While there’s no denying that in-ear headphones — also known as ear buds — can sometimes be convenient to use due to their compact size and durability, it’s widely agreed among audiophiles that over-the-ear headphones provide the best listening experience. Not only do the padded ear cups help block outside noise, the bigger size of over-the-ear headphones allows for the use of higher-quality speakers. While there are some recording studio-quality headphones that cost thousands of dollars, we wanted to highlight some of the best over-the-ear headphones that are geared toward regular consumers. For this reason, we are limiting the price range of the headphones on this list to $300 or less. Based on our personal experience and on the ratings given by shoppers on Amazon, here are five of the best over-the-ear headphones, from most expensive to least.
1. Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones
A well-known company in the audio equipment business, Bose actually invented the first noise-cancellation technology when its founder had a bad experience with an airline’s subpar headphones. So it comes as no surprise that the company has included this proprietary tech in the Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones. Priced at $299, the headphones even come with an airline adapter that allows the device to connect to the dual plug configuration used on most airplanes. The noise-cancellation function requires a AAA battery that has expected life of 35 hours. That should be long enough for most listening sessions, but Bose also includes an on/off switch for users that want to conserve battery power. On the downside, at least one reviewer noted that there is a significant drop in sound quality when noise cancellation is turned off.
Another key feature is the ability to take phone calls via an included inline microphone and remote. While this particular model is intended for use with the iPhone and other Apple products, Bose also makes a version that includes a cable for Android devices. Besides its excellent noise cancellation technology, Bose headphones also have a reputation for comfort, and the lightweight Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones are no exception. All in all, a great pair of headphones for music lovers that don’t care about not having wireless capability. The Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones can be found here.
2. Sony MDR1A Premium Hi-Res Stereo Headphones
As the maker of the original Walkman, Sony is no stranger to personal stereo technology and the MDR1A headphones is a great example of the company’s expertise in this field. Like many premium headphones, the Sony MDR1A can be used to handle phone calls, as well as listen to music. The headphones come with two detachable cords – a conventional connecting audio cable and an in-line microphone and remote cable for a smartphone. The headphones are also compatible with high-grade cables for audiophiles that want an even better listening experience. However, those cables must be purchased separately.
With its lightweight design and premium sound quality, the Sony MDR1A Premium Hi-Res Stereo Headphones ($298) should please both audiophiles and casual music fans. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of noise-cancellation technology and wireless capability, you may want to look elsewhere. You can buy the Sony MDR1A Premium Hi-Res Stereo Headphones here..
3. Samsung Level Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones
While Bluetooth technology is more commonly associated with hands-free cell phones, many companies have also started to incorporate this technology into headphones. Bluetooth-enabled headphones eliminate the hassle of connecting wires to a media source and give users more freedom of movement. With its all-black, minimalist design, the Samsung Level Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones ($279) are an elegant option in this wireless category of headphones. Notable features include active noise cancellation which blocks unwanted ambient noise, and a proprietary Smart Touch Controls system that allows a user to adjust volume, skip tracks, or pause by touching a panel on the side of the ear cup. A built-in microphone allows any mobile device owner to handle calls through the headphones (as long as their device is Bluetooth compatible), while Samsung mobile device owners can also activate S-Voice control by holding their finger against the touch panel for three seconds.
Another nice feature is the option to turn off the noise cancellation function. Since noise cancellation requires additional energy to run, the ability to turn it off might help extend the headphone’s estimated 15-hour battery life even further. Unfortunately, it was noted by reviewers that the Samsung Level Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones are a little heavier than similar wireless headphones made by other companies. You can get additional information and purchase the Samsung Level Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones here.
4. Beats Studio 2.0 Wired OverEar Headphones
Although a relative newcomer to the market, Beats is now the hottest brand in the headphone business and the Beats Studio 2.0 Wired OverEar Headphones make it easy to see why. Available in a wide variety of colors for $269, these attractive headphones have a comfortable, yet solid feel. Features include Adaptive Noise Canceling with an on/off button, a 20-hour rechargeable battery with a visible charge gauge, and the ability to take calls with the RemoteTalk cable.
Beats are known for being bass-heavy, so if you prefer a more traditional sound, you may want to look elsewhere. And while many audiophiles dislike Beats headphones in general due to its bass-heavy sound, there’s no denying that the Beats Studio 2.0 Wired OverEar Headphones are some of the most stylishly designed headphones on the market right now. Select your favorite color and get your Beats Studio 2.0 Wired OverEar Headphones here.
5. Sennheiser Momentum Headphones
Germany-based Sennheiser has been a respected headphone brand for over 60 years and its Momentum Headphones is a tribute to that country’s engineering and design tradition. Constructed of stainless steel and leather, the Momentum Headphones ($169) have a substantial build, but still remain fairly light at 190 grams. Like many premium headphones, the Sennheiser Momentum includes a built-in microphone and remote for handling phone calls.
While Sennheiser headphones are generally renowned for its sound quality, some reviewers have noted that this model is a little light on the bass. However, if you appreciate a more traditional and balanced sound, the Sennheiser Momentum Headphones will not disappoint. The Sennheiser Momentum Headphones are available in black, brown and ivory colors and can be purchased here.
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