The top 5 over-ear headphones for clear, expansive sound

When you need tiny headphones for listening on the go, earbuds are a decent match, but over-ear headphones provide a higher level of audio quality. If you’re in the mood for high-end listening, the compromise is worth it.

Because of the greater size, over-ear headphones can accommodate a wide range of technologies, so there’s a lot to choose from. Some offer remarkable active noise cancellation (ANC), while others focus their efforts on producing high-end drivers with mind-blowing sound. There are also those with an open-back construction, which creates a huge room for audio to truly ring out at the expense of sound leakage.

We tested a wide range of over-ear headphones and selected the finest models based on our findings. Our recommendations span a wide range of budgets and options, including wired and wireless pairs. Some of our recommendations will most certainly be discounted on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so keep an eye out for bargains.

Here is list of the best over-ear headphones:

The top 5 over-ear headphones for clear, expansive sound

Monoprice's Monolith M570 Overall, the best over-ear headphones

Pros: Serious audio prowess on a shoestring budget, enormous soundstage, attractive design, and ease of use
Cons: Bulky, ill-fitting, and non-wireless

The Monolith M570 speakers from Monoprice are a fantastic example of the brand’s ability to combine good value with genuinely outstanding sound quality.

The Monolith M570 headphones look a lot more expensive than the $200 street price we usually see, thanks to the zebrawood on the ear cups and the see-through grille. That may appear to be a bit pricey at first, but wait till you hear the sound quality.

At this price point, the Monolith M570 is swinging for the fences, and Monoprice has hit the ball out of the park. The Monolith M570 delivers a tremendously huge soundstage thanks to its open-back design and big planar magnetic drivers. They sound even more expansive than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro, which is our top high-end option.

They’re not quite as precise as the DT 1990 Pros, especially at the high end, but they’re near enough that audiophiles on a budget shouldn’t be too concerned. You won’t need an expensive amplifier to drive them because their resistance is only 32 ohms.

The Monolith M570 headphones are robust and comfy, but they could be a little more polished in this area. For headbanging, the clamping force is too weak. The headset is also somewhat heavy, weighing in at 420g, however the headband helps to distribute the weight evenly.

The top 5 over-ear headphones for clear, expansive sound

Monoprice BT600ANC Best over-ear headphones for the money

Pros: Budget-friendly premium features, well-balanced sound, portable design, comfortable ear cushions, carrying case included, USB-C, wireless.
Cons: ANC is modest, and the appearance is unimaginative.

The Monoprice BT600ANC headphones provide a balanced listening experience with modest noise-cancelling performance and a low price.

With a plethora of features at a low price, the Monoprice BT600ANC earns a spot on our list. Though they can’t match the Monolith M570‘s amazing open-back audio performance, the BT600ANC offers additional features, including as wireless support and noise cancelling, for a lower price.

The headphones have a well-balanced sound with a good lift in the bass. Bluetooth 5.0 is included, as well as aptX HD and AAC for higher-quality wireless audio. And, sure enough, while listening to music over Bluetooth, we haven’t detected any significant compression concerns.

Monoprice’s ANC isn’t great, but it does help to reduce droning noises. If noise cancellation is important to you, you’ll want to invest in a device like Sony’s WH-1000XM4.

The BT600ANC headphones, on the other hand, are just as portable as the more expensive Sony headphones, and they’re even more comfy thanks to bigger ear cushions.

The top 5 over-ear headphones for clear, expansive sound

Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise-cancelling over-ear headphones at their best

Pros: Excellent noise cancellation, compact design, high-quality music through Bluetooth or cable connection, extended battery life, and useful features.
Cons: The design is made of plastic, and the fit around the ears is a little tighter.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones combine high-quality audio, a comfortable design, and effective noise cancellation at a price that dwarfs the competition.

Sony has long reigned supreme in the wireless noise-cancelling headphone industry, and the WH-1000XM4 cements that position. The headphones cram a lot of features into a small package that also happens to be reasonably priced.

