Whether you want to silently boogie down to disco tracks, listen to a movie you're watching on your computer or just want to have better sound for a video game, good headphones are a necessity. Several types of headphones are available today, starting from full-sized headphones which are great in blocking external noise, supra-aural which are more lightweight but less effective when it comes to noise isolation, and lastly in-ear headphones which are smaller and more popular these days. Here at IntelliReview, we understand that aside from sound quality, you also need to take into account other essential factors like comfort, durability and cord length in order to make the most out of your audio experience. With that said, we formulate our list of the best headphones by collecting reviews and ranking products based on the amount of positive and negative reviews. This method is very reliable and effective considering that people only write reviews when they are really happy or really upset with a certain product. It also ensures that only the best models make it to the top our list. Browse below to find our easy to read and useful headphone reviews.
Pros: Excellent sound quality, Affordable price, Comfortable padding, Sound Isolation effect creates dimension, Long cord
Cons: Headphone parts may need burn-in time, Metal band requires loosening up
Review: For superior audio performance, you could always go for headsets costing hundreds of dollars or more, or you could consider Audio-Technica's ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones. These headphones provide excellent sound quality, comparable to models from other brands, at a bargain price. Whether for professional sound work or simply for listening to your music player, it delivers exceptional sound quality through 45 mm aperture drivers, equipped with neodymium magnet systems inside both of its circumaural earpieces. The M50s are capable of rendering the entire range of details of every piece of music that you listen to; in fact, its detail retrieval powers are one of its best attributes, especially with its handling of low end sounds. It's as if Audio Technica somehow managed to fit in two full-size subwoofers into the M50's earpieces. The best thing is, these earphones are able to perform all of these without ever being needed to be plugged into an amplifier. Although the ATH-M50s are not expressly described as having noise-cancelling attributes, the closed back design does a nice job of cupping the ears of the wearer and promotes a nice isolation from outside noise, aside from controlling noise leaks from within. As a bonus, the closed backs of the M50s do not decrease the "soundstage" effect that creates a sense of depth and dimension to the sound. Another notable feature that sets these headphones apart from the rest of the pack is the ample, comfortable padding around the earpieces and headband that allow these headphones to be worn for extended periods. The padded ring around the earpieces also helps with the noise cancellation effect that was previously mentioned. The premium construction of the ATH-M50 earphones earns it serious points. The metal band that holds both sides of the earphones together is strong yet flexible, in addition to being padded and covered with leather. The earpieces themselves can rotate 180 degrees for easy single-ear monitoring and storage, and the cord has a generous 4-foot length, tipped with a mini stereo plug. Finally, it comes with a carrying pouch for storage. Audio-Technica's ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones are a great investment to make if you love listening to music or producing it. The solid performance that these headphones effortlessly produce is above par in every respect, as well as its construction. A minor complaint, however, is that the M50s require some time to be sufficiently burned in to get the best sound possible. It's a good idea to stretch out the metal frame on the head band as well, since it is a little tight coming out of the box.
Pros: Crisp and clear sound, Durable
Cons: Bulky, Expensive, Weak bass
Review: While it is intended for studio monitoring, Sennheiser's HD280 is also great for listening to music and playing games. Its overall sound quality is excellent and its noise isolation feature is phenomenal. On the other hand, its bass can be a little weak but its low impedance and flat frequency response make up for it. Compared to other headphones, the HD280 may seem heavier and a little bulky but its foldable design makes it easily collapsible and allows you to take them anywhere you go. It also features an adjustable headband for a more personalized fit and soft ear pads and rotating cups which provide exceptional listening comfort. On the surface, its closed-back design might seem like a pain due to the fact that it makes it a bit tight but then, its ability to reduce external noise by 32 dB even without pumping up the volume makes it bearable. Plus, its main parts including its cord and ear pads are easily replaceable so you won't ever need to buy another pair. Sennheiser's HD280 is widely compatible with most portable mp3 and media players. In the box, you'll also find a 1/8-inch plug with locking 1/4-inch adapter. Overall, it may be quite expensive but its outstanding quality and superb clarity make it one of the best headphones around.
Pros: Great fit, Amazing sound quality, Unique design, Includes 3 sizes of earbud tips and a nice carrying case
Cons: Pricey, Twisted cord, Not noise-cancelling
Review: The IE2, successor to Bose's first generation in-ear headphones, carries the same dynamic sound that Bose is known for. The secret lies in the TriPort acoustic headphone structure that produces natural, powerful sound. Whether you want to use it primarily for calling or together with your Apple devices, there are several options you can choose from that will enhance usability and bring more convenience to your daily activities. The MIE2 cable has an answer/end button and a mic, while the MIE2i includes all the features that the MIE2 has, with the addition of a volume control solidly planted in the inline remote. A carrying case, a clothing clip and an adjustment slider are also provided. The Bose IE2's one-of-a-kind styling perfectly fits your fashionable lifestyle, but the good thing is that it is not just good looks. It can also be every exercise junkie's best friend as it provides all day comfort. It uses an angled plug to match various types of MP3 players and mobile devices, while the exclusive, removable silicone StayHear tips come in three different sizes (S, M and L) for maximum comfort. The black and white twisted cord can be a little fragile, though. It is tangle-free but for the price, we expected a sturdier flat cord. If needed, you can even purchase a 20' extension cable and different sizes of stay-hear tips and original tips. At first, the price of the Bose IE2 may seem pretty steep but when you do the math, you're probably saving yourself a couple dollars since you won't have to buy cheap ones and replace your headphones from time to time. If you liked the previous Bose in-ear headphones, there's a big chance that you'll love this one even more. Sound quality has greatly improved. You can expect rich sound and enough bass. It may not rock the house down but it suits most genres and good enough for private listening.
