As a software engineer, there are several things that I am very picky about. Laptops, mechanical keyboards, mice and headphones. With so much variety in headphone styles, including wired and wireless models, you may want to consider more than one pair for different uses. This headphone buying guide will help you to find the perfect headphone that fit your ears and match your style!
I’m a music lover, I put on my headphone while I am coding. Listening to music helps me focus, improve efficiency and creativity. Having a good headphone make a huge difference, and you maybe keep them for years. So what headphone to buy in 2018?
- Sound Quality the most important factor of the headset. Unfortunately, there is no definitive explanation of the constituents of sound quality (From CSE), so it depends more on how it feels, like food tastes, but good Sound Quality is also able to tell.
- Sound Levels allow you to distinguish amoung different instruments in a song.
- Open or closed Headphones determine whether affected by the external environment. If it’s noisy, maybe closed headphones is good, but when you are in the quiet and beautiful place, open headphones is better.
- Comfort keep the headphones nonintrusive and comfortable is one of the most important factors, if you listen for many hours.
If you want to choose a gaming headset. You may also want to pay attention to the following points.
- Localization is a listener’s ability to identify the location or origin of a detected sound in direction and distance. Likes the name it means location positioning.
- Sound fields the dispersion of sound energy within given boundaries. It means spatial positioning.
- Microphone which you need to communicate with other players.
For wireless headphones, You need to consider:
- Battery Life, it’s not a problem for wired headphones, but for wireless headphones, we have to consider battery life. Wireless earbuds are rated for 6 to 8 hours, while wireless headphones can last about 25 hours.
- Wear Stability, wireless headphones (or earbuds) usually be used when moving, so it need to be hold firmly.
- Phone Calls, it will be convenient, if wireless headphones (or earbuds) can make cell phone calls.
Top Open Back Headphone list
|1. Superlux HD 681 Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones||4.2||Check Price|
|2. Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones||4.3||Check Price|
|3. Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-ear Headphones||.4.6||Check Price|
|4. Sennheiser HD 598 SR Open-Back Headphone||4.4||Check Price|
|5. Philips X2/27 Fidelio Over Ear Headphone||4.3||Check Price|
Top Close Back Headphone list
|1. Monoprice 108323 Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style Over-the-Ear Pro Headphone||4.1||Check Price|
|2. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Professional Monitor Headphones||4.5||Check Price|
|3. Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed Back Headphone||4.4||Check Price|
|4. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, 250 ohms||4.5||Check Price|
Open Back Headphones buyers guide
1. Superlux HD 681 Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones
While 'audiophile' and 'budget' are usually mutually exclusive, but as a enthusiast community we hope to give users more choices. The Superlux HD681 belongs to the kind of high quality, which can give you good sound, but not expensive headphones. There is even a page (pdf) detailing how to custom this Headphone. You can read it here .
Let's discuss more details. The Superlux HD681 is surprisingly well-built for the small amount of money paid (less than $30), with a sturdy plastic frame and vinyl earcups that encircle your ears comfortably. For the design, it's not so fresh, but more emphasis on their own personality. They look like a sewing machine accident. Lots of red knobs and strange mechanical gears.
- Approach hi-fi quality with a very detailed sound, and have a very even bass response.
- They are well-constructed, comfortable.
- Insanely cheap.
- Not very dynamic and can compress some music.
- Can sound shrill with bright material.
For more information about Superlux HD 681 Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones，please check out customer reviews on Amazon.
2. Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones
After AKG’s classic K240-series monitors, the HD668B features a simple-yet-functional construction of black plastic and vinyl. The inner pad diameter of the Superlux is quite large and they are fully circumaural. Clamping force is moderate and the headphones are very light. The cups maybe a bit shallow, but the pads can be stuffed to alleviate the issue. The vinyl used on the head and earpads is thick and smooth, and tends to invoke sweat more easily than the padding of most DJ cans.
Though the HD668B is a semi-open headphone, but it has very decent isolation and leaks suprisingly little. So it can be used in quiet environment like a library.
Let's talk about the most important part - sound quality.The drivers Superlux crammed into the 668B are very, very impressive and compare to it's price, the sound is quite good. The general signature is balanced, crisp, and neutral in tone. The bass not at all exaggerated, instead appearing tight, quick, and accurate. Technically, they extend quite low but bass notes really thin out below 50Hz and without the typical bass 'rumble' which present in many consumer-class headphones. Bass texture and detail are also quite good - the Senn HD25-II perform just a little better when it comes to portraying subtle nuances between low notes, but then it is nearly four times the price.
- impressive price/performance ratio.
