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The 13 Best Headphone Brands

11/09/2023

Headphones are a key element of listening and monitoring. From production and engineering to casually listening to your favourite albums, your choice of headphones can range from wireless noise cancelling to accurate studio tools.

So, to help narrow down your options, we’re looking at the 13 best headphone brands. We’ll cover some of their history, their significant developments, and some key products that’ll get you started with their offerings.

In a hurry?

Here are our picks for the 5 best headphone brands to give you a quick headstart.

SubZeroCheck the current prices
Audio-TechnicaCheck the current prices
BeyerdynamicCheck the current prices
SennheiserCheck the current prices
AudezeCheck the current prices

Best headphone brands

1. Sennheiser

Sennheiser are a German manufacturer founded in 1945 by Dr Fritz Sennheiser, immediately after World War II. Initially known as Laboratorium Wennebostel, or ‘Lab W’ for short, Sennheiser originated as a modest audio lab based in a farmhouse.

They started production with measuring instruments that were sold to Siemens before they were commissioned to rebuild a microphone provided by an Austrian supplier. The brand quickly gained prominence for their microphone designs, advancing technologies such as condenser capsules and early wireless mics, and they were renamed Sennheiser Electronic in 1958.

It was not until 1968 that Sennheiser launched their first-ever set of headphones, the HD 414. These were not just any headphones; they were the world’s first open-back headphones and remain the best-selling full-size headphones. By 1982, the company was passed down to Fritz’s son, Dr. Jörg Sennheiser.

In 1988, Sennheiser released the HD 25 headphones, intended for studio monitoring. However, they unexpectedly gained popularity among DJs and were used as in-flight headphones on the Concorde.

In 1991, Sennheiser introduced their electrostatic headphones, Orpheus, and in 2009, they released the HD 800 for high-grade referencing. Today, the company remains family-owned and operated, with Fritz’s grandsons, Andreas and Daniel, co-leading the company and maintaining the spirit of the small laboratory.

We recommend: HD 650

Sennheiser HD 650 Audiophile Open Dynamic HeadphonesThe Sennheiser HD 650s are a set of open-back dynamic headphones that have proved themselves incredibly popular with audiophiles. Their sound is clear and balanced with a smooth and detailed midrange.

In fact, every element is well-balanced, and their open-back design offers more naturalistic sound and a wider-feeling stereo image. All of this makes these headphones incredibly popular for hi-fi listening, but they’re also incredibly well-suited to mixing and mastering.

Built to precise tolerances with optimised magnets for low harmonic distortion and a more immersive listening experience, these headphones have a crystal-clear sound that will draw the listener into whatever material they want to hear.

A gold-plated jack adapter from 3.5 mm to 6.35 mm makes it easy to plug the HD 650 into any source or headphone amp you need, for optimal sound quality.

Its full frequency response covers well past the human hearing range, from 10 Hz up to 41 kHz, so sub-frequencies and airy treble will all translate perfectly.


2. SubZero

SubZero is a house brand that produces a wide range of audio products. Initially with a focus on studio gear and tech products, the brand quickly expanded into studio accessories, guitars, effects pedals, amps, mics, and PA speakers.

The goal of SubZero is to deliver professional, competitive products that come in at an accessible price point whilst having forward-looking features to face down premium brands. Ideal for both beginners and professionals, the SubZero range has something for everyone.

We recommend: SZ-MH200

SubZero SZ-MH200 Monitoring HeadphonesThe SubZero SZ-MH200 Monitoring Headphones, offer excellent value for money, being one of the most affordable sets of monitoring headphones on the market whilst offering a full frequency response.

Great for a first set of reference headphones, the SZ-MH200 have been fine-tuned specifically for recording and monitoring situations, promising high audio quality, clarity of sound, and dynamic range.

Whether you’re connecting to audio interfaces, mixers, computers, or mobile devices, these headphones have you covered with a 3.5mm stereo plug and a 6.3mm stereo adapter.

The closed-back sealed earcups feature ergonomic pads, providing comfort during extended recording and mixing sessions.