Pros: Durable construction, Comfortable to wear, Great noise cancellation, Roomy case, Modest price
Cons: Slight leakage, Bulky
Review: A wallet- and travel-friendly solution for long flights or for simply enjoying music without interruption, the Audio-Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC7b is every bit as good as the original but significantly improves on comfort and sound quality, characterized by better audio and more effective noise cancellation. It can even function as passive headphones when noise cancellation is not activated or when there's no battery inserted. Large-aperture 40 mm drivers with neodymium magnets promise high quality sound and impressive bass. Battery life is also excellent, offering 40 hours of operation. The headphones require a single AAA battery for the noise cancellation feature and there's an indicator light that signals when the particular function is turned on or active. Given its battery life, you won't need to carry a lot of cells when travelling. You'll probably need just one if you intend on using it for long hours. The ATH-ANC7b is slightly beefier than the ATH-ANC7. Its ear cups are thicker, offering a higher level of comfort. Moreover, it folds flat and it comes with a nice, convenient carrying case that can hold both your headphones and your mp3 player or iPod. Other accessories include an airline adapter, 3.5 mm mini-plugs and a ¼ adapter. Some reported leakage issues when listening at high volume thus, causing a little distraction to those around you. On the other hand, it shouldn't be a problem if you don't plan on putting the volume on the highest possible setting. The cost of these headphones is also very good and reasonable at almost half the price of more expensive models. So if you're only buying for personal purposes or for use during flights, we don't see any reason why you should not give this one a try. By today's standards, the Audio-Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC7b serves as a great alternative to more popular brands and a nice improvement over the original. It can block and reduce external noise by 90%, allowing music to be heard more clearly, especially when you're in a noisy environment.
Pros: Wireless, Lightweight, Excellent reception
Cons: Doesn't include rechargeable batteries, Loose fit
Review: Wireless connectivity and wide compatibility makes the Sennheiser RS 110 a good replacement to your corded headset. With its excellent range of up to 100 meters, you can walk through doors and move around the house without losing signal. Plus, it lets you accomplish daily tasks while listening to your favorite playlist and enables you to skip the hassle of figuring out how to hide unsightly wires. These headphones are lightweight and comfortable. It boasts of a supraaural design which offers excellent sound reproduction and onboard controls which allow you to adjust the sound to your liking and quickly turn it off or on. Installation is a snap to do and sound quality is crisp and clear. Its bass is honestly not heart-thumping but has proven to be sufficient for casual listening. Its ear pads are also replaceable, making it long-lasting. In terms of battery life, the supplied AAA batteries may last for several uses but you may need to shell out a little bit and buy rechargeable ones if you plan on using the headphone every day. Sennheiser's RS 110 is very versatile. It is compatible with PC and Mac systems and is suitable for use with a variety of A/V equipment including TVs, DVD and Blu-Ray Players and portable mp3 players. Its fit may be a little loose but it serves its purpose really well and most importantly, it provides a cheap way to enjoy wireless freedom.
Pros: Very good noise isolation, Superb sound quality, Replaceable cable, Solid bass, Includes an earwax cleaning tool and three sizes (S, M, L) of the flex and black foam sleeves
Cons: Over-the-ear style, Long cable
Review: The Shure SE215 has the same clear or translucent black housing you'd come to expect from Shure earphones, embellished with the usual Shure logo and model number, which in this case, is SE215. Also, it gives auditory bliss through its Dynamic MicroDriver, just like any other Shure earbuds. Perhaps, one of its step-up features over standard earphones is its 64-inch replaceable cable with wireform fit. Although it is too long for some, the cord is of higher quality, made of thick rubber, and it makes the earbuds longer lasting and less prone to breaking compared to those with non-removable cables. You can even replace it with matching clear or black cables or with Earphone Accessory Cables which go well with your Apple devices and selected phones and allow the SE215 to turn into a mobile headset with its own built-in mic and volume control. We admit, the over-the-ear style doesn't provide the best comfort as it is slightly difficult to put correctly. If you're not terribly concerned with the fit though, it is worth the try. The formable wire makes sure that its out of the way until you need it and the earbuds are comfortable to wear when you are in bed and trying to sleep. The Gold plated MMCX Connector even permits 360-degree rotation. The Shure SE215 not only seeks to provide the best fit with its included Fit Kit, which gives you the freedom to choose from three sizes (S, M, L) of the flex and black foam sleeves, it effectively reduces noise up to 37 dB for truly personal listening. Available at a remarkable price, the sound quality of the SE215 comes as a surprise for many users, with enveloping sound and ample bass. Extra accessories like an earwax cleaning tool for easy cleaning and a compact carrying case for neat storage also come with the package.