- Giant killer sound performance.
- Removable cable and replaceable earpads.
- Lightweight design.
- Plasticky build quality.
- Uncomfortably tight for some listeners.
For more information about Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones，please check out customer reviews on Amazon.
3. Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-ear Headphones
When you first put these headphones on your head, you will immediately notice the excellent comfort provided by the double layered headband padding and the breathable ear cushion for longer wearing comfort. The SHP9500 as one of the most comfortable full-size headphones at this price, and the self-adjusting headband always provides just the right clamping force. Although the earpads are not replaceable, their quality is good, so they will likely outlive the headphones themselves. Also the open-back design ensures a good ventilation.
The design is professional and the headphones are well constructed. We have never noticed any unwanted sounds, resonance, or other general annoyance during our testing.
The 50mm neodymium drivers are designed to deliver a full sound and accurately all frequencies. We have found the sonic character of the SHP9500 to be midrange-centric. However, that definitely doesn’t mean that the headphones would be unable to cope well with lows and highs.
Bass, especially, is represented accurately, which could make a few bassheads feel like the headphones lack a punch. In reality, they simply do their best to avoid unnecessary sound coloration. Many happy owners have found them to work amazingly well for home instrument practice, including the piano and drums.
There's also another choice Philips SHP9500S 50mm drivers HiFi Stereo Headphones SHP9500S
- Comfortable design.
- Good audio reproduction.
- Durable build.
- Big and bulky headphones.
- Open-back design leaks a lot.
- Very sensitive to ambient noise.
For more information about Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-ear Headphones，please check out customer reviews on Amazon.
4. Sennheiser HD 598 SR Open-Back Headphone
The open-backed Sennheiser HD 598SR headphones offer a jazzed-up take on the HD 595, which have been part of Sennheiser’s over-the-ears range for more than five years. The main structure is made of plastic, the headband from foam and leather, the cups from fleece and metal grilles supply these ‘phones’ open backs. There are glossy “Burl wood” veneers that surround the speaker grilles and hem-in the leather part of the headband, but they’re purely aesthetic and shouldn’t affect the HD 598SR’s sound whatsoever.
Unlike the Sennheiser HD 595 headphones, the HD 598SR’s cable is removable. A 2.5mm jack plugs into the headphone itself, while a twist-to-lock mechanism keeps the cable safely in place when attached – a simple yank won’t pull it out. At the other end of the cable sits a 6.3mm jack, but Sennheiser also includes a 3.5mm converter, so you can plug it directly into a portable MP3 player.
The updated design of these headphones seemingly hasn’t added any flab, as they weigh the same as the original HD 595s – significantly lighter than the popular, more expensive Sennheiser HD 650s. They’re exceptionally comfortable, thanks to the team effort made by the padded leather headband, velour ear cups, lightweight construction and over-ear design. They do apply some slight pressure to the sides of your head, but they can be worn all day long, and all night too, without any discomfort.
- Wide 'open-back' sound.
- Well-measured, powerful bass.
- Good with movies and games too.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Leaks a lot of sound.
For more information about Sennheiser HD 598 SR Open-Back Headphone，please check out customer reviews on Amazon.
5. Philips X2/27 Fidelio Over Ear Headphone
The Philips Fidelio X2s headphones have a big reputation to live up to. Their predecessors, the X1s, went straight to the leaderboard on their debut. Finally philips has decided against going back to the drawing board for the winning formula, instead opting to tweak its existing model. The X2s have new drivers, which use the multi-layered diaphragm technology introduced in the brand’s S2 in-ears. This, it claims, gives more accurate bass response and a cleaner, more transparent treble. The jack is now 3.5mm too, though a 6.3mm adapter is included.
The cosmetic changes aren’t drastic either, and taking after their beautiful, solidly built predecessors, the X2s feature mesh open-back ear cups; memory foam, velour-covered ear pads to die for; and a detachable (3m) cable and clip. The leather headband is as strong as ever and the familiar mesh band sits below for your comfort.
We’re glad (albeit not surprised) to hear the X1s’ spacious and smooth sound come has been preserved in the X2s, especially when it’s presented with extra dollops of detail, clarity and solidity. It’s a hugely listenable sound. There’s good instrument separation and insight from top to bottom, and their precise, organised manner isn’t a trade off for punch. Each note is punctual in the cohesive presentation and the drubbing bassline drives the track with aplomb. There’s bite to the proceedings too and dynamics are rendered with confidence. Vocals are full of feeling and cymbals wash over the top with precise detail. If anything, the balance is slightly bottom-heavy, but you can’t fault the X2s’ taut, tuneful and controlled quality.
