15 Best High-End Headphones: Your Ultimate List

best high-end headphones

The right headphones make all the difference, that’s why we’re taking a look at the best high-end headphones to give you the cleanest listening experience possible.

Also of Interest: Best Audiophile Headphones for Gaming

What Are the Best High-End Headphones?

Sennheiser HD 820 Closed-Back Headphone Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Stylish, durable design
  • Arguably the best closed-back headphones around
  • Comfortable
Price: $1,799.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Audeze LCD-1 Audiophile Headphones Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Killer audiophile sound
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Very little distortion
Price: $369.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Ultrasone Performance 880 review Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Best soundstage on this list
  • Music has space to move
  • Looks super high-end
Price: $499.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Hi-Res Bluetooth Headphones Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Hi-res audio is a certificate of pure undiluted sound
  • The crisp sound quality is worth mentioning twice
  • It's got the comfort factor
Price: $699.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Sony MDRZ1R Signature Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Some of the best headphones on the market
  • Stunning design
  • Incredible tech under the hood
Price: $1,699.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Focal Clear Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent quality
  • Premium style
  • Surprisingly comfortable
Price: $1,490.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Ultrasone Pro 580i Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Killer soundstage
  • Bass that doesn't detract or overpower
  • Solid price point
Price: $199.88 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Puro Sound Labs: PuroPro Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Volume Limiting Headphones Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Exceptional ANC
  • Brilliant sound layers
  • Protects your hearing
Price: $199.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Ticks all the boxes
  • Alexa/Google Support
  • Great noise cancelation
Price: $299.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Grado SR325e Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Ultra stylish
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Surprisingly comfortable
Price: $382.42 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Somny WH1000MX3 Headphones Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Best noise-canceling headphones around
  • Upscales compressed audio
  • User-friendly design
Price: $298.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
TREBLAB Z2 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Great sound range
  • Comfortable
Price: $89.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Sennheiser Momentum Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Serious style
  • Great quality
  • You can't go wrong with Sennheiser
Price: $298.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent battery life
  • Brilliant quality in this price bracket
  • Fold down easily
Price: $258.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Treblab X3 Pro Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super affordable
  • Highspeed USB charging
  • 40 hours of up time
Price: $69.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Sennheiser HD 820 Closed-Back Headphones

    Pros:
    • Stylish, durable design
    • Arguably the best closed-back headphones around
    • Comfortable
    Cons:
    • Pricey
    • No other color options
    • Some will turn their noses up at closed-back

    While some audiophiles will turn their noses up at closed-back headphones, the Sennheiser HD 820 Closed-Back Headphones are the exception. 

    The Sennheiser Ring Radiator transducers are fitted with gorilla glass enclosures. Not only does this offer a peek at the tech inside, the concave glass is designed to reflect sound waves from the transducer to the absorber, meaning even though these are closed-back headphones, you’ll receive minimal resonance. 

    In terms of sound, this beast is slick. 

    On the comfort side of things, we’ve got handcrafted ear pads designed to reduce ambient noise as well as an inner damping element on the metal headband. 

    The headphones also come with a 4.4mm stereo jack (balanced) and a conventional 6.3mm jack (unbalanced). 

    As WhatHiFi notes in the site’s review, these are ideal home headphones, and although you may want to plug them directly into your phone, for the best listening quality we’d recommend checking out the Sennheiser HDV 820 Digital Headphones Amplifier

  2. 2. Audeze LCD-1 Audiophile Headphones

    Pros:
    • Killer audiophile sound
    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Very little distortion
    Cons:
    • Sound leakage
    • Cable needs to go to each ear cup
    • Lack of built-in controls

    90mm. Planar. Magnetic drivers. If there’s one reason to check out the Audeze LCD-1 Headphones, it’s the drivers. 

    I’ll be the first to admit to having a preference for closed-back headphones. That being said, Audeze understands the fundamentals of how to create an open-back sound stage, and the results are on another level. 

    It’s the lows that really pop. Those small intricacies you wouldn’t normally notice feel like they have their own level and blend effortlessly with mids and highs while maintaining independence.

    Another area audiophiles are sure to be impressed with is the lack of distortion at higher listening levels. I’ve tried blasting Travis Scott’s Sicko Mode at full volume and everything sounds clean and vibrant. It’s the same story for the Weeknd’s Blinding Lights. The sound envelops the listener and thanks to the open-back design, doesn’t become overbearing. You are going to have a higher amount of sound leakage due to the design, but that’s to be expected. 

