Best Audiophile Headphones For Your Budget

Finding the best audiophile headphones can be a bit of a headache! With so much choice in the market it’s easy to get bogged down when finding the best headphones to buy. We will test and  review the best over ear headphones, the best in ear headphones and ensure you get awesome sound quality for your money. We’ll also look at features of high end headphones to ensure you understand why spending the extra dollars will be worth it.

Headphones come with so many different features these days so picking the right ones for you can be challenging. Our teams’ top 10 picks will give you some great options for choosing top quality headphones. If you’re after the best wireless headphones we review both high end and affordable options. The best noise cancelling headphones also get the once over by our team. We’ve done reviews and recommendations for high end and budget.

See our top rated headphones here: 

Best Quality Headphones – Not always Best Sound Quality!

Not all headphones are created equal! The best looking headphones are not always the best sounding….as our team found out when testing and reviewing. It’s important to select the right features to ensure you get the best sound quality headphones for your money.  Just because you’ve purchased high quality headphones they may not be suited to what you listen to.

The best headphones for music mixing in a studio (can also be known as reference headphones) perform completely differently by providing a flat frequency response.  This means that it adds no flavor to the sound.  You need to hear what you’re working on as neutral and true as possible, especially when mixing.  This costs money to develop cones to that level of precision – hence their often hefty price tag.

If you’re just after the best headphones for listening to music at home or out and about then it’s important to weigh up quality vs. price. Luckily our guides should answer all your questions and you’ll soon have  a pair of best sounding headphones for your budget!

Our Pick Of The Top 10 Headphones

We’re so lucky at audiophileheadphonesite to be able to get our hands on and review some of the best headphones on the market. There’s often a bit of a scramble in the office when a pair of good quality headphones comes in to be the first to ‘plug in’. To make your job easier in selecting from the best rated headphones we’ve narrowed it down to the top ten. Our list includes what are commonly thought of as “the best headphones in the world” but also some lesser known products. So here goes…….


AudioQuest NightOwl Carbon Closed-Back Around-the-Ear Headphones
Over Ear - Closed Backlow distortion and exceptionally flat impedance for clean, clear, naturally beautiful sound5

Focal Elear Open Back Over-Ear Headphones (Black)
Over Ear - Open Backfeaturing full range loudspeakers made of Aluminum-Magnesium "M" shape dome5

Shure SE425-CL Sound Isolating Earphones with Dual High Definition MicroDrivers
In Earextended high-end clarity and unparalleled low-end performance4.5

Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone
Over Ear - Open BackSpecially designed acoustic silk ensures precision damping over the entire frequency range4.5

beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation Audiophile Stereo Headphones with Dynamic Semi-Open Design (Silver)
Over Ear - Semi OpenSilky-smooth warmth meets precise bass4.5

Focal Utopia Reference High-Fidelity Circumaural Headphones
Over Ear - Open Back full range loudspeakers made of a pure Beryllium "M" shape dome4.5

AudioQuest - Nighthawk Wood Headphones
Over Ear - Closed BackFeel like air with zero-fatigue and pristine sound 4.5

Grado GR10e In-Ear Headphones
In EarWide open soundstage and glorious midrange performers4

HIFIMAN Edition X V2 Over Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones
Over Ear - Open BackWindow Shade Grill Design greatly reduces sonic reflections for clearer sound5

AudioFly - AF1120 - Universal 6-Balanced Armature Driver In-Ear Monitors
In EarSound is extremely detailed, balanced and neutral with just enough emphasis on bass and treble5

In Ear or Over Ear? Best Rated Headphones

What’s the difference? Well size for one thing. In ear (or earbud headphones as they are also known) are significantly smaller therefore making them extremely portable . In ear also tends to be more affordable, although high end in ear headphones can come with that big price tag you’d expect from the best over ear headphones.

Even if you purchase high quality in ear headphones they can often produce very minimal bass unless inserted fully and properly into the ear canal. If you find even the best in the ear headphones uncomfortable then you might want to try some around the ear headphones.

Over-ear headphones are popular because they can provide a comfortable fit, with advanced features like noise cancellation and hi-fidelity sound. Some of the best sound you can get is possible through either closed- or open-back over ear headphones which we will look at further down. We feature top rated over ear headphones as well as audiophile in ear headphones.