Still, the Philips Fidelio X2s are worthy alternatives. And if you’re looking for unrivalled comfort and an eye-pleasing design to boot, there’s none better
- Bass is full and fun.
- Mids are clean.
- Soundstage and Efficiency
- Inline remote lacks volume controls.
- Leaks some sound.
For more information about Philips X2/27 Fidelio Over Ear Headphone，please check out customer reviews on Amazon.
Closed Back Headphones Review
1. Monoprice 108323 Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style Over-the-Ear Pro Headphone
Monoprice has quantity pricing for nearly everything it sells, so if you buy two pairs of 8323 headphones it knocks the price down from $21.59 to $21.23. In any case, Monoprice sells the 8323 model with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The 8323 headphones' cable is detachable, and therefore user-replaceable. The headphones come with two cables: a skinny 50-inch-long one and a thicker 11.5-foot-long one. Both cables are terminated with 3.5mm plugs and there's a 3.5-to-6.3 adapter plug so you can hook up the 8323 headphones to your home stereo. But there's no Apple-friendly in-line remote compatibility or mic, but when you're outdoors or traveling, the over-the-ear design provides a fair amount of isolation from external noise. The hinged earcups allow for compact storage.
The Black Keys' full-on stomp-rock kicked like a mule over the 8323s. The headphones' bass-midrange-treble balance is nice and smooth, which makes it suitable for those with audiophile tastes. The design is closed-back, and while most really inexpensive closed-back headphones can sound canned or hollow, these suffer no such problems. I compared the 8323 with a much more expensive closed-back pair, the Audio Technica ATH-WS55 headphones, and preferred the WS55 for their superior detailing and livelier dynamics, but the 8323s weren't totally clobbered by the comparison. The Monoprice headphones were definitely more comfortable, and some listeners might prefer their more laid-back tone.
- remove-able cable! Comes with two sets of cables as well!
- Booming bass (fiio e10)|overall build is somewhat flexible and quite sturdy.
- Somewhat tight headband.
- Prolonged wear may cause heat and sweat.
2. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Professional Monitor Headphones
The ATH-M40x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones are the number one bestselling product in the Recording Headphone Audio Monitors category on Amazon. Over 1,000 customer reviews average a rating of 4.5 stars, making these headphones not only popular, but also highly recommended by a range of consumers.
This headphone model from Audio-Technica includes top-notch earpads and headband padding to make the listening experience more comfortable. For additional convenience, the cable for these headphones is removable, and the entire structure is foldable.Especially after reading some of the thousands of glowing customer reviews of the ATH-M40x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, it is clear that this product is not only of an exceptionally high quality, but also a great value for the price. This model includes almost all of the features of the most advanced Audio-Technica studio headphones, but costs under $100; an outstanding price for a device of its caliber.
Despite the affordability of the ATH-M40xs, audio professionals will find that the sound quality is up to an expert standard. The circumaural design eliminates ambient sound for a clear, private listening experience, while the extended frequency range and flat tuning make for fantastic accuracy of sound. For one-ear studio monitoring, the earcups swivel 90 degrees.
- Sound quality not bad.
- Great value for the price.
- Closed-ear design will cause ear fatigue after extended periods of use.
3. Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed Back Headphone
The 598 Cs comes packaged with two removable cables – one 4 ft (1.2 m) 3.5mm stereo cable with an in-line mic and remote, and one 10 ft (3 m) 1/4” stereo cable for home or studio use. Aside from these two accessories, this headphone forgoes any other additional accessories. Deep and soft velour earpads go a long way in terms of comfort, while thick pleather padding on the headband takes the comfort even further. The earcups perfectly ensconce my large-ish ears, remaining comfortable for hours on end. The headband is entirely plastic, with plastic extenders. Like the other 598 models, this leads to a lightweight yet sturdy feel.
Before my listening session, I was willing to bet that soundstage would suffer on these closed-back headphones – especially when compared to the soundstage of the open-back 598 models. However, quite astoundingly, the soundstage has ample depth and excellent placement. While it might never sound as open as other 598 models, it’s still close enough to fool my ears. This sense of soundstage particularly compliments the luscious high end – for lovers of classical music or female chanteuses, this headphone offers clear benefit.
Excelling at the high end of its frequency range, while simultaneously offering a tactile sense of soundstage, the Sennheiser HD 598 Cs is a welcome addition to the manufacturer’s catalog. And with a low price of just $149, it’s a clear contender with entrenched stalwarts from the likes of Audio Technica, AKG, and others. Need more detail in your high end? Audition the 598 Cs and fall in love.
