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Headphone Reviews

Updated: Oct 29, 2014 22:09
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alaScore
Price
Type
Signal Connection
#1
alaScore 100

Bose QuietComfort 25 / QC 25

The QuietComfort 25 model takes Bose's already stellar noise-canceling headphones and levels them up to new heights.

10 expert reviews

#2
alaScore 99

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

Quibbles aside, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones are a modestly improved version of the already spectacular model they're based on, and among the best-sounding pairs you'll find for less than $200.

5 expert reviews | 5 user reviews

#3
alaScore 99

Plantronics BackBeat PRO

The BackBeat Pro may be bulky and industrial looking, but what they lack in aesthetic panache, they make up for with fantastic features and great sound. And while Plantronics’ latest can’t beat the Bose QC25 at their own game of noise canceling, they...

9 expert reviews

#4
alaScore 98

Oppo PM-1

Preview: OPPO's new PM-1 headphones aren't low budget cans at $1099. Boasting an advanced planar magnetic driver, click to see what else they bring to the table.

7 expert reviews

#5
alaScore 98

Sennheiser MM 450

The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear may not fully match the larger Momentum's excellent sonics, but it gets you 80 percent of the way there.

83 expert reviews | 1143 user reviews

#6
alaScore 98

Samsung Level Over

Overall, we’re impressed with Samsung’s first proper full-size headphone. Aside from being a bit bulky and not being as travel friendly as we’d like, the Level Over are a compelling option in a crowded arena of headphones. With top-notch battery life,...

9 expert reviews

#7
alaScore 97

Shure SE846

Bass rarely gets better than this. If you have the cash to spend and want audiophile earphones that can pump out the low end, you need to hear the Shure SE846.

4 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

#8
alaScore 97

Bowers&Wilkins P7

The Bowers & Wilkins P7 may not the best headphone you can buy in its luxury price range, but it certainly is among the best, with excellent build quality and rich sound that works well with a wide range of music genres and sources.

12 expert reviews | 88 user reviews

#9
alaScore 97

Bose QuietComfort QC20 / QC20i

Supreme comfort and stellar anti-noise make the Bose QuietComfort 20i the noise-canceling buds to beat.

26 expert reviews | 614 user reviews

#10
alaScore 97

AKG Y 50

If you're looking for deep bass in your headphones, you have no shortage of options in the current market, so it's worth doing a little research before you immediately settle on a pair from Beats. There are pairs, like the AKG Y50, that deliver some...

5 expert reviews

#11
alaScore 97

Sony MDR-10RBT

The Sony MDR-10RBT gets you about 75 percent of the way to the Beats Studio Wireless for a lot less money.

11 expert reviews | 237 user reviews

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#12
alaScore 96

Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back

Most headphones we test tend to have a moderate-to-intense bass response, so reviewing a pair like the Shure SRH1540 almost comes as a shock. Few headphones can extend down as low as 5Hz and yet deliver accurate bass response that doesn't boost the...

5 expert reviews

#13
alaScore 96

Oppo PM-1

Oppo’s PM-1 succeed on all levels – not bad for the first shot out of the gate. Perhaps just as exciting, the company’s forthcoming PM-2 is priced much more reasonably ($700), and promises comparable sound quality. For those who do a lot of listening...

4 expert reviews

#14
alaScore 96

JBL E40 BT

For all the different configurations of headphones on the market, it's always a tough choice for buyers to get something that is just right. For consumers searching for a strong sound but who don't want to shell out a couple hundred dollars on over-t

4 expert reviews | 1 user reviews

#15
alaScore 96

NAD VISO HP50

In this category of entry level audiophile headphones I look for several key components. First is a balanced sound, second is comfort, and third is value. We all like to find that product that presents a great value and makes you feel like you are...

9 expert reviews | 5 user reviews

#16
alaScore 96

Philips Fidelio M1 / M1BO / M1WT

While they fall short of delivering truly excellent sound, the well-designed Philips Fidelio M1 on-ear headphones are comfortable to wear and well-suited for day-to-day use.

54 expert reviews | 421 user reviews

#17
alaScore 96

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X

I bought these mainly to use with my laptop, phone, and iPod touch. While the sound quality of the headphones is fine, both of the audio cables that came with the product had problems that distorted the sound by either distorting the music entirely or...

3 expert reviews | 2 user reviews

#18
alaScore 96

beats SOLO 2

By now, headphone enthusiasts should know the drill with Beats: If you love big, booming bass, read on, and if you want a flat-response, critical listening-appropriate headphone pair, move on past the Beats Solo 2 (maybe to the Editors' Choice...

6 expert reviews

#19
alaScore 96

Beats PowerBeats 2 Wireless

Some audiophiles may thumb their noses at Beats' bass-boosted, celebrity-endorsed speakers and headphones, but the brand helped bring better sound to the forefront for otherwise casual listeners. But despite my gratitude toward Beats for making people...

5 expert reviews

#20
alaScore 95

Philips Fidelio X1

It wasn't that long ago that Philips wasn't the first name that would come to mind for audiophile headphones. Things picked up early last year when the company totally revamped its headphone lineup, and the Fidelio Series turned a lot of heads. Philips...

22 expert reviews | 361 user reviews

#21
alaScore 95

beyerdynamic T 51 P

The Beyerdynamic T 51 p is one of the best on-ear headphones available, offering excellent sound quality and a comfortable fit.

