A great pair of headphones is essential for everyone who enjoys listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. With so many different models and brands to choose from, finding the best headphones can be extremely difficult. Especially when most of them have many things in common, like great-looking design, top audio quality, and a good range of features, as wireless connectivity and noise-cancellation.
Why Over-Ear Headphones?
The over-ear headsets are a better choice for your ear than in/on-ear models. With comfortable pads to cover your ear entirely, you don’t have to worry about your ears getting sore. The best headphones can reproduce a wide range of frequencies, from silky smooth highs to tight, deep bass. Having your ears completely inside the earcups provides good isolation while still allowing a wide sound stage. If you think about sound quality, all of the very best headsets in the world are over-ear headphones.
Top 10 Choices
We encourage you to look at all of the over-ear headsets listed below. Our selection gives you the option to choose between wireless and wired models, especially for those that don’t want to cut the cord.
But if you’re in a hurry and just want to find the best headphones your money can buy right now, then check out the top 3 picks provided by Sony, Beyerdynamic, and Sennheiser.
1. Sony WH-1000XM4
Quick Review on the Brand
Sony is considered to be one of the biggest top companies when it comes to high-quality audio solutions and equipment. The initial name of the company was Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation) and was created by Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita in 1946. After 12 years, in 1958, the company was renamed as you know it today, Sony.
The majority of Sony’s headsets are designed as premium gadgets and the price reflects that. Take for example their Z1R premium headphones that cost $2,000/£2,000. You can also find some cheap options here and there, and those are mainly tailored towards specific target audiences (for example their Extra Bass headphones).
Sony has a variety of headphones, both wireless and wired. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have many options for sports headphones like many of its competitors.
The headsets designed by Sony are well known for their durability. Most of them feel a little bit heavy, and that is because of the giant ear pads used for noise cancelation and because Sony uses high-quality materials.
Sony’s headphones sound extraordinary, very bright, and clean with a flat frequency response which is something I particularly like when looking for headphones. One of the most popular headphone models Sony has to offer is the WH-1000XM4 headphones, a wireless noise-canceling model.
|Frequency response||4Hz to 40kHz|
|Battery life||30 hours|
|Wireless range||30 meters|
The Sony WH-1000XM4 comes with excellent noise-cancellation and good sound quality, all in a comfortable headset. The design is not very different from its predecessors, the WH-1000XM3, but the list of features that it comes with makes a clear distinction between the two models. The new features include multipoint pairing, DSEE Extreme upscaling, conversational awareness, and auto-play/pause using a built-in sensor. Based on all of these the WH-1000XM4 claims the title of best headphones of 2021.
The WH-1000XM4 is a wonderful pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones. They deliver exactly what they promise thanks to their exceptional noise cancellation and cutting-edge codec support. The Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format enables spatial audio on stereo headphones. And the LDAC codec can send a bitrate of up to 990 kbps.
2. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
About the Company
Beyerdynamic is a German audio equipment engineering and manufacturing company founded in 1924. They offer a wide variety of products. From wireless headphones to wireless earbuds, gaming headsets, headsets for the office, and headphones for anyone who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction.
Currently, their top-end headphone products use a dynamic style driver which was designed in-house and is referred to as a Tesla Driver (not to be confused with Tesla the electric car). The wireless headphones are Bluetooth-compatible and have inbuilt high-quality microchips that optimize speed and sound quality.
The headphones are a bit heavier, and that’s mainly due to using Tesla’s drivers in the speakers. However, they are light enough to be comfortable while wearing for longer periods of time.
|Cable length||3m or 5m|
The DT 1990 Pros are an open back, dynamic driver headphone that is designed to be used at home or in the studio for serious analytical listening. They come with a very nice, hardshell case, two cables, and two sets of velour ear pads. From those two cables, one is a 3 meters straight cable and the second one is a 5 meters coiled cable with a 3.5mm connector and ¼ inch adapter. The soundstage is wide, allowing you to pinpoint the exact location of where each instrument is playing. Overall, it gives you a great sense of space. They sound absolutely amazing, with rich bass, smooth highs, and full but clear mids.
At a first glimpse at the DT 1990 Pros, you will notice something very German about them. The headsets are extremely ruggedly. Almost every hard piece is made out of aluminum, except the retaining rings for the ear pads. But even those are made out of high-quality plastic. All parts are held together by Torx screws which makes it pretty easy to disassemble in case you have to replace a specific part.
The headphones weigh 370 grams. The earpads are not made out of memory foam, but they are both still quite comfortable. The clamping force is firm, but not too much. Still, after two or three hours, the DT 1990 Pros can feel a little tight and you may need to take a break. Therefore, the DT 1990 Pros headphones are one of the best-built gadgets I’ve ever seen in a while.
3. Sennheiser HD 800
About Sennheiser Company
Sennheiser is one of the most popular headphone brands in the world. The company has a long history with plenty of great products. All of these were the result of years of research and listening to what buyers want.
In 1945 Dr. Fritz Sennheiser create the Sennheiser company. Its leading breakout product was an omnidirectional dynamic mic. Next, they branched out and launched other products, which leads us to their headphones.
Sennheiser creates high-quality headphones that are affordable. Therefore, those with smaller budgets can still enjoy them. I would say they are in the low to the upper mid-price range, anywhere from $200 to $700 or so, but this also depends on the product and how new it is.
There are many different headphones models you can choose from. Most of their headsets are open-back, but they also have plenty of models that are closed-back. All of them, with few exceptions, have noise cancelation technology. Therefore listening to music becomes an absolute joy. The headsets are durable yet lightweight. And, this applies even to the ones that have all the technological features. Other things to consider are the long battery life and the strong Bluetooth connectivity.
Due to their large frequency response range and circuitry inside the headphone speakers, the sound is clear, bright, and smooth. On top, they are very comfortable to wear and that’s the result of the thick ear pads.
|Frequency response||14 – 44,100 Hz|
The Sennheiser HD 800 are some of the best-sounding pairs of over-ear headphones in the market. They are a serious contender for first or second place on our list. However, the price does not make them quite affordable. The Sennheiser HD 800 cost well over $1,300 / £1,300. On the other hand, when paired with the proper hardware, they sound absolutely excellent. But as I said, this comes with extra costs for the extra audio equipment the average consumer has to buy.