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Best headphones for music in 2024

Whether you are a casual listener or a devoted audiophile, a great pair of headphones can elevate your music experience. Fortunately, significant advances in audio technology over the past few years have allowed manufacturers to develop smart features that deliver stunning sound quality and comfort.

In this article, we'll spotlight the best headphones for music that melomaniacs should consider buying this year. From in-ear buds that punch above their weight to high-end over-ear models worthy of a recording studio, you can expect precise picks optimized for different genres like rock, hip-hop, classical, jazz, and more.

Our picks are based on research, tests, and our own experience. We thoroughly analyzed key factors like sound quality, noise cancellation capabilities, wireless connectivity, battery life, build quality, and overall value for money – to ensure that our list appeals to all types of listeners. Read on to find out the top seven best headphones for music in 2024.

Top 5 headphones for listening to music – shortlist

In a hurry? Here is a quick peek into the top 5 best music headphones:

How to choose the best headphones for music?

Choosing the right headphones for your music needs can be challenging with so many options available. However, understanding how you plan to use them and the features you value most make the decision-making process easy.

That said, here are important factors that you should consider when choosing your next pair of music headphones.

  • Sound quality. When selecting the best headphones for music, sound quality is key, as headphones have different audio profiles. Some enhance bass or treble for genre-specific sounds, while others offer a broad, accurate frequency range for overall better sound fidelity. Additionally, driver size matters – larger drivers typically deliver superior sound, notably richer bass.
  • Fit & comfort. Consider going for lightweight, portable headphone designs with cushioned ear cups that mold to your head and ears for long listening sessions. Additionally, choosing one with adjustable headbands and rotating cups can significantly enhance comfort, minimize pressure and sound leakage.
  • Noise cancellation. Opt for noise-isolating headphones if you want to listen to your tunes in moderately noisy settings. For louder environments, such as airplanes or bustling offices, go for headphones with the Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) feature.
  • Battery life. Choosing headphones with robust battery life and quick charging capabilities prevents the frustration of untimely audio termination in the middle of a great playlist. Typically, most wireless models last 10 to 20 hours per charge, though premium models can stretch to 30+ hours.
  • Durability. Your headphones should withstand regular use. Pay attention to build quality and materials. Usually, headphones with metal components, dense plastics, detachable cables, and sweat-resistant materials tend to last longer. Also, consider models that come with a protective case.
  • Connectivity. You can choose either wireless or wired models. The best wireless music headphones should offer convenience and freedom of movement while ensuring stable connections and minimal audio lag with a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signal. If opting for wired models, ensure the cable length suits your needs and check for compatibility with your devices.

7 Best sounding headphones for music – our detailed list

If you're feeling let down by your current headphones' inability to deliver the rich details of your favorite songs, we feel your pain.

That's why we've conducted thorough research and hands-on testing with models favored by audiophiles and widely praised by users alike to bring you a curated selection that promises unparalleled sound quality and comfort.

Here are the top 7 best-sounding headphones for music:

1. Sennheiser HD 800 S – best headphones for music in 2024 overall

Form factor:Over-ear
Frequency response:4Hz - 51,000Hz

The Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones offer an unparalleled blend of audio precision and listening pleasure. As the premier choice for discerning listeners, these headphones deliver pristine sonic accuracy with a spacious and well-balanced soundstage.

Design. At first glance, the HD 800 S headphones sport a sophisticated open-back design that combines a sleek, dichromatic silver and black finish. The construction mainly employs plastic to reduce weight while incorporating metal components in key areas, resulting in a sturdy and creak-free build that still feels solid and premium. Also noticeable is the metal mesh on the ear cups that protects the drivers from damage.

Comfort. These headphones are remarkably comfortable, thanks to the lightweight design, ample ear pads, and padded headband. The plush microfiber covers remain cool against the skin while specially contoured ear cups hover just over the ears to prevent any contact discomfort. Moreover, their expertly calibrated clamping force ensures they do not cause discomfort and stay securely in place when you groove to your favorite jam.

Sound quality: The HD 800 S produces an extraordinarily open and spacious soundstage, with masterful width and depth for immersive realism. This can be attributed to the 56mm transducer and the innovative absorber technology that eliminates peaks and resonances – revealing the finest nuances in your music with striking clarity.

Noise-canceling: The open-back design of these headphones means they don't isolate you from external noise nor contain sound leakage. Instead, the design allows ambient sounds to blend with your audio for a more expansive and immersive listening experience.

