The greatest over-ear headphones enhance every sound and block out the outside world (until you want to invite it back in). The headphones here will deliver them at their very best, whether you’re a music nut, prefer podcasts, or enjoy getting lost in audiobooks, thanks to their huge, strong speakers and remarkably expansive and detailed soundstages.
Long periods can be spent using them comfortably. Many versions have extra features like active noise cancellation and built-in voice assistants for worry-free travel and simple operation.
Why use over-the-ear headphones? Because even though earbuds are excellent, you can’t defy physics: a decent set of over-ear headphones are the only ones that can move air, as well as a good pair of earbuds. You’re missing out on some of the purest musical bliss if you have high-resolution audio files but don’t have the greatest headphones.
Over-ear headphones can be healthier for your hearing health than in-ear headphones. Over-ear headphones are also less likely to damage your hearing than in-ear models. They are a little distant from your delicate eardrums because they rest on (as opposed to in) your ears, and because their cushioning passively cancels out a lot of background noise, you can listen comfortably without turning up the volume as much. That is especially true if the headphones offer active noise cancellation, which blocks out the kind of outside noise that tends to rob music of its sonic quality while you listen while moving.
How to pick the ideal over-ear headphones
There’s no denying that some of the greatest headphones can be pricey, but we’ve made sure to include both the budget-friendly options and those for which money is no object. However, in reality, this is unavoidable due to the premium materials, extremely high-quality components, precise engineering, and extensive research and development that go into them. Much like a cheap guitar doesn’t feel or sound as good as a quality one, you can’t make high-performance headphones that cost the same as more subpar models.
That is not to argue that cheaper headphones are inferior. They are not because there is fierce competition in this industry, and our guide to the best inexpensive headphones can help you locate reasonably priced high-quality headphones. However, there is a distinction between decent and exceptional, and the latter alternative is more expensive to design, produce, and purchase. Which one will you pick? Read on while keeping your budget in mind.
Turtle Beach Elite 800 Wireless
To help you acquire the greatest possible sound quality, convenience, and comfort regardless of your budget, we’ll show you the best options for every genre of music and in every price range in this guide. Our guide will cover all the bases, including noise-canceling headphones, wired models, and wireless headphones for listeners who prefer the ease of cable-free listening.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, for starters
After careful consideration, we predicted that the 2019 Sennheiser Momentum third-generation Wireless headphones (mentioned below) would eventually occupy the top spot in this buying guide, and they have. If Sony isn’t concerned, it should be since the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are the brand’s newest wireless over-ear headphones, due in August 2022.
These headphones have a remarkable 60-hour battery life, a charming app, a wealth of features, simple on-ear controls, expert adaptive noise suppression, and a dynamic sound that will have you nodding your head gleefully wherever you go. Yes, they have a somewhat simple appearance, but the proof is in the listening, and these headphones sound incredibly amazing for the price.
Sennheiser has crammed the Momentum 4 Wireless with features, including Sidetone to help callers hear your voice during conversations and “Sound Zones,” EQ and ANC presets that can be programmed to activate magically when you’re, well, in the zone. But make no mistake, the sound is still the headline-grabber. What a sound it makes, too! Consider words like vast, thorough, neutral, and crisp. It never gets too heated, crowded, or muddled through the bass.
There is a new set of cans in town, and honestly, they are just a tiny bit better overall than the Sony XM5…
The Sony WH-1000XM4 were the best all-around headphones we had heard since its predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM3, until a few weeks ago when Sony released the WH-1000XM5.
They not only have superb audio quality and noise cancellation, but they also manage to perform all of this wirelessly. The sound quality of some of the other over-ear headphones on our list may be better, but the WH-1000XM4 strikes the best balance between features and performance.
The XM4s from Sony have several new capabilities, including multipoint connection, DSEE Extreme upscaling, conversational awareness, and auto-play/pause utilizing a built-in sensor, even though they don’t appear all that different from the headphones that came before them.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 over-ear wireless headphones continue to be a fantastic all-around option for music lovers on the go because they provide all of this without charging significantly more than the competitors.
Beyerdynamic Pro DT 1990
Beyerdynamic has a reputation for producing some of the best-sounding audio equipment on the market, even if it may not be as well known as its German sibling, Sennheiser. Many praised their DT770, DT880, and DT990 over-ear headphones for their exceptional construction and sound quality.
Even better is the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro. It’s an open-back variation of the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro, a headphone selected as our Editor’s Choice for its imaging, style, and affordability. Since both headphones cost the same ($599 / £589 / AU$1,159), there is no advantage to choosing one over the other. The sound of the two models distinguishes them from one another.
These DT 1990 Pro open-back headphones are made for rigorous analytical listening at home or in the studio. In our testing, we discovered that although the open-back design allows some outside noise to enter (and some audio leakage, making these headphones unsuitable for crowded commuting), it also creates an incredible sensation of space. Even the most careless listener can place each instrument precisely where it is playing, thanks to the expansive soundstage.
The greatest over-ear headphones, in our opinion, are the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro. However, we recommend the closed-back, more sociable DT 1770 Pro for listening while on the go.
Even though they are more expensive than earlier models in the lineup, these recently announced Sony over-ear ANC headphones displace their forerunners as some of the greatest headphones money can now buy.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are extremely comfortable, and the user-friendly features are impossible to ignore, whether it’s reliably detecting when the headphones have been removed from your head and pausing your music, recognizing you’re having a conversation and turning down the volume or switching off the noise canceling features when you’re out on a busy road. Whether you like the new lighter design—which can no longer be folded up—or not. ComparedCompared to earlier iterations, these intelligent features feel quicker and more responsive, yet the noise cancellation and sound quality level level are still unmatched. We enjoy using these headphones, and we believe they represent the greatest wireless purchase for the vast majority of consumers.
Sennheiser HD 800,
If these headphones hadn’t cost far over $1,000/£1,000/AU$3,000, they might have easily been at the top of our list. The Sennheiser HD 800 are unquestionably some of the world’s best-sounding over-ear headphones, and audiophiles worldwide have complimented them warmly.
It was a true pleasure to test these headphones. Combined with hardware of the appropriate caliber, they produce superb and perfectly balanced audio. The sound is highly detailed, comfortable to wear over extended listening sessions, and so good that they may even outperform the best hi-fi speakers.
Unfortunately, they are also prohibitively expensive and call for higher-end audio gear than the typical customer is willing to invest in. These are the headphones to buy, though, if you have the setup to support them and the financial means.