But it’s not just about comfort – these earcups also offer a very direct, isolated sound, preventing loud headphone mixes from leaking into adjacent microphones, which is a common issue in studio settings.

The three-meter cable and comfortable non-slip headband ensure the headphones stay in position, whether you’re drumming or moving around during a live recorded session.


3. Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica are a Japanese electronics brand that produce a huge range of products. Founded in Tokyo in 1962, Audio-Technica started developing cartridges for phonographs. They then expanded into turntables and microcassette recorders, having picked up enough steam to expand and export their products worldwide by 1969.

The company’s first headphones would follow in 1974, with the AT-700 series. They would dabble in microphones briefly in 1978, but would not develop more microphone ranges until the ’90s. They also produce sushi machines and are considered an industry leader for this in Japan, but not as well-known for it outside of there.

We recommend: ATH-M20x

Audio-Technica ATH-M20xThe Audio-Technica ATH-M20x headphones, part of the renowned M-Series line, are a superb entry point for those venturing into recording and mixing.

Priced under £50, these professional monitoring headphones offer excellent audio reproduction and effective sound isolation.

Crafted from high-quality components, they promise durability and comfort, making them perfect for both studio use and at-home content creation.

Inspired by the robust design of other models in the series, the ATH-M20x is lightweight and comfortable, with professional-grade soft ear and head pads.

Tuned for enhanced low-frequency performance, they deliver balanced mix control and accurate sound reproduction, ensuring your output captures your creative vision perfectly.

Whether you’re a beginner or a budget-conscious professional, the ATH-M20x headphones offer unparalleled value in recording and mixing.


4. Shure

Shure are an American audio manufacturer primarily known for their microphones. Founded in Chicago in 1925, Shure started as a radio repair and kit seller, before switching business plans in 1929, after demand for radio kits fell sharply and prebuilt radios became more popular. Instead, they became a distributor, before designing microphones themselves in 1931.

They continued to innovate microphone designs throughout the 1930s, with some significant designs, like the Model 55 Unidyne, which revolutionised both studio recording and live performances of the era.

By the time of World War II, Shure found themselves becoming a primary supplier of audio equipment to the U.S. military, adopting military specifications for build quality to strengthen their products and ensure reliable performance in the challenging conditions of the battlefield.

Their first recorded headphones also came about at this time, with the HS-33 and HS-38 headset microphones ensuring clear communication for pilots. After the war, Shure’s popularity exploded, with a long succession of microphones, wireless microphone systems, phonograph cartridges, and other audio equipment, solidifying them as an instantly recognisable brand for premium audio.

It wasn’t until 2009 that Shure would return back to headphones, and they released their SRH line with the aim of providing headphones for studio tracking, mixing, and mastering. The following year, in 2010, Shure began developing wireless personal monitoring systems, with in-ear monitor earphones alongside them.

Their headphone range has since expanded to cover everything from live performance to studio to personal listening.

We recommend: AONIC 50 Gen 2

Shure AONIC 50 Gen 2 Wireless Noise Cancelling HeadphonesThe Shure AONIC 50 Gen 2 are an updated edition of Shure’s wireless noise-cancelling headphones. Built for casual listening, conferencing, and calls, as well as improved specifications for studio monitoring, these headphones are meant to do it all.

New to this second generation of the AONIC 50, you have adjustable noise cancellation with full slider-based adjustment in Environment mode, as well as Light, Medium, Max, and MaxAware settings to give you as much or as little of the outside world as you need to hear.

There’s also spatialised audio, which adds depth and positioning to your sounds, making it incredibly immersive for home listening.

Offering up to 45 hours of battery life with a quick-charge function to get 5 hours of use from 15 minutes of charging, the AONIC Gen 2 are great both in one place and on the go. App control lets you access extra features like EQ and further customisation over noise cancellation settings.

Plus, its amplifier and drivers are great for mixing and mastering, with high audio resolutions of up to 32-bit and 384 kHz sample rate, giving you every single detail, as well as compatibility with popular audio codecs for Hi-Fi listening.