In Ear Comparison Guide: Top In Ear Headphones

There are a couple of us in the office who prefer high quality in ear headphones. Their size, portability and smaller price tag has lots of appeal. These in ear headphones reviews has led to us narrowing down some of the top in ear headphones.

Best value in ear headphones means not compromising on sound quality….

Here’s our pick for the best in ear headphones under $100

SONY MDR-EX650 B Inner ear Headphones Brass black

Sony MDR-EX650 in-ears are all about the brass. Both the internal sound path, which carries sound from the 12mm-driver directly to your ears, and the enclosure itself are constructed using trombone material. The soundstage is open and expansive, and as instruments and other vocals come in, they’re placed expertly throughout, creating an overall presentation that’s fabulously immersive
These are snug, secure and easily the most comfortable earphones we’ve had on test.


Audiophile in ear headphones come with a larger price tag but you won’t be disappointed. These are the best in the ear headphones we have reviewed.

Here’s our pick for the best high end in ear headphones

Shure SE846-CL Sound Isolating Earphones with Quad High Definition MicroDrivers and True Subwoofer

These are worth their hefty price tag. They provide previously unattainable deep low-end performance of a true subwoofer without sacrificing clarity or detail.  Adjustable sound signatures available (including balanced, warm or bright) via changeable nozzle inserts and removable, metal nozzle. The detachable cable design allows you to swap between two included Kevlar-reinforced cable lengths of 45″ and 60″. Sound isolation technology prevents outside noise from interfering with audio, whether on-stage or on-the-go. Truly an audiophile set of phones, and definitely worth the investment if sound isolation and fantastic music is important to you.


Over Ear Comparison Guide: Top Rated Over Ear Headphones

Most true audiophiles prefer good over the ear headphones. If you want the most consistent, very best possible sound in a headphone, you are likely to end up with some sort of over-ear model. We’ve been lucky enough to review some of the best over the ear headphones on the market today. These are our top rated over ear headphones and we feel they also provide the best value for the sound quality they provide.  Read on to see our picks for best on ear headphones…..


The Best Headphones Under $2000

If low distortion and amazing sound quality is on your list of ‘must haves’ then the HIFIMAN Edition X V2 Over Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones are for you. These headphones are the best high end headphones we have reviewed.

Ultra Thin Diaphragm for lightning fast response, uncanny detail and ultra low distortion. High Sensitivity allows use with virtually any smartphone or portable audio device.  Low distortion and amazing sound quality. Window Shade Grill Design greatly reduces sonic reflections for clearer sound. Asymmetrical Ear Cups follows the natural shade of the human ear. Hybrid Ear Pads’ beveled design conforms to the shape of the human skull while velour and pleather materials provide optimum comfort.

The Best Headphones Under $1000

If good quality headphones is what you’re after but you can’t quite stretch to the HIFIMAN Edition X V2’s then we recommend the Sennheiser HD 700. With reliable Sennheiser quality and an outstanding sound stage with a warm and balanced audio reproduction these are great value for money.

Open, circumaural dynamic stereo headphones for maximum wearing comfort. Outstanding soundstage with a warm and balanced audio reproduction. Specially-tuned, highly efficient drivers capable of delivering high sound pressure levels and a flat frequency response. Highly optimized ventilated magnet system minimizes air turbulence and harmonic, intermodulation distortion. Open-back ear cups facilitate transparent sound while showcasing cutting-edge industrial design

The Best Headphones Under $500

These headphones look great, feel like air with zero-fatigue and sound pristine. The AudioQuest – Nighthawk Wood are our pick for the under $500 category.

CES Award-Winner features earcups inspired by loudspeaker cabinets. Flexible headband ensures comfort, suspension system minimizes resonances. Trickle-down technology from AudioQuest’s state-of-the-art cables.

What If You’re After Good Cheap Headphones?

If you don’t have the budget to be splurging on the worlds’ best headphones then this category is for you. We’ve reviewed and rated some of the best inexpensive headphones to ensure you get the most for your money.

