7 Best Headphone Brands (That Changed The Game)

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  • Every producer needs a pair of headphones, but what are the best brands?
  • We round up the 7 biggest names in headphones for all budgets.
  • Also consider checking out our roundup of the best studio bundles to save $$$.

The headphone market has exploded over the last few years, thanks to its increasing association with style and fashion.

The success of Beats by Dre helped create massive demand for consumer headphones. However, the considerably smaller market for engineers, producers, and musicians has also grown.

After all, headphones that are hyped, particularly in the bass frequencies, are not the most reliable for studio work regardless of how great they may look.

In this article, we’re going to explore the best headphone brands for consumer and pro audio work.

What Are The Best Headphone Brands?

The Sennheiser is among the top headphone brands in the market. They offer many fantastic choices to suit all needs and budgets. AKG is another brand that is favorited by the most discerning professionals and has become a staple in professional studios. Beyerdynamic is another favorite headphone brand, especially for professionals that work long hours and need to have quality and comfort.

So, here are our candidates for the 7 best headphone brands:

  • Sennheiser
  • Sony
  • Audio-Technica
  • AKG
  • Bowers & Wilkins
  • Bang & Olufsen
  • Beyerdynamic

Sennheiser

Founded by Fritz Sennheiser, this is one of the very best headphone brands in history.

Their headphones are used around the world in both professional and home studios, as they offer a variety of choices for the discerning professional. Whether for overall listening, tracking, and even mixing, Sennheiser has a model for your needs.

Recommended models

  • HD 600
  • HD 800 S
  • HD 598 SR
  • CX 400 BT
  • RS 175 RF

Overview

Let’s start with one of the recording industry’s most enduring headphone models: the HD 600. It features exacting design standards to ensure superior performance.

Sennheiser HD 600

A favorite among our most discerning audiophile clients, the HD 600 open dynamic professional stereo 'phones are an ideal choice for the pro-audio engineer recording classical music.

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These include high-quality open metal mesh earpiece covers for extremely transparent sound, computer-optimized magnet systems to minimize harmonic and intermodulation distortion, and extremely lightweight aluminum voice coils for excellent transient response.

If you want something quite high-end, try the Sennheiser HD 800 S. This set of headphones is Sennheiser’s attempt at breaking down the barrier between audio recording and playback equipment, connecting the listener directly to an artist’s original performance.

SENNHEISER HD 800 S
$1,574.99

This upgrade makes the gold-standard HD 800 headphones even better than ever with an untouchable frequency response for explosive lows and crisp highs, dual 6.3mm/4.4mm cable connections to support a wider range of audiophile headphone amps, and new 56mm steel-encased transducers that direct sound to the ears at an angle for a more natural soundstage.

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It features a patented Ring Radiator transducer and an innovative 56-millimeter diameter driver which is one of the largest used in dynamic headphones. The 40-millimeter aluminum voice coil is driven by a 42-millimeter magnet structure. Simply put, the HD 800 S delivers exceptional performance.

Next up, the Sennheiser HD598 SR. These headphones feature an incredible soundstage, detailed mids and highs, Sennheiser’s E.A.R technology and are also very comfortable.

Sennheiser HD 598 Special Edition Headphones
$499.00

The HD 598 Special Edition headphones are an open-back, over-ear, audiophile-grade headphone that combines exceptional sound quality with extreme wearing comfort.

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These open-back headphones are praised in audiophile circles because of their soundstage. Folks often refer to them as headphones that place you in the middle of the band, rather than in front of it like in many other headphones.

Furthermore, the HD598 SD is very comfortable and you can easily wear them for an extended period of time without fatigue.

Sony

Sony is a massive company that has been around since the end of World War II. It has successfully ventured into consumer electronics creating a wide array of products.

Because of this, some might not think of Sony as a big player in the music or recording business. However, Sony produced one of the most legendary studio headphones in history: the MDR7506.

Recommended models

  • MDR7506
  • WH-1000XM4
  • CD900ST
  • WF-SP800N
  • MDR-Z1R

Overview

The Sony MDR7506 has been a fixture in professional recording studios for decades. It’s a professional large-diaphragm headphone that is high quality, unobtrusive and lightweight.