6 expert reviews | 5 user reviews

#22
alaScore 95

KEF M500

The KEF M500 are an absolute win for the on-ear headphone segment; easily one of the finest sounding and indescribably comfortable on-ear headphones in recent memory.

27 expert reviews | 19 user reviews

#23
alaScore 95

V-Moda Crossfade M-100

V-Moda, with its True Blood-branded products and its serious focus on visual design and flair, could be mistaken for a headphone company that's all style and no substance. Underneath the attractive style of the V-Moda Crossfade M-100, though, there's...

23 expert reviews | 221 user reviews

#24
alaScore 95

Beyerdynamic DX 160 iE

While the Beyerdynamic DX160 iE has some small downsides, it's a bona fide audiophile in-ear headphone at an invitingly affordable price.

4 expert reviews | 6 user reviews

#25
alaScore 95

AKG K 845BT

While light on accessories for such an expensive Bluetooth headphone pair, the AKG K845 BT delivers a powerful audio experience nonetheless.

6 expert reviews | 52 user reviews

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    Buying Guide

    Buying Guide - Headphones

    Most people already know this, but it bears repeating – without a set of good headphones, it does not matter how fancy your audio media device is, you just won't get a satisfactory listening experience. The headphones that come pre-packaged with audio devices are often not of high quality, and it may be to your benefit to purchase a new pair. Headphones come in a wide range of types that fit in with all lifestyles – although all types of headphones are versatile, be sure to choose a set that fits in with your needs. How you intend to use your headphones – for music, gaming, or home theater – and where you plan to do your listening – on the go or at home – will narrow the range of possible types you'll want to choose.



    Contents

    Types of Headphones

     

    • Earbud – Earbud headphones fit directly into the ears, are lightweight, compact, and discreet, allowing listening on the go in a portable package. Earbud headphones are perfect for those who value convenience and portability.
    • Over the Ear – This is the traditional style of headphone, and offers the greatest sound fidelity. Because many models cover the ears completely, over the ear headphones are likely to include noise reduction technology. Over the ear headphones are for music professionals and purists who demand the best in sound quality.
    • Behind the Neck – As the name suggests, behind the neck headphones fit behind the neck, instead of over the head. This is particularly useful for people who wear hats or other head coverings. The behind the neck style is also very secure, an added benefit for those on the go.
    • Sport – Generally made in the earbud style, sport headphones are water-resistant, lightweight, soft, and durable, and are able to withstand the pounding from jogging or a vigorous workout. They also feature a resilient grip, to reduce slippage during energetic use.
    • Wireless – Cordless headphones have been around for years, but they have only recently started to approach the sound-quality standards of the better corded phones. Wireless headphones use Bluetooth technology, radio frequency (RF) or infrared to provide the ultimate listening convenience. Your mobility is guaranteed, and with wireless headphones you no longer need to worry about wires becoming tangled, snagging on exposed edges, and headphones being ripped off your head or out of your device. But the wireless headphones generally don't sound quite as good as equivalently priced wired headphones. The audio gets processed by electronics in the base unit, gets transmitted via radio frequency (or in some cases infrared) and then is converted back to an audio signal by the headset. All this processing adds extra noise to the audio signal.

        Additional Headphones Features

        Noise Reduction – Noise reduction and canceling technology comes in a number of different forms. It may be design-centric, meaning the headphones are molded to fit snuggly over the ears, with no room for outside noise to enter. Or, they may have an active noise-reduction function, which creates interference along a number of different frequencies that can cancel out extraneous noise. Since you no longer have to turn up the volume to overcome background noise, you can listen at lower levels, hear more low-level detail in your music and reducing ear fatigue. Noise reduction is an absolute requirement for music purists and frequent commuters.

    • Bass – Even at its very best, headphone bass is never the sort of driving experience you literally feel from massive speakers or subwoofers. Those systems' bass is as much felt by your body as heard by your ears. Earbuds are tiny and portable, but – except for a couple of high-end models – they can't compete with full-size, over-the-ear headphones for deep bass response or visceral dynamic range. As with speakers, headphones need at least 10 hours of vigorous use before they sound their best.

        Connectivity Options – Headphones generally use different connectors, make sure your new headphones' plug fits the jack for your stereo or portable MP3 player. The 1/4-inch (6.33-mm) plug is still the professional audio standard and may be found in nonportable AV equipment such as receivers, home stereos, and DVD players. The minijack (3.5-mm) plug is the most common headphone connector, especially for portable audio devices. Small, 2.5-mm (0.1-inch) headphones are typically used in cell phones and other small devices. Of course, if you have a good pair of headphones that don't fit your audio equipment, you can always find an adapter.

        Popular Brands of Headphones

        Whimsically-named Skullcandy headphones are a popular choice for hipsters and the younger crowd. Philips and Sony have a wide selection of headphones of all types, featuring the most up-to-date audio technology available. Sennheiser specializes in wireless headphones and accessories, also they offer a full range of headphone types which will suit your need at different prices.

        Whenever shopping for new headphones, be certain that the model you select is completely compatible with your primary audio media device. Headphones are generally priced very reasonably, so you may want to purchase a different set for different occasions (one set for travel, another set for the home, etc.).

    Popular Headphone products

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    Headphones on alaTest

    alaTest.com has collected and analyzed millions of reviews from 2891 sources to help you choose the best Headphone from top brands like Sony, Philips, Sennheiser, Skullcandy, Panasonic and more.

    Buying Tips Read our Buying Guide
    before you make your purchase
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