The first generation was great for casual listening and Hi-Fi, but the Gen 2 greatly expands the series’ scope, making them a great all-rounder for musicians and producers who want an all-in-one pair of headphones.


5. Neumann

Neumann were founded in Berlin by Georg Neumann in 1928. For most of their history, Neumann were better known for their significant developments in microphones and other pro audio products like preamps, EQ, and recording consoles.

Iconic designs in both tube and FET condenser microphones have made them a standard in studio recording when they were previously losing out to dynamic capsules. Designs like the CMV 3, the first ever commercially available condenser were common standards throughout World War II. In the aftermath of the war, Neumann’s factory was located in what ended up as Soviet-occupied East Germany.

The factory was then seized and operated by the state, forcing Neumann to return to Berlin and re-establish Neumann there in 1949. At this point, they produced a variant of the CMV 3 design that eventually became the legendary U47. From here, a slew of classic designs that became studio mainstays followed – the M 49, M 50, U67, and U87 amongst them.

However, it wasn’t until recently that Neumann expanded their offerings to include modern home studio-based products. From their home recording microphones like the TLM 102 to their KH-series of studio monitors, the MT48 audio interface, and of course, headphones.

We recommend: NDH 30

Neumann NDH 30 Open Back Studio HeadphonesWhen it comes to headphones that deliver both precision and performance, the award-winning Neumann NDH 30 stands out. Lauded for its outstanding detail resolution and high-precision stereo imaging, these open-back headphones offer a razor-sharp localisation that’s second to none.

Developed to embody the reference sound of a perfectly calibrated Neumann studio monitor setup, the NDH 30 offers great transient response and a linear soundstage. This makes it great for high-end mixing and mastering when monitors simply aren’t an option.

Can you imagine having the power of a Neumann studio monitor setup right at your fingertips, no matter where you are?

Built with high-quality spring steel and aluminium, its dynamic 38 mm transducers work as acoustic dipoles, allowing the headphone’s refined sound characteristics – fast transient response, dry bass, uncoloured mids, and transparent highs – to shine.

The NDH 30’s uncompromising precision is also attributable to its frequency-selective absorbers, eliminating any overemphasis on high frequencies and ensuring accurate mixing decisions. With the NDH 30, what you hear is exactly what you get – no sound colouration, just pure, unadulterated audio.

Moreover, high spatial resolution, minimised channel crosstalk, and sheer comfort ensure you can get those details just right over long-term listening sessions, whether you’re editing or carrying out post-production.


6. Sony

Sony are a Japanese electronics company that were founded in 1946 as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation).

With a humble 20 employees and 190,000 yen (about £2,500 today!), the company was founded by Masaru Ibuka. He had a vision to “do what has never been done before” and “establish an ideal factory that stresses a spirit of freedom and open-mindedness that will, through technology, contribute to Japanese culture”.

Since then, Sony have certainly delivered on these promises, delivering many groundbreaking and first products to not just Japan, but the whole world.

Sony produce everything, from televisions, radios, film cameras and home audio equipment to medical devices, cameras, robotics, and game consoles. With such an extensive catalogue of products, it’s almost easy to overlook the significance of Sony’s microphones and headphones.

They produced the legendary C800G tube microphone as well as the MDR-7506/1 headphones, which have remained unchanged as monitoring headphones since their release in 1991.

Their history in headphone design goes back way further, however, with their first stereo headphones being the DR-1A in 1964, designed to be used with tape recorders.

We recommend: MDR-MV1

Sony MDR-MV1 Open Back Monitor HeadphonesA brand-new launch from Sony, the MDR-MV1 builds on the intentionally neutral sound of Sony’s monitoring headphones with the spaciousness of an open-back design.

This new design is their first take on an open-back headphone, having stuck to closed-backs for their extensive history of headphone designs dating back to 1964.

These open-backs are a unique design from Sony, as they’re designed especially for mixing and mastering spatial audio.

This makes them one of the first sets of headphones capable of accurately placing sound objects in a 360-degree stereo field, ideal for mixing in Ambisonic, Binaural, or Dolby Atmos formats.

