And here is the ranking of the best headphones for the start of the 2019 season! To achieve this, we not only took into account the best-of from the specialized press (What Hi-Fi, Stereophile, Digital Audio Review, Headphone, Soundguys, Sound&Vision, Rtings, etc.) but also the feedback from audiophiles on the forums and social networks. Without forgetting our own experience, since we test all the helmets that arrive on our shelves! Here are the 27 best headphones and in-ear headphones of 2019, divided into 6 categories, for budgets ranging from 69 to 59,000€.
Best over-ear headphones
AKG Y50 (70€)
A must in the field of on-ear headphones! It has been awarded 5 years in a row by What Hi-Fi! Its acoustic qualities are obvious, with a sound that is rather round but nevertheless hard-hitting and relatively precise. Passive isolation is excellent. One of the best on-the-go headphones you can buy in 2019 under the $100 mark.
Audio Technica ATH-SR5 (89€)
A mini MSR7? Yes sir ! The sound signature of these headphones is very modern and particularly clear. The treble and midrange benefit from good definition, with a solid bass that never harms the overall balance. Be careful, however, if you are a lover of warm and round sounds: these headphones are not at all made for you.
Grado SR80e (129€)
If you’re on a tight budget and sound quality is your primary concern, then the Grado SR80e is a great option. Detailed and hyper dynamic, it will satisfy the Hi-Fisites who give little importance to the look. You can grab a few euros by turning to its little brother SR60e, at the cost of a slightly lighter bass.
Sennheiser HD 25-1 II (159€)
Attention, mythical helmet in sight! The Sennheiser HD 25 has earned a solid reputation in the world of pro audio, but also among audiophiles. Users praise its effective isolation, its swivel ear cups, and of course, its sound. Energetic at will, it knows how to remain neutral and precise, even if the bassy ones will say that it lacks a bit of bass…
Beyerdynamic Aventho Wired (249€)
Yes, some will criticize it for a bass that is a bit too present, and inefficient insulation against ambient noise… It’s not cheap either. However, we can only appreciate its beautiful balance, its good reproduction of the voices, and its low distortion. So much so that our Webmaster adopted it after testing most of the supra-closed headphones on our shelves!
Best over-ear headphones
AKG K240 MKII (69€)
Let’s be frank, this helmet shines above all by its sound. It is perfect for listening at home, and offers a good soundstage. Sharp, it exposes a very satisfying amount of detail, and knows how to skillfully transcribe all the elements of the mix. The other side of the coin: it is unusable in transport due to sound leaks induced by its semi-open design…
Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 (199€)
Comfortable and easy to power, it will follow you everywhere and will easily reveal all the nuances of your songs stored on a smartphone or an audiophile player. The sound is energetic, lively, and particularly clean! A new revision of the headphones has recently been proposed: the MSR7b thus adds symmetrical connectors.
Grado SR325e (329€)
This is one of our favorites for several years! Provided you’re not too fussy about comfort and design, these open headphones will offer you unparalleled sound under the 400€ mark, or even beyond. He knows how to bring music to life like no other, with astonishing clarity, transparency and mastery. Perfect for the home!
Sennheiser HD 660 S (459€)
These headphones have the heavy task of replacing the legendary HD 650 in the catalog of the German manufacturer. It enjoys for this a sound aesthetic very close to its elder. The timbres are beautiful, the tonal balance is good, and it excels on vocals or acoustic instruments. Its impedance of 150 Ohms and its open design confine it to domestic use.
Focal Elear (999€)
The quality of manufacture and the comfort of this French helmet are impressive! The sound delivered is exquisite, with out of order: great dynamics, realism, sensational bass/midrange, and an ability to play any kind of music with rare skill. If you need a closed-back helmet of equivalent temper, go for the Elegia.
Best High-End Headphones
Grado PS1000E (1399€)
The sound stage of this headset is incredible and allows you to perfectly discern the placement of the different instruments. It also proves to be fantastic in terms of precision and ventilation! And to drive the point home, there are no headphones at this price that can deliver such a quantity of detail, and such a sparkling treble. You have to hear it to believe it…
Fostex TH-900 MK2 (1445€)
The sound signature of these headphones gives pride of place to the bass, without affecting the general musicality. This is without doubt the finest example of bass management that can be found in this range. Listening, there is a lot of impact, which makes the TH-900 MK2 extremely fun. The sound stage is also very honorable for a closed headphone!
Sennheiser HD 800 S (1590€)
Are there any other headphones that can reproduce such a vast soundstage? Not sure ! Transparent and detailed, with a clear analytical tendency, it needs a good headphone amp to fully express itself. We have lost count of the number of awards won by this HD 800 S… A master standard for all top-of-the-range open-back headphones!
Sony MDR-Z1R (1699€)
Sony engineers have gone all out on this closed-back helmet! It displays a slightly warm sound signature, but which remains rich, natural and precise. We will salute its ultra-low distortion over the entire bandwidth, and its great tolerance for the electronics that you will associate with it. Undoubtedly one of the best closed helmets sold under the 2000€ mark.
