What are the overall best over-ear headphones on the market?
We know there are too many headphones on the market, and you’re not sure where to start. Like me, you’re probably sick of wasting money on products that break or become unsatisfied with over time. As a music mixer, part-time DJ, video editor, and someone who travels relatively often, I have been through many headphones throughout the years.
While it was unfortunate that I have wasted a lot of money on headphones that would either break or become unsatisfied with, luckily, I learned exactly what to look for in what makes an excellent headphone investment.
With the help of my audiophile friends, DJs, music mixers, gamer buddies, and my life experience; We narrowed down the list to the top 16 best and highest-rated headphones that cover the ear. No matter what you do or why you need a pair of headphones, there is something for everyone on this list.
All Of The Headphones On This List Can Be Used For The Following
- Music Studio
- Editing Audio For Film
- Listening to music with great quality
1. Audio-Technica ATHM40x
The Audio-Technica ATHM40x is an affordable pair of headphones that are excellent for DJs. They cover the entire ear producing great noise isolation. I personally like the option for my headphones to get louder than usual, depending on the environment. Fortunately, while some DJ headphones on the market are a bit more on the quiet side, this pair is naturally very loud.
With a 40mm driver, the headphones give off incredible sound quality for the low price. The sound flat, meaning there is no audio manipulation. You can hear each individual instrument and frequency accurately. In terms of overall sound quality, the Audio-Technica ATHM40x is astounding. In many cases, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if you compared them to headphones twice the price.
The Audio-Technica ATHM40x is also very well designed for the low-price, as well. They are durable and built to last while maintaining decent flexibility. To be clear, flexibility is a much more critical factor for live DJ’s than you would first think. During a performance, the headphones are consistently being thrown on, off, and one ear in and out. For that matter, this pair of DJ headphones luckily is flexible while maintaining its decent durability.
Overall, the Audio-Technica ATHM40x is a near-flawless choice of studio or DJ headphones for the low price.
- Great bang for the buck at an affordable price
- Naturally loud headphones
- Great for DJ’s and studio use
- Great build quality while maintaining its flexibility
- Flat, accurate, and incredible sound quality (no sound manipulation)
- Can peak with too much volume
- Not as comfortable as other headphones at a higher price range
- A few claims of weak hinges
2. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Here it is, the King Kong of the over-ear headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is the highest quality over-the-ear Bluetooth pair of headphones on the market. As a matter of fact, I decided to keep this pair for myself.
In my opinion, it gets a 10 out of 10 for durability, sound quality, functionality, longevity, comfort, active noise-canceling, and built-in microphone quality. The only downside is it’s priced at $349. However, it is well worth every penny and more!
The sound quality is absolutely brilliant. It automatically adjusts the EQ levels depending on what type of music or audio you’re listening to. I wouldn’t change a thing about the sound, even if I could. Every single instrument and frequency are nicely separated without any cluster. In terms of the active noise canceling and comfort, these headphones are unbeatable.
It has a very reliable built-in microphone for just about any application. You will not have any problems with phone calls regardless of how noisy or windy of an environment you’re in. Built for longevity, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is one of the most well-designed and durable headphones I have ever used in my life.
You can pull it as hard as you can without a peep or squeak. If you’re looking for the perfect all-around best pair of Bluetooth headphones with a built-in mic on the market, look no further than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
Detail & Tech Specs
- Flawless noise-canceling (possibly best on the market)
- Extremely comfortable for just about any head type.
- Comfortable with glasses
- Google assistant located on the left earcup
- App has a “find my headset app”, therefore you will never lose your investment.
- Very intuitive controls
3. Pioneer HDJ-2000MK2-S
The Pioneer HDJ-2000MK2-S is of the top-shelf Pioneer headphones for DJs. However, many non DJ standard people love them as well. With accurate and well-balanced sound quality, these headphones produce excellent sound quality. It produces immensely clear sound with flawless noise isolation. You don’t even need to turn the headphones too loud for your music. With a 5Hz-30kHz frequency response, not a frequency will go unheard.
