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September 29, 2022  |  Electronics

5 brands that consistently make great headphones

There are plenty of good headphones on the market that let you hear all the sounds and notes, but only a few brands make great headphones that let you feel the audio deep in your soul, instantly transporting you into the middle of the action.  

Whether you're listening to music in a studio or playing video games, hearing the nuances of what’s happening is vital to your enjoyment. You want to hear every note, no matter how subtle, and you must hear every footstep in a video game. Good headphones are a dime a dozen, but there are five brands that consistently make great headphones.

In this article: Sony WH-XB910N Extra Bass, Audio-Technica ATH-M50X and Sennheiser RS 175 RF.

Audio driver size

The size of the speakers on headphones works in conjunction with other aspects to determine the audio quality, and it plays a significant role in your overall sound satisfaction. The driver size is measured in millimeters with 40 millimeters and 50 millimeters being the most common, depending on the audio driver type. For example, drivers of at least 40 millimeters are best for over-ear headphones, while gamers prefer on-ear drivers of 50 millimeters. However, there are rare instances of headphones with 70-millimeter or 80-millimeter drivers. 

Frequency response

Another aspect that influences the sound quality is the frequency response range of headphones. Simply put, the range indicates the frequencies the headphones can produce. Heavy bass or low-level rumbling is in the lower frequency spectrum, while treble sounds are in the higher frequency range. When headphones have a wide frequency response range, they can produce more sounds, which in turn increases the quality.  

Sensitivity

Headphones won’t be good if they produce a wide range of sounds on large drivers but you can’t hear them clearly. This is where headphone sensitivity indicates their ability to detect sound. Headphones with a high sensitivity make softer sounds audible when the volume is low and can go louder without distorting the audio (the driver size helps here too).

Comfort

Technical specifications aside, the most important aspect of great-quality headphones is how they feel when you put them on. Most people wear headphones for long sessions, so it’s critical that the ear cups and headband have ample foam padding. If there is a microphone, it must easily flip or retract out of the way, and the headband must be sturdy and adjustable. 

Brands that consistently make great headphones

Sony

Sony WH-XB910N Extra Bass Noise-Canceling Headphones

Through dual noise canceling technology, these Sony headphones provide excellent-quality sound. They feature extra bass settings for thumping beats and have ample padding on the ear cups and headband. They have a built-in microphone for hands-free calling, and the rechargeable battery lasts 30 hours. 

Sold by Amazon

Sony WHCH710N Noise-Canceling Headphones

These wireless Sony headphones use smart noise cancellation to block out ambient sounds when it matters most. The 30-millimeter audio drivers are housed in padded ear cups and have a built-in microphone. The battery lasts 35 hours and charges in minutes. 

Sold by Amazon

Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

These headphones are excellent if you need to hear every note or sound. The large 45-millimeter audio drivers are made with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils for accurate sound reproduction. They have a detachable cable, and the ear cups can swivel 90 degrees. 

Sold by Amazon

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones

With generous 53-millimeter audio drivers, these headphones produce accurate sounds for professional environments. The open-back ear cups produce no pressure on your ear canal, making them more comfortable. 

Sold by Amazon

Sennheiser

Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone System

These headphones are a must-have for any music lover or film buff, as they're developed specifically for TVs or home theater systems. The large drivers deliver clear audio with volume controls on the left ear cup. The wireless transmitter has a range of 330 feet, and the rechargeable batteries last 18 hours. 

Sold by Amazon

Sennheiser HD 450BT Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Headphones

Sleek and solidly constructed, the HD 450 headphones have a battery life of 30 hours and use Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connections. They have active noise cancellation to block ambient sounds and a built-in equalizer to automatically adjust to what you're listening to. They're compatible with Siri and Google Assistant. 

Sold by Amazon

Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Wireless Gaming Headset

These 50-millimeter audio driver wireless headphones are the perfect companion for PC or Xbox video games. They have a flip-to-mute microphone, the battery lasts 15 hours and they're compatible with Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone: X. They integrate Turtle Beach’s Superhuman Hearing that lets you hear the subtlety of sounds. 

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Turtle Beach Recon 70 PlayStation Gaming Headset

Turtle Beach is well-known among gamers for its exceptional headphones, and the Recon 70 are no different. Through the 3.5-millimeter jack, they're compatible with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox One gaming consoles as well as computers. The 40-millimeter speakers sufficiently produce rumbling lows and crisp highs. They have a flip-to-mute microphone and synthetic leather-wrapped ear cups. 

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SteelSeries

SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless Gaming Headset

Unlike other headphones that use a cable to connect to Microsoft’s Xbox One controller, these headphones have integrated Xbox Wireless technology. This means they connect directly to the console. They have 40-millimeter audio drivers, a ClearCast bidirectional microphone and ample padding on the ear cups. The rechargeable battery lasts 20 hours. 

Sold by Amazon

SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC Wired Gaming Headset

This wired headset comes with the GameDAC amplifier to turn your PC or PlayStation into a high-performance audio source. It's the first headset certified as a hi-res audio system with built-in DTS surround sound. In addition, the headset has a retractable Arctis ClearCast bidirectional microphone with background noise cancellation. These headphones are compatible with PS4, PS5 and PC but should also work with the Xbox Series X. 

Sold by Amazon

 

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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