Today we are reviewing what we feel are the 10 best over-ear headphones in 2020. The candidates have each been chosen for different reasons in an attempt to accurately represent what's available, based on a range of needs.
We have also taken some of the key features you ought to look for pertaining to your preferences, budget, and of course requirements. We have condensed them down into a complimentary buyers guide.
Table of Contents
- View The Best Over Ear Headphones Below
- 1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio
- 2. COWIN E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones
- 3. Bose SoundLink around-ear wireless headphones
- 4. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large
- 5. AKG K240STUDIO Semi-Open Over-Ear
- 6. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear
- 7. Sony Noise Canceling Headphones Over Ear
- 8. Paww WaveSound 3 Bluetooth 5.0 Over-Ear
- 9. Mpow H5 Active Noise Canceling Headphones
- 10. Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone
- Over Ear Headphones Buyers Guide
So, whether you're after bass heavy headphones or superb studio reference sets, we should have you covered in todays article, regardless of whether your budget is ample or awful. Read on to find the best over-ear headphones for you!
- Larger-aperture drivers - great sound.
- Accurate frequency response.
- Choice of wire types.
- Noise canceling.
- Affordable option.
- 30 hours battery life.
- Great sound.
View The Best Over Ear Headphones Below
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio
We're starting our article with one of the most conservatively priced premium models on the market which come very highly praised by some very credible critics.
They feature large-aperture 45mm drivers with broad frequency response, serving up professional-level audio that's suitable for home-studio monitoring. The extra-cone surface area makes their bass capabilities much better than a typical 40mm set.
They incorporate rare earth magnets and premium voice coils, clad with high-grade copper, and are very well-manufactured.
They are designed to provide comfort when listening for a long time, making them some of the best headphones for audiophiles. The ear cups are circumaural in design and can rotate around 90 degrees. The cups and the headband itself are cushioned with top-notch coated comfort foam.
They have straight or coiled plug-in cords to choose from. They also have a collapsible design to make them much more compact and come with a storage case to keep them safe.
+ Larger-aperture drivers - great sound.
+ Accurate frequency response.
+ Choice of wire types.
Why We Liked It - These pair of headphones provide a better level of audio quality than the majority of competitively priced options. They could hold their own with sets that are priced another 100 bucks higher.
2. COWIN E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones
This is another large-aperture option with a very accessible price-tag. The E7 over-ear Bluetooth headphones from COWIN, are excellent; we have previously recommended them for their awesome attributes. Although the last set of E7 noise-cancelling headphones we reviewed were a brand new edition, we have included the previous generation in today's review, because we think they provide some of the best audio fifty bucks can get you.
They have 45mm drivers which, like the pair above, deliver better bass performance. However, we wouldn't deem this set studio-level quality but they are intended for everyday use. They feature built-in Bluetooth and active noise-cancelling capabilities, as well as a good quality, integrated microphone for handling voice calls. Active noise-cancelling is one of the best features if you just want to be left alone with you and your music.
These wireless headphones have audio lines that are very stable and clear, thanks to their active noise-cancelling wave processing technology. They have a good frequency response, giving the audio realistic depth and a great bass free of distortion. The treble frequencies are also well-defined. We would expect nothing less from great, noise-cancelling headphones.
They are closed-back, and the cups swivel and collapse pretty flat. The cups are comfortably cushioned with a memory protein material, making them comfortable to wear for long periods.
These noise cancelling headphones have an impressive 30 hours of battery life per full charge. They come in a range of colors to choose from, but if you're happy to opt for classic black, they retail for around 30% less - you can grab a real bargain.
+ Noise canceling.
+ Affordable option.
+ 30 hours battery life.
+ Great sound.
Why We Liked It - These are an affordably priced pair of noise cancelling headphones. They have a great battery life and a good Bluetooth connection, making them the best over-ear headphones for people who are always on the go.
3. Bose SoundLink around-ear wireless headphones
Bose SoundLink is another impressive set of wireless headphones. Their audio reproduction offers some of the truest and best input signal output available; they are at the top of their classification.
These wireless headphones feature the latest Bluetooth for a secure connection and versatile compatibility. They can be synced to 2 devices simultaneously and receive transmissions from a distance of 30 feet. Their battery life is around 15 hours, which is pretty admirable.
These wireless earphones have very hardworking drivers who delegate response between their combinational array very effectively. These noise-cancelling headphones boast TriPort technology, and Active Equalization, which adjusts the bass, mid, and treble mix in real-time, to deliver sound with ultimate balance, natural dynamics and great bass.
