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The 7 Best Bass Headphones - Fall 2018
Reviews

279 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

If you like bass-heavy genres like hip-hop, dubstep or EDM, picking headphones with great bass performance can make a big difference in your listening experience. Having the right amount of thump and punch can really get you going and make you feel pumped up. However, it’s important that the bass isn’t too much and that you don’t lose detail in the rest of the mix.

We’ve tested 278 headphones and below you’ll find our best 5 picks for bass headphones to buy in 2018 that won’t sacrifice too much detail for a bass-heavy sound. It should be noted that these picks are not the ones which got the highest scores in the bass category box, but rather the ones who have great and enjoyable bass performance, even if it is overemphasized over our target curve.

  1. Best Bass Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM3

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.3
    Mixed Usage
    What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.2
    Critical Listening
    What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.8
    Commute/Travel
    What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    7.2
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.7
    Office
    What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.8
    TV
    Score components:
    5.4
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best headphones for bass we’ve tested so far are the Sony WH-1000MX3. They are wireless bass-heavy headphones that are great for daily commuting thanks to their amazing isolation. They are one of the best noise canceling headphones on the market and they reduce a great amount of ambient noise. They have a more premium look and feel than the previous models. They also have a touch-sensitive control scheme on the right ear cup for on-the-fly controls.

    They have a bigger emphasis on bass than the previous generations of the lineup. They have overemphasized deep and thumpy bass, but without doing it too much. They are also compatible with the Sony Connect app that offers a good amount of customization. You can mess around with the provided EQ to get more or less bass depending on what you’re listening to and find a sound profile that suits you. 

    They do tend to sound a bit boomy to critical listeners, but you can use the EQ from the app to customize the sound to your liking. They are also quite expensive, but you are paying for quality and features. They have a great 27-hour battery life with a quick 2 hours of charge time and also have a 15-minute quick charge feature that gives you 5 hours of playback, which can be very useful. 

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Bass Headphones: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.3
    Mixed Usage
    What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.7
    Critical Listening
    What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.4
    Commute/Travel
    What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    7.1
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Office
    What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    6.2
    TV
    Score components:
    5.9
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If the Sony WH-1000XM3 are too expensive but you still want great wireless bass-heavy headphones, get the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. They also have an active noise canceling feature like the XM3s, although not as powerful, and have great sound quality with exciting bass. They also have physical buttons and an easy-to-use control scheme, unlike the Sonys.

    Their bass is powerful and deep but it doesn’t overpower the rest of the mix and doesn’t drown the lead instruments and vocals. These headphones are geared towards bass fans and are great for genres like EDM, dubstep or hip-hop.

    Unfortunately, they aren’t the best-looking headphones and their style is bulky with hinges, making the ear cups stick out. They also don’t isolate as much noise as higher-end ANC headphones. On the upside, they have great battery life with 30 hours of playback and have plenty of power saving features. They deliver an excellent performance for their price range.

    See our review

  3. Unique Bass Feature Alternative: Skullcandy Crusher Wireless

    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you’re looking for even more powerful, headbanging bass, then the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless can be a good choice. They might not have the best sound signature and are not as comfortable as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, but they have a unique bass slider on the left ear cup. You have on-the-fly control over the amount of bass you get, and it can get to a pretty intense level.

    They don’t have an app and an EQ to customize the sound to your liking and they don’t isolate noise well, but they have a great 36-hour battery life and a great build quality that feels solid. If the slider isn’t something you’re interested in, we suggest taking a look at the cheaper and better sounding Skullcandy Hesh 3.

    See our review

  4. Open-Back Alternative: Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Open-Back
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : No
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you want open-back headphones for better soundstage with impressive bass, get the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO. They have an impressive sound quality and a more open soundstage than the closed-backs on this list. They are very well-built and have a comfortable design but might be tight on the head for some.

