10 Best Headphones for Music

Wally Nowinski
editor

Our personal audio experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our database of headphones and earbuds to find the best headphones for music available in 2024. Here are the top 10 picks.

Our criteria for the best headphones for music:

  • Music: We’ prioritized products that reproduce full-range sound without distortion.
  • Headphones: We limited our search to headphones and excluded earbuds.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized Earbuds or Headphones recommendation
Get your personalized recommendations

10 Best Headphones for Music

1
Sennheiser

560S

BEST RATING
Music:
4.9
Wired
Music: A+




Expert Summary
The Sennheiser 560S headphones are a premium offering designed for an exceptional music listening experience. They feature an over-ear, open-back enclosure which contributes to a very good soundstage, delivering an immersive and natural sound. With excellent comfort and very good build quality, they are particularly suited for extended home or studio use. They are wired, which means you don't have to worry about battery life, but this could limit mobility and convenience compared to wireless options. These headphones are not recommended for use during exercise or air travel due to their size and lack of noise isolation. There is no active noise cancelling, and they are not certified as sweatproof or dustproof, so they are better used in quiet and clean environments. They also lack features such as a microphone and built-in controls, which may make them less suitable for calls, meetings, and interactive gaming. However, for pure audio quality in music and TV/video consumption, the 560S are a strong choice.
Pros
  • Excellent overall sound quality
  • Very good soundstage and imaging
  • Excellent comfort
  • Very good build quality
  • Detachable cable
Cons
  • Poor microphone quality
  • Poor built-in controls
  • Not optimized for calls and meetings
  • Not sweatproof or dustproof
2
Koss

KSC75

BEST RATING
Music:
4.5
Wired
Music: A-




Expert Summary
The Koss KSC75 are clip-on headphones with an open enclosure type, meaning they provide a more natural sound and wider soundstage which can be good for music and TV but may leak sound and let ambient noise in. They're not wireless, so you won't have to charge them, but you'll deal with a cable, which is 1.3 meters long. They're recommended for a budget, and their dynamic drivers offer very good overall sound quality. However, they lack features such as a microphone, detachable cable, and are not sweat or dustproof, which makes them less ideal for activities like exercise. They're not optimized for gaming due to potential latency issues. Their portability is poor and they fail to isolate noise well, making them less suitable for noisy environments or air travel. They come with ear hooks for a secure fit but their build quality and comfort are rated as poor.
Pros
  • Very good overall sound quality
  • Good soundstage and imaging
  • Comfortable for extended wear
  • Lightweight and portable
Cons
  • Poor microphone quality
  • Low build quality
  • No wireless connectivity
  • Minimal noise isolation
3
Sennheiser

HD600

BEST RATING
Music:
4.8
Wired
Music: A




Expert Summary
The Sennheiser HD600 headphones are known for their best overall sound quality, with specific strengths in music listening and TV and video watching, thanks to their excellent soundstage. They are wired, over-ear headphones with an open enclosure, which contributes to their very good performance in these categories but also means they have poor noise isolation. They are very comfortable and have very good build quality; however, they lack built-in controls and the microphone quality is poor, so they are not ideal for calls and meetings. They require a dedicated amplifier for optimal performance and are capable of balanced audio with the appropriate cables, which are sold separately. They are not suited for exercise or air travel due to their size, lack of portability, and open-back design, which allows sound to leak.
Pros
  • Outstanding overall sound quality
  • Very good soundstage and imaging
  • Excellent comfort
  • Detachable cable provided
  • Robust build quality
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Not sweat or dust resistant
  • No active noise cancelling
  • Heavy build, not portable
4
BEST RATING
Music:
4.8
Wired
Music: A




Expert Summary
The Philips Fidelio X2HR headphones, being over-ear and open-back, provide an excellent sound quality with a very good soundstage, making them especially suitable for an immersive music listening experience. They are comfortable for extended listening sessions but possess poor noise isolation, thus less ideal for noisy environments. They don't have active noise cancelling, and their build is not sweat or dustproof, indicating they're not designed for exercise or rugged outdoor activities. The cable is detachable, facilitating easier storage and replacement. However, they lack built-in controls, a microphone, and are not optimized for calls or gaming due to their poor mic quality and possibly higher latency. They are not portable and wouldn't be the best choice for travel. These headphones may be more suitable for home use where you crave high-quality audio for music and TV.
Pros
  • Excellent overall sound quality
  • Very good soundstage/imaging
  • Excellent comfort
  • Very good build quality
  • Detachable cable
Cons
  • Poor mic quality
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Poor built-in controls
  • Not portable
5
Philips

SHP9500

BEST RATING
Music:
4.8
Wired
Music: A




Expert Summary
The Philips SHP9500 headphones are a budget-friendly option with an open-back design, meaning they provide a natural and spacious soundstage, which is excellent for immersive listening at home. However, since they're open-back, they don't isolate noise well, making them less ideal for noisy environments or commuting. They're very comfortable, with cushioned over-ear cups, and the build quality is very good. These headphones are wired, with a long, detachable cable, and have a durable construction, but they lack built-in controls for adjusting volume or taking calls. The microphone quality is poor, so they aren't the best choice for phone calls or video meetings. They're best suited for music enthusiasts and home TV viewing, but not recommended for exercise, air travel, or outdoor use due to their size and open design.
Pros
  • Excellent overall sound quality
  • Very good soundstage
  • Best comfort rating
  • Detachable cable included
  • Large and dynamic drivers
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation quality
  • Poor mic quality
  • No wireless option
  • Not suitable for exercise
6
HifiMan

