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If you are an audiophile, you won’t want to compromise on the quality and construction of the headphones at any cost. As an audiophile, you know how much minutest of the details matter a lot, which a layman often tends to look away. Luckily, headphones are available that are specially designed for audiophiles keeping in view their needs and passion. In this article, we have come up with three of the best audiophile headphones available in the market today. You don’t have to waste your time and effort in searching markets.
To find out the best and the right audiophile headphones for yourself, continue reading this article till the end.
Besides the quality and construction of the headphones, there are many other aspects to look for when choosing the best audiophile headphones. We have enlisted all of those aspects and factors in the guide given below. Those aspects, if not MUST, then at least SHOULD be present in the headphones you will choose for yourself. Some factors affect the quality of the sound, and some do not. However, the other factors enhance your reliability and convenience while using the headphones.
Note: We have also covered the best headphones for conference calls. If interested, simply click on this link, and you will automatically be taken to that article.
First, we are going to enlist our three personally favorite audiophile headphones available in the market today. We have chosen them after meticulous examination and analysis. All of the three headphones and their features, pros, and cons are mentioned below. At the bottom of the headphones’ list, you will find the guideline containing all those factors and aspects you need to look for while choosing the best audiophile headphones.
Let’s get started.
Quick Search & Comparison Of Best Headphones For Audiophiles
Sony WH-1000XM4- Editor’s Choice
This is the very first headphones on our list.
Sony WH-1000XM4 is the upgraded version of its predecessor, WH-1000XM3. WH1000XM3 was the top-leading noise-canceling headphones when they were released. However, there were some disappointing areas in them which needed improvement. If you were happy with the Sony WH1000XM3, you would be a lot more pleased with the WH-1000XM4.
Prominent improvements have been made in this version, WH-1000XM4. It is also one of the top-leading noise-canceling headphones.
Let’s have a detailed look at all the improvements that have been made in this model. This section contains all of these headphones’ features and the reason we have chosen this model for you.
Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones feature a sensor in the left earcup that automatically detects whether you have the headphones on or off. It automatically pauses the audio or video when you take them off. Likewise, it automatically resumes your content when you have them on. Amazing, isn’t it? It is, surely, a convenient and useful improvement made in this version, which is, unfortunately, not present in its preceding model. More above, this Feature tends to save battery life. The headphones don’t unnecessarily consume the battery when you are not using it.
Another amazing feature of the Sony WH-1000XM4 is the multipoint Bluetooth. This feature allows you to connect your headphones with two of your compatible devices at once. For example, if you are listening to music on your mobile phone, the headphones will detect it. If you switch over to your computer instantly to play some video, the headphones will switch over with you to your computer. And, the best part is, you don’t even have to open Bluetooth settings in between. The headphones automatically detect which device you are using and get themselves connected.
Sony Headphones Connect App
The above stated are the in-built features of these headphones. But, if you want to enjoy other outstanding features, such as speak to chat, you will have to download the Sony headphones Connect App. There’s another exciting feature that you can enjoy with this app. Whenever you speak in between your music or video, the headphones will detect it. And will automatically pause the content for you.
Note: However, it may not work that smoothly. It can also pause the music or video even if you laugh, chuckle at a joke, or make any slight noise. If you don’t find it useful, you can easily turn it off.
Without downloading the app, you won’t be able to customize your headphones. You necessarily have to customize the second button to either Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa or to on/off the noise canceling.
Next, the ambient mode! If you want to activate this mode, simply cup your hand over the headphones’ right earcup. This Feature proves quite helpful when you are commuting. It tends to decrease the volume of your music and uses the built-in microphone for each and every voice around you. You can easily and clearly listen to important announcements. And you can also listen to others’ conversations without giving a clue that you are listening to them. Smart! ?