Battery life. These cans come wired, so you do not have to worry about battery life or charging.

2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 – best noise-canceling headphones for music

Connectivity:Wireless (Bluetooth 5.0)
Form factor:Over-ear
Frequency response:2400 – 2483.5MHz

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 deliver an exceptional blend of comfort, superior sound quality, and enhanced noise cancellation capabilities for both music and calls, all wrapped up in a stylishly modern design.

Design. At first look, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 boast a futuristic and unique aesthetic, distinguishing them from Bose's traditionally styled over-ears. They feature a sleek headband that seamlessly flows into the ear cups without visible hinges, making them stand out visually. Furthermore, their construction uses a mix of plastic and stainless steel, a design choice that ensures they remain lightweight.

Comfort. These headphones offer premium comfort thanks to the generous use of gel foam in the ear cups and headband, providing both plush comfort and steady support. Their lightweight design further ensures that long listening sessions can be enjoyed without significant fatigue, making them ideal for extended use.

Sound quality. In terms of audio quality, we found these headphones to deliver an outstanding audio experience with a balanced and clear soundstage, revealing new layers in familiar tracks without any harsh frequencies. Additionally, the companion app features an equalizer that gives you the flexibility to tweak bass, mids, and treble to your liking.

Noise-canceling. The Bose 700 Headphones excel in noise isolation thanks to an adjustable Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) feature via the companion app. At maximum setting, these headphones proficiently mute a wide array of ambient sounds, from transportation noise and conversations to the drone of air conditioning units for comfortable music listening.

Battery life. The Bose 700 provides up to 20 hours of wireless playback per charge. They also come with a charging case that allows you to charge your headphones fast, which takes you a few hours to keep the music flowing.

3. Philips Fidelio X2HR – best value pair of open-backed headphones for bass heads

Form factor:Over-ear
Frequency response:5Hz - 40kHz

Delivering audio brilliance and luxury comfort at a budget-friendly price point, the Philips Fidelio X2HRs are sonic overachievers, evoking the immersive imaging and musicality of premium models. Their reliably smooth and full-bodied reproduction remains a benchmark for value.

Design. The Fidelio X2HR headphones boast a premium, stylish design, combining metal and high-quality plastic for a sleek, high-end appearance. Despite their bulky look – typical of open-back models – they exude sophistication.

Comfort. These headphones are pretty comfortable despite their bulkiness. That said, they feature large, well-padded ear cups and an automatically adjusting headband with a thick, breathable mesh pad that ensures a cozy fit for prolonged listening sessions.

Sound quality. The Fidelio X2HR headphones deliver a remarkably balanced and precise sound profile suited for diverse musical genres. Uncommon for open-back models, their robust bass punch adds thrilling power to bass-heavy hip-hop and EDM tracks. Meanwhile, their neutral mid and treble ranges reproduce vocals and instruments with pristine clarity, detail, and feel-them-in-the-room presence.

Noise canceling. Given their open-back design, the Philips Fidelio X2HR headphones offer extremely limited noise isolation, meaning you'll hear virtually any background noise or external distractions in your environment. This is a predictable trade-off for their spacious, detailed sound.

Battery life. The Philips Fidelio X2HR utilizes a wired-only connection without any need for batteries or charging to enjoy your audio.

4. JBL Tune 750BTNC – budget music headphones with active noise cancellation

Connectivity:Wireless (Bluetooth 4.2 ) also includes cable
Form factor:Over-ear
Frequency response:20Hz - 20KHz

The JBL Tune 750BTNC packs comparable features to premium flagship headphones into a more affordable full-size design appealing for value-focused music listeners.

Design. The JBL Tune 750BTNC headphones echo the design ethos of more luxurious models, blending style with practicality. Featuring swivel and foldable cans for enhanced portability and safekeeping, these cans also come with a flexible plastic headband to ensure they're robust enough to withstand the occasional toss into a bag and everyday use.

Comfort. With plush pleather ear pads that clamp firmly yet comfortably around the ears, plus a cushioned headband, the JBL Tune 750BTNC headphones provide a cozy sealed fit suitable for extended listening. In addition, their lightweight build enhances the snug yet fatigue-free wearing experience.

Sound quality. JBL capitalizes on its signature bass prowess in the finely-tuned sound of the Tune 750BTNC. With rich lows lending warmth and weight, the accurate and balanced profile truly shines for immersive listening when combined with ANC mode.