Over the ear headphones can be a little pricey compared to in ear. It’s difficult to find the best cheap over ear headphones without compromising on sound quality. Our pick for the best budget over ear headphones under $100: Cowin E-7 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Over-ear

Even though these are a little more than the Cowins we think they’re the best affordable headphones around……without compromising on sound quality. Our pick for the best over ear headphones under $200: beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus

Of course our list wouldn’t be complete with out an in ear option. There are so many to chose from and not all are cheap high quality headphones. Finding the best value in ear headphones that doesn’t let the side down in quality can be a bit tricky but we liked these ones from 1MORE. Our pick for the best budget in ear headphones: 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best budget noise cancelling headphones – Over ear: BÖHM Wireless Bluetooth Over Ear Cushioned Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling

The best high end over ear noise cancelling headphones:  H9 Wireless Over-Ear Headphone with Active Noise Cancelling

Our top budget  noise cancelling headphones – In ear: Astrotec AM850 Ultimate Earphones, Hi-Res HiFi Earbuds, Noise Cancelling In-Ear

The best high end in ear noise cancelling headphones: B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H3 ANC In-Ear Headphone with Active Noise Cancelling

Open Back Headphones vs. Closed Back Headphones

There are two main kinds of over-the-ear headphones: Open-Back and Closed-Back. Each offer benefits, and each has drawbacks. Most headphones are “closed-back,” which is to say, the outer part of the headphone cups have a hard enclosure.

Closed-back headphones are designed to isolate you from the outside world. It’s just you and your music. The downside to open-back is probably obvious: everyone can hear what you’re listening to, and any ambient sound gets right in and mixes with your music.

We’ve picked what we think are the best open back headphones: HiFiMan HE1000 Open-Back Planar Magnetic

Here’s our choice for the best closed back headphones: Audio-Technica Audiophile Closed-Back Dynamic Wooden

Best Wireless Headphones

Wireless or Bluetooth headphones are convenient for any situation where you don’t want to deal with dangling cables—especially at the gym. And since Apple has gone headphone-jackless in the iPhone 7, they’re a good way to ensure compatibility with just about any new phone.

Wireless no longer means poor sound, either. These days, the best Bluetooth headphones audio sounds much better than it ever has. Even though the stereo Bluetooth data signal is compressed, various headphone and earphone vendors have discovered ways of enhancing the signal to compensate for deficiencies in fidelity. We reviewed high end audiophile wireless headphones as well as the best budget wireless headphones.

Our budget pick has the added advantage of being noise cancelling wireless headphones: Definitive Technology Symphony 1 Over-Ear Bluetooth Wireless

These high end wireless headphones are great value for money. They also boast to being one of the lightest wireless active noise cancelling headphones on the market. Our pick for best over ear wireless headphones:  H8 Wireless On-Ear

Best Portable Headphones

What’s the best headphones to buy when portability is paramount? In ear wins every time. Small, lightweight and compact they are perfect for travel or whenever size matters! Here’s our in ear pick: Sennheiser IE80 Headphone

Of course not everyone is a fan of in ear. We really rate these V-MODA XS On-Ear Folding Design Noise-Isolating Metal. With an ultra compact exoskeleton hard carry case and detachable cable they are great quality headphones but also extremely portable.

Good Headphones With Mic

There are lots of options on the market but we have narrowed it down to the best headphones with mic. An option for over ear lovers and one for the in ear camp.

Our top pick for the best over ear headphones with mic is the: AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon Semi-Open Around-the-Ear. It comes with a high-performance AudioQuest cable with discrete mic and smartphone controls.

If in ear headphones with mic are what you’re looking for then we recommend the: Ultrasone TIO Aluminum High Performance In Ear Headphones with Microphone. It comes with a 1.2 m cable with microphone & remote.

Best Sennheiser Headphones – the BEST Headphones For Audiophiles!

In the 1960’s Sennheiser’s HD 414, the world’s first open headphones was launched. This lightweight game changer was an instant hit, with music fans happy to ditch the bulky closed back claustrophobic cans of old and embrace a smooth clear open sound. 100,000 sets were sold by the end of 1969 making Sennheiser one of the best headphones in the world and their mass appeal means they remain the most successful design of all time.
Today they continue to break new ground and consistently be some of the best quality headphones on the market.  Sennheiser audiophile headphones are suitable for all budgets. Purchasing a pair of good Sennheiser headphones doesn’t have to break the bank. We’ve picked 3 of the best that perform well but are also reasonably priced.

Best budget Sennheiser headphones – Closed back: Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed Back

Our pick of the Sennheiser open ear headphones: Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone (Jack plug ¼” (6.3 mm) stereo)

We think theSennheiser CX 3.00 Red In-Ear are the best Sennheiser in ear headphones.


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