Sundara

BEST RATING
Music:
4.8
Wired
Music: A




Expert Summary
The HifiMan Sundara headphones are a premium open-back, over-ear option known for very good overall sound quality and excellent soundstage/imaging, making them ideal for an immersive music experience at home. They are not wireless, have a detachable cable, and are praised for their build and comfort. However, they lack features like active noise cancelling, are not optimized for use during exercise or travel due to size and open design, and have poor noise isolation, suggesting they're not suitable for noisy environments. Also, while they offer good sound for gaming and TV, they have no microphone or low latency features, which may be important for interactive use. Despite being marketed as able to pair with a PC or phone, they perform best with a dedicated amplifier, and you can purchase balanced audio cables separately for enhanced performance.
Pros
  • Very good overall sound quality
  • Best soundstage and imaging
  • Excellent comfort
  • Detachable cable for convenience
  • Planar driver technology
Cons
  • Poor microphone quality
  • No built-in controls
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Heavier than average
7
Audeze

Maxwell

BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wired + Wireless
Music: A-




Expert Summary
The Audeze Maxwell are premium closed-back over-ear headphones with both wireless and wired capabilities. They offer very good overall sound quality, with an impressive soundstage and imaging capability, making them excellent for immersive music, gaming, and TV/video experiences. Comfort and build quality are also rated very high, along with mic quality, which benefits calls and meetings. The headphones support LDAC for high-quality audio over Bluetooth and feature a detachable cable, a boom mic for clear communication, and an app equalizer for sound customization. They are substantial in weight and size, so they aren't ideal for exercising or use on-the-go. While they aren't specifically optimized for Android or Apple, they do work well with either, and the battery life is lengthy, allowing for prolonged use. However, they may not be the best choice for those seeking optimal noise isolation or portability, and there's no mention of sweat or dust resistance, which could be a consideration for some users.
Pros
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Comfortable over long periods
  • Superior build and microphone
  • Long battery life
  • Useful app features
Cons
  • Not optimized for exercise
  • Poor portability score
  • Heavyweight design
  • Limited noise isolation
8
BEST RATING
Battery Life:
5.0
Wireless
Music: B+




Expert Summary
The Sony WH-CH520 headphones are a budget-friendly, closed-back, over-ear option, offering a wireless experience without the ability to connect via a wired connection. They are praised for their comfort and have a very good built-in microphone quality, making them suitable for calls and meetings, but may not be the best choice for critical listening purposes, as their overall sound quality is good but not exceptional. They provide excellent battery life, boasting up to 52 hours of typical use, and come with features like app control customization and an integrated microphone, but lack active noise cancelling. They are foldable for better portability and also come with virtual surround capabilities. However, they are not sweatproof or dustproof certified, which could be important if you plan to use them during exercise or in challenging environments.
Pros
  • Good overall sound quality
  • Wireless with long battery life
  • Very lightweight
  • Highest comfort level
  • App allows sound customization
Cons
  • No active noise cancelling
  • Poor portability
  • Average durability
  • Latency may not suit gamers
9
HifiMan

Edition XS

BEST RATING
TV & Video:
4.9
Wired
Music: A-




Expert Summary
The HifiMan Edition XS are premium over-ear, open-back headphones that excel in sound quality, especially for music listening and TV or video use. They have a wide soundstage that provides an immersive experience. The build quality is very good, but they lack built-in controls and have poor scores for mic quality, meaning they are not the best for calls and meetings. They do not have wireless capabilities and require a wired connection. The headphones are not suitable for exercise, as they offer neither sweat resistance nor a secure fit for physical activity. They are also not suitable for air travel or noisy environments due to poor noise isolation. They are relatively heavy and not easily portable but come with a detachable cable and are best used with a dedicated amplifier for optimal performance. They support balanced audio with the purchase of special cables.
Pros
  • Excellent overall sound quality
  • Superb soundstage and imaging
  • Comfortable for long listening sessions
  • High build quality
  • Detachable cable enhances durability
Cons
  • Poor microphone quality
  • Lackluster controls for adjustments
  • Not suitable for exercise use
  • Poor noise isolation
10
EPOS

PC38X

BEST RATING
Calls:
5.0
Wired
Music: A+




Expert Summary
The EPOS PC38X headphones are well-regarded for their excellent soundstage and imaging, making them a strong choice for an immersive gaming and music experience. They have open-back enclosures which contribute to a more expansive sound but do not isolate noise well, so they may not be ideal for noisy environments or air travel. Although the headphones have a microphone that rates highly for calls and meetings, the boom mic isn't removable, though it can be folded out of the way. Designed primarily for home use, as they are wired and not suited for exercise, their midrange price and very good build quality provide a balance between affordability and durability.
Pros
  • Detachable cable for convenience
  • Open-back design for natural sound
  • Excellent mic and sound quality
  • Comfortable for long gaming sessions
  • Good for music and gaming
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Not suitable for exercise
  • No wireless connectivity
  • Limited portability due to size