- Wonderful warm and detailed sound.
- Detachable cable.
- Speaker grille an acquired taste
4. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, 250 ohms
The DT770 Pro 80 Ohm is built like a strong beefy thing that was designed in the 80’s. Because that’s kind of what it is. The headband is solid metal, covered by a replaceable pad attached with snaps. The ear cups are made of a hard composite textured plastic, akin to a musical instrument case. The ear cups are huge, and covered with giant soft velour pads that provide lots of isolation and long-wearing comfort.
The cable is ten feet long, straight, and non-detachable. Twitch. It’s terminated in a 3.5mm plug with a 6.3mm adapter included in the box. The cable is made from a nice, pliable material, and it’s pretty easy to work with actually. I’ve had no issue using this headphone at a coffee shop by just coiling the cable a bit. But you wouldn’t want to walk around with these unless you’re going to dedicate a pocket to the cable.
The DT 770 are great-sounding closed-back headphones. They have an excellent and extended Bass, a nearly flawless Mid-Range reproduction, and very good imaging and distortion performance. However, their Treble is on the bright and sibilant side, they don't have the most open Soundstage. Also their Bass response can vary from one individual to another.
Finally, Beyerdynamic’s DT770 Pro 80 Ohm is a great closed-back headphone with a wide soundstage, ample speed, good bass and treble performance, and long-wearing comfort.
- Studry, durable build quality.
- Great audio reproduction.
- Tight on the head.
- Tight on the head.
I hope you have picked the best headphone after reading this headphone buying guide, enjoy the music!
One last thing, if you are crazy about sound quality and you are in low budget, I highly recommend this vacuum tube integrated amplifier.
It is inexpensive (~$50), and it greatly improves the sound quality.
“Without music, life would be a mistake.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idolsuoted text.
Let’s learn some principles about Headset. First of all, we should know that the sound is generated by the vibration of the object. The generally accepted standard range of audible frequencies is 20 to 20,000 Hz. No matter what kind of headphones are creating sound waves by vibration. Where is the difference between them? The answer is Dirver Unit, which converts an electrical signal into sound. Next, let’s look at several different types of Dirver Units.
DYNAMIC (OR Moving-coil) DRIVERS
The most common type used in headphones, which use larger diaphragms. It is the most preferred as they do a better job at producing powerful bass and achieve the right amount of sound pressure without using a lot of power. However the concept of bigger driver unit – better bass doesn’t apply to dynamic drivers.
BALANCED ARMATURE DRIVERS
These are very well suited for In Ear Monitors because they are quite small in size. But why would you want to have a small driver that displaces more air? Simply because you can have more of them! Most IEMs have anywhere between 1-4 balanced armature drivers per earpiece & Custom IEM’s can have up to 20.
PLANAR MAGNETIC DRIVERS
You will find planar magnets in high-end headphones. With this technology a diaphragm is sandwiched between magnets. A wire is made to go through the diaphragm in a serpentine pattern creating an electromagnetic field that can interact with the magnetic field creating sound waves. Audeze headphones are a remarkable example.
Most headphones use a moving-coil or dynamic driver. Electrostatic drivers are extremely expensive & uncommon. These headphones use a thin electrically charged diaphragm that are placed between two conductive plates or electrodes. A special amplifier is required to amplify the sound.
Hybrid Drivers are a relatively new technology which is a combination of dynamic and balanced armature drivers. This means audiophiles can enjoy a balance of both deep dynamic bass and bright treble. These earphones are easy on the eyes, but not so much on the pocket!
Open Back vs Close Back
Open-back headphones are designed so that the outer shell of the ear covering is perforated in some fashion, typically with horizontal cutouts. Closed-back headphones have a solid outer shell with no perforations of any sort such that the shell effectively cups the entire ear. Think of open-back models as having a colander-like-shell (lots of openings) and closed-back models as having a mixing-bowl-shell (solid construction from edge to edge, no openings).Open-back headphones are designed so that the outer shell of the ear covering is perforated in some fashion, typically with horizontal cutouts.
Now, while the terminology corresponds clearly to the physical design of the headphones it doesn’t do a very good job indicating what exactly which one should be chose. We provide a simplar standard. If your environment is quiet, or if you like to feel immersed in the surrounding environment, such as listening to music at the same time, feel the sound of rain with the wind blowing, then open-back is your choice. If you need absolute quiet, do not want any sound other than music to bother you, then close-back is the better choice.
In understanding these above, then we’ll review different brands with different price (from low to professional) headphones.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
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