finished in real sheepskin leather.
The Denon AH-D7200s are some of the best audiophile headphones that deliver an incredibly frequency response between 5 Hz to 55 kHz. These are some of the most tonally well-balanced headphones we have tested and they deliver a really rich and crystal clear sound quality. The headphone comes equipped with a 50mm driver with a relatively low impedance of 25 ohms and a sensitivity of 105 dB/mW. These high-end headphones feature unique Japanese Free-Edge acoustic drivers which deliver a precise pistonic motion for ultra-smooth and accurate sound performance without any distortion. The drivers are mounted on vibration reducing engineering which reduces sonic resonances and is fitted into real walnut wood housings designed to deliver depth and warmth to the sound signature. The headphone uses a detachable 7N purity cooper cable to deliver sublime sound quality. The AH-D7200 headphones are also very comfortable to wear and come equipped with memory-foam ear cushions with soft leather padding to reduce ear fatigue. Overall, the AH-D7200s are some of the best audiophile headphones available for reference high-fidelity sound quality and we highly recommend them.
The sound performance of the AH-D7200 is nothing short of sublime, with extremely pristine highs, detailed midranges and good level of low-end bass. The AH-D7200 uses 50mm Free-Edge drivers made from a nano-fiber material for its rigidity and low mass – it delivers essentially distortion free sound and is mounted to a soft surround making it easier to respond to the sound signal and deliver music in its purest form. We were pretty much blown away by what the AH-D7200 headphones had to offer when we tested these headphones – we experienced stunning vocals, deep bass and sub-bass notes with plenty of depth and treble ranges. These headphones have the ability to literally reproduce the entire sound spectrum with a range of 5 Hz to 55 kHz, with some ranges practically inaudible to the human hear – although they can be felt and appreciated. The balanced mode on the AH-D7200 brings very good depth the music performance and adds a layer of sparkle to guitar and vocal performances. The highs, midranges and bass are perfectly balanced and there is no harshness or sibilance in the timbre ranges – the bass response is articulate and does not muddy into the midrange frequencies. In short, you get very refined and deep sound with the AH-D7200 with a good degree of soundstage and separation.
The AH-D7200 headphones have a really sleek and modern looking design – the walnut wood exterior adds to the premium feel of these headphones and elevates the sound signature to something unique. These headphones come with plush soft leatherette ear pads which rests comfortably over the ears are feel really comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. While these headphones are not exactly lightweight, the headband does a really good job of alleviating pressure and helps to keep the headphone secure on the head without exerting too much clamping force. The ear cups on the AH-D7200 are suspended on a headband with ergonomically curved die-cast aluminium hangers for a comfortable fit. The ear cups are made of natural walnut wood are a self-damping and rigid, which eliminates unwanted sonic vibrations through the headphone to replicate concert-like music in the headphone cavity. The headphone comes with 3.0m cable with a 6.3mm plug. For best sound performance, we would recommend using a dedicated headphone amplifier with these headphones to enhance the overall sound performance.
The Verdict? The Denon AH-D7200 are some of the best audiophile headphones with full-range sound performance and a frequency range of 5 Hz to 55 kHz. The tonal balance and level of depth that we got with the AH-D7200 headphones is really on another level – music performances sounded as though we were sitting in a real life concert hall, and the level of depth and clarity that the highs and midranges produced was equally stunning. The headphones have a really sleek and modern looking design and are designed from natural walnut wood which adds a layer of complexity to the overall sound signature, but not too much. It comes equipped with 50mm Japanese-designed Free-Edge acoustic drivers that are rigid and deliver high-fidelity sound performance without any distortion. It also uses a detachable 7N purity copper cable for consistent high quality audio transmission. Overall, these are some of the best audiophile headphones that we have tested and highly recommend them if you want a headphone that can cover practically the entire sound spectrum with excellent tonal-balance.