Noise canceling. The JBL Tune 750BTNC headphones provide impressively effective active noise cancellation that noticeably minimizes environmental sounds around you – a standout capability considering their affordable pricing.

Battery life. The JBL Tune 750BTNC supplies an ample 15 hours of battery life with Active Noise Cancellation enabled. It can, however, extend up to 22 hours by switching off this default setting.

5. Shure SE425 – best traveling in-ear headphones for music

Connectivity:Wired (3.5mm cable)
Form factor:In-ear
Drivers:Dual High-definition Drivers
Frequency response:20 Hz – 19 kHz

The Shure SE425 earphones deliver superb audio fidelity within a rugged design ideal for music lovers on the go. Their sound-isolating fit unveils new sonic details, making them reliable companions for upgraded listening no matter where your travels take you.

Design. The Shure SE425 Wired earphones boast a sleek appearance, characterized by their ear-hook contour and angled earbuds tailored to fit ear shapes more comfortably. Their thick, rubberized, and detachable cable enhances durability and contributes to their premium feel. Additionally, their vibrant color options ensure these earphones make a stylish statement.

Comfort. The Shure 425 headphones boast customizable comfort with a variety of tip sizes and an ear-hook design for a snug, contour-hugging fit – making them more comfortable than standard in-ear models.

Sound quality. The Shure SE425 IEMs (in-ear monitors) deliver superior sound quality through dual high-definition micro-drivers. This offers a flatter, more accurate, and balanced audio experience that stands out in a market dominated by bass-heavy headphones.

Noise canceling. The snug seal created by the Shure SE425 earbuds provides exceptional passive noise isolation while enabling impactful yet balanced bass without distortion for an immersive listening experience.

Battery life. These are wired earphones, which means the model does not contain batteries and, therefore, does not have a battery life.

6. Superlux HD 681 – best affordable over-ear headphones for music

Connectivity:Wired (non-detachable 1/8" TRS cable)
Form factor:Over-ear
Frequency response:10 – 30000 Hz

If you're looking for an affordable way to dip your toes into more immersive music listening, the Superlux HD 681 headphones offer a taste of an open-back design that makes the music feel more spacious and alive. Though basic, these budget cans punch above their price point.

Design. These budget-friendly headphones skip fancy materials and instead use plastic in their construction, which makes them feel pretty sturdy. Also, some key components, such as the headband, feature a metallic wire bridge wrapped in black plastic.

Comfort. The Superlux HD681s are easy to wear for hours thanks to clever design choices like a flexible headband that doesn't clamp and a lightweight plastic build that prevents fatigue. The roomy ear cups fitted with soft padding also let your ears relax in cushioned comfort.

Sound quality. With their semi-open back design, the Superlux HD681 headphones give you an immersive, natural sound while still kicking out powerful bass – without bothering folks around you. This is aided by the dual 50mm drivers that pump out crisp, balanced audio with excellent clarity and stereo separation, too.

Noise cancellation. Don't expect these headphones to tune out external noise. This is because their semi-open design allows background chatter and noise to pass straight to your ears. While this gives the headphones an airier, more natural sound quality, they are not ideal for noisy environments.

Battery life. As wired headphones, the HD 681 model does not contain any batteries or require charging.

7. 1MORE SonoFlow – top pick for casual music listening on the go

Connectivity:Wireless (Bluetooth 5.0), also comes with a 3.5mm audio cable
Form factor:Over-ear
Frequency response:Up to 40kHz

The 1MORE SonoFlow headphones let you enjoy top-notch audio and solid noise-canceling on the go without spending a fortune. With sound and ANC that punch above their weight class, these budget-friendly over-ears are a compelling travel companion for music fans.

Design. The 1MORE SonoFlow headphones blend style and function, echoing the look of premium models with their sleek, simple design and durable hinges, all wrapped up in a matte-finish plastic casing. Beyond looks, they feature ultra-comfortable memory foam ear cups with a striking red fabric inside. What's more, these headphones come nestled in a chic, hard-shell zip case for easy, safe transport.

Comfort. The 1MORE SonoFlow headphones redefine comfort for extended listening sessions with their plush ear pads, adjustable cups, feather-light construction, and padded headband.