    They aren’t wireless and don’t have any app to EQ the sound profile like the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, but they are better critical listening headphones with an impressive amount of bass for open-backs.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Bass Headphones: Bluedio T4

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.3
    Mixed Usage
    What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    6.7
    Critical Listening
    What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    6.6
    Commute/Travel
    What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    6.5
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    6.5
    Office
    What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.0
    TV
    Score components:
    4.5
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are too expensive and you’re looking for good budget headphones that pack an exciting bass, get the Bluedio T4 Turbine. Their noise cancellation and design are not as good as that of the Plantronics. They're also less intuitive to use, not as comfortable and struggle quite a bit with latency. However, they are very affordable at around $50 and their build quality is mainly metal, which gives them a more high-end look and feel.

    They have extended low-bass, which gives a good thump and rumble that fans of bass should like. They have a decent sound quality and decent battery life with 19 hours of playback for 1.7 hours of charging time. Unfortunately, they don’t have a companion app to customize the sound to your liking.

    They also have a huge amount of latency; the highest we’ve ever measured on headphones, making them unusable for video content and might be a deal breaker for some. On the other hand, they have decent noise isolation performance and their well-padded cups are comfortable if you can get a good fit, which seems to be hard since they tend to leave a gap behind the ears.

    See our review

  6. Customizable Alternative: Jaybird Freedom

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Balanced Armature

    If you like having control over your sound profile and prefer headphones that are compatible with an app, get the Jaybird Freedom. They are wireless in-ears, so they are more portable than the Bluedio T4 and they are compatible with the Jaybird MySound that offers an EQ and presets.

    They are very lightweight, but the in-ear fit might not be comfortable for everyone. They have a decently flat and even sound with extended low-bass which is great for bass-heavy genres and an overall slightly overemphasized bass-range, which has a decent thump and kick. If you’re willing to pay for more comfortable headphones, the upgraded Freedom 2 have even more overemphasized bass.

    See our review

  7. Bass-Heavy Sports Alternative: Anker Soundcore Spirit X

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you’re looking for sports-oriented headphones with great bass performance to keep you going during your workouts, get the Anker Soundcore Spirit X. They don’t have a supported app for sound customization like the Jaybird Freedom, but their over-ear hook design is more stable for sports and they offer great value for the price.

    They are also more sweatproof but have thin and non-replaceable cables. On the upside, they don’t leak much and have a 12-hour battery life, which is good for wireless in-ears. The Spirit X offer great value and are only beaten by the similar Anker Soundbuds Curve if you don’t care much for sweatproof headphones.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • HiFiMan Sundara. An excellent sounding open back headset with enough bass to please fans of bass-heavy genres. Poor quality control and bass response not as powerful as the Beyerdynamic. See our review
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II. A versatile and great sounding headset for most use cases. A more balanced bass sound than the Sonys but no customization options or EQ for fans of even more bass. See our review
  • Bose QuietControl 30. A comfortable and practical noise canceling earbud with a good amount of bass. Build quality, not the most durable and neckband design isn't for everyone. See our review
  • Skullcandy Hesh 3. A bass heavy wireless headset with an incredible battery life. Good for most use cases but not as well built as the Crusher wireless. See our review
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. A great sounding headset with an exciting bass. A good closed back alternative to the Beyerdynamic DT 990. See our review
  • Sony MDR-1A. A more comfortable design than the Audio Technica ATH-M50x with good audio reproduction. Slightly too pricey for what they offer. See our review
  • Polk Audio UltraFocus 8000. Great and excellent bass. A good substitute for the ATH-M50x but often difficult to find or not available on most retailers. See our review
  • Jaybird X4. A customizable in-ear with a good sound and a great bass. Charging cradle can be a bit bothersome and not as budget-friendly as the Jaybird Freedom. See our review
  • Jabra Elite Active 65t. A truly wireless design with a customizable EQ so you can turn up the bass. Not the most bass oriented default sound and slightly bulky earbuds. See our review
  • KZ ZS-10. A budget wired in-ear with a cool design, a replaceable cable, and decently balanced sound. Their slightly bulky and won't be as comfortable for all listeners. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best bass headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference and where you use the headphones will matter more in your selection.

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