    On the design side of things, Audeze knows how to make a stylish set of headphones. These things feel and look premium. As for comfort, there’s no tightness to the design. They feel soft on your head, to the point where you can only feel them on your ears. 

    It’s also worth noting these are a foldable design, which should be a mandatory feature in headphones these days. Some will surely complain about needing to plug the threaded cable into each ear cup, but honestly, it’s not an issue. The upper-cable is long enough that it doesn’t get in the way while listening. 

    It’s clear smart choices have been made when it comes to the LCD-1, whether it’s the drivers, the look, or the feel. The result? The clearest, most concise sound with an endless amount of breathability you’re sure to love. 

  3. 3. Ultrasone Performance 880

    Pros:
    • Best soundstage on this list
    • Music has space to move
    • Looks super high-end
    Cons:
    • Pricey
    • Uncomfortable for the first few seconds
    • Mobile adaptor is fine

    Can you maintain the spaciousness offered by open-back headphones in a closed-back design? Normally the answer would be a clear ‘no’, but thanks to some technical wizardry, the Ultrasone Performance 880 manage to do the impossible. 

    Open-back headphones offer a better listening experience – music being able to move without confinement will always produce clearer sound. The downside, however, open-backs let sound inward as well as out. Other people will hear your music, and you’ll be able to hear them complaining about you. That’s why many of us opt for the closed-back design. 

    What Ultrasone has crafted in the Performace 880 is a closed-back design with the space to allow sound to permeate. Drum snares make a satisfying click and flangers – in the case of Yungblud’s 11 Minutes – don’t suffer from the unnecessary distortion you’d normally find in other headphones. 

    All of the above is in part thanks to the 40mm titanium-coated transducer, and the inhumanly clever S-Logic Plus technology, which locates and amplifies instruments with surgical precision. 

    Bass is another area the Performace 880 sails through with ease. It’s not ear-rattling, but it’s more pronounced than, say, the sub $200 headphones on this list. What’s especially impressive is the way bass intertwines with its surroundings without overpowering instruments or vocals. You’ll feel it, but it won’t be deafened by it. It’s the perfect balance. 

    There is one other area I need to mention, and it’s something I’m still trying to make sense of. When you first put the Performance 880 on, the feeling of a nut in a vice comes to mind. Here’s the kicker, though: After a few seconds of wearing them, that discomfort fades away. I’m still not sure how it’s possible to go from ‘these are tight’ to ‘actually, they’re not’ in the space of a few seconds, but then the Performace 880 is all about the technical wizardry. 

    It’s also worth keeping in mind, if you’re looking to take this goliath out with you, you can grab the Ultrasone Wireless Adaptor (which works brilliantly, I should add) to turn the Performace 880 into the best wireless headphones you’ll ever own. 

    In short, the Performace 880 are some of the best headphones out there. If it’s style, insanely clever specs, and the purest soundstream around, you won’t regret picking them up. 

  4. 4. Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Hi-Res Bluetooth Headphones

    Pros:
    • Hi-res audio is a certificate of pure undiluted sound
    • The crisp sound quality is worth mentioning twice
    • It's got the comfort factor
    Cons:
    • Doesn't fold down
    • Pricier than the Grado SR325e (but a lot more affordable than the Sennheiser HD 820)
    • No other color options

    Do not underestimate the quality of hi-res audio. Once you’ve tried hi-res, you won’t go back. You don’t realize how much you’re missing until you try a pair of hi-res headphones with a hi-res album.

    It’s worth noting here, if the idea of replacing your entire collection with hi-res versions is off-putting, Tidal offers hi-res streaming, and you can sign up to a 30-day free trial to test out your new favorite headphones. Trust me, you won’t regret it. 

    I blasted through Panic at the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor in hi-res and the howling vocals and popping beats were unreal. 

    If it’s pure audio quality you’re after, the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Headphones are some of the best high-end headphones around. Maybe even the best wireless headphones around. 

    With a hardy 30-hour battery life and a control touchpad on the ear armor, you won’t find a clearer headphone. You can even adjust the sound quality and tailor it to your liking through the Beyerdynamic MIY app. 

    Sure, it’s pricey – not Sennheiser HD 820 pricey, but it’s still pricey. That said, given the sheer depth of sound on display here, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment in the longterm. 

  5. 5. Sony MDRZ1R Signature

    Pros:
    • Some of the best headphones on the market
    • Stunning design
    • Incredible tech under the hood
    Cons:
    • Pricey
    • The best audio quality ideally requires an amp
    • Again, pricey

    The Sony MDRZ1R Signature Headphones are your new favorite headphones. 