The ear-cups feature impact-resistant materials that are very lightweight and luxuriously comfortable, allowing them to be worn for longer listening sessions.
+ Wireless - upgraded circuitry and Bluetooth.
+ Great audio.
+ Very comfortable.
Why We Liked It - They serve up some of the best balanced audio possible. Their active noise cancellation technology works very effectively and doesn't drain the battery too heavily. That's just some of the reasons that make these one of the best over-ear headphones you can get.
4. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large
Next, we have a reference set that offers up professional levels of listening. They feature 40mm drivers that incorporate neodymium magnets to flip the fields within and produce sound waves from the motion.
The diaphragms are formed from PET and are very accurately responsive, providing great detailed high fidelity listening.
They are well-made and their cups can swivel freely. They are generously padded to give the user the necessary comfort for long mixing and mastering sessions.
The flexibility of the cups means they can fold-away compactly. They even come with a storage bag you can keep them in. They feature a coiled cord that's less prone to wear and tear within the studio; it allows for a good range of motion.
The connectors utilize gold to keep the fidelity to the signals free of interference for the best sound quality. They also come with a Unimatch plug, which means they can be used for ¼” and 1/8”, making them much more versatile.
+ Comfortable for long periods.
+ Coiled wire.
+ Ideal for critical audio analysis.
Why We Liked It - These are some of the best over-ear headphones. They provide great audio response and are very well designed. They are priced conservatively and are high quality enough for those starting a personal home studio set-up, without loads of cash to back it.
5. AKG K240STUDIO Semi-Open Over-Ear
The AKG models are known for their high-sensitivity. They also have a wide range of dynamic response. The K240 is one of their lower-end models which still benefits from some of their most notable features.
They are semi-open back headphones, which have been constructed with AKGs innovative Varimotion diaphragms, serving-up extra surface area and employing transducers 3 times larger than many other models.
They deliver excellent quality sound with the fluid dynamics we have come to expect from AKG. This is a company responsible for the legendary AKG K140 and K240 which, from their conception in the early '70s, were one of the most widely used professional studio headphones worldwide.
They feature a very comfortable self-adjusting headband with a sturdy but flexible steel framework. The band molds to the user's head-shape for an optimum fit, and the steel keeps them protected from rough handling.
The cups are mounted using a gimbal-like suspension, which gives them good flexibility and better comfort as well.
They are built with a detachable cable for better longevity. These wired headphones come with a mini XLR, as well.
+ Great dynamics - excellent sound or bass.
+ Super-robust design.
+ XXL transducers and Varimotion diaphragms.
Why We Liked It - These are a very affordably priced set which borrow from some of the best developed components that only four decades worth of knowledge, and expertise could design.
6. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear
Now for a very low-price option, which you may be a little more familiar with. We have taken an interest in this Bluetooth capable set by Mpow before. While we are blown away with the newer upgraded model, the low price of this older edition is far too appealing to ignore.
If you have a more restrictive budget, then these could be the best over-ear headphones for you.
These budget-friendly headphones are very well-designed with great attention to detail, lending them some very nifty features that have clearly been engineered with the customer demographic in mind.
The design features closed-back ear-cups. They also feature comfortable memory protein cups and headband foam, which makes them ideal to wear for long amounts of time.
They have fairly up-to-date Bluetooth and conveniently fold-away, so as travel over-ear headphones go, they are clearly one of the best pair of over-ear headphones in terms of design.
The folding mechanics and headband employ a stainless steel slider, which is very solidly constructed.
They have large 40mm driver cones which function thanks to their over-sized neodymium magnets. drivers. They have audio signal processing technology programmed into their circuitry to optimize bass frequencies and ultimately provide deeper, high-quality audio, free of distortion with better dynamics. This wireless set has a very capable battery, which delivers 20 hours of listening between full recharges.
+ Durable build.
+ Fold-away design.
+ Optimized bass signal processing - great sound.
+ Skin-friendly memory protein leather.
Why We Liked It - This pair of over-ear headphones provide pretty unbeatable value. They have great drivers which perform well. The bass is impressive without worrying SPL, and they store very conveniently.
7. Sony Noise Canceling Headphones Over Ear
Our second selection from the skilled engineers at Sony is one of their most esteemed sets. It has been critically acclaimed as providing some of the best noise cancellation technology in their class.
They are the third edition. Although the original product was very impressive, to begin with, these headphones have come on in leaps and bounds since. They have a slim, lightweight headband that has been ergonomically angled to sit in a comfier position on the wearer's head for longer listening periods. They are very well-manufactured from high-quality parts. While they look appealing from the outside, their insides are where they truly shine.