How Pioneer customized the HDJ-2000MK2-S to get its pristine sound is with its 50mm driver and precision-rolled voice coil. To my ears and head structure, they are incredibly comfortable. Even more so than the previous two headphones on this list. Another thing I like about this pair of headphones is the fact that it comes with a travel case and two cables. The spare back-up cable most likely will come in handy in the near future.
I highly recommend the Pioneer HDJ-2000MK2-S for just about any DJ who prefers superior quality with a few extra bucks to spare. The flawless durability, sound quality, noise isolation, flexibility, comfort, accuracy, and design make it well worth the price for any professional. They are great for both live and studio use.
|Open or Closed:||Closed|
|Frequency Response:||5Hz – 30kHz|
|Fitting:||Circumaural (Around the Ear)|
|Replaceable cable:||Yes (comes with a spare)|
4. V-MODA Crossfade M-100
The award-winning V-MODA Crossfade M-100 is one of the highest-rated DJ headphones on the market. They were carefully constructed for superior sound by 200 passionate audiophiles to create the most superior sounding headphones. It comes in three different colors to match whichever style you prefer. Coming with the purchase is a compact carry case to keep them safe.
The sound quality is stunning. The bass is fat but clean with a perfect blend of the mids and highs. Not to forget, the highs are much more extended with this pair. One of the methods to set apart the mids and highs from the bass is due to its 50 mm patented drivers. Believe me, it makes a significant and positive difference.
In my opinion, the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 is exceptionally comfortable with the added XL cushions. Unfortunately, they are sold separately for $20 but worth it. While I understand that everyone’s head is different, there are also multiple reviews of the comfortability of these headphones, as well. I have had issues with wearing 8 out of 10 headphones for extended periods of time. While most headphones either apply too much pressure to my ears and head, I have had zero issues with this pair.
- Superior sound quality
- Very comfortable with the added XL cushions
- Great noise-isolation
- Great for DJ’s
- Uncomfortable without the added XL cushions
- A few claims of bad customer service
5. Sony MDRV6
The affordable Sony MDRV6 is a great pair of headphones that cover the entire ear. One of the most popular and highest-rated pair of headphones on the market, they have high marks for DJs, gaming, audiophiles, and music lovers.
This is yet another pair with incredibly accurate sound quality. It uses 40mm drivers for a full and clean without distortion or muddy bass. The Sony MDRV6 was designed to play the natural sound without any added eq or sound manipulation. While this is great for studio and editing use, it also sounds good for listening to music and gaming for enjoyment.
However, these headphones are incredibly accurate to the point in which a lower format of audio will be noticed. Likewise, a higher quality audio source will be noticed and sound better as well. The wide frequency response of 5 Hz – 30 kHz picks up every audible frequency in the human ears spectrum.
Although the Sony MDRV6 covers the entire ear, the noise-canceling abilities are not up to par with most headphones on this list. If you need superior noise-canceling headphones, it’s best to look onward towards the Pioneer headphones on this list.
Overall, the Sony MDRV6 is a fantastic option for those who need high quality but affordable pair of headphones that don’t need maximum noise-cancelation.
- Great sound for the low-price
- Covers the ear
- Accurate sound with no sound manipulation
- Not as durable as higher-priced headphones
- Flimsy cable connector
6. Sony MDR7506
The Sony MDR7506 is yet another great pair of affordable headphones that cover the ear. Across the board, these headphones have incredible ratings and reviews! Coming with the purchase of these headphones is a 9.8-foot coiled cord. A longer cable can be a benefit for some situations or an inconvenience for others. However, a shorter cord can be purchased separately.
It gets its clean and crisp sound with the 40 mm drivers and neodymium magnets. Not to forget, it’s entirely free from distortion no matter how loud you blast the volume. The audio is well balanced between the lows, mids, and the highs as its frequency response are from 10Hz to 20 kHz. Many producers, sound engineers, DJs, and just regular music listeners are delighted with the MDR7506.
Sony precisely customized the MDR7506 for incredible comfort that covers the entire ear. They are insulated with foam for great noise isolation. The insulated ears are so well covered that many people even use these as earmuffs in the winter. However, this pair of earmuffs play incredibly clear music!