    I can never understate the importance of hi-res audio if you want to listen to music in the clearest way possible, and these headphones offer superior clarity.

    The 70mm HD driver married to the diaphragm with Magnesium dome and Liquid Crystal Polymer edge allows for up to 120kHz playback. To say this behemoth sounds great would be an understatement. 

    Sony also implemented an acoustic filter which alters air resistance to remove reverberations made by driver moment. 

    One thing I will note, to get the most out of these headphones, you’re going to need a good amp. Your phone will sound great, but for the best experience possible, we recommend the TAZH1ES amp. 

  6. 6. Focal Clear

    Pros:
    • Excellent quality
    • Premium style
    • Surprisingly comfortable
    Cons:
    • Pricey
    • Bass could be deeper
    • Looks like a (super-stylish) tank

    The Focal Clear may not be a name you’ve heard of, but if it’s pure quality you’re after, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with. 

    When The Verge reviewed the Clear, the site loved the quality but felt the bass could be somewhat deeper. 

    What’s crazy about this headset is while it looks like a tank, it’s deceptively comfortable. 

    Although I jest about it looking like a tank, these things just ooze premium. The grating effect is stylish and the bright silver pops. 

    Just keep in mind with the super-premium headphones, you are going to need a solid music setup to get the most out of them. Sure, your phone will never sound better, but for the best audio experience possible, you’ll be needing a good amp. 

  7. 7. Ultrasone Pro 580i

    Pros:
    • Killer soundstage
    • Bass that doesn't detract or overpower
    • Solid price point
    • Foldable design
    Cons:
    • Ultrasone headphones feel tight at first
    • The velor pads won't be for everyone (you can change them for synthetic leather)
    • Hard to find things to pick fault with

    Honestly, Ultrasone’s S-Logic tech is the best-kept secret in the industry. It’s that killer tech that places the Ultrasone Pro 580i head and shoulders above headphones that cost twice the price. 

    Without dropping a ton of tech-speak, the short version is this: The S-Logic tech permeates sound around the outer ear, resulting in a sound that’s more akin to speakers rather than jetting music directly into the ear. Is this better? It depends on who you ask. For me, audio moving around inside the space between an ear and the inside of the headphone means every element has space to breathe. If you funnel music directly into the inner ear, all at once, each level then needs to fight for dominance. The Ultrasone Pro 580i gives music space to breathe, and offers up a type of clarity of sound that’s unique to Ultrasone products. 

    Bass is one of those things that people either love or hate. Good bass should never overpower the other channels – it should emphasize, not detract. Bass is, in simple terms, music’s exclamation point. 

    What’s impressive about bass in the Ultrasone Pro 580i is how natural it feels. It’s got a heavy thud that bangs without overwhelming. S-Logic, eh? It’s a godsend. 

    In terms of comfort, Ultrasone is gonna Ultrasone. If you’ve used any other Ultrasone headphones before you know the drill. Put them on, complain about how tight they are, then five-seconds later realize they’re not that tight and actually really comfortable. The 580i isn’t quite as tight at first as the 880, but it’s tighter than most will be used to. As I say, though, that’s only when they’re first put on. You’ll climatize with them very quickly. 

    In short, if you’re after headphones that try something new and offer up sound that is distinctively unique, bass that knows its place, all wrapped in a premium feel, The Ultrasone Pro 580i are the headphones you’ve been searching for. 

  8. 8. Puro Sound Labs: PuroPro Hybrid ANC Volume Limiting Headphones | The Headphones I Use

    Pros:
    • Exceptional ANC
    • Brilliant sound layers
    • Protects your hearing
    • Easy to find buttons (AT LAST!)
    • 30-hours of usage per charge
    Cons:
    • No USB-C option
    • Comfort is average
    • Not great for bass-heads (good for everyone else, though)

    The highest praise I have for the Puro Sound Labs: PuroPro Headphones is that they’ve become my go-to. Out of all my headphones, they’re the ones I’m using. 

    I didn’t expect to love the PuroPro as much as I do. When you hear the term ‘volume-limiting,’ it’s hard not to worry that there’s some sort of compromise. As it turns out, there isn’t. The PuroPro are plenty loud despite also offering up protection against hearing damage. 