Clear, detailed, and comfortable, the MDR-MV1 are made with long listening sessions in mind. Just this year, this new design has won itself a TEC Award for its cutting-edge features.


7. AKG

AKG are an Austrian manufacturer that started out selling equipment to movie theatres in Vienna, modifying projectors and loudspeakers to perform for these venues.

Rudolf Görike and Ernst Pless, the original founders, were old friends who got back in touch after World War II. They would hand-deliver products on bicycles, before gradually expanding into consumer-grade audio equipment: car horns, intercoms, and telephone capsules.

In 1949, AKG began developing headphones, starting with the K120 DYN, which was manufactured by hand by a team of five. AKG pioneered a great deal of significant headphone technologies, including the very concept of open-back headphones in the K50, which was released in 1959.

Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, AKG created the world’s first hybrid dynamic and electrostatic headphones, the K340; the world’s first binaural headphones the K1000; and the world’s first wireless headphones in the Libero series.

AKG headphones are favourites of producers, engineers, and artists, even collaborating with producer Quincy Jones on a signature range of headphones.

We recommend: K702

AKG K702 Open-Back Reference HeadphonesThe AKG K702 are reference, open-back, over-ear studio headphones specifically designed for precision listening.

Combining an incredibly accurate response with remarkable agility and spaciousness, the K702s take your audio experience to a whole new level. How does AKG achieve this? The secret lies in their revolutionary flat-wire voice coils and patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm.

Along with a totally open design and a high-performance cable, these features ensure that the K702s stand out as true reference headphones.

The AKG K702 headphones also prioritise your comfort. With specially shaped 3D-foam ear pads and a genuine leather headband, they guarantee a perfect fit for extended use.

And if you’ve ever faced the annoyance of a damaged cable, you’ll appreciate the professional mini XLR connector that allows for quick and easy cable replacement. Each pair of K702s is individually tested and serial-numbered, underscoring AKG’s commitment to quality and reliability.


8. beyerdynamic

beyerdynamic were founded in 1924 in Berlin by Eugen Beyer and began by producing speakers for film theatres. By the end of the 1930s, they released their first set of headphones, the DT 48. However, whilst a lot of manufacturers thrived during World War II, beyerdynamic had to freeze their production and shift to a factory in Heilbronn.

After returning to production, beyerdynamic released the DT 49 headphones, which became extremely popular in “Plattenbars” (record bars) in Germany. After this, the company released a slew of microphones that became incredibly popular for both live performance and studio recording, from dynamic and ribbon mics to condensers.

The 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul were covered by media outlets using exclusively beyerdynamic headsets, and coverage of the Football World Cup in Germany used the DT 297 headsets. beyerdynamic headphones are renowned for their flat and accurate sound, making them a popular pick for studio recording, mixing, and mastering.

We recommend: DT 770 Pro

beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Headphones, 32 OhmThe DT 770 Pro have been trusted by music producers, sound engineers, and broadcasters worldwide for decades.

These are the closed-back model in beyerdynamic’s DT Pro range, offering maximum flexibility and a remarkably detailed sound you can rely on.

Thanks to an innovative bass reflex system, they reproduce the entire frequency range with astounding precision and deliver low frequencies in punchy detail.

But what about comfort? The beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro doesn’t compromise.

Designed with soft, circumaural, and replaceable ear pads, along with a rugged, adjustable, soft padded headband, these headphones ensure a comfortable fit even during extended use.

An added bonus is the single-sided cable, which prevents tangling and makes frequent wearing and removal a breeze.


9. AIAIAI

AIAIAI are a fairly modern audio brand, founded in Copenhagen in 2006. They push the ideas of forward-thinking, modern designs and sustainable, environmentally-friendly production of headphones that are built to last. AIAIAI have been producing headphones since 2010, and have produced an innovative range, including studio-quality wireless headphones, advancing acoustic designs with their cutting-edge products.

