Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.
Interested in helping us out to make the best headphones reviews out there? Head to our latest article to read and comment about the future of our headphones testing!

The 7 Best Headphones For Music - Spring 2023 Reviews

Best Headphones For Music

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

We've tested over 710 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best music-oriented headphones based on sound profile, features, and price range. For more picks, check out our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones, the best studio headphones, and the best-sounding wireless earbuds.

  1. Best Headphones For Music

    The Sennheiser HD 800 S are the best headphones for music that we've tested. If you're looking for the best and intend to spare no expense, these premium headphones are among the best open-back headphones we've tested. They create 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 will 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. However, their high price point and added costs (since you'll need an amplifier to get the most out of them) can put them well out of reach for most people.

    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. Since they have a dynamic transducer design, they're less prone to imaging issues than planar magnetic headphones. Their spacious, breathable, and well-padded ear cups will also ensure you don't experience any discomfort, even during long listening sessions. If you want an alternative to these high-end over-ears, check out the cheaper HiFiMan Arya. They utilize planar-magnetic drivers instead of more common dynamic drivers and deliver more low bass and a more neutral sound across the range. However, they're bulkier and don't have as much warmth in their bass range as the HD 800 S.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Headphones For Music

    The best upper mid-range headphones for music we've tested are the HiFiMan Edition XS. Unlike the Sennheiser HD 800 S, they use planar magnetic drivers instead of dynamic drivers, which are more common. Thanks to this design, they can reproduce bass more accurately than competitors at this price point and create a better representation of their soundstage. On the other hand, their transducer is more complex, resulting in more minor deviations in sound reproduction between units. They have a bulkier and heavier design than the Sennheiser and feel less premium. However, their ski-band headband helps distribute the headphones' weight evenly, meaning you won't feel fatigued during long listening sessions.

    They offer a neutral default sound profile that brings a touch of extra warmth and boom to your music. Lead vocals and instruments are reproduced clearly and accurately, although these elements are weakened by a dip in the high-mid range. Although they feel more plasticky than the Arya and many other high-end options, they still feel sturdy and have a comfortable enough fit for hours-long listening sessions. However, if your head is on the small side, their large ear cups and frame might result in a less comfortable fit. On the plus side, their sound delivery is consistent from use to use.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Headphones For Music

    Looking for great sound at a mid-range price point? Check out the HiFiMan Sundara 2020. They're the next generation of the HiFiMan Sundara 2018 and have redesigned ear cups that are more comfortable. Otherwise, the two models are nearly identical. Both feature the same neutral sound profile that's versatile for different kinds of content. While they lack the low-bass needed to get into EDM and hip-hop due to their open-back design, the mid-range is extremely well-balanced, meaning that vocals and instruments sound present, clear, and detailed.

    These headphones feel comfortable and well-built. While they're more comfortable than the pricier HiFiMan Edition XS, their passive soundstage isn't as immersive. They can also trap in quite a bit of heat and aren't as breathable as their predecessor or other models in HiFiMan's lineup, resulting in potential discomfort over long listening sessions. Additionally, they're unstable and can slip around if you move your head when listening to music. Fortunately, their low impedance means you won't need a powerful amp to connect them and can get the same sound quality from your phone or laptop.

    See our review

  4. Best Lower Mid-Range Headphones For Music

    If you're looking for a great listening experience without breaking the bank, the Philips Fidelio X2HR are the way to go. These open-back headphones are a bit bulkier than the HiFiMan Sundara 2020 and have a less immersive passive soundstage. However, they offer a much lower bass extension, making genres like hip-hop and EDM sound thumpier and more powerful than on some pricier open-back headphones. The rest of the range is very neutral, with great fidelity in the mid and treble ranges that make vocals and instruments sound crisp, clear, detailed, and present.

    These headphones are mostly made of plastic but still feel well-built and durable. They clamp tighter on the head than most Philips headphones but won't cause discomfort during long listening sessions. Their low impedance also means you can get great-sounding audio without an amp. You can use them with your laptop and phone without changes in audio quality.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Headphones For Music

    The best headphones for music that we've tested in the budget range are the Philips SHP9500. These open-back headphones have an extremely balanced and neutral mid-range, making them well-suited for genres like classical and folk that rely on accurately reproducing vocals and lead instruments. Although they lack more bass than the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO due to their open-back design, they have a touch of extra high-bass to add warmth to your mixes and a great passive soundstage. Although it doesn't feel as out-of-head or as immersive as the soundstage created by higher-end headphones, it still feels wide, open, and spacious.

    These over-ears have a very comfortable fit with roomy 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 also detachable, so you can easily replace it if it gets damaged.

    See our review

  6. Best Casual-Use Headphones For Music

    If you don't want to trade features like noise cancelling and portability, you might prefer headphones for more casual use. Consider the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, the best wireless headphones for music we've tested. They're Bluetooth headphones, which makes them easier to use when you're out and about, and they have an ANC feature that can block out noise like ambient chit-chat or rumbling engines. They're comfortable and have a 37-hour battery life, so they'll last through several workdays without needing a charge.

    Their bass-heavy sound profile is well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop but might disappoint fans of a more neutral sound for music since it can make some mixes sound muddy and vocals less clear. They also struggle to create an immersive, out-of-head passive soundstage, even when compared to closed-back audiophile options like the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. That said, unlike most dedicated audiophile headphones, they work with a companion app with a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. They have a surround sound feature to help create a more immersive experience, although you need to use it with a compatible streaming service.

    Then again, if you like your music with a lot of extra rumble and punch, it's worth checking out the Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless instead. These wireless over-ears have a haptic bass slider that can increase the bass in your audio. Using it can also add intense vibrations to your music, giving you the feeling of being at a live show. Unfortunately, they're prone to more inconsistencies in bass delivery than the Sony headphones. They also lack ANC and struggle to block out background noise.

    See our review

  7. Best In-Ear Headphones For Music

    If you prefer an in-ear fit, consider 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; 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 the 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. 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.

    If you're still looking for more in-ear headphones, check out our best-sounding wireless earbuds article!

    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
  • Superlux HD 681: The Superlux HD 681 are entry-level audiophile headphones. Their semi-open back design 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 a lot more plasticky and cheap than the Philips SHP9500. See our review
  • HiFiMan ANANDA-BT Wireless: The HiFiMan ANANDA-BT Wireless are a viable alternative to the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless if you care about audio quality via wireless more than casual features like ANC. Their sound has much less bass, so vocals and instruments don't sound muddy. However, their 11-hour battery life is short, and they're bulky, making it difficult to take them on the go. See our review
  • Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C: The planar magnetic Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C are a less expensive alternative to the high-end HiFiMan Arya. They're slightly better built and have much better imaging performance, but their sound profile isn't as neutral, lacking more low-bass and mid-treble than the Arya. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 19, 2023: Checked that the products are relevant and in stock. Made minor updates to the text.

  2. Mar 03, 2023: Shifted our picks for better price flow. Added the HiFiMan Sundara 2020 and the Philips Fidelio X2HR in the 'Mid-Range' and 'Lower Mid-Range' categories, respectively. Made the HiFiMan Edition XS our 'Upper Mid-Range' pick.

  3. Jan 04, 2023: Made minor updates to the text and checked that the products are available.

  4. Oct 07, 2022: We've revamped this article to better match user expectations. We've added the following headphones: the HiFiMan Arya and Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. We've changed the title of 'Best Commuter Headphones For Music' to 'Best Casual-Use Headphones For Music' and removed the Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless. We've also cleared the Notable Mentions of any picks that are out-of-date.

  5. 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.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wired and best wireless 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.