- Great sound quality
- Insulated ears for good noise-isolation
- Well-built for the low-price
- Lasts longer than most headphones in this price range
- Weak built pads. Must be replaced over time
- After a while, the headphones slightly loses its grip on your head
- If you prefer a shorter cord than 10 ft, it can be purchased separately
7. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT (Wireless)
If you’re looking for headphones that cover your entire ear with the option to go wireless, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT is an excellent choice! While it still comes with an auxiliary cord for a wired option, you can also free yourself from the leash via Bluetooth. To charge it for going wireless, you get a USB charging cable with the purchase. The headphones also have a built-in mic for phone calls.
Audio-Technica’s 45 mm drivers produce exceptional sound quality while wired. Unfortunately, in wireless Bluetooth mode, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT does not sound as good. However, in wireless mode, the quality of sound is still good. Many claim they are unable to tell the difference while audiophiles and musicians say there is a difference in sound.
These headphones are relatively comfortable. However, in my experience, they become a bit uncomfortable after a few hours. Lastly, you can manually adjust the volume with the headphones. Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT is an incredibly versatile headphone pair for just about any use!
- Great sound quality while wired
- Wireless option with Bluetooth 5.0
- Great battery life while wireless
- Tough build quality
- Does not sound as good while wireless
- A bit uncomfortable after wearing them for a while
8. Sennheiser HD 8
If you’re looking for premium headphones with an accurate sound and incredible bass response, the Sennheiser HD 8 will serve you very well. The closed-ear provides great noise-isolation while remaining generally comfortable. Coming with the purchase is a 2-year warranty and travel case for added protection.
In terms of sound quality, Sennheiser hit a home run on this one! The audio is nearly flawless. You will hear an incredibly accurate reproduction of your music, a DJ mix, stage mix, or a studio mix. I would have added gaming. However, there is no built-in mic. In my opinion, the bass is nearly superb. It’s not too much bass where it gets muddy and boomy. Yet, not too little bass either.
- High SPL of 115dB (Gets really loud without distortion)
- 95-ohm impedance
- Great For DJ’s
- Great For Studio use
- Able to swivel one earpiece off at a time.
- A few claims of them being uncomfortable. (every head is different)
9. Pioneer HDJ-X10-K
One of the highest-rated and reviewed professional DJ headphones set by pioneer, the Pioneer HDJ-X10-K will not let you down. There are so many fabulous headphones on this list. However, one thing that can’t be denied is this pair’s excellent ratings. When you first get your hands on these, don’t be fooled by the lightweight. They are incredibly durable and flexible. Not to forget, the design is gorgeous.
In terms of its sound quality, the Pioneer HDJ-X10-K is really good. It is well balanced with an excellent bass response. The frequency response is the widest I have seen on the market yet at 5Hz-40kHz. Like the previous HDJ-2000MK2-S, the driver is powerful at 50mm.
Between the Pioneer HDJ-X10-K and the previous HDJ-2000MK2-S, I would say the previous HDJ-2000MK2-S produces slightly better sound quality while the HDJ-X10-K has a better overall build quality. Pioneer specifically engineered this pair to handle abuse, vigorous touring conditions, and rough climate while maintaining lightweight and flexibility. After purchasing the Pioneer HDJ-X10-K, do not expect to get a new pair any time soon.
10. Numark Red Wave
The Numark Red Wave is yet another inexpensive but great pair of headphones. Although it was customized for DJ use, it can be used for just about any other application as well. The headphones cover the full ear and provide great noise isolation.
One of the unique features of the Numark Red Wave headphones is their extreme comfort. They are made with breathable protein leather padding that keeps the headphones comfortable for a very long time. I highly recommend these headphones if you often travel, considering their comfort for hours. Some people even go as far as using them to take naps in the plane to block out the outside noise. On the other hand, DJs who prefer keeping the headphones on throughout the majority of their gig will benefit from the Numark Red Wave as well!
Another reason DJs love this pair is because the sound quality is flat. There is no EQ or tone manipulation in your mix. You will get the accurate quality of sound that the PA is producing. The audio is clear and sounds good.
