Greatest over-ear headphones for 2020: Sony, Bose and extra

Greatest over-ear headphones for 2020: Sony, Bose and extra

Headphones range broadly in dimension and form, however if you happen to’re searching for the perfect sound, you will need to give attention to full-size around-ear or over-ear headphones. Prior to now, this checklist would have had many wired audiophile headphones on it, however extra customers now are inclined to desire wi-fi headphones , so most — however not all — of the over ear headphone fashions on this checklist are wi-fi and have noise canceling.

So, with apologies to audio purists (however not likely, as a result of these all supply nice sound high quality and a top-notch listening expertise), this is a have a look at our present prime picks for finest over ear headphones.

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Sony’s WH-1000XM3, the third technology of Sony’s glorious wi-fi noise-canceling headphones, has a extra comfy match (the adjustable headband helps enormously, and the ear pads are very soft) and options even higher headphones sound and music efficiency than its predecessor. Battery life is vital, and with a robust battery life, it is presently our top-rated audio headphone with noise cancellation, edging out background noise and the Bose fashions on some key factors.

Learn our Sony WH-1000XM3 overview.

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Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, the long-awaited successor to its QuietComfort 35 II fashions, mmay not be a quantum leap ahead, however they provide barely higher sound, name and noise cancellation high quality for an optimum listening expertise. Alas, they value $400, however they seem to be a robust all-around audio performer with as much as 20 hours of battery life on a single cost. That is loads of battery life!

Learn our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 overview.

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V-Moda’s M-200 is a wired-only headphone and one of many few wired over-ear headphones on this checklist. Launched in late 2019, these clear and detailed sounding over-ear headphones have nice sound and glorious bass response, and the soft ear cups imply they’re additionally comfy to put on. That includes 50mm drivers with neodymium magnets, CCAW voice coils and fine-tuning by Roland engineers — V-Moda is now owned by Roland — the M‑200 is Hello‑Res Audio-certified by the Japan Audio Society. Different V-Moda earphones are inclined to push the bass just a little, however this has the extra impartial sound profile that you just’d anticipate from a studio monitor headphone. These studio-quality headphones include two cords, one in every of which has a built-in microphone for making calls. It might be useful if V-Moda provided Lightning or USB-C headphone cables for smartphone customers.

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On the subject of premium noise-canceling headphones, Bose and Sony have been the dominant sound gamers over the previous couple of years. However now Sennheiser has turned up with its new Momentum three Wi-fi and it deserves some consideration, significantly from people who’re followers of the Momentum line. It is in the stores now for $400 (£369) — the identical value as Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

Not solely does it characteristic improved noise-canceling options (goodbye, exterior noise) and glorious sound and audio for listening to music, however it additionally performs effectively as a headset for making calls in your iPhone or Android. Whereas its noise cancellation and luxury degree does not fairly measure as much as the noise cancellation and luxury of Sony WH-1000XM3’s, it has effectively padded ear cups coated with sheep leather-based and I had no bother rocking it for a two-hour music listening session, to say nothing of the battery life.

Learn our Sennheiser Momentum three first take.

Greatest underneath $200

JBL Stay 650BTNC

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Whereas its noise canceling and luxury aren’t fairly on par with competing fashions from Bose and Sony, JBL’s Stay 650BTNC measures up effectively when it comes to sound — the perfect over ear headphones if you happen to do not need to spend various hundred {dollars}. These over-ear headphones are price contemplating if you happen to do not need to spend $300 or extra on noise-canceling headphones. We just like the sound of that.

Learn our JBL Stay 650BTNC overview.

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I preferred Bowers & Wilkins’ unique PX noise-canceling over-ear headphones, however they had been barely missing within the consolation and noise-canceling departments. The corporate’s new PX7, launched within the fall of 2019, improves on each fronts, with glorious sound, 4 noise-canceling settings (Automated, Low, Excessive and Off) and a effectively padded ear cushion in a sturdy, eye-catching design. There’s additionally an adjustable ambient “transparency” mode that means that you can hear the surface world.