    I won’t drag on about this too much, but as we get older, if we want to continue to listen to music – and hear it in the clearest way possible – us older audiophiles need to think about protecting our hearing. If we damage it, we won’t be able to hear the subtle flicks of sound that get us all so excited. 

    Volume-limiting offers up two modes. One limits the sound to 85dB, the second to 95dB. As a quicky ‘fyi’, the 85dB setting is recommended by the World Health Organisation as the maximum safe sound listening. 

    Something else I’m very impressed by is the active noise cancellation tech (ANC). There are two settings, and I’ve been able to drown out most unwanted sounds. Of course, no ANC is perfect – even up in the several thousand dollar price point – but for the vast majority of sounds, the PuroPro does a solid job of filtering. 

    The next part isn’t something that a deal-maker, but holy heck I’m happy with the button placement. Put your right hand to your ear and your thumb will find the power and volume buttons with ease. I’m pretty sure I’m being slowly driven insane by button-placement on other headphones, so it’s nice to see Puro understand the most obvious placement is always, always the best. 

    So, let’s talk sound. The depth is there. There’s a richness to the different layers. There’s enough space for the different levels to permeate without one overpowering the other. One of the biggest shocks was how well the PuroPro reproduces snares. I honestly didn’t expect that to be something I’d write but here we are. Snares! Who knew that was something we were missing? 

    While the bass isn’t going to split your eardrums anytime soon, which is obvious given Puro’s commitment to protecting hearing, it’s there. If you’re a bass-head I would recommend grabbing an amp or DAC capable of boosting the bass, but for those of us who don’t like headaches and just want a faint hum, the PuroPro does the job. 

    Over on the comfort side of things, the memory foam earpads are a delight, and being able to swivel the cups into the right position (the headphones also fold inward for packing them away) means they can be moved into a position that feels right for you. I wouldn’t say the PuroPro are the most comfortable headphones in the world, but they’re not the worst either. They’re average in this department, which is fine when every other element sings so loudly. 

    As I say, I’m surprised by how enamored I am with the PuroPro. Exceptional ANC tech meets crystal sound backed by indispensable hearing protection. All at a price that is more than worth it. 

     

  9. 9. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

    Pros:
    • Ticks all the boxes
    • Alexa/Google Support
    • Great noise cancelation
    Cons:
    • Somewhat 'safe' look
    • Pricey (but not super-premium pricey)
    • Some won't like the chunky buttons (I do!)

    The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is a great set of headphones that ticks all the boxes. 

    It’s got Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, great noise cancelation, superb audio depth, and there’s app integration. It’s just a solid all-rounder. 

    The 20-hour battery life isn’t the longest charge in the world, but 20 hours is very manageable. And given most of us need to plug our phones into the wall every night, adding another piece of tech isn’t a huge sacrifice. 

    The ridged buttons are a great addition, too. Nothing’s worse than fiddling with your headphones trying to find the right buttons, am I right?

  10. 10. Grado SR325e Headphones

    Pros:
    • Ultra stylish
    • Excellent sound quality
    • Surprisingly comfortable
    Cons:
    • Not everyone will like the look
    • Some people don't like black?
    • There really isn't much else to grumble about here

    The Grado SR325e headphones are a love/hate scenario. Either you see these 60’s style headphones and it’s love at first sight or you carry on scrolling. 

    If you’re reading this, you’ve made the right choice. 

    While these headphones lack deep bass, Grado is all about the subtle details you wouldn’t normally hear. Blast something classical and the sounds will pop like never before. 

    The powder-coated housing is designed to offer smoother transitions between frequency ranges, and while we’re talking housing, these are open-back headphones, so if closed-back isn’t your thing, you’re in luck. 

    Grado knows sounds, and the Brooklyn company has mastered the art of crisp beats.

    If you’re after something in a more affordable price bracket that, in all fairness, should cost a lot more than it does, you won’t go wrong with these stylish Grado headphones. They really are one of the best high-end headphones money can buy. 

  11. 11. Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

    Pros:
    • Best noise-canceling headphones around
    • Upscales compressed audio
    • User-friendly design
    Cons:
    • Pricey (but worth it)
    • Sleek but very safe design
    • No other color options

    Thanks to the HD Noise Cancelling Processor, the Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones are the best noise-destroying headphones on the market. 

    Having a dedicated noise-canceling processor means your music won’t be affected due to performance, making for a set of headphones you can truly lose yourself in. 

    If you’re into heavy, thumping beats, the 40mm drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer diaphragm offer up ranges of up to 40kHz. Nice!