These are one of the best headphones for sound. They feature high-end large aperture, liquid crystal diaphragms, that provide a smooth but dynamic response. They are high resolution compatible because they can process 32-bit audio signals rather than 24-bit. The audio is rich and smoothly balanced, delivering pristine definition across a broad range of frequencies.
They offer many modern conveniences, thanks to their current stable Bluetooth connectivity and fantastic award-winning isolation microphone. This can be used with their Sony headphone app.
Assisted by the app, users can micro-adjust their listening to their preferences. These wireless headphones utilize the Smart listening feature by Adaptive Sound Control. They are also Alexa compatible, and of course, provide hands-free calling.
Despite their advanced noise-cancelling abilities, the energy consumption is still pretty forgiving. A full charge can provide up to 30 hours of battery life. They also benefit from a rapid recharge function, providing 5 hours for every ten-minute pit-stop.
+ Critically acclaimed model.
+ Premium diaphragms.
+ Superior noise-cancellation technology.
+ Rapid recharge function.
+ Comfortable design.
Why We Liked It - We love the app-assisted personal optimization options, which provide more detailed equalization and pressure level parameters, allowing for intuitive audio control.
8. Paww WaveSound 3 Bluetooth 5.0 Over-Ear
The WaveSound 3 model from Paww is an incredible iteration of their well-received WaveSound original.
This pair of over-ear headphones is priced comfortably below the hundred dollar mark. It manages to provide all the ideal characteristics for a fab wireless set of the best over-ear headphones.
They have large 40mm diaphragms which are driven by beryllium magnets (employed in most high-end sets), enhancing their performance, accuracy, and sound quality. These wireless headphones reproduce exquisite broad-range sound, loaded with lavish detail. They are equipped with expertly engineered electronics and are custom-tuned to the company's own optimized dynamic response patterns. This way, you know the sound quality is sublime.
These wireless headphones have been upgraded this year to provide Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. They also feature the industry's go-to AptX tech, making them one of the lowest latency Bluetooth models on the market.
They have an ultra-light soft protein padded ear-cup design. Each ear-up is free to swivel. The comfort coated fold-able headband design means you can wear them for hours. They barely weigh 7 Oz. They fold compactly to store when not in use.
They also feature active noise cancellation technology, keeping signals direct and free from interference.
+ Beryllium drivers.
+ Wireless - Bluetooth 5.0.
+ Low latency.
+ Noise cancelling.
+ Comfortable design.
Why We Liked It - These over-ear headphones are a very up to date option which have been well manufactured. They employ some premium parts within their comfy confines and still won't break the bank.
9. Mpow H5 Active Noise Canceling Headphones
The wireless H5 model from Mpow is donned with some of the best features you can find for fifty bucks. The headband has recently been redesigned from materials which have been tested by a 10,000+ bending machine and certified, proving undeniably they are more durable and flexible than ever before.
The cup-design on this wireless model are softly and sufficiently cushioned wit a memory-protein material. They are also adjustable and mounted freely to help withstand wear and tear.
Unlike the previous Mpow we've included in today's article, this set offers active noise cancellation, which maintains a clearer line for communication and an easier listening experience.
The Bluetooth 4.1 may not be completely up-to-date, but it's still current enough to provide a compatible and stable signal from a good distance, like the others of up-to 30 feet.
The battery is incredibly impressive, especially given that they are an active noise canceling set. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery can offer up to 30 hours of listening, though it's advised to check the active noise cancelling technology is switched off when you aren't using them!
+ Active noise cancelling capabilities.
+ Comfy to wear.
+ Highly durable headband.
Why We Liked It - Mpow have put a lot of work and thought into this upgraded, wireless model. These are the best over-ear headphones for value for money, especially when you consider the build, bass and sound quality.
10. Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone
We are drawing today's reviews to a close with something a little more sophisticated from Sennheiser. These over-ear headphones are exceptionally well made with an ergonomically designed and comfort coated fit. They are equipped with well-engineered components to provide great digital audio clarity.
They feature hardworking large-aperture dynamic drivers and enhanced processing capabilities which enable functional listening modes. One is essentially a bass boost, enhancing the low-end frequencies, and the other, a surround sound emulation.
They have ear-cup mounted user-friendly controls and provide a good range of adjustable parameters to help you tailor your sound quality to yourself. They come with a charging dock which also has a range of controls. They offer multipurpose transmission and allow for quick toggling between devices.
They are donned with some of the industry's best active noise cancellation technology. They are very capable when wireless and can receive transmissions from a whopping 328 foot if unimpeded.