Although Sony claims that this headphones’ battery lasts for about 30 hours of constant playing, it is not ALWAYS the case. If you play music constantly and keep the active noise canceling mode on non-stop, the battery will hardly last up to 19 hours. Well, honestly, 19 hours isn’t that bad. However, if you are running late and have to catch a bus or train, just take out 10 minutes for the headphones’ quick charge, and you will get 5 hours of playtime. Now, that’s powerful.
Note: The headphones charge via USB-C cable. (included with the headphones)
WH-1000MX4 supports Bluetooth 5.0, SBC, AAC, and Sony’s own LDAC codecs. Suppose you do not have a Bluetooth connection at all. In that case, you can conveniently connect via a 3.5mm cable included with the headphones.
You will be happy to know that MX4 also supports the new surround sound format – 360 reality audio.
Everything comes down to one thing, sound quality! No lies there.
If you compare these headphones, WH-1000MX4, with its predecessor, WH-1000MX3, these headphones feature a more detailed and refined sound quality. Sony uses Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) technology to add back the details that are missing in the compressed streaming audios. The XM4 manages the highs very well. The bass is improved and a relatively wide soundstage. These headphones are also ideal for long listening sessions. Their sound quality is dynamic yet warm enough to prevent your ears from tiring during long listening sessions.
Precise Voice Pickup Technology
Unlike MX3, MX4 features precise voice pickup technology, which uses five microphones to pick up voice clearly and precisely.
As already mentioned, MX4 is one of the top-leading noise-canceling headphones available in the market today. MX4 features thick ear cups, unlike MX3, to provide better noise isolation even if the noise-canceling mode is off.
This is all about its features.
Let’s examine what improvements in the design have been made.
Sony WH-1000XM4 measures 7.27 x 3.03 x 9.94 inches and weighs 0.56 lbs, which is a gram less than its predecessor, XM3.
The earpads are big, with wide ovals inside to fit perfectly over your ears. The headband is thin with less padding. This design is made to ensure maximum comfort and reliability while you wear these headphones. Although Sony has aimed to decrease the pressure on your ears and head by producing such a design. You will still somehow feel a bit pressure when wearing it for long listening sessions.
The ear cups have slightly improved in the term of thickness compared to the previous model. That is, because, to provide better noise isolation regardless of the fact that noise canceling is on or off.
The ear cups are touch-sensitive.
You can choose from two decent color options available: Black and Silver.
This is all you need to know about its design.
The headphones don’t come alone. There are some other accessories included with it.
The accessories included with these headphones are a 3.5mm audio cable (for wired connection), a case, airplane adapter, and USB-A – USB-C charging cable.
Although Sony has defined XM4 to perfection, there are some hidden defects in it. There’s nothing to be sad about as nothing in this world is made perfect. There aren’t any significant issues, just some minor defects in its operation and design. You can cheer up now! ?
Auto-pause Feature is a Hassle
The first thing that will disappoint you is – the auto-pause Feature fails to function around 70-75% of the time.
Lack of AptX support
Secondly, it doesn’t support Qualcomm’s AptX codec. You will be surprised to know that MX3 does support this codec while MX4 fails to support it. However, this isn’t such a big exclusion streaming using AptX codec sounds better than AAC.
Lastly, the double-tap to pause Feature will disappoint you as it doesn’t work most of the time.
Let’s quickly review its pros and cons.
Despite some minor defects in its design and operation, Sony WH-1000MX4 is one of the top-leading noise-canceling headphones available in the market. Not only it efficiently isolates the external noise. It also provides punchy bass and incredible sound quality, including well-balanced highs. The DSEE technology works to add the missing details in the compressed streaming audios. Besides, there are many other unique features equipped in MX4. The bottom line, MX4 on the whole, including its features and design, is irresistible and is an excellent choice for audiophiles.
This is the second in our best headphones for audiophiles’ list.
Beyerdynamic T90 Chrome headphones are made in Germany like every other Beyerdynamic premium headphones. It has an open-ear design that provides spatial sound and doesn’t separate you from your environment.