Sony MDR7506 Headphones

These exceptionally affordable headphones give you studio-quality sound and impressive sound isolation, but they're still comfortable enough that you can wear them for even the longest tracking or mixing sessions.

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It has been widely heralded as a fantastic reference headphone that was engineered to be comfortable to wear for extended periods, making it ideal for use in broadcast and studio environments.

A 40mm PET diaphragm and neodymium magnet provide great performance that has been favored for years in the industry.

These cans feature a closed-ear design that provides comfort and reduction of external noises. It is quite easy to fold them up for storage or travel.

Next, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is a wireless noise-canceling set with good sound quality all in a lightweight, comfortable design.

Sony WH-1000XM4
$348.00

Sony’s intelligent industry-leading noise-canceling headphones with premium sound elevate your listening experience with the ability to personalize and control everything you hear. 

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These new cans by Sony sport new features including multipoint pairing, DSEE Extreme upscaling, conversational awareness, and auto-play/pause using a built-in sensor.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 supports Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format that enables spatial audio on stereo headphones plus the LDAC codec that can handle bitrates of up to 990 kbps.

Finally, the Sony MDR-CD900ST is a good monitoring headphone with a fairly neutral and uncolored sound.

Sony MDR-CD900ST Headphones
$199.99

A Japanese cult headphone, this obscure little Sony headphone has built a strong reputation as a good monitoring headphone through its fairly neutral and uncolored sound.

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It is more of a sterile and analytical type of headphones, which is exactly what you want when mixing or making sound decisions. The soundstage is fairly spacious, making the CD900ST a very revealing pair of cans.

Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica has developed a stellar reputation for their headphones, microphones, cables, and other audio gear. AT’s products are usually very affordable despite being of high quality in form and function.

Recommended models

  • ATH-M50x
  • ATH AD-700X
  • ATH-ANC700BT
  • ATH-AVC200
  • BPHS1

Overview

The Audio Technica ATH-M50x closed-back headphones are the company’s flagship M series model. These bestsellers feature 45mm neodymium-magnet drivers that deliver accurate frequency response and great detail that is required to make informed decisions when you’re tracking or mixing.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones
$149.00

Exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range, with deep, accurate bass response.

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The closed-back design gives you superior isolation with minimal bleed, while the circumaural earpads offer comfort for long sessions.

The ATH-M50x also features a space-saving collapsible design, swivel earcups, and detachable cables. These are a fantastic choice for your studio work or casual listening.

The ATH Ad-700X is another good choice for those looking for good, affordable closed-back headphones.

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Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Headphones
$118.72

Unsurpassed comfort and a completely natural listening experience make the ATH-AD700X headphones by Audio Technica ideal for long listening sessions.

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Alternatively, Audio Technica also offers a similar model from the same ATH-ADX series, but with an open back. The ATH AD-700X is spacious with a very wide frequency range of 5Hz – 30KHz.

Finally, the ATH-ANC700BT features active noise cancellation designed to greatly block out distracting ambient noise.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones
$108.85

QuietPoint active noise-cancelling technology powered by a proprietary four-microphone multi-feedback system greatly reduces environmental noise.

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These cans feature memory foam earpads made specifically to fit over your ears, providing a certain degree of additional passive noise reduction.

The ATH-ANC700BT connects to any Bluetooth-equipped device, such as a smartphone or smart TV, to wirelessly stream your favorite audio. You can use the integrated microphone when paired with a smartphone.

AKG

Few brands can match the reputation of AKG Acoustics in the audio world. Their microphones are legendary and continue to be some of the most sought-after models today.

But this company, born in Austria, also excels in headphones. The prestige of AKG is such that even iconic producer Quincy Jones bears an AKG Acoustics model with his name.

(Some ex AKG employees went on to start Austrian Audio. Check out our review of the Hi-X50 headphones here!)

Recommended models

  • K812 PRO
  • K612 Pro
  • K240
  • K701
  • ProAudio K92

Overview

AKG’s flagship headphones are the K812 PRO. These cans are renowned for having a very flat frequency curve and being extremely precise.

AKG Pro Audio K812 PRO Headphones
$1,169.00

The AKG K812 reference headphones represent the absolute pinnacle of AKG's headphone technology, giving you the sonic transparency and critical details you need for mixing and mastering.

