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The 7 Best Headphones For Music - Fall 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Headphones For Music

If you're looking for headphones that are great for music, the choices can be overwhelming. Depending on what kind of music you like, some headphones are better suited than others. Those who listen to more instrumental or vocal-centric content like jazz or folk may like a more neutral or balanced sound with a wide, immersive soundstage. Fans of EDM, hip-hop, and R&B, on the other hand, may like their bass to give their favorite tracks extra thump and kick.

We've tested over 670 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headphones for music based on sound profile, features, and price range. Check out our picks for the best wireless headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones, and the best audiophile headphones.


  1. Best Headphones For Music

    The Sennheiser HD 800 S are the best headphones for music that we've tested. These premium open-backs are among the best open-back headphones we've tested, as they can generate an incredibly natural, spacious, and wholly immersive listening experience that makes your music sound like it's coming from all around you. Their well-balanced sound profile should also please audiophiles. Their very neutral mid and treble response makes vocals and lead instruments sound clear, present, detailed, and airy, though some may find them to be a little too bright.

    They're very well-built, with a sturdy-feeling design made of high-grade plastic reinforced by a metal frame and a braided detachable audio cable. Their spacious, breathable, and well-padded ear cups should ensure you don't experience any discomfort, even during long listening sessions. Unfortunately, they're very expensive, plus an amplifier is needed to get the most out of them.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Headphones For Music

    If you're looking to spend a little less on audiophile headphones, the best mid-range headphones for music we've tested are the HiFiMan Edition XS. Unlike the Sennheiser HD 800 S, these over-ears have planar magnetic drivers instead of dynamic drivers. As a result, they can produce more bass than their dynamic counterparts at this price point and create a more immersive passive soundstage. These over-ears have a fairly neutral sound profile with a touch of extra warmth and boom. Vocals and lead instruments also sound clear, accurate, and neutral, but a dip in their high-mids weakens these sounds. These over-ears create a passive soundstage that's natural, spacious, and wide. Sound also seems like it's coming from outside of your head rather than from inside your head.

    Although they feel a bit more plasticky and cheap than higher-end options, they still have a good build quality and feel comfortable enough for long listening sessions. The ear cups and frame are quite large, which can be problematic if you have a small head. Luckily, they can still deliver audio consistently among different re-seats.

    See our review

  3. Best Entry-Level Headphones For Music

    If you're on a tight budget, the best entry-level headphones for music are the Philips SHP9500. These over-ears have an extremely balanced and neutral mid-range, making them well-suited for genres like classical and folk that rely on the accurate reproduction of vocals and lead instruments. Although they lack more bass than the HiFiMan Edition XS, they have a touch of extra high-bass to add warmth to your mixes. Thanks to their open-back design, they have a great passive soundstage. Although it doesn't feel as out-of-head or as immersive as the soundstage created by the Sennheiser HD 800 S, it still feels wide, open, and spacious.

    These over-ears have a very comfortable fit with spacious and well-padded ear cups. They're also decently well-built, although the fabric padding feels like it could rip over time, and the swiveling ear cups seem prone to breaking under stress. Their audio cable is detachable, so if it gets damaged, you can easily replace it.

    See our review

  4. Best In-Ear Headphones For Music

    The best in-ear headphones for music that we've tested are the MOONDROP Aria. They're wired in-ear monitors (IEMs) with a comfortable fit and a neutral sound suitable for different music. They have a slight bump in high-bass to add warmth and boom to your mixes. It doesn't overwhelm vocals and lead instruments, though, and they're reproduced clearly in your mixes. Their treble range is underemphasized, though sibilants like cymbals are dull and lispy. They can't create an immersive soundstage either, as their shape bypasses your outer ears, which need to be activated by sound to create a more natural, wide, and large sound.

    Their in-ear design is very comfortable, and some people may even prefer fit compared to open-back headphones as it can help block out some background noise like ambient chatter. Once you get a good fit with the provided ear tips, you'll get consistent audio delivery each time you use them too. They won't block out commuter noise like rumbly buses, and they don't have a mic built-in, although you can purchase an audio cable with an in-line mic separately.

    See our review

  5. Best Commuter Headphones For Music

    The best commuter headphones for music that we've tested are the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. These premium over-ears have an active noise cancelling (ANC) system to help block out the low rumble of bus engines and ambient chatter and have over 37 hours of continuous playback time to last through long days on the go. Their bass-heavy sound profile delivers intense thump, rumble, and boom to mixes out of the box. While some users may find their sound to be a bit boomy and muddy, you can adjust their sound to suit your tastes using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. They also support LDAC, which is Sony's proprietary codec for high-resolution audio.

