How did we pick our top headphone brands? Good question. Our goal was to pick the top headphone brands based on sound quality, durability, quality of materials, comfort, & aesthetics. We did not pick headphone brands based on their marketing budget. Our top headphone brands list will be updated periodically to include new brands that meet our criteria. The list is in no order since each headphone brand tends to speciaize on a certain headphone type. One thing they all have in common is they are the best headphone brands in the world. Another thing they all have in common is that they are all better than Beats.
Sennheiser opened their doors in 1945, and their engineers have been pioneering minds in the personal audio industry ever since! Sennheiser produces a range of headphones, completely running the headphone gamut, including critically-acclaimed in-ear, on-ear, over-ear, open-back, and closed-back headphones to satisfy all consumer needs (with a particular focus on on-ear headphones). Their signature sound is often regarded as very neutral and accurate, with perfectly tuned trebles, perfect for reference listening to classical, pop, and any other treble-focused genres.First glance at the $50,000 Sennheiser Orpheus! (Opens in a new tab)
Grado Labs has the distinction of being the only manufacturer on our list to handmake all of their headphones in the USA (Brooklyn, NY, to be exact), and you can truly hear and feel the high level of care that went into the production of each individually-assembled pair of headphones each time you try them on! Grado is most well-known for their unrivaled open-back designs, which offer superior soundstage and clarity over closed-back cans. Grado's headphone prices range from budget to ultra-premium, so there is a perfect pair for everyone.Take a tour of Grado Labs NY HQ on Youtube (Opens in a new tab)
Beyerdynamic has been manufacturing world-class headphones since 1924, and the massive number of awards they have won over the years surely showcases their skills! Beyerdynamic has garnered most of their attention in the In-Ear and On-Ear headphone categories, and are particularly well known in many budget categories. Beyerdynamic remains popular with music professionals due to their highly durable products that also offer superior sound quality. Beyerdynamic headphones tend to offer their best sound in the treble region, similar to Sennheiser, and are perfect for treble heavy genres like classical.
Audio-Technica is a Japanese audio equipment manufacturer who have been producing world-class headphones since the 1960's, featuring a rich sound signature, both crisp and clean, with a superior bass response, for anyone who enjoys bass-heavier music, such as rap/hip-hop, dubstep, and more! Audio-Technica cans focus on having excellent soundstage, putting you closer to your favorite rock band than you've ever been-- like your very own private live concert each time you put them on!Headphone Review: Audio-Technica ATH-M50 vs. Beats by Dre (Opens in a new tab)
Shure has been a major brand in speakers/headphones for almost 100 years, known for their ability to get really BIG sound out of really SMALL speakers, lending to their reputation as one of the greatest producers of in-ear headphones on Earth! Shure's second-to-none in-ear headphones are used by audiophiles and stage musicians alike, to deliver optimal sound quality no matter the venue!
In 1932 Shure was 1 of only 4 United States microphone manufacturers. Then in 1953 they introduced the first wireless microphone for performers. Shure has a long history for making quality headphones.
AKG was founded in 1947 in Austria, and they are renowned across the globe for their headphones and microphones as one of the top headphone brands. AKG headphones are most commonly sold to DJs and audio engineers, both of whom demand the highest standards for durability and sound quality! They offer noise-cancelling, wireless options, budget and luxury options, with excellent tone and accuracy.
Recently, AKG partnered with world-renowned DJ Tiësto for a new headphone line with impeccable sonic performance, advanced design and superior comfort!Check out the not-yet-released AKG N90Q, inspired by Quincy Jones (Opens in a new tab)
Recently founded in 2005, HIFIMAN (which is actually a company run by one person, an American audio engineer), has exploded onto the headphone scene like a nuclear bomb, with their amazing revolutionary planar magnetic drivers, that deliver the best sounding bass in their price ranges, period. If you are into hip hop or heavy metal, or any other bass-heavy genre, these are the cans for you! They mostly produce ultra-premium models, ranging from around $400-$1000, but their quality is equivalent to even more expensive headphones from other brands, so ultimately, they are a great value considering they are one of the best headphone brands in the world.
Another newcomer to the headphone arena, Audeze was first introduced in 2009; however, in the past several years they have cemented themselves as, perhaps, the #1 headphone brand in the entire world, winning awards and being lavished with praise from audiophiles at every turn. With Audeze, you definitely pay for the quality you receive, with the least expensive pair costing approximately $700 (EL-8) and going up to the LCD-4, which run around $4,000 new. Audeze is known for offering a different sound signature for each model of their headphones, so personal choice comes into play when choosing the right pair of Audeze headphones for you. Be sure to do thorough research before making your final selection!
Bowers & Wilkins are a relatively small audio boutique founded in 1966, focusing their energy on home theater speakers and headphones, and they actually only produce a few distinct headphone models at any given time, but the quality and attention to detail paid to each pair of headphones they produce is virtually unmatched. Featuring B&W's bold rectangular design, they make a statement not only with their incredible sound but also as a fashion accessory, worn by those truly in-the-know. Their flagship P7 headphone is a revelation, delivering a wonderful sense of space, balance and clarity across the entire frequency range!
Founded in 1938, STAX Earspeaker is a rarity in the headphone world, offering headphones that convert electrical signals into sound in a completely different way than other headphone manufacturers. The overwhelming majority of headphones on the market today feature dynamic, moving-coil drivers; however, STAX Earspeakers all feature proprietary electrostatic transducers, a more complex and expensive technology. This method of driving delivers immaculate transparency and transient response, and STAX headphones are almost scary precise for anyone interested in extreme balance and detail.See the newest STAX models and a sneak peek of a STAX amp prototype at CES2016 (Opens in a new tab)
B&O Play (also commonly referred to as BeoPlay) is the headphone department of world-renowned audio equipment company Bang & Olufsen, who have been in business since 1925! BeoPlay are known for offering extremely high quality, not only with regard to sound reproduction, but also build quality and comfort! BeoPlay only offers a small selection of headphones to choose from, but each pair is top notch, constructed from the most durable metals and the most comfortable leathers available.