Top 10 Rated Headphones 2021
If you’re an audiophile who wants to enjoy the full richness of sound, then you need a good set of headphones. We looked at a number of headphones and selected our 10 favorites based on several factors:
1. Comfortable wearing even for extended periods of time
2. Clear, sharp highs, steady mids, and tight lows
3. A powerful bass without distortion or muddiness
4. A long enough cable for some mobility
5. Compatibility with home stereo systems, computers, and mp3 players
6. Stylish, lightweight design that isn’t too bulky
1 AAA battery required
Bose has a good reputation in the world of audio. The Quiet Comfort 15 headphones are aptly named. They provide a comfortable fit while quieting the noise around you to whispers and hums….Read More
40mm large-diameter drive units
A high-quality monitor headphone set from Panasonic, this model features a classic retro design with a leather headband, large cans, and …
Top quality headphones seem to be getting more and more expensive these days. Heaphones with similar quality, but not the desiner name…
Closed, dynamic hi-fi stereo headphones
Sennheiser is known for its professional-quality headphones, and with this set you can receive excellent sound for an affordable …
If you like the fine quality of over-the-ears headphones but wish you had the freedom to move around the house while you listen …
If you want to enjoy the full quality of sound while you exercise or go about your daily business, then you probably need small earbuds …
As far as budget headphones go, these are an excellent choice. For around $20 to $30, everything is just right. They may not compete with some of the more expensive options out there when it comes to noise isolation…read more
30mm drive units
If you find earbuds uncomfortable or too easy to lose, then consider these headphones from Panasonic, which are reasonably priced …
Headphones Buying Guide
Understanding Sound Quality When Buying Headphones
People buy headphones for various purposes. Some just want a simple set that they can wear on the go, while they read or study, and while they exercise. They may not care about having the best possible quality, as long as they can hear the music clearly and block out most ambient noise.
Audiophiles, professional sound engineers, and recording artists demand the best sound quality from their headphones. They want a set that’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time but still allows for the full range of sounds.
Whether you’re a casual music listener or an avid collector of sound equipment, it’s worthwhile to review the basics of sound quality so you understand what manufacturers are talking about when they claim their headphones are the best.
Sound perception varies from person to person. The best way to select new headphones is to try them out yourself at the store. Because everyone has different shaped heads and ears, they’ll perceive music and sound differently, especially since headphones pipe music directly into the ears. Hence, it’s important to try on different headphones not only to see which ones are comfortable to wear, but to get an idea of how rich and full the music sounds.
Consider the following questions:
- Does the sound come out clear with no distortions or muddiness?
- Is the bass clear, powerful, and controlled?
- You don’t want a bass so strong that it overpowers the vocals and lighter sounds.
- Some headphones have shaking technology that lets you feel as well as hear the thumping bass.
- Are the high sounds tinny or smooth?
- Is there a distinguishable hiss with a wireless set?
For long periods of use, you need a comfortable fit. Many modern headphones are incredibly lightweight, but make sure you’re comfortable wearing a set for an extended time. Padded surfaces are a must—including the headband. With circumaural headphones, you want a good seal over the ears, but make sure it’s not so tight that it puts undue pressure on your ears and head. Some headphones make your ears heat up or feel tingly if you wear them too long.
Being able to adjust your headphones is critical, especially if you’re a professional who wears them a lot. The headband should adjust for different head sizes, and pivoting ear cups making getting a comfortable position easier. Unless they’re wireless, headphones typically come with a cord anywhere from 6 to 10 feet. Some have a Y split in the cord, with each end connecting to an ear cup. Headphones with a single-sided cord allow for more freedom of motion.
Understanding Other Sound Terms
Frequency: Headphones capture the complete range of sounds that humans can hear, from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. The question is how well they reproduce those frequencies. Any low frequencies below 20 Hz aren’t audible, but you can sometimes feel them.
Sensitivity: Headphones measure their loudness efficiency in terms of decibels per milliwatt of power. You want a high sensitivity number of at least 100 dB if you’re using a portable device. The lower the sensitivity, the harder the headphones have to work to sound as loud as those with high sensitivity.
Impedance: Impedance is measured in ohms and it relates to how much resistance the headphones put on an amplifier. Most headphones for professional and commercial use have impedances under 100 ohms. The higher the impedance, the more power you’ll need.
|Steve Holdgren is an engineer by trade and has worked for some of the largest energy related engineering firms in the world with his latest stint in Switzerland. He holds a degree is mechanical engineering… See more about Steve|
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