My essential headphone guide for music listeners, gamers and more!
Before reading this I want everyone to realize that sound is subjective. Something that one person may find to be a great headphone may in-fact sound terrible to the next person. We all experience sound differently and our choice in music greatly effects the sort of sound we will want in a headphone. I realize opinions can cause someone to get heated possibly, but we’re all here for the same purpose! These are my personal picks for headphones I have bought and use for everything from production to game streaming to everyday listening.
Right let’s get started then:
under $500 everyday wired listening great all rounder my pick is the Audeze Sine.
If you can only pick one headphone from this list I would suggest you save up your pennies and get these. I use them for composing, mixing, mastering, listening. They use planar magnetic technology, At $450 it’s one of the least expensive headphones that use planar magnetic drivers, which tend to sound very coherent and spacious, with low distortion. Are very detailed they will suit your listening for whatever you do.
The version I linked to also comes with a lightning cable dac for all of you on apple devices. I use that listening to Tidal on my iPad pro for an absolutely billiant experience. That combination can give you an audiophile experience on the go!(without carrying tons of FLAC’s filling up your device along with a portable dac and amp. Basically a set up that used to look like this:
now looks like this:
You can buy it without the dac and of course use any dac you wish but that is another article entirely.
Best wireless headphones: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
Great noise cancellation, sound quality, wireless, has NFC so they can just be touched to a compatible device to pair, can be connected to two devices (phone and laptop for example) have a lovely transparency. They have the richest spectrum, such that you can really hear the subtle raspy timbre of a voice or the expressive nuance of a bass tone. The sound is even slightly more luscious in passive wired mode.
Even having the Sine’s and a lot of other headphones I don’t feel like I’m missing too much in audio quality with the momentums. Especially walking around a noisy city.
Best Value: Superlux hd668b Dynamic :
WIDE — SHARP — Most exaggerated soundstage in a headphone ever. not comfy though…Don’t isolate, not good for professional DJ applications but fine for listening or as a gift. A bit too bright for my tastes but the best you’re going to do for $0-$50 bucks. Pleasant with some EQ.
Gaming Headset: Razer Blackshark:
This is what you hear me on when streaming and when on youtube so you can judge for yourself. Comfortable design for long sessions, plug into my ps4 and PC no problem, there’s no complaints but not a ton of praise either. Everything in games sounds like it should, accurate, clear as you’d expect and everyone can hear me just fine. Just something extra, you could pair any other headphone on this list with a microphone for what they do(or grab this and use it with whatever devices you want as one of our budget picks. Grab them on sale if you get a chance.)
Alternate pick: Asus Strix 7.1
I don’t own but have tried Asus 7.1 and wireless versions. My advice, if you’re looking for wireless go with our momentum wireless if your computer has bluetooth or just get a dongle, if you NEED 7.1 on the go these are your pick. Mediocre for music listening but cool for gaming, movies…it’s a neat gimmick and one of the few “surround” headsets I’d even recommend.
and you can make any headset a mic with modmic
In ear headphones: whatever are cheap because I always lose them bitches.
Nuforce BeSport3 for wireless
Neither of which are anything to write home about, they are cheap, have better sound than you expect but not quite what you want either…The Polk’s controls only work with IOS
My MVP’s: The Audeze LCD 3:
Expensive, uncomfortable, weird looking, need external dacs and amps to drive well but they produce the best sound out of this bunch. They are mostly relegated to sitting next to the reciever for when I don’t want to wake the neighbors but the sound is unbelievable. Give them or any of the higher Audeze’s a listen if you get the chance but this is very much a around the house headphone. and at this price you could get a decent set of speakers(if your lifestyle allows it)
My gym headphones: Audio Technica ATH-ES10
Light, portable, comfortable, great bass don’t require a dac or amp to produce great sound, stay on my head running and lifting.
For the true basshead/dubstep lover: Audio Technica ATH pro 700 mk2:
I’ve played raves for years and the closest I’ve gotten to a rave sound with a headphone are these. If you for any reason have considered beats these kick the dog shit out of them. 53 mm drivers. I’ve played with these and listened to friends mixes with these I wouldn’t call them a “consumate producers headphone” the bass muffles the other tones but if you’re in to liquid stanger you’re in for a treat!
That’s all my headphone advice, everything listed here is excellent and you will definitely get your moneys worth! It’s going to be up to you to decide your use case and budget.
A final note:
Someone just said there were no Beats in my headphone guide. I feel they are overpriced for what you get audio wise Beats has great branding and marketing but I’m basing my list on audio quality as a producer & listener I could ALWAYS find headphones that obliterate Beats at lower prices, like $100 less and more fashion forward You will notice Audio Technica and Audeze appear a lot on the list, they spend less on advertising and more on sound.
Beats are like the “Jordans” of the audio world, celebrity endorsed, big name, huge marketshare, people collect them, but at the end of the day the price to performance ratio just isn’t there. Dr Dre made his records on $90 sony headphones. There’s a LOT of audiophile shit on my list going up to $2k but I feel it is all WORTH THE PRICE for the performance you get.
Beats cost $17 to manufacture The speakers themselves — you know, the things they put in Beats to keep the heads ringin’ — cost less than $1 each. and sell for hundreds in a world where you could get Planar Magnetics for that price