Sound quality. In our tests, the 1MORE SonoFlow headphones wowed us with their vigorous bass and sharp, detailed trebles, courtesy of the dual 40mm drivers. We also appreciated the noticeable difference the EQ presets made across various music genres. Furthermore, these cans offer support for Sony’s LDAC for high-resolution audio and also cater to iOS users with SBC and AAC codecs. However, the absence of aptX Adaptive might be a disappointment for Android enthusiasts.

Noise canceling. Considering their budget-friendly price tag, the impressive Active Noise Cancellation abilities of the 1MORE SonoFlow headphones defy expectations. In our testing, they effectively eliminated most ambient background sounds and standard low-frequency rumblings.

Battery life. With up to 70 hours of playtime without ANC and 50 hours with it activated, these headphones offer ample listening time before you'll need to recharge the 720mAh battery, which only takes 80 minutes to fully replenish. Plus, just 5 minutes of charging buys you 5 extra hours of music, making it easy to top up right before heading out.

Comparison of top 3 headphones for music

As you can see, countless music headphone models are vying for your attention. The table below highlights the key perks of our three recommended choices that make them rise above the crowd.

ModelSennheiser HD 800 SBose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700Philips Fidelio X2HR
ConnectivityWiredWireless (Bluetooth 5.0)Wired
Form factorOver-earOver-earOver-ear
Frequency response4Hz - 51,000Hz2400 – 2483.5MHz5Hz - 40kHz
Main features
  • Open earcup design
  • Ultra-soft microfiber padding
  • 56mm ring radiator transducers
  • Vibration damping chassis
  • Lifelike soundstage
  • Detachable cable
  • Deep, full bass
  • Active Noise Cancelling
  • Bluetooth range of up to 30 feet
  • 20 hours of battery life
  • Plush protein leather
  • Built-in microphone
  • Steel-reinforced headband
  • Acoustic open-back design
  • 50 mm high definition neodymium drivers
  • Deluxe memory foam ear-pads
  • Clear, refined sound quality
  • 3.5mm detachable cable

How we selected these headphones for listening to music?

In order to provide you with this carefully curated list, we tested the most popular headphones on the market in terms of sound quality, price, and connectivity with other devices. Here we explain in more detail how we evaluated each feature:

  • Sound quality. Sound quality is the most important factor when choosing headphones purely with music intent. While all of our picks offer really great sound profiles, some headphones are more bass-heavy than others, and it’s important to take your own music taste into account.
  • Pricing. Cost is another important factor that may sway users to pick one or another option. Finding that golden ratio between quality and price was one of our goals when selecting headphones for this list.
  • Connectivity. Whether you want to stay wired or go fully wireless - it is a matter of preference. However, we noticed that wired headphones served as a majority in this list. Also, music lovers sometimes like to mix and DJ with their favorite headphones, and going wireless might not be the most feasible option here due to sound lag.

Also read:

Choosing Headphones by Music Genre

Choosing the right headphones often comes down to the type of music you most enjoy listening to. For example, if your playlists are filled with thumping hip-hop and bass-heavy EDM tracks, you'll want headphones that can handle extended low end without distortion.

As such, you'll need headphones such as the Philips Fidelio X2HRs or the JBL Tune 750BTNC, whose frequency response is tuned to boost bass and sub-bass frequencies for that pulsating, vibrant sound.

On the other hand, if you mainly listen to gentler acoustic tracks and vocals, you'll be better served by neutral, balanced headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 800 S that provide a warmer, more even sound across mids and highs. This allows the intricacy of the music to shine through, from the strike of a guitar string to a singer's intimate breath.

In essence, you should also consider the artists and songs you play the most when evaluating headphone sound profiles. Keep in mind that the models best suited to heavy rap won't necessarily satisfy if you want to get lost in expansive, layered rock landscapes.

Music Production Headphones

When choosing headphones for music production, you need to consider both sound isolation and audio quality. As such, you’ll either have to go for the closed-back or the open-back type of headphones.

Closed-back headphones block external noise and prevent sound leakage, making them ideal for recording instruments and vocals. Their isolation allows for accurate monitoring in loud environments, like a live band setup. A great choice on this list would be the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and the JBL Tune 750BTNC.

On the other hand, open-back headphones provide a more natural, clear soundscape that is perfect for mixing and mastering tasks. However, they lack isolation abilities – making them suitable for quiet control room environments where you don't have to block external noise. Some great choices on our list include the Sennheiser HD 800 S and the Philips Fidelio X2HRs.


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