Endorsed by DJs and producers like Kaytranada, Bonobo, Charlotte de Witte, Benji B, and Young Guru, AIAIAI’s unique approach has already made waves in the industry.

We recommend: TMA-2 Studio XE

AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio XE HeadphonesThe AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio XE Headphones are modular studio headphones specifically balanced for music production, offering a critically acclaimed sound stage designed for studio use.

With comfortable PU leather over-ear earpads, they provide high isolation, reducing surrounding noise and creating an ideal environment for creation on the go. Weighing in at just 190g, these headphones promise enhanced comfort, even during prolonged use.

But what sets these headphones apart? The secret lies in the speaker unit. It contains a bio-cellulose diaphragm, an organic compound grown using certain types of bacteria.

This precision-grown diaphragm is stiffer, lighter, and stronger than regular PET speaker units, resulting in less distortion and more accurate, detailed sound. Even at high volumes, clarity is retained.

For added comfort, the headphones feature high-grade memory foam cushions covered in resilient and soft PU leather, perfect for long creation sessions or live performances.


10. Audeze

Audeze are an American brand founded in Orange County, California in 2008. After meeting an ex-NASA scientist who’d developed a new circuit material for spacecraft design, the company founders realized that this had huge applications for audio as well. To this end, Audeze applied this material as the diaphragm in planar-magnetic headphones. Due to its light weight, thin profile, and strength, these diaphragms make Audeze headphones responsive, sonically detailed, transparent, and offer excellent transient response.

Audeze’s first release was the LCD-2, which has been a consistent industry leader and remains in production to this day.

We recommend: LCD-X

Audeze LCD-X Black Leather with Carry Case (Creator)Introduced in 2013, the Audeze LCD-X has since become a trusted choice among award-winning artists and engineers. These headphones are a perfect blend of transparency and reliability, making it an ideal addition to any studio or audiophile system.

With class-leading resolution and impressively low distortion, the LCD-X offers an audio experience comparable to high-end speaker systems, without the need for large, expensive acoustic room treatments.

When paired with Audeze’s Reveal+ technology, which creates an AI-generated map of your own hearing, the LCD-X can transport you inside renowned studios, allowing you to mix consistently and efficiently from anywhere.

But what makes the LCD-X truly stand out? The answer lies in its patented Audeze technologies. The same patented diaphragms that put them on the map, Fazor waveguides, and powerful neodymium magnets work together to deliver extremely accurate and detailed sound.

The sophisticated planar-magnetic drivers offer high efficiency with low impedance, ensuring that the LCD-X can deliver exceptional sound from nearly any device with a headphone output. These innovations allow audio professionals to work efficiently across various settings. Over the years, Audeze has further improved the LCD-X, reducing its weight and enhancing comfort.


11. OLLO Audio

OLLO Audio are a Slovenian brand established by Rok Gulič and Mitja Sajovic. After working tirelessly to mix his band’s album in his home studio and keeping his wife and children awake, Rok turned to headphones for mixing but was dissatisfied with the results, particularly in the kick and bass, where low-end felt weak and inaccurate.

So, in 2016, inspired by the mission to find a satisfactory alternative to studio monitors that kept the sound tactile without disturbing his family, Rok began prototyping his own headphones.

The result was a punchy, accurate set of reference headphones for mixing and mastering, that would become the S4X. With the goal of taking these headphones to market, Rok got in touch with his friend Mitja, and the two joined a local startup hub to get their products out to the world.

Since then, OLLO Audio has won Slovenia’s Startup of the Year Award in 2019, and their headphones have become fast favourites of audio engineers and producers who’ve worked with the likes of Adele, U2, Rihanna, Sting, and Foo Fighters.

We recommend: S4X

OLLO Audio S4X Reference Headphones (Open Back)The OLLO Audio S4X have been described as “flat out of the box,” a phrase coined by reviewers praising their neutral and honest sound signature.

This unique quality was perfected through close R&D collaboration with professional mixing and mastering engineers, resulting in a sound that was advised by industry pros, not lab geeks. Intrigued? You can try them for 30 days on all purchases.