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The K812 PRO gives you the sonic transparency and critical details you need for mixing and mastering and features an extremely wide frequency range of 5Hz-54kHz and an excellent transient response.

The ultra-lightweight, two-layer aluminum voice coils in the K812 reference headphones provide the superior transient response you need for critical listening tasks.

Subtle complexities like brushes on a snare drum or breath noise from a woodwind player are revealed to you just as they appear in your mix. Additionally, these cans do not cause fatigue.

Next up, the K701 is one of the most comfortable headphones on the market today. These open-back cans are mainly targeted for studio use and critical listening thanks in great part to having a very flat frequency response.

AKG K701 Headphones

The K701 is the first headphone to employ cutting-edge flat-wire voice coil technology along with AKG's patented Varimotion technology. The result is a truly dramatic sound that places every musician at their correct location with pinpoint accuracy.

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The very wide soundstage on the K701 is also another massive plus for these headphones. Add to that fantastic and revealing sound and you’ve got an excellent choice for the studio or casual listening.

The AKG K240 is one of AKG’s most popular headphone models. Besides being quite affordable, these cans feature the classic AKG design, a detachable and long chord, and a great soundstage, making it a fantastic value. This is the company’s most affordable model to feature AKG’s Varimotion technology.

AKG Pro Audio K240 Headphones
$67.00

The AKG K240's unique semi-open design and highly efficient transducers provide you with extremely wide dynamic range, breathtaking detail, and phenomenal sensitivity. 

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Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins is a British firm that produces audio equipment, most notably loudspeakers. It was founded in 1966 by John Bowers in West Sussex, England, and is now part of the B&W Group Ltd.

Bowers & Wilkins has become a major player in the headphone market and offers a variety of models to satisfy the current demand, especially for those looking for wireless noise-canceling cans.

Recommended models

  • PX7
  • PI7
  • PX Active Noise
  • P9 Signature
  • P5

Overview

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 features premium materials, expert build and finish, and thoroughly convincing sound.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7
$399.99

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are high-performance over-ear headphones designed to deliver the highest quality mobile personal audio experience combined with the convenience of wireless operation and the serenity of noise-cancellation.

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The PX7 is one of the best wireless noise-canceling headphones on the market today. This set of cans can be used for up to 30 hours on a single battery charge, and with a 15 min quick charge, you can use it for 6 hours of playback.

The PX7 features 43 mm driver size, over-ear wearing style as well as light and durable carbon fiber arms.

Next up, the PI7 is an in-ear set of wireless headphones featuring a 24-bit True Wireless design with Qualcomm aptX Adaptive noise canceling and fantastic build quality.

Bowers & Wilkins PI7

True high-resolution audio performance with 24-bit connection and Qualcomm aptX technology for superior sound quality that adjusts dynamically and optimizes connection reliability.

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Additionally, the PI7 features six microphones for great sound and comes with a smart charging case with audio retransmission.

The PI7 is a slick pair of in-ear headphones for live or studio monitoring as well as casual listening.

The PX is a good choice for wireless audio performance. It features great sound and adaptive noise cancellation along with intuitive controls that respond naturally to your behavior, for an experience that is unique to you.

Bowers & Wilkins PX Headphones
$332.97

The PX headphones draw on decades of Bowers & Wilkins design experience to take you to the very heart of the music with its breath-taking performance.

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The PX comes with built-in sensors to handle functions like stopping audio playback when you remove the headphones. These cans give you 22 hours of active use and feature a rechargeable battery via USB-C.

Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen is a Danish high-end consumer electronics company that designs and manufactures audio products.

It was founded in 1925 by Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen, who designed a radio to work with alternating current, a product of significance at a time when most radios were still running on batteries.

It currently operates under the umbrella of Harman International. B&G has jumped in the headphone demand boom and offers several fantastic consumer models.

Recommended models

  • Beoplay H95
  • Beoplay H9i
  • Beoplay E8 Premium
  • Beoplay HX
  • Beoplay H4

Overview

The Beoplay H95 headphones offer an outstanding listening experience through customized titanium drivers and active noise cancellation technology.

