Buyers Guide | Editorial Reviews

Editor’s Choice Best Headphones

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We’ve Pulled Together the Best Headphones for Your Dollar.

Why read five different sites  for Headphone Reviews?

What we’ve done is scavenged the web of editors top picks, from CNET to ZDNet and given you a one stop headphone guide.

Top Pick Headphones Price Sound Style
Sennheiser PX 100 Travel Headphones $39 Clear Mids/Bass Highs Can Peak
Koss Portapro Headphones $50 Clear Mids/Highs Predictable Base
Grado SR60 Headphones $65 Extended Bass Good Mids/Highs
Sennheiser HD 555 Headphones $170 A bit of Extended Bass Detailed
AKG K 701 $449 Detail Flat Response Huge Stage
Denon AH-D5000 $700 Warm Mids Crystal Clear Detail
Audeze LCD2 $945 The New Gold Standard
Sennheiser HD 800 1399 The Old Gold Standard
Top Pick Earbuds
Sound Magic PL30 $30 Adjustable Bass Clean Highs/Mids
Shure E3c Isolating Earphone $70 Deep Base Detailed Highs
Shure SE310 Isolating Earphones $299 Very well Balanced Detailed Clean
Shure SE535 Isolating Earphones $499 Unparalleled acoustic accuracy
Top Pick Travel / Bluetooth
Sennheiser PX 100 Travel Headphones $39 Clear Mids/Bass Highs Can Peak
Logitech FreePulse Wireless Headphones $99 Good Trade off for no wires
Sennheiser MM-450 Travel & Wireless Headphones $590 Fantastic sound for Bluetooth – many features

(Click Name to Jump for Review/Best Buys)

How to Choose Headphones:

Types of Headphones Types of Earphones
Sealed - Sealed headphones are ideal for noisy environments though they can cause some harmonic distortion due to seal design.

Open – Open headphones give the sound space to breathe, but they also let outside noise in. These are ideal for home use or somewhere quiet.

Circum-aural vs. Supra-aural – Circum-aural headphones fully cup the ear and rest against the head. These tend to be much more comfortable for extended listening sessions. Supra-aural rest against the ear and can be uncomfortable to some.

Ear Buds – Ear buds are cheap, both in price and sound, but they are great for action sports because if you loose or break them, $15 replacements wont break you.

Ear Canal – These earphones can sometimes be a hard fit inside your ear canal, which can drive some people crazy. But if you find a match, they do a fantastic job of isolating you from outside sound and they do sound great. For a price.

More information on how to choose what are the right headphones/earphones for you:
Headphones and earphones come in so many shapes, styles, and price range it can be over whelming to decide what is right for you. For this list I have tried to stay within the medium to pricey range for the above average listener. This selection won’t float the boat for professional sound mastering or strict audiophiles.
When choosing a pair of headphones you should consider where you are going to use them most. If these are for blocking out sound on a noisy subway or office you’ll want to consider sound isolating earphones or sealed headphones. If you are going to wear your headphones while snowboarding or mountain biking you’ll want to hunt for a “best of the bad” set of cheap ear buds. I go through about 3 pairs a year due to wear and tear and paying $15-$20 a pop doesn’t bust my bank.
For home use you should seriously consider open headphones because these provide the best possible sound quality but can push upwards for $600 for ultra high-end balanced headphones. Never fear, good sets like the Grado SR60 can be purchased for $65.
Now, thanks to blue tooth technology today you can also get your hands on a pair of cord free headphones. Unfortunately these run average of $100 and 80 percent or more of that is spent on the blue tooth.
Experts may all agree on the advantages or shortcomings of any product they review but, at AudioReview.com, we believe that the average consumer can best summarize all the details a product has to offer… So read what users have to says!


Last Updated 8/11/11

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  • Simon Wilsbury says:

    Thanks for the excellent headphone reviews. I’m looking for good quality in-ear IEM heapdhones to upgrade from the standard iPod earbuds. I also came across this http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/best-headphones-top-10.html 10 Best Headphone Reviews that has some other good ideas.

    • Ari says:

      There is a canal earphone set that you could look at. They have been referred to as the best headphones in existence. I like having a pair of the top reference monitors in your ears and properly inserted, they provide better base than most large speakers. But their placement is not liked by all. I have them and love them. I forget they are in my ears. They are the Entymotic Er4s. I paid around 300 I think. They will go for less. They have some new models. Amazingly accurate and clear. Cut out most background noise so you hear everything!