- Extremely comfortable
- Flat EQ
- Customized for DJ use
- Claims of defective products that do not last long
11. Beats Studio3 (Wireless)
The Beats Studio3 is possibly the best Beats pair of headphones of the rest. You can either use this pair wired with a cord that comes with the purchase, or wireless with Bluetooth connectivity. With the purchase, you also get a carry case and a USB charging port to charge the headphones for wireless Bluetooth mode. While this pair may be a bit more on the pricey side, it’s most definitely worth it. There are 17 colors to choose from.
There are many great benefits with the Beats Studio3. For one, it was specifically designed for impressive noise-cancelation. It uses pure adaptive noise-canceling features that almost entirely shut off the outside noise by 100%. Another positive side is its incredible comfort. You will be amazed by how comfortable these beats are in comparison to the superior noise cancelation.
The sound quality of the Beats Studio3 is very good. In truth, this pair has the best sound quality compared to every other Beats headphone. However, the sound is not up to par with the price range. The reason why these headphones are priced where they are is due to the superior Bluetooth, excellent noise-canceling, long-range wireless mode, extended battery life, and incredible comfort.
The verdict, are the Beats Studio3 worth their price? If you need high-grade comfort, a secure wireless connection, superior noise-cancellation, and excellent sound quality mixed into one pair of headphones, The Beats Studio3 is the pair for you!
- Long Bluetooth range
- Wireless option
- Great noise-isolation
- 22 hours of battery life
- Nondurable ear cups. May need to replace it in the future
- The built-in mic doesn’t work very well
12. Presonus HD9
If you’re looking for a pair of headphones primarily to edit music, the Presonus HD9 was picked as the top choice by Namm in 2018! Better yet, they are very affordable, and in my opinion, highly underrated. Both of the ear cups rotate at 180 degrees, making it a good choice for DJs, as well. It comes with a 10-foot straight cable that may get annoying to those who prefer a coiled cable. However, most don’t mind.
The sound quality is very good for the low price. They precisely customized the frequency response to be from 10 Hz – 26 kHz covering the entire audible spectrum the human ear can pick up. To get excellent sound quality for the price, they use 45mm dynamic neodymium drivers. The sensitivity is at 96dB.
The Presonus HD9 provides good noise isolation for those with smaller to medium-sized ears. However, those with more prominent ears may need to look elsewhere, considering the cups are not as big as other headphones on this list. Other than that, the noise isolation is solid.
- Cups rotate at 180 degree
- Relatively comfortable
- Good sound with an accurate low-end
- Does not fully cover bigger ears
- Not as durable as more expensive headphones
13. Samson SR850
Here the lowest-priced pair of headphones on this list. The Samson SR850 running under $40 on Amazon is a fantastic value for the quality. Not only is it the lowest-priced pair on this list, but it’s also rated and reviewed relatively high.
The sound quality will blow you away for the extremely low price. Repeatedly people say the sound can stand toe-to-toe with many headphones four times the price. The blend between the lows, mids, and highs is well-balanced and precise. If I had to critique the sound, I would say the lows are not big enough for intermediate DJs.
While these headphones don’t have a built-in mic, many gamers still rave about them. Some say these headphones are very comfortable while others say they are not. For my head and ears, they were decently comfortable and I did not have any issues.
Overall, I highly recommend these cheap headphones for anyone who does not need superior noise isolation.
- Great value
- Very affordable
- Great sound
- Great for studios who need low-budget monitors for recording instruments
- Great for gamers who don’t need a built-in mic
- A bit low on bass compared to most headphones on this list
- Poor comfort compared to most headphones on this list
- Poor noise-isolation
- Poor durability compared to higher-priced headphones
14. Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Currently priced under $60 on Amazon, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is yet another low-budget pair of headphones that cover the entire ear. This popular pair of headphones have surprising good durability and longevity. They are built pretty sturdy that will surely last you much longer than most headphones below $100.
With their boost in the mids, the sound quality is very detailed and clear, with outstanding clarity for the low price. While the bass sound is not as good as the Audio-Technica’s earlier ATH-M50xBT version, these headphones are excellent for a lower price.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x provides good noise isolation while maintaining a comfortable fit. It blocks out the majority of outside noise once you put them on. While we do not recommend them for professional mixers, many DJ’s and home studio engineers use them for mixing with high marks.