The S4X’s are also amplifier independent, boasting a 32-ohm impedance that ensures compatibility with pro-level and laptop-integrated amplifiers. With industry-standard jack connectors, they’re a plug-and-play option for almost any audio gear.

Each pair of headphones comes with measurement charts, giving you a better understanding of what you’re hearing, and providing an edge in mixing and mastering for the best translation of your projects.

The speakers in these headphones are matched in the lab in 100-unit batches using an automated process that includes frequency domain analysis. This ensures a smoother frequency response and separation of low-end to mid-frequencies.

The front of the speaker cavity is sealed off from the back, similar to a closed guitar or bass speaker cabinet. The cable, designed with an OFC core, delivers the original signal without harmonic or other audible distortion, while its silicone finish reduces microphonics and makes it easier to handle.

The custom earpads, a hybrid of velour padding and artificial leather, are directly responsible for the acoustic coupling impedance between the headphones and your ears, greatly improving the frequency response.


12. Behringer

Behringer is a German audio brand that was founded in 1989 by Swiss musician and audio engineer Uli Behringer. Having always had an interest in electronics and equipment design, Uli built his first-ever synthesizer, the UB-1, at age 16.

By 1982, struggling to make ends meet – as most of his musician friends were – and finding audio equipment prohibitively expensive, Uli began designing products initially just for his own studio space, before supplying them to friends and colleagues as well.

By 1989, Behringer was officially founded and went beyond a kitchen-table startup to a full-sized company. Their production scaled up exponentially from there, capturing the home-studio market of DIY musicians. Behringer produce everything from mixers, studio monitors, microphones, and studio rack gear, as well as effects pedals, synthesisers, and, of course, headphones.

Behringer released their first headphones, the HPX and HPS series in 2004, and have continued to release reference headphones for tracking and mixing ever since.

We recommend: BH60

The Behringer BH60 are closed-back studio reference headphones designed with studio monitoring in mind and are equipped with top-tier, extra-large 51mm Neodymium drivers that deliver high-resolution performance.

Whether you’re composing your own tunes or mixing a recording, the BH60 ensures an immersive and peaceful audio experience, no matter your location. Built to last, these headphones combine durability with wear comfort, boasting ultra-soft ear cushions and a self-adjusting headband.

Best of all, the BH60 offers all these features at a budget-friendly price.

The BH60 boast a secure fit and ultra-lightweight design, allowing for extended studio sessions without any discomfort. The thick, ultra-comfortable ear cushions help attenuate ambient noise, allowing you to focus more on your performance.

An extra-long detachable cable provides added comfort, ensuring you can move around freely. But the BH60 doesn’t stop there; these headphones also offer an extended audio spectrum.

Thanks to the high-grade neodymium drivers, you can experience an extended range from 10Hz to 35kHz, capturing everything from the ultra-low thumps of kick drums to the fullness of cymbals.


13. Austrian Audio

Austrian Audio are, as their name suggests, an Austrian manufacturer. One of the youngest brands covered on this list, Austrian Audio were founded in 2017 by a core team of former AKG engineers who sought to pay tribute to their experience there whilst forging something new.

Starting out as a team of 22, Austrian Audio’s vision quickly expanded thanks to the combined experience of the company letting them get a variety of products designed quickly and efficiently.

They now have a range of both studio and live microphones already on the market, with plenty more to come. They also offer a range of headsets and headphones billed at casual gaming, businesses, casual listening, DJs, and high-end studio mixing and mastering alike.

We recommend: Hi-X50

Austrian Audio Hi-X50 On Ear HeadphonesThe Hi-X50 are designed with Front-of-House and DJ applications in mind, allowing for easy adjustments to fit your needs. But what sets them apart? The heart of these headphones is the High Excursion technology, perfectly tailored for contemporary music production.

The custom-designed 44mm driver, unique ring magnet system, and copper-clad aluminium voice coil work harmoniously to reduce membrane weight and increase stiffness. This results in improved response, tamed unwanted resonance, and minimised distortion.