Beoplay H95 Over-Ear Headphones
$771.06

The ultimate headphones for travellers. Beoplay H95 features exceptional Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation that provides you with peaceful silence in any environment.

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The oval ear cups are made from soft top grain lambskin and ductile memory foam for long-lasting comfort.

These cans are available in gold, black, and grey and will offer you an excellent consumer listening experience while ensuring you are comfortable and looking cool at all times.

Next, the Beoplay H9i wireless active noise cancellation headphones feature a luxurious design and good consumer sound quality.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i
$66.06

With a shared love for aluminum, RIMOWA and Bang & Olufsen have created the limited-edition advanced Active Noise Cancellation Beoplay H9i headphones. No noise – just rich sound to get you closer to the journey.

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These stylish over-ear headphones feature advanced ANC which blocks human voices at low frequencies.

These cans also feature an intuitive touch aluminum interface, up to 18 hours of playtime, two dedicated microphones for enhanced voice quality, and a proximity sensor to stop playback when headphones are removed (and resume when they are replaced).

The Beoplay E8 is a pair of wireless Bluetooth in-ear headphones. It features an in-ear design for hassle-free listening, an intuitive touch interface to easily take phone calls, switch tracks, or activate voice commands by tapping.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8
$220.01

These high-tech earphones are equipped to deliver Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound for big audio in a compact package. More powerful than ever before, these wireless earbuds boast 35 hours of playtime when combined with a fully charged case.

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Additionally, these consumer in-ear headphones come with a genuine leather case to travel stylishly. They offer 4 hours of playtime, and 2 additional 4-hour-charges for on-the-go use.

Beyerdynamic

Beyerdynamic GmbH & Co. KG is a renowned German manufacturer of microphones, headphones, wireless audio systems, and other audio solutions.

They produce some of the best headphones available and have developed a reputation not only for offering superior quality but incredible comfort as well.

Recommended models

  • DT 990
  • DT 770 Pro
  • DT 240 Pro
  • Amiron Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
  • DT 1990

Overview

The DT 990 is an open set of headphones that features great sound and fantastic comfort. The DT 990 offers a three-dimensional sound and a wide frequency range of 5Hz-35kHz.

Beyerdynamic 459038 DT 990 PRO Headphones
$159.00

The DT 990 gives a three-dimensional sound, that is, it reproduces all details of the various instruments of an orchestra as a unity.

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These cans reproduce all details you need to hear when doing any professional mixing work. And if you work long hours, the low headband pressure combined with its soft padding ensure comfort. Additionally, the soft earpads can be easily replaced.

The single-sided coiled cable can be extended and is fitted with a gold-vaporized stereo jack plug (3.5 mm) with an adapter that gives freedom of movement.

Next up, the DT 770 PRO over-ear studio headphones feature an enclosed design. These cans were made to deliver accurate sound while giving you a very comfortable fit making them ideal for professional settings that often have long sessions.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
$147.00

The DT 770 PRO headphones remain the top choice for music producers, sound technicians and broadcast users and are a firmly established piece of equipment in studios worldwide. 

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The DT 770 PRO has a wide 5Hz-35kHz frequency response, while the closed-ear design helps to minimize outside noise and correctly orient the headphones.

One of the best on the market today, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro open studio headphones are a solid choice for mixing and mastering.

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Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
$549.00

With an open-back design plus Beyerdynamic's innovative Tesla drivers, the DT 1990 Pro headphones are ideal for listening, mixing, and even mastering.

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They feature 250 ohms, 45 mm dynamic Tesla neodymium drivers, single-sided detachable cable with mini-XLR connectors, and soft replaceable ear pads and headbands for long studio sessions.

These superior headphones have a frequency response of 5 – 40,000 Hz and a nominal sound pressure level of 102 dB SPL (1mW/500Hz).

And for those that seek quality but are on a budget, the Beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO headphones offer you deep bass, vivid mids, and clear highs, as well as sonic precision.

Beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO Monitoring Headphones
$69.00

Professional studio Headphones for monitoring and recording with compact over-ear design.

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The excellent isolation provided by DT 240 PROs limits leakage and reduces background noise. These cans are a comfortable fit thanks to their lightweight design, ergonomic headband, and soft ear pads.