  • abhishek727 says:

    Didn’t you forget the Portapro by Koss? They are really great and would give any headphones a run for their money!

  • qinjuehang says:

    C’mon, the KOSS Protapros are quite a bit better than the PX100s, IMHO…surely they deserve a place here?

  • Dave says:

    The title of your review / article is “Editors Choice Best headphones” … I guess this could be something akin to a qualifying statement, where you later say “well we never claimed our editors knew what they were talking about”. But shame on you for playing this game. How could you possibly do a serious review (or a serious review of reviews as yours seems to attempt to be) without including the Sennheiser 600 or 650? The AKG 701? Any of the the UE IEM’s?

    Regards
    Dave

  • Rob says:

    In order to improve the performance of your high-quality headphones it is highly recommended, to use a portable headphone amplifier.

    You can find a nice selection of these at: portable-amplifier.com

  • pops says:

    Dear Folks,

    You have a boo-bo! Re Headphone reviews, the text is for the E2c – but your TITLE specifies the E3c!

    You need a fix kids.

    ‘Best,

    a.

    P.S. This isn’t a site about military secret, yet your security “words” are more complex than I’ve encountered while placing an order on a “HTTPS” site. Kids, it is really overkill.

  • adam says:

    hey pops -

    Thanks for catching that – and yes – i know – no military secrets but spammers are probably a lot smarter than your average military professional. No offense obviously to the military. Spammers on the other hand are the scourge of this here series of tubes.

    BTW – The refresh arrow will normally pull up an easier reCAPTCHA.

  • Avo says:

    Nuforce NE-6! These are fantastic at $39, better than the Etymotic ER4S that I’ve owned since 1994 (and for which I paid $330), and better than the Sennheiser PX100 and Koss Sprota-Pro (both of which I also own).

  • mario says:

    just wondering how would sony MDR-XB500 would stand against all of those ???

  • Tianquan G says:

    Why exclude the custom earphones?

    I personally support Unique Melody. They have the superb quality and beat others in price!
    http://www.custom-iem.com

    They are releasing their new flagship UM Miracle. I think the 6 driver beast will kick a lot of full-sized headphones’ asses.

  • Mona says:

    I am using Sennheiser in ear headphones for 2 years already, and it works perfectly! Of course it costs quite a bit but I surely say-it worth it!
    http://www.headphonesreviewinfo.com

  • Dundo says:

    Using Beyerdynamic DT990 for 20 years!! I can speak in supelatives only! I am using a pair of Philips earbuds for iPad, but Beyerdynamics rules! Needles to say that they are still being produced.

  • Earl H says:

    What about the Audio-Technica ATH-M50′s. You can look for a better can at about $170.
    Ill bet you wont find one.

  • Rich Harvey says:

    Why nothing from Ultimate Ears…..

  • FlexiMusic says:

    This blog is awesome……………………………………………………………….

  • harley.guy07 says:

    I have the Grado sr80i and it is a step above the 60 and with a good portable headphone amp like the Fiio E5 they totally blow my mind with my sansa player and is now a permanent part of my school bag necessities. the highs are detailed but smooth, the bass is tight and not boomy like some of the headphones out there and the mids are Grado awesome.

  • Nameless says:

    Where’s the electrostatics?

    If we’re going into LCD-2 or HD800 territory, that kind of budget can certainly buy a Stax system or a Koss ESP/950. Just another option to consider…

  • Ben says:

    Sennheiser PX100 breaks too easily, wires flimsy. Sound is a bit brittle in the top range, but sweet overall like all Senn.s.
    Grados sound great but are all uncomfortable. Not sure if they can be powered by an iPad.
    Koss PortaPro is superb with an iPad. Sound is loud and excellent, and it is resilient enough not to break too easily from portable use and is fully warranteed if it does break.

    If you don’t need an earbud/earcanal phone, go with PortaPro.

  • John says:

    So much Shure Earphones.. How can they top choice’s here and rated as overrated in audiophile forums(aka head-fi) ?
    Guess someone received a bribe..

  • Paul Hodges says:

    This is a good article but it kind of needs updating. There are not plenty more better headphones like the Sennheiser Momentum or for me it’s now the KEF M500. http://www.custom-cable.co.uk/kef-m500-headphones.html

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