Best Headphones for Classical Music 2016

One cannot listen to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and appreciate its true azure brilliance without a set of headphones equal to that task. We can all agree on that, correct? That being the case, if you’re an aficionado of classical music, quality headphones are essential to your harmonious and melodic enjoyment. Therefore, if you haven’t updated this essential component of your listening technology in a years…it’s time.

Headphones have come a long way, baby, over the years. They are no longer simply used to keep those haters in the room happy as you revel in Ravel’s Bolero. The technology involved now permits you to hear every viola, oboe, and clarinet, while increasing your enjoyment and wonder in an exponential manner. There are also numerous options to contemplate, such as frequency response, impedance, comfort, price and open or closed headphones. This brief buyer’s guide will assist you as you go in search of the best headphones for classical music.

Things to Consider

  • Frequency Response. Measured in hertz (Hz, and it has nothing to do with rental cars), frequency response refers to the range of bass, mids and treble delivered by the headphones. The most common range is 20-20,000 Hz, with the first number representing the bass response and the second number the treble. So, the lower the first number, the greater range of bass delivered, and the higher the second number the greater the range of treble.
  • Impedance. Without getting overly technical, impedance is measured in ohms and is tied into the power source you’re plugged into. Headphones with low impedance (25 ohms or lower), only require a small power source to deliver high audio levels, such as portable mp3 players and phones. They are also susceptible to “blowouts” if the power source is larger than they can handle. However, headphones with high impedance (30 ohms or higher) demand more power to deliver high audio levels and are better protected from potential “blowouts.”
  • Open or Closed. The best headphones for classical music are usually of the “open” variety. They are partially open to the outside world and allow some ambient noise to mix in with the music, like speakers sitting in a room. They generally improve sound clarity and are more comfortable as they decrease pressure on your head and ears. However, they do permit sound to leak out into your surroundings.

Top 6 Classical Music Headphones Chart

PictureNameFrequencyPriceRating (1-5)
PictureNameFrequencyPriceRating (1-5)
1. Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones12-38500 Hz$$4.6
2. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 250 ohm5-35000 Hz$$$$4.6
3. Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones10-39500 Hz$$$$4.6
4. Grado Prestige Series SR80e Headphones20-20000 Hz$4.6
5. Philips Fidelio X1/28 Premium Over-Ear Headphones10-40000 Hz$$$4.5
6. Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone - Black10-42000 Hz$$$$$4.5

Benefits of Classical Music Headphones

Simply stated, a pair of high-end headphones permits you to derive greater pleasure from your classical music, whether it’s something as complex as Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 or as simple as Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Sure, cranking classical on your home or car speakers is grand, but to truly hear the instrumental nuances, melodic subtleties, and emotional crescendos, one need only to strap one of these acoustic marvels of technology on one’s head, and the difference becomes readily and blindingly apparent.

3 Best Headphones for Classical Music Reviews

1. Sennheiser HD 598

The over-ear, open-back design of these headphones provide equal parts comfort and impeccable sound quality. Their frequency response allows you to feel the bass of the kettle drums as well as the treble of a piccolo and their impedance of 50 ohms works well with almost any device, from an iphone to a high-end amplifier.

The best headphones for classical music feature Sennheiser’s E.A.R (ergonomic acoustic refinement) technology, which means the sound quality emitted by these headphones is natural, balanced, and detailed while their lightweight, velour ear pads cradle your auditory receivers (aka ears) in plush comfort as you enjoy symphony after symphony. Their three meter cable is both detachable and arrives with a 3.5 mm adapter that makes them compatible with almost any audio device.

Conclusion? These headphones present detailed and defined tonal balance at a relatively affordable price which makes them a true audiophile’s dream.

2. Beyerdynamic DT 880

These headphones expertly reproduce immersive three dimensional acoustics with their impressive frequency response of 5-35000 Hz that delivers the complete sound spectrum. They also sport an impressive impedance of 250 ohms which allows you to plug them into the most powerful of sound amplifiers on the market without fear of sound distortion or an unexpected blowout.

Suited well for high-performance audio applications, these headphones deliver true sound definition at an atmospheric level. It matters not if you’re listening to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, or Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the music emitted by these headphones in voluminous, balanced and without rival. Their semi-open design gives a more natural feel to your music and the replaceable velour ear pads offer optimal comfort.

As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Well, with these headphones you might pay a bit more, but you certainly get a great deal in return.

3. Sennheiser HD 650

There are two reasons why Sennheiser has two of the top three, and three of the top six headphones in this guide and that’s superior quality and sound reproduction. The company refers to the sound delivered by these headphones as “acoustic silk” and a more appropriate term would be difficult to find, as the acoustics are smooth as…well, silk. They are masterpieces of acoustic engineering on which to listen to classical masterpieces.

The combination of their frequency response and impedance (300 ohms) is unmatched which translates into spatial bass, transparent treble and use with the best amplifiers in the music world. Optimized for high-resolution recordings, these headphones deliver precision damping and lightweight aluminum voice coils for greater sound richness.

Designed for music professionals, these headphones allow you to become fully immersed in either the waters of your profession or the waters of your living room and you almost feel like you’re airborne as you listen to Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries.

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