    These beasts also come with Digital Sound Enhancement Engine HX, meaning your MP3s will be upscaled to bring them as close to hi-res as possible. Also nice!

    The Sony WH1000MX3 also comes with Alexa built-in, so if you want to answer phone calls while on the go, the option’s there. 

    In short, if you want to delete the sounds of the world around you and engross yourself in this music you love, the Sony WH1000XM3 is worthy of your consideration. 

  12. 12. Treblab Z2 | Best Budget Headphones

    Pros:
    • Affordable
    • Great sound range
    • Comfortable
    Cons:
    • Isn't USB 3.0
    • Bass is great, but bassheads may find it lacking
    • Ear cups can sometimes create pressure when moving them

    I’ve recently been playing with the Treblab Z2 and I’m amazed by how great they are. 

    The Z2 are incredibly affordable. They’re not cheap, though. Not by a long shot. 

    The build on these things feels premium. We’ve got swivel cups, a rather luscious metallic plate, and a hardy carry bag. 

    Of course, none of that matters if the sound quality isn’t there. You can feel as premium as you want, but if the headphones can’t replicate sound correctly, they’re dead on arrival. 

    Making use of Advanced Sound 2.0 tech along and boasting aptX high-performance neodymium-backed 40mm speakers, the Z2 delivers sound clearly. 

    Highs come out as clear as some of the more expensive headsets. I tested the Z2 first with Eminem’s Music to be Murdered By and was shocked by how clean everything sounds. 

    Mids, again, come out clear. There’s enough space inside the padded ear cups to let the music permeate. The bass levels may not be for everyone. The bass is there, but it’s not exactly ear-popping. 

    Personally, I’m a fan of the bass levels. Too many headphones drown out highs and mids with bass, so I’m very down with a slight humming. 

    The other area where these headphones surprise is in the noise-canceling department. The T-Quiet tech works well. It’s not perfect, but then how many noise-cancelers work flawlessly? 

    You also get a meaty 35-hours of usage per charge, making the Z2 a tempting prospect for working out. 

    As I say, I’m still a little shocked by how solid the Treblab Z2 wireless headphones are. Cheap doesn’t have to mean cheap, and the Z2 is proof you can move the needle at the lower end of the price scale. 

  13. 13. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0

    Pros:
    • Serious style
    • Great quality
    • You can't go wrong with Sennheiser
    Cons:
    • Some heathens don't care about style
    • Brown leather isn't for everyone
    • That's it, really

    Sennheiser makes the best headphones, period. But if you’re after a more affordable option, check out the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0

    So, as it’s Sennheiser we know these things are going to sound great. So where does this pair of headphones excel? It’s all in the style. 

    The leather band around the top is striking, and the ear pads are designed for comfort. In a similar vein, the ear cups are attached to high-end ball joints, meaning you can adjust the placement of the cups to get them in the exact right position. 

    Style, clear audio, and a much lower price point than the super-premium headphones on this list make the Momentum 2.0 headphones easy to recommend. 

  14. 14. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT

    Pros:
    • Excellent battery life
    • Brilliant quality in this price bracket
    • Fold down easily
    Cons:
    • Your ears will be quite warm after a long session
    • Some don't like the chunky design (I do!)
    • Mic is reported to not be great

    Finding a high-quality set of wireless headphones isn’t easy. Thankfully, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT is the real deal. 

    Equipped with 45mm drivers with a frequency response of 15 to 28,000 Hz, these headphones are lush. 

    If you’re after headphones for commuting, the frankly ridiculous 40-hour continuous use time is going to keep you going for some time. One hour to work, one hour back and you’ll still have plenty of charge left by the weekend. Nice!

    Adding further to the travel-friendly nature of these headphones, they fold down easily, meaning slipping them into a bag when you’re finished is a breeze. 

    If you’re after crisp headphones for travelling, you won’t go wrong with the ATH-M50xBT. 

  15. 15. Treblab X3 Pro | Perfect for Working Out

    Pros:
    • Super affordable
    • Highspeed USB charging
    • 40 hours of up time
    • Comes with extra rubber ear pieces
    • Very comfortable
    • Perfect for the gym
    Cons:
    • I still prefer the beefier Treblab Z2 for home use
    • Looks like Powerbeats Pro
    • Vocals can be slightly tinny

    I don’t know how, but Treblab has been killing it of late with the company’s high-quality yet affordable range of headphones. 

    The Treblab X3 Pro is perfect for those looking to workout. They fit ears perfectly, and even the most vigorous workouts won’t send these things flying.