Let’s examine all of its features and functions in detail.
Beyerdynamic T90 Chrome headphones offer incredible sound quality. The bass is spot on. No matter whatever audio you throw at it, it will provide the perfect bass in all terms. It has a wide soundstage to differentiate between the instruments and the vocals quickly and clearly. The mids, treble, and highs are well-balanced. Neither of them is too high or too low, just right at the spot—just the way they need to be. Even turning up the volume to maximum won’t cause any distortion in the sound. On the whole, T90 produces rich, clear, smooth, and detailed sound quality.
Not to forget, it is an open-ear headphone. It tends to produce more realistic and natural sound output regardless of the genre you are listening to. A slight level of warmth in the sound can also be clearly heard.
If you don’t know about Tesla, don’t worry a bit. We will define what it really is. Tesla is a company that enhances the quality and performance of headphones by using giant neodymium magnets. Such magnets also prevent distortion even at the highest possible volumes. Tesla technology is used in T90 chrome to maximize audio performance and quality.
T90 features 3 meters, undetachable, one-sided cable for wired connection.
Well, this is all. These headphones don’t have much going on. But even with limited and simple features and functions, it is a beast in itself.
Let’s examine its unique and impressive design now.
Beyerdynamic T90 Chrome features 11.22 x 8.46 x 5.91 inches and weighs 1.08 lbs only.
To fit in huge magnets and drivers, the earcups are hefty in design. The earcups are soft made from velvet microfiber. The headband is soft and adjustable. The body of the headphones is made from a combination of robust metal and good plastic. By holding the headphones in hand, you can tell these are exceptionally powerful and heavy-duty. These headphones are efficiently designed to ensure maximum durability.
Despite the fact that there are such giant magnets fitted inside these headphones, it is super comfy to wear. The velvet microfiber prevents sweating when using the headphones for long listening sessions.
You can choose from two decent color options available; Silver and Black/Chrome.
Accessories included with the headphones are a ¼’’ adapter and a hard rugged case to protect your headphones from wear and tear.
Let’s examine the downsides of T90 headphones.
First of all, the CABLE. It’s undetachable. You are left with no other option to choose any different cable. You can never detach the original cable, or you will lose the headphones forever. This sucks. 3 meters cable is either too long when used with PCs and mobiles or too short when using the headphones on a couch. You don’t have any other option to think about.
Poor Noise Isolation & Sound Leakage
Secondly, it is an open-ear headphone that means the sound will leak out, and you will also get interrupted by others’ voices around you. These headphones are specifically designed for indoor use. However, if you find no problem in others’ sound coming in and your sound getting leaked, there isn’t much of a problem. In other words, T90 has low or no noise cancellation at all.
Besides these, there isn’t anything wrong with these cans.
Let’s sum up the T90 quickly with its pros and cons.
Despite all the downsides, Beyerdynamic T90 Chrome is a beast in itself. It features incomparable sound quality that leaves many of the headphones, in its competition, behind. Although it features a bit of heavy design yet, it is super comfortable to wear for long hours. The material used in its construction prevents sweating during long listening sessions. If you don’t have much problem with the sound leaking out and others’ voices getting in, these headphones are definitely for you.
Sennheiser HD 800S
This is the third and the final product on our list.
Sennheiser HD 800S headphones are the successor of HD 800. A lot of incremental improvements have been made in 800S that 800 lacked.
Let’s examine how much Sennheiser’s sound quality and performance has improved by introducing HD 800S.
In this section, we will discuss the sound quality, cable, and other essential features of HD 800S. This section is, usually, enough to answer why we have chosen this model for you.
Sennheiser HD 800S provides a well-balanced midrange. The lead instruments and vocals can be clearly differentiated. Low and mid-treble are also very well-balanced and great. You can clearly and easily distinguish between vocals, instruments, and cymbals. Soundstage, as well as imaging, is quite excellent. The bass is tight and punchy. There is tonal clarity, and the instruments sounding is impressive and convincing. As it is an open-ear headphone, the realistic and natural factor in sound output is prominent.