The Hi-X50 upholds the ‘Made in Austria’ tag with pride, boasting exceptional hardware design and engineering with no off-the-shelf components.

The all-metal hinges and headband bow ensure long-lasting stability and comfort, preventing distractions during your sessions.

To top it all off, the Hi-X50 features a foldable design for easy portability and storage, along with cable adapters for seamless connection to professional or consumer equipment.

What to consider when choosing the headphones for you

Type of headphones

The decision between closed-back and open-back headphones depends on two things: personal sound preference and use cases.

Closed-back headphones are great for tracking, as they don’t leak sound, meaning any cues from backing tracks and clicks to the signal you’re trying to record won’t leak into the mic during a take. Closed-backs can also be bassier, often having more energy in the low-end and high frequencies whilst the mids are less pronounced.

For some people, this sound profile is more pleasing, and it’s certainly fun for casual listening, but they may be less accurate for monitoring.

Open-back headphones tend to offer more detail and a wider stereo image, making them more accurate for monitoring, mixing, and mastering. However, they leak sound, which means putting them anywhere near a mic will result in significant bleed. They also lose some low-end energy compared to closed-backs, but this usually is more accurate and balanced, but it can affect how you mix things like kick drums or bass.

To find out more about the different types of headphones, take a look at our article here.


Ethics of brand

The ethics of the brand can be another thing worth considering when choosing what to buy. The old adage that we “vote with our wallets” really is true in many cases. So, think about your own values and those of the brand. For example, AIAIAI focus primarily on sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of production and packaging. If you’re someone who values this, this might just make them the perfect brand for you.

Some brands don’t have such specific stated values, but even then, the story of their development from inception to now can give you a picture of the people behind the product and help your decision. While liking the sound and having the features you want is also key, this aspect can be a tiebreaker when you’re unsure what else can narrow down your picks.


What will you be using them for?

As discussed, the context of headphones can be key in narrowing down your choices.

Closed-back headphones are great for tracking and personal listening since they don’t leak sound. Open-backs are great for monitoring due to their accuracy and width. However, these aren’t always completely hard and fast rules, open-backs can sound great for personal listening too, if you don’t mind the sound being heard by those around you when you’re in public, at least.

But certain use cases, like mixing and mastering will necessitate a more flat and accurate frequency response than one you might like. This might not always make things sound as good as they can, but it’ll help you make the right choices when you dig into an EQ or tweak the settings on a compressor.

DJs tend to want something loud, isolating, and with massive bass response for their cues, so anything with this sound profile will serve well. No matter what’s right for you, what you want them to do and where you’ll be using them are crucial considerations and usually the first question I ask myself when shopping for new headphones.

Shure AONIC 50 Gen 2 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

FAQs

Which headphone company is best?

Our picks for the five best headphone companies are:

  • Audio-Technica
  • Beyerdynamic
  • Sennheiser
  • Audeze
  • SubZero

What headphones do top producers use?

Top producers utilise a wide range of different headphones and brands, here are ten brands you’ll probably see your favourite producers use:

  • Audio-Technica
  • Beyerdynamic
  • AKG
  • Focal
  • Sennheiser
  • Audeze
  • OLLO Audios
  • AIAIAI
  • Neumann
  • Sony

Which brand is best for wired headphones?

Sennheiser is one of the best brands for wired headphones. This is due to their wide range of headphones, and the quality thereof. Voted most popular by consumers, the German brand covers everything from home listening to studio monitoring, live in-ear monitors, Hi-Fi, and DJing with their range.

Final thoughts

So, we’ve covered the history, context, and technology of both big and small audio companies from all over the world, highlighted some key products, and discussed how you can choose the right headphones for you. Hopefully, this will help you with your next headphone purchase. Knowing the best headphone brands is always a great place to start – whether you’re buying your first pair or your 100th.

 

Content Writer - Live Sound

Callum is a former audio and music technology student who has a love of punk, rock, metal, and electronic music. In his spare time, he produces music, and DJs occasionally. He's also a freelance engineer when possible, helping local bands make their noise even noisier.

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