+ High-end wireless headphones.
+ 100-meter line of sight.
+ Ergonomically comfortable.
+ Active noise cancellation best in class.
Why We Liked It - Our opinion is that this set just might be one of the best wireless everyday headphones in existence.
Over Ear Headphones Buyers Guide
What To Look For When Buying Over-Ear Headphones?
There's a lot to consider when you're looking for the best over-ear headphones but we have streamlined the info into a few key factors for you.
Open Vs Closed?
A closed back pair of headphones direct the sound only to the listener, immersing them in audio. They help to shut-out background noise, which makes them great for noise cancellation. However, some find them to be synthetic sounding.
Closed-back headphones are best for listening to your personal playlists; those around you are less likely to be able to hear what you're listening to. Closed headphones can be intense for long listening sessions and typically have higher SPL. They keep the listener focused on the intricacies needed to critically listen.
Open-back headphones, are more natural sounding, allowing wearers to hear how the audio sounds in a space. Open back models can demonstrate directional sound, giving users a more multi-dimensional listening experience.
That means, however, that the bass has less of an impact with an open-back design. Some find the audio too airy. The lack of noise isolation means people within proximity can often hear their playlists. That being said, an open-back set is actually much safer for traveling about, as, without the noise-cancelling ability, over-ear headphones of this type give listeners a better awareness of their surroundings.
Semi open-back ear-cups are a good compromise; they offer the dimensional sound advantages capabilities as an open-back design would. They still filter the audio straight to the listener and provide a little noise isolation, but they are cooler and comfier. The drivers are more efficient, thanks to the extra airflow. This means bass and treble frequencies are often far more defined.
Wired Vs Wireless?
The most important thing to think about is your lifestyle, and this will indicate whether you need a wired or wireless pair. If you're looking for a way to privately listen to your tunes and intend to use your headphones as an extension of your mobile, iPod, or other devices, then, ultimately, a wireless set may benefit you, as they usually feature touch controls. This is best for easy switching between calls and audio.
If this is the case, look for a wireless pair with current Bluetooth and NFC. Get a decent mic with active noise cancellation if you want to be able to voice call and voice command.
However, one feature you'll need to be aware of with a wireless set is the battery life. Good battery life for over-ear headphones should be over 15 hours. Never go below 10 hours of battery life with a wireless set. That, of course, is unless you're purchasing earbuds; the battery life on these tend to be a lot lower. A battery life of over 20 hours for wireless, over-ear headphones is an excellent choice.
You can get wireless, over-ear headphones with and without noise-cancelling technology. However, be aware that if you activate the noise-cancelling technology when wearing wireless headphones, this may drain the battery quicker. The good news is, however, that most pairs come with the option to switch this on or off.
If you want to monitor or mix audio you will, ideally, want a more direct signal. In that case, go for a wired headphone.
For studio use, the set you select will need to operate with higher resolution audio. Live use will need zero latency. The clarity, fidelity, comfort, build-quality and durability of over-ear headphones are paramount. Studio use means long listening sessions and much more general wear and tear as you work between headphones and speakers.
It's important that cups can rotate, making them easy to lift off of the ear, relieving pressure to the head itself. They should be adequately cushioned to provide comfort. The cushioning should be skin-friendly and breathable, ensuring that you are less likely to suffer from hot ears and sweaty ear-cups.
We suggest going for coiled cords, as they are tougher but still provide good reach. They should have reinforcement where they meet the headphones or be detachable.
Once you know what you want and expect from your headphones, then you can narrow down the choices and the market becomes easier to navigate.
Over-ear headphones provide some of the best personal audio about. So if you value your audio quality and don't need a more compact earbud option, then getting a set is a wise investment.
There are many different sets available, priced competitively so that you can get a good deal, no matter what price region your budget restricts you into keeping within. Those we have looked at in today's reviews convey the cream of the crop and range from a very affordable fifty bucks right up-to several hundreds of dollars. No matter the price, or whether you've opted for wired or wireless, the best headphone will have a good build quality and great sound.
The majority of products are designed and fabricated with a specific intended use in mind. We have tried to show a good range of types today. When you've decided between wired and wireless choices and have your criteria in check, you should find that there are a number of models, no matter your cash limitations.
If you still aren't sure about what type of headphone to opt for, try reading our 10 Best Beyerdynamic Headphones article for an in-depth overview of one of the leading brand's ranges of products.
Did you Know
Beyerdynamic produced one of the world's first dynamic-balance headphone models in the 1930s just a decade after they set up roots. They and Sennheiser are two of the oldest.
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