Sony’s headphones are like a Swiss Army Knife in terms of functionality. They have Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity with LDAC and AAC codec compatibility for better audio quality, but they can also be connected via a conventional 3.5mm wire.

Their sound is somewhat skewed toward bass, which is deep and thumpy, but the mids and treble aren’t lost in the mix. Furthermore, the ANC significantly reduces background noise without causing the pressure that noise cancellation may sometimes provide.

The Apple AirPods Max outperformed the Bose 700s in terms of total ANC strength, and the Bose 700s muffled low humming better. The WH-1000XM4s, on the other hand, strike the ideal blend of ANC performance, sound quality, portability, and cost. During the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping seasons, they’re very affordable.

The top 5 over-ear headphones for clear, expansive sound

Beyerdynamic's DT 1990 PRO High-end wired over-ear headphones at their best

Pros: Excellent quality, a spacious soundstage, and a relaxing design.
Cons: Expensive, only for wired use, and difficult drivers

The DT 1990 PRO headphones from Beyerdynamic have an excellent build quality and excellent sound, but the price will put off all but the most dedicated audiophiles.

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro headphones deliver crystal-clear audio. These headphones will set you back around $600, but you’ll get an audio experience that will last for years.

The 45mm Tesla drivers from Beyerdynamic produce highly precise sound that is punchy in the mids and delectably bright and clear in the high end. It’s so exact, in fact, that listening to low-quality files at high volumes is practically unbearable, since cymbal and tambourine hits sound like grating static. With that in mind, these headphones should only be used with lossless music files and HiFi streaming services.

The DT 1990 Pro‘s bass is thumpy, yet because to the open-back design, it doesn’t feel constricted even at high volumes. This architecture allows music to breathe, producing a large soundstage that allows each instrument in a multi-part composition to shine out.

However, due to the DT 1990 Pro‘s high impedance (250 ohm), you may not obtain the finest sound without a powerful amplifier. Because the open-back design allows outside noise in, you’ll want to listen in a calm area for the best results. Regardless, we found the listening experience to be more than satisfactory and loud enough to block out a neighboring box fan, even when linked into a laptop or phone.

The headphones offer a sleek and discreet design that is both pleasant to wear for long periods of time and durable enough to last many years. A high-quality carrying case, two pairs of velour ear pads, a coiled cable, and a straight cable are also included by Beyerdynamic.

The top 5 over-ear headphones for clear, expansive sound

Hifiman Ananda BT Wireless over-ear headphones of the highest quality

Pros: Wireless Hi-Fi quality, a wide range of codecs, a built-in DAC and amplifier, USB-C audio support, and a comfy headband.
Cons: Extremely pricey, unsatisfactory battery life, and a colossal design

The Hifiman Ananda BT offers excellent music quality without the use of wires, as well as a comfortable design.

The Hifiman Ananda BT may be right for you if you’re used to lavish living. These wireless headphones from Hifiman have some very high-end hardware. They boast powerful planar magnetic speakers, and you won’t need a separate amplifier or DAC to drive them because both are included into the headset.

They also have Bluetooth connectivity, which includes LDAC, HWA, aptX, and aptX HD codecs, as well as 24-bit/96kHz resolution. You’ll just have to remember to charge the headphones on a regular basis, as they only have a 10-hour battery life and recharge in 2.7 hours. In a pinch, you can listen to them over USB, and you can even obtain higher-resolution 24-bit/192kHz playback. Because of the built-in DAC and balanced amp, 3.5mm and 1/4-inch connections aren’t available.

Because the Ananda BT headphones are best described as strapping a high-end stereo system to your skull, that high-resolution audio support will come in handy as well. The cans are enormous, yet the hanging headbands and ample ear cushions provide for a pleasant listening experience.

These headphones have a strong bass end, a balanced midrange, and a brilliant treble, all of which is presented over a spacious soundstage. However, because they leak some sound, these aren’t headphones you’ll want to wear on public transportation.

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