The original HD 800 tended to produce a frequency response of 6 Hz to 51 kHz. Whereas the new model 800S tends to provide a slightly broader frequency response of 4 Hz to 51 kHz. Although, this might seem a very little change. But once you start listening, you will realize how much difference does it actually makes.
Innovative Absorbing Technology
The innovative absorbing technology allows each and every variation in the music to be heard and noted clearly. It also cut down unwanted frequency response.
The 56mm ring radiator transducers provide a sense of space and air by firing the sound at the slight angle of the ears. Not to forget, these are the largest drivers to be ever used in any dynamic headphones.
Two cables are included with the headphones; one is ¼’’ single-ended cable, whereas the other is 4.4mm balanced Pentacon cable.
This is all about its features.
It’s time to review its unique design.
Sennheiser HD 800S measures 10.70 x 5.70 x 13.80 inches and measures 0.73 lbs only.
These headphones are exceptionally comfortable to wear for long hours. They are lightweight, and The ear cups are smooth and tight. Overall, these are very comfortable, soft, and lightweight headphones to wear for exceptionally long hours.
You will be surprised to know that HD 800S is made of plastic mostly. But the plastic isn’t any ordinary cheap plastic. High-quality plastic is used to provide decent, elegant, sturdy, and robust design. Metal and microfiber cloth is also used in the construction of HD 800S.
The earcups feature a very unique design. These are designed in a way to direct soundwaves at the slight angle of the ear, instead of directly into the ears, creating a spatial, realistic, and natural sound experience.
The accessories included with HD 800S are two cables; one is 3 meters long with a ¼’’ adapter. The other is also 3 meters long but is a balanced cable with a 4.4mm Pentacon plug. A USB manual is also included, along with a storage box.
It’s time to see in what areas do these cans disappoint us.
Poor Noise Isolation & Sound Leakage
First of all, OPEN-EAR DESIGN. The headphones have poor noise isolation and leak a lot of sound out like every other open-ear headphones. It is specifically designed for indoor use.
Requires a powerful source & amp
Secondly, to get maximum productivity out of these cans, you need a power source and amplification.
Besides these, the headphones are perfect in sound quality and comfort.
Let’s quickly review its pros and cons.
On the whole, Sennheiser HD 800S is a significant improvement. It is capable of delivering incredible sound output as compared to its predecessor. It has a unique and elegant design. Although made with plastic, the headphones don’t feel cheap at all. Though it does have poor noise isolation, yet it has a natural and realistic factor in the sound output. It is an excellent choice for audiophiles as it allows each detail and variation in the sound to be audible.
How to Choose the Best Headphones for Audiophiles?
As promised, in this section, we are going to enlist all of those factors and aspects that make headphones appropriate for an audiophile. These factors, we ensure, are going to prove very helpful in making the right decision.
Below are some of the quick tips for you on choosing the best headphones for audiophiles.
Quality has to be the foremost important aspect when it comes to audiophiles.
As an audiophile, we know you won’t want to compromise on the headphones’ sound quality at all. Neither do we suggest you settle on less quality ever. Everything comes down to the sound’s quality. If the headphones fail to provide incredible sound quality, trust us, it is nothing but a waste of money.
Whichever headphones you choose, make sure that it should be capable of delivering excellent sound quality with all the notes (highs, mids, and lows) equally balanced. The bass should be punchy and overwhelming. As an audiophile, each and every detail counts. We advise you to choose headphones that offer the best possible sound quality.
Note: Most of the headphones deliver good sound quality with incredible bass for short periods. When used for long listening sessions, they often tend to tire or cause fatigue to the ears. Beware of such headphones and make your decision quite wisely and carefully.
Comfort has to be the second most important factor to account for when choosing the best headphones for audiophiles.