The headphones are a tad heavy at 10.7 ounces (304 grams), however the construct high quality is top-notch — and it higher be, contemplating these are just a little expensive at $400. Bowers & Wilkins additionally makes a extra compact on-ear mannequin, the PX5, which prices $100 much less and can be fairly good. However this mannequin does sound just a little higher.  

The sound is wealthy and detailed with deep bass that is still effectively outlined even at excessive volumes. It is a fairly dynamic headphone, with a contact of additional vitality within the mid-highs. It is not laid-back like the sooner PX5 Wi-fi and its most direct competitor might be the Sennheiser Momentum three above. That Sennheiser is arguably superior for making calls, however this B&W most likely wins on design. 

These Bluetooth headphone assist AAC and aptX, use Bluetooth 5.0, costs by way of USB-C and have as much as 30 hours of battery life at average quantity ranges. Its noise canceling is not fairly on the degree of the Bose or Sony, however it’s not far off — as I mentioned, it is improved from the unique PX’s noise canceling.  

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When Jabra first introduced its new Elite 85h ($300, £280) over-ear headphones, it touted how it will be outfitted with always-on (hands-free) voice assistant management utilizing Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. Alas, that characteristic did not make it into the ultimate product — apparently it affected battery life an excessive amount of, and battery life is essential — however the Elite 85h is however a superb noise-canceling headphone that makes music and different audio sound good. It is comfy to put on and likewise works effectively as a headset for making calls — vital for over-ear headphones.

Learn our Jabra Elite 85h overview.

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Launched approach again in 1991, the Sony MDR-7506 has lengthy been a favourite headphone of recording engineers and different sound professionals (sure, this can be a wired headphone). The origins of its design date even additional again, because the MDR-7506 is, the truth is, a refresh of the Sony MDR-V6 that rolled out in 1985. Each fashions had been designed for the professional sound market, however stay vastly standard with customers.

Whereas the 2 headphones have the identical design and are very comfy, they do not sound equivalent. Each supply very well-balanced sound and glorious readability for his or her modest costs — and each are nice total values. However the V6 makes just a little extra bass and sounds extra laid-back and mellow, whereas the 7506 is leaner with a extra accentuated treble vary, which makes it just a little crisper and livelier.

Learn our Sony MDR 7506 overview.

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One other audiophile favourite, Grado’s Status Sequence SR325e has been round for some time — we reviewed these over-ear headphones again in 2014. It is an open-back wired mannequin, which suggests it leaks sound (do not use it in an open-office atmosphere), however it delivers a few of the most open, detailed sound you will discover at this value. 

Grado, which is predicated in Brooklyn, New York, and builds most of its merchandise there, has not modified the long-lasting exterior design of the headphones and like its SR325 predecessors (the earlier mannequin was the SR325i), his mannequin has the identical agency, bowl-shaped foam pads that apply just a little extra stress to the outer edges of your ears than the extra easy foam pads of the step-down SR80e, that are arguably extra comfy. The SR80e headphones are considerably lighter, however not of the identical construct high quality because the SR325e mannequin. Some individuals like Grado’s earpads (they’re user-replaceable), however total we might say this mannequin’s consolation degree is not as much as the extent of its sound high quality: Consolation is nice however not nice.

Learn our Grado Status Sequence SR325e overview.


Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay H9 does not get talked about a lot within the dialogue of prime noise-canceling headphones as a result of at $500, it is a actually expensive pair of headphones. The most recent third-generation model has been upgraded in a number of important ways in which make it higher than the sooner H9i. Battery life for this model has improved over the earlier model to 25 hours, there’s now a devoted button on your voice assistant, the padding on the ear cushions and headband is cushier and the contact controls have been tweaked. The sound continues to be good.

Some individuals, significantly weightlifters, prefer to work out in full-size headphones, and