    There’s some clear inspiration coming from the design of the Powerbeats Pro, and while they won’t rattle your head with bass like the Powerbeats will, they’ve still got a solid depth of sound. 

    The bass in the X3 Pros is more of a hum than a pound. Mids and highs are clear, but there is a slight tinniness to vocals. While that may put some off, it’s worth keeping in mind these are earphones rather than headphones, so a dip in sound quality somewhere is expected. Earphones, broadly speaking, lack the space to let sound permeate and bounce around when compared with chunky headphones. This is a problem specific to Treblab, it’s more a problem with earphones in general. 

    If it’s ultra-high sound quality on a budget you’re after, I’d go with the Treblab Z2, instead. But if you’re after something for the gym, the X3 Pro is sure to do the job and then some. 

    It’s also worth mentioning the X3 Pro boasts a massive 40 hours of battery life. Compare that with the AirPods measly 24 hours and sometimes going budget is the better option. 

    You also get an extra 9 hours of charge in the USB 3.0 charging case. So when you’re on the way home, and the X3 Pro are in the case, it’ll charge them. Nice!

Open-Back vs Closed-Back: What's the Difference?

At the risk of delving into nonsensical jargon, the best way to look at the difference between open-back and closed-back headphones is noise disturbance. 

Open-back headphones allow the air to get in, which in turn creates a richer audio environment. This is great when you're at home with nothing to bother you, but head outside and you'll be able to hear birds chirp and cars speed past. 

Closed-back, on the other hand, lacks the same depth as open-back headphones but provides a much cleaner listening experience free from background noise (and that's before you factor in noise-canceling technology). 

As for which is better, it all comes down to how you're going to be using your headphones. If it's for commuting, then closed-back is the way to go. But if it's sitting around the house and rocking to beats by yourself, open-back is well worth considering. 

Best Audiophile Wireless Headphones

If you're after the best audiophile headphones, then I'd suggest checking out our 10 Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones guide. 

In it you'll find all the slickest options when it comes to wireless headphones that offer nothing but the cleanest audio. 

Best Budget Audiophile Headphones

Everyone has their own definition of budget when it comes to headphones. If we're talking sub $200, then the Sennheiser HD 569 is worth looking at. 

While these headphones lack the quality and crispness of the more high-end headphones, they are the perfect entry-level headphones. 

What is Frequency Response?

Anyone who's into high-quality music will have heard the term frequency response at some point. But what does it even mean and how does it work? Keep on reading. 

Without jamming your head full of nonsensical jargon, the easiest way to understand frequency response is how well a device can handle the frequencies being applied to it and whether a device makes any changes to the frequency. 

Still with us? Cool.

Ideally, what we want is what's called a flat frequency. Think of a straight line where an output device (phone, amp, laptop, etc) produces frequencies to the external device (headphones or speakers). A straight line would mean all the frequencies are being transferred to the external device, resulting in the near-perfect audio experience. 

That, however, is rarely possible. When you factor in headphone drivers, vibrations from the internal components, differing sound cards on PCs - the list could go on forever - getting frequencies without any interruptions from point A to B isn't straightforward. 

Again, I don't want to bog you down with too much tech-speak (we're not getting into differing decibels right now), but the short version is some headphones do a better job of transferring the frequencies, resulting in a far greater sound. 

It's also worth keeping in mind, the average person has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Hearing is complicated, though. Some say 40kHz headphones are the best and they can hear the difference, others say the extra range isn't worthwhile. It all comes down to personal experience. 

One final point - I'll make it quick so you don't' scream at me! - frequency range doesn't equal quality. It just means the headphones are capable of permeating frequencies within that range. Whether the tech in the headphones does a good job of getting those frequencies to your ears without making any changes, is a whole other thing, which is why we've been so selective with this list and only cover the good while ignoring the bad. 

Solve the Bass Problem with the Helm Audio DB12 AAAMP

I was able to test out Helm Audio's DB12 AAAMP and I gotta say, I'm impressed. 

This pocket-sized amp is designed with phones in mind (though I'm now using it more on my Chromebook). It adds a 12dB volume boost to any headphones, is THX-certified, and has a battery life of six-hours. 

That's all great and all, but the real seller for me is the 6dB bass boost. Even on the most generic headphones, this thing brings bass to life. 

It won't rattle your ears like Beats, but if you want something that thrums hard, I'd definitely consider picking up this amp if you're a bass-head. 

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