Now, here, it all depends on the nature of the work you are using the headphones for. Is it for long listening sessions? Or do you just need for home use? Well, don’t worry at all. We are going to suggest headphones for both of the scenarios.
If you need headphones for home, traveling, or short periods, any headphones made of good quality can be used.
But if your nature of work includes long listening sessions, you need headphones with a bit tight headband for firm gripping. Moreover, the earcups should be soft and adjustable. Likewise, the headband should also be soft on the outside. In this way, you feel as if you aren’t wearing anything at all. Light like a feather!
Note: Never tend to ignore comfort. Some headphones are poorly constructed and exert irritating pressure on your head as well as the ears. Some might be too tight or loose to fit on your head. Careful analysis and examination of the headphones’ design are required in this regard.
Over-ear & In-ear Headphones
As the name suggests, over-ear headphones are designed to put over the ears, whereas the in-ears are intended to put inside the ear. The simplest examples of in-ear headphones are hands-free and earbuds. As an audiophile, we suggest you choose over-ear headphones. Over-ear headphones provide better sound quality, rich bass, and well-balanced notes. Over-ear headphones tend to provide cinematic sound effects.
Note: However, in some of the cases, earbuds provide better sound quality and output as compared to over-ear headphones. It all depends on the type of content you are intending to listen to and for how long. Besides these, there are also many other factors.
The bottom line is, on the whole, over-ear headphones are preferable over in-ear headphones.
Open-ear & Close-ear Headphones
Open-ear headphones allow the air to pass through the earbuds. These headphones let the external noises inside the earbuds and leak the audio (you are listening to). Frankly, open-ear headphones aren’t reliable. Suppose you are traveling or even at home. In that case, you don’t want anyone else to listen to what you are hearing or want other’s voices to interfere with your content. What else are you using the headphones for? It’s quite apparent. Open-ear headphones do have their pros too. They tend to produce realistic and natural sound output.
Close-ear headphones don’t allow the air to pass through the chamber, hence, blocking all of the external noises to get inside the earcups and prevents the sound from leaking inside the headphones. In this way, neither you get interrupted by others’ voices, nor anyone else around you get disturbed due to your activity.
Between these two categories lies semi-open headphones. These headphones allow some but not all of the air to pass through the earcups. It has better noise isolation than the open-ear headphones.
We prefer you to choose either closed-ear headphones or semi-open headphones if you work in a noisy environment. But if there’s no noise or no one around you, you can select open-ear headphones for natural sound.
Note: Modern-day headphones feature noise cancellation. You can turn it on and off, depending upon the situation.
Modern-day headphones are wireless and connect via Bluetooth connection. Such headphones are reliable and tend to have a more stable connection than the wired ones. Bluetooth connection option offers a wide range of connections; you can connect your headphones with any device of your choice that has an active Bluetooth connection. Whereas the wired headphones tend to provide limited connection, only to those devices that support the cable.
Although such accessories don’t make any difference in the headphones’ sound quality, they increase your convenience. To protect your headphones from wear and tear, there should be storage or protective case. Or to carry them around, you should place them in some case.
Note: These are little things but add significantly to your convenience and increase the headphones’ durability.
We understand, as an audiophile, what standard of quality of headphones you opt for. We know how much the minutest of the details matter to you. To match your standards, we have brought three of the best headphones ideal for audiophiles like you. These headphones are not only impressive in their sound quality but also have a lot of other unique features and design. These headphones, besides sound quality, never compromise on your comfort and reliability.
All of the three headphones that we have chosen for you are listed above in this article, with their features, design, pros, and cons. To make the task of deciding the best headphones easier for you, we have also presented a simple buyer’s guide containing all those factors that headphones for audiophile MUST or SHOULD have.
We hope that this article will prove quite helpful for you in picking out the right headphones that best serves your needs and preferences. If there’s something you want to add or have questions, comment down below.