Focal Utopia be (3999€)
Perfection does not exist… Except perhaps at Focal! With the Utopia Be, Focal has quite simply created the best dynamic headphones in the world. It offers an impressive immersion, and reveals hitherto unsuspected details. Do you think we’re exaggerating? Listen to your reference tracks with him, and you’ll see that we could be even more complimentary!
Best Wireless Headphones
AKG N60NC (179€)
Compact and comfortable, these headphones adopt a very effective active noise reduction. And the most interesting thing is that once activated, it does not deteriorate (too much) the sound! The general presentation is balanced, with a tense bass, and fairly clear mid/treble but not at all aggressive. At this price, it is difficult to find the slightest fault.
Grado GW100 (295€)
People may look at you strangely, and sound leaks may bother them… But never mind: you’ll enjoy exceptional sound wherever you go! Immersive and catchy, the sound delivered is incredibly spacious and realistic. To our knowledge, this is the best sounding wireless headset on the market.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II (319€)
If comfort is as important to you as sound, then this QC 35 II should catch your eye. Extremely pleasant to wear, it offers high-performance noise reduction and benefits from good manufacturing quality. On the sound side, expect a quite satisfactory amount of detail, and a powerful but precise bass.
Bowers & Wilkins PX (349€)
The B&W PX helmet benefits from a sumptuous finish and excellent manufacturing quality. Its sound is appreciable (provided you place it well on the ears: not recommended for wearers of glasses), and it is perfect for on-the-go use. Be careful with the noise reduction, which even if it is effective in its highest profile, generates a loss of sound quality.
Sony WH-1000XM3 (379€)
Acclaimed by specialist critics and users, this headset is unquestionably the best in its class. It not only offers the best noise reduction on the market, but also incomparable comfort. The sound is also very successful, with a lot of space, a good level of detail, and a sufficiently generous bass.
Best in-ear headphones
Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear (99€)
The bass is believable, the treble precise and crisp, and the overall presentation exhibits beautiful clarity. The recordings never lack relief, and one can easily detect the different layers of the mix. This is quite rare for a helmet costing less than 100€! Note that this headset is available in version G with hands-free kit for Android, and I for iPhone.
Shure SE425 (199€)
The Shure SE425 is loved around the world for its balance and transparency. Energetic and immersive, they will satisfy fans of “studio” sound. The bass may seem undemonstrative to you on certain music, but it is at the cost of greater precision. More expensive – and a little more centered on the medium – the intra Earsonic ES2 is a good alternative to these Shure headphones.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless (299€)
If the Sony WF-1000X are already excellent, these Sennheiser intras are even more so! The sound is of an incomparable richness and breadth in the True Wireless category: the music is played with a beautiful balance and a lot of detail. No disconnection, no abusive latency… The storage case even acts as an emergency charger!
Beyerdynamic Xelento (999€)
Built like a tank, this pair of wired intras offer one of the best sounds you can get at this price. The general presentation is warm but precise, with a deep bass, a natural midrange, and a fairly soft treble (which nevertheless rises very high). No need for a headphone amplifier: the sound pressure level is high enough with a simple smartphone!
Sony IER-Z1R (2199€)
With 3 advanced transducers built into a zirconium chassis covering a bandwidth from 3Hz to 100kHz, these high-end in-ear headphones give you the best sound on the market. The fidelity of these headphones reaches new heights, and its bass surpasses all competing models! It is also entirely made in Japan with the highest quality materials…
Focal Stella (3000€)
It’s hard to do better when it comes to closed headphones. Our newly arrived demo model is not yet fully broken in, but we can already say that the Stellia is a little acoustic marvel. And what class! Its only closed competitor is the ATH-L5000 from the Japanese Audio Technica, still charged €4200.
Sennheiser HE 1 New Orpheus (59000€)
The new Orpheus and its dedicated headphone amp will leave you with unforgettable memories. Even if you can’t/want to buy this system, we highly recommend a listen, as words can never describe such beautiful sound. A unique experience, which you can experience during demonstration sessions organized by Sennheiser (fairs, events, etc.).
Not sure which headphones to buy? You don’t have the possibility to listen to all the existing models? In-ear, circum, supra and wireless headphones, with or without noise reduction, open or closed… With this selection of the best headphones 2019, you are sure to make the right choice!
Where to test the best headphones 2019?
The BH stores in Paris 11, Paris 17 and Boulogne-Billancourt allow you to test and compare more than 100 audio headphones, in association with the best headphone amplifiers and audiophile players. Unique in France!
BH stores BH, your Image & Sound specialist since 1978! Find the addresses and access maps of the BH stores in Paris 11, Paris 17 and Boulogne-Billancourt. 12,432 views BH, Image & Sound specialist…