When it comes to buying headphones there are a lot of things to consider besides just what looks good. Do you want to hear a strong bass? Clear midtones? How important is comfort? Although there are few headphones out there that will deliver everything and most will have at least one or two downsides, by doing your research and figuring out what you are looking for you’ll stand a much better chance of being satisfied with your purchase. To get you started here are the 25 best headphones of 2012.
With excellent quality, balanced sound, and tight bass these studio monitor headphones are comfortable and reasonably priced. The biggest downsides are their slightly bulkier design and lack of a detachable headphone cord but overall they’re hard to beat for the price.
These sturdy and comfortable BlueAnt Embrace headphones can be folded up for easy storage and manage to deliver a very natural sound although their design might not appeal to everyone. For some people their built in mic and controls cellphone controls might be the deal breaker.
With well padded ear cups, powerful bass, and rock solid construction if you can get past the price tag then these Denon AHD2000 headphones won’t disappoint, unless you try to fold them up…that’s just about the only thing they don’t do.
Built to last with a sturdy one piece design these Aiaiai TMA-1 Professional DJ Monitoring headphones come with a detachable cable and do a really good job of bringing out rich sound, especially on the low end. Although most people would probably find the combination of comfort and quality appealing, if you happen to be a traveling DJ in need of some slamming bass…these are right down your alley.
With a detachable headphone cable and comfortable over ear design the only thing these AKG K 702 headphones are missing is a travel case.
These Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones are lightweight and comfortable with ear cups that seal around your ears isolating you from the ambient noise in your environment. For the price tag they certainly deliver a lot of value.
These full size HiFiMan HE-400 headphones use planarmagnetic drivers to achieve their high sound quality, a technology that is usually only found in extremely pricey high-end headphones. This isn’t to say that these aren’t pricey. Hovering somewhere around 400 dollars and with a lack of focus on comfort these are for those people who are strictly interested in getting the very best sound quality for their dollar.
Providing an extremely detailed and dynamic sound these Sennheiser HD 598 headphones are built with a comfortable, lightweight German design. Unfortunately, however, they don’t come with a case.
When it comes to looks and comfort the Street by 50 headphones are hard to beat. What’s more important however, is the solid sound quality. The lack of active noise cancellation may be a concern to some but if you don’t plan on using them in exceedingly noisy environments then the “passive noise cancellation” (according to the manual the physical design of the headphones lends itself to blocking out external noise) may be sufficient.
These full size closed back Ultrasone HFI-680 headphones keep outside noise on the outside to give you a better listening experience on the inside. Although for some people the sound may be a bit bassy they certainly get the job done when it comes to delivering powerful sound.
With a more sophisticated look, these Skullcandy headphones reach beyond the typical teenage crowd to deliver clear sound for a more mature audience. They are bit weak on the low end but unless you are a DJ expecting a thumping bass you probably won’t mind too much.
It’s retro design, dynamic sound, and extended factory support all combine to make these Grado SR225i headphones a solid choice. The only downside may be the lack of focus on comfort but if you can get around that then these are an excellent choice.
The lightweight on-ear design of these Klipsch Image One headphones comes with a 2 year warranty and does an really good job of blocking out external noise. Although the comfort levels may not lend themselves to extended use, the sound quality and design rival those of much more expensive sets.
A sturdy build, well balanced sound, and a built in mic are all reasons to consider these Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones if the price tag isn’t too far out of your range.
More compact than the original on-ear Bose headphones these Bose OE2i are comfortable and lightweight with a fold up design. Although they have very good sound quality their bass does come up a bit weak. Other than that though, these are good headphones for everyday use.
Similar to the TMA-1 DJ model (#22), these Aiaiai TMA-1 Studio headphones have the same sturdy build and solid sound quality. The main difference between the two, however, is that here you’ll have a slightly more balanced sound with less focus on the bass. While some people, like DJs, may prefer the deeper booming sound, Aiaia basically designed these to be used by producers and others who need to hear the mids and highs clearly.
These stylish and durable AKG K495 NC Acoustics headphones allow you to recharge their noise canceling unit via USB. Although their sound is the highest quality on this list they are sturdily built and the noise cancellation is excellent.
With deep bass and excellent noise cancellation these Sony MDR-NC200D headphones may look bulky but they fold up fairly easily into their carrying case. The only downside is that with noise canceling engaged you may notice a slight hiss but if you can’t afford the Bose QuietComforts (#1) then these are a solid alternative.
Reasonably priced, lightweight, and super compact these Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones deliver clear and balanced sound and a noise canceling feature that you can toggle on or off. If you are frequent flyer then these may be the pair for you.
With an eye catching design and solid construction these V-Moda Crossfade LP headphones come with several neat accessories including detachable cables, inline mics, and a hard sided case.
These large, full size Shure SRH1440 Professional headphones combine a lightweight design and gentle earpad pressure to provide a solid, high quality sound. Their biggest downside is that they don’t fold completely flat which might not be what the world travelers among you are looking for. Other than that though, the combination of sound and comfort is hard to beat.
Comfortable with good overall sound quality and a solid bass, the Monster Inspiration come with detachable cables, mic options for mobile devices, and a carrying case into which they can conveniently fold up. Their biggest downside may be their bulkiness but if you aren’t looking to do a lot of traveling and don’t mind folding them up then this shouldn’t make too much of a difference.
Thanks to their flexible rotating ear cups these Shure SRH550DJ headphones provide maximum comfort and their sound favors the low end with solid bass. The biggest negative would be their plastic construction that could potentially degrade after a while but other than that they a solid mixture of sound quality, comfort, and durability.
Combining excellent 3D sound with a low price tag you won’t do any better when it comes to a pair of headphones in the under 100 dollars price range. Of course, the Koss PortaPro design doesn’t necessarily appeal to everybody but if you can’t get past that then you’ve found yourself a winner.
Smaller and more compact than their predecessor, the QuietComfort 2, these Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones are extremely comfortable, they fold up for storage, and they come with a 30 day home trial. The main downside is the three hundred dollar price tag, but if you’re looking to spend good money then this is the way to go.