10 Best Audiophile Headphones 2016

Heads up, audiophiles — this is indeed what you’ve been looking for: the best high-end headphones that satisfy your most inner ear buds. Yes, we know that’s not a real thing, but this article is about headphones, not science. This article will go over the 10 best audiophile headphones on the market and detail the 3 best in depth.

The high-end headphones listed below bring the extraordinary sound, build quality, and comfort needed to justify their hefty price tags. If you’ve got the cash to drop and the senses to appreciate what you’ll be hearing, these ‘phones will deliver impressively clear accuracy and deep sound profile tones. If you’re in need of the best of the best, read on.

Top 10 Best Audiophile Headphones Overview Chart

PictureNameOpen/ClosedPriceRating (1-5)
PictureNameOpen/ClosedPriceRating (1-5)
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor HeadphonesClosed$$$4.7
2. Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear HeadphonesOpen$$$4.6
3. Beyerdynamic DT-770-PRO-32 Closed Dynamic Headphone for Mobile Control and Monitoring ApplicationsClosed$$$$4.6
4. Sennheiser HD 650 HeadphonesOpen$$$$$4.6
5. V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal HeadphoneClosed$$$$$4.6
6. Grado Prestige Series SR80e HeadphonesOpen$$4.6
7. Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro Headphones (250 Ohm)Semi-open$$$$$4.6
8. Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Acoustically Open HeadphonesOpen$$$$4.5
9. Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor HeadphonesClosed$4.5
10. Sennheiser HD 558 HeadphonesClosed$$4.5

What’s the Deal With Open Vs Closed Backs?

Historically, the best headphones money could buy have always been open-back designs. Lately, however, some shockingly good closed-back headphones have cropped up that rival any open-back sound quality. Here’s the main difference:

Open backs evoke a band in a concert hall, while closed backs feel like a band in your head. The reason for this is pretty simple: open-back headphones allow the music to escape in all directions, thus literally creating sound all around you. Closed-back cans, on the other hand, block sound from leaving the headphones and shoot all that goodness straight into your dome. This makes you feel like you’re have a mini orchestra tap away on your brain folds.

The style you choose largely depends on your lifestyle. Open backs are often the best for mixing, mastering, and DJ:ing. As we already mentioned, they’ve long been the industry standard, which counts for something. If you plan on using these headphones in public a lot, however, closed backs may be the way to go. It’s not polite to share your tunage with others.

Other Important Factors to Consider

The two other very important factors are size and technology. Size matters because even if a pair of cans produces the music of a thousand angels, if they don’t fit right on that weird shaped head of yours, you won’t be able to enjoy it. There’s some pretty chunky headphones on the market these days, especially audiophile-level ones such as these. If you’re buying in store, it’s always helpful to try them on, even if that means getting everyone else’s germs on your head. If you buy online, study the reviews as best as possible.

Technology is (obviously) important for a few reasons. Chief among them: don’t buy bass-heavy headphones if you listen to a lot of classical. And conversely, don’t skimp out on the base-boost headphones if you listen to a lot of hip hop. Paying the extra money to get the set that’s right for your needs is worth it. Dropping $200 for a so-so pair of ‘phones is a worse sin than paying $400 for a pair that works right.

Top 3 Best Audiophile Headphones Reviews

1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional

Audio-Technica is a well-respected headphone brand. Unquestionably the best of their collection are the ATH-M50s. You’ll see these headphones floating around the top of a number of “best-of” lists, but we place these a step above every other headphone on the market.

The first thing any audiophile will do is press play. Right away, you’ll notice the extremely balanced and detailed sound. What also becomes one of your favorite things about this pair of phones is the super tight bass. No loose ends — just the pure depth of sound.

Audio-Technica uses sophisticated driver technology to deliver exceptional power handling with very high SPL capabilities. All this power only emphasizes the maintained clarity of sound, even throughout extended range — the deep base and outstanding highs.

Since you’ll no doubt have these things on all day (even in public since they’re closed-back), you’ll appreciate how soft and comfortable the ear pads are. As a nice perk, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 are reasonably priced as well. The sound quality of these are top of the line. Any audiophile would approve.

2. Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear

Sennheiser has one goal: to deliver their audiophile-oriented customers with the most accurate-sounding headphones possible. The HD 598 is their best achievement of that goal. With Sennheiser’s Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement technology, these cans perfectly guide the sound right to your ears. In addition to the perfect placement of sound, the HD 598s also come complete with powerful neodymium magnets, Duofol drivers, and lightweight aluminum voice coils. The resulting sound is nothing short of magnificent. The depth of sound is incredibly detailed and boasts a higher resolution than previous models.

Once you put them on, you won’t want to take them off as the velvet ear cushions are extremely comfortable. In fact, the HD 598s are probably the most comfortable pair of headphones Sennheisers has released to date. We highly recommend the Sennheiser HD 598 to anyone looking for a pair of headphones with precision sound quality and a wide-open soundstage.

3. Beyerdynamic DT-770-PRO-32

Another pair of closed-back headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT-770 round out our top 3 audiophile headphones. For years, the DT-770s have been the staple for studio engineers and audiophiles alike. Even after being on the market for a few years, this comes as no surprise. The amazing clarity and accuracy still shines through just as bright as ever. Perhaps better than any other set of cans on this list, the DT770s pull out every last ounce of detail in any music or recording.

It’s a good thing they do. If there is a downside to the 770s, it’s that the 250 Ohms will struggle to pull adequate volume out of some audio devices, especially smartphones. For a number of audiophiles, this means using a headphone amp in order to maintain peak performance.

Still, the punchy bass and details will leave you wanting more. The range can handle any genre of music you’re into. You can’t go wrong with this tried and true set of ‘phones.

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