    These headphones have a very comfortable fit and well-built design that helps lower the chances of experiencing fatigue if you're wearing them for long periods. Unfortunately, if you want to use them wired, they only support audio via analog, so you can't use their mic. Their over-ear design also traps heat around your ears. If you love extra thump, rumble, and boom, they're worth checking out. They're also among the best bass headphones we've tested.

    See our review

  6. Best Commuter In-Ear Headphones For Music

    The best commuter in-ear headphones for music that we've tested are the Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless. Thanks to their lightweight and portable design, you can easily take these buds with you on the go. They have a very neutral and flat sound profile, so vocals and lead instruments accurately reproduce. They're versatile enough for different audio content, but you can also adjust their sound using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. They also last over eight hours continuously, and their case supplies an additional three charges. They have good build quality, are comfortable, and are certified IP57 for resistance against dust and immersion in water, making them sturdy and durable.

    These in-ears can block out some commuter noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines as well as ambient chatter, although their ANC doesn't improve on their passive capabilities. However, if you're looking for earbuds with a better noise isolation performance, consider the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless. Their top-of-the-line ANC system can cut down more overall noise, but they aren't as comfortable and have shorter total battery life.

    See our review

  7. Best Headphones For Music With Intense Bass

    If you crave a bass-heavy sound that packs extra thump, rumble, and boom, the best headphones with intense bass for music that we've tested are the Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless. These over-ears have a haptic bass slider that can increase bass in your audio. Using it can also add intense vibrations to your music, giving you the feeling of being at a live show. Even with the slider at its lowest setting, they still have a bass-heavy sound profile that's well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop, which is good if you want to tone down the rumble for some songs. Their app has a couple of EQ presets if you want to adjust their sound, though. Keep in mind that these headphones are prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery. You may experience a drop in pass if you have thick hair or wear glasses, as this can break the headphones' seal on your head.

    These headphones are well-built and have a decently comfortable fit. They have over 34 hours of continuous playback time, and you can use them wired if you don't want to worry about battery life. However, they can't block out much background noise. They don't cut down bus engine rumbles and struggle to reduce ambient chatter.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • HiFiMan Ananda: The HiFiMan Ananda are planar magnetic headphones with a very immersive passive soundstage and a fairly neutral sound profile. Their treble range is a little darker than the HiFiMan Edition XS, though, which can hurt the detail of vocals and lead instruments. See our review
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO: The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are closed-back audiophile headphones. They have an analytical sound profile that makes sibilants like hi-hats piercing. Their passive soundstage doesn't seem as open or spacious due to their design, though. See our review
  • Superlux HD 681: The Superlux HD 681 are entry-level audiophile headphones. They have a semi-open back design that helps create a very good passive soundstage. They have a bright and analytical sound, so sibilants like cymbals can be overly piercing. They also feel plasticky and cheap. See our review
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless: The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless are over-ears with a bass-heavy sound profile worth considering if you like genres like EDM and hip-hop. They have a great noise isolation performance, thanks to their ANC system. However, their battery life is shorter than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, and they aren't as comfortable. See our review
  • JBL Live Pro+ TWS True Wireless: The JBL Live Pro+ TWS True Wireless are a viable alternative to the Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless if you prefer in-ear headphones. They have a bass-heavy default sound profile but it won't give you that rumbly feel that the Skullcandy's haptic bass slider can provide. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jun 06, 2022: Complete article restructure. We've created several different categories: 'Best Mid-Range', 'Best Entry-Level', 'Best In-Ears', 'Best Commuter', 'Best Commuter In-Ears', and 'Best With Intense Bass'. We've removed the Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless, and the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO and Superlux HD 681 has moved to Notable Mentions. We've added the Philips SHP9500, MOONDROP Aria, Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless, and the Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless to our picks.

  2. Apr 07, 2022: Replaced the HiFiMan Arya with the HiFiMan Edition XS as the Arya have been updated with stealth magnets and we haven't tested this variant. Removed the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless as they've been discontinued.

  3. Feb 08, 2022: Replaced the JBL CLUB PRO+ True Wireless with the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO as the Beyerdynamic offer an even more neutral mid-range. Added the JBL to Notable Mentions.

  4. Dec 22, 2021: Checked that picks still represent the best recommendations and that they're in stock.

  5. Oct 25, 2021: Replaced the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless with the JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless as the 'Closed-Back Alternative' to the Philips SHP9500 because the Samsung have been discontinued by the manufacturer.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones for music to buy for most people. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones 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, ranked by their suitability for neutral sound. 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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