Considering its durability, clear and detailed sound, portability, low price, and nice design; The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is an outstanding bang for the buck. I highly recommend them for anyone looking for a quality pair of headphones built to last in an affordable price range.
- Great mid-range for a punchier sound (this is a pro for those who prefer more mids, a con for those who prefer a flat sound)
- Easily portable with its collapsible headphones
- Detailed audio
- Good noise-isolation
- A bit tight to wear for some people
- The wire connected on the right side of the headphone clamp while folding the headphones. A few people claim it broke due to that reason.
15. AKG K240STUDIO
The AKG K240STUDIO is one of the highest-rated affordable headphones on this list. They cover the entire ear but do not provide noise isolation. Headphones with an open back that don’t offer noise isolation like these do have their benefits in their own way. For example, you can be aware of your surroundings and hear people talk.
Also, some people prefer the feeling of letting their ear breathe. However, I do not necessarily recommend these for live DJ mixing or traveling. Other people around you are also able to hear what you’re listening to if the volume is high.
The sound quality is very clear and detailed. It provides a flat sound that is great for mixing audio. The AKG K240STUDIO does not overcompensate the bass end. Instead, the clear mids and highs offer more detail and brightness to the sound. In many cases, these headphones bring out some overlooked features in songs that are generally missed.
Overall, if you’re looking for non-bass heavy headphones that do not block out the outside environment noise at a low price, the AKG K240STUDIO is an excellent choice for you!
- Great highs and mids
- Flat and detailed sound for studio mixing
- No sound-isolation
- Poor bass
16. Sony WH-1000XM3
Last but not least, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is one of the few top-tier headphones on the market. It has incredible noise-cancelling abilities which help entirely eradicate outside noise environments. The built-in microphone works exceptionally well in just about any condition for a high-quality phone call. These headphones are trendy and very highly rated across the board. Something I found very beneficial was its mix of high-quality design, comfortability, and extremely lightweight.
In terms of sound quality, here is yet another pair of headphones that produce near-flawless audio. It has a great balance between all of the frequencies. The instruments are separated extremely well without losing any vital EQ from compression. Another great feature is its really long battery life of 30 hours.
Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is one of the few high-grade most professional active noise-cancelling headphones on the market. They cover the full ear and have wireless capabilities. If you’re looking for quality headphones without a budget, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is a great choice.
Details & Tech Specs
- Active noise-cancelling
- Built-in Alexa voice control
- 30-hour battery life
Here Are The Best Best Over-Ear Headphones
- Audio-Technica ATHM40x
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II
- Pioneer HDJ-2000MK2-S
- V-MODA Crossfade M-100
- Sony MDRV6
- Sony MDR7506
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
- Sennheiser HD 8
- Pioneer HDJ-X10-K
- Numark Red Wave
- Beats Studio3
- Presonus HD9
- Samson SR850
- Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
- AKG K240STUDIO
- Sony WH-1000XM3
The 6 Things To Lookout For When Purchasing A Pair Of Headphones
1. Sound Quality
Especially for music listeners, the overall quality of sound is a massive factor in finding your perfect pair of headphones. There are various factors that impact a pair of headphones’ sound quality.
The ability for headphones to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, pressure, or ear pain. Considering many people use headphones for commute, air travel, or work; Comfort is a vital factor.
3. Build Quality
What good are your amazingly sounding headphones if they break in a few months? The overall durability and longevity are crucial for any investment you make. Especially for those who need headphones for commute, it’s important they’re able to withstand vigorous traveling conditions consistently.
4. Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling
Don’t be confused between active noise cancelling and noise isolation headphones. They are both entirely different. Noise-cancelling technology is very unique. Unlike noise-isolating headphones, noise-cancelling headphones do not eradicate outside noise by physical insulation. Within the ear cups, they have a mini microphone that picks up the outside environmental noise. It then triggers a frequency entirely opposite to the outside ambient noise. Thus, canceling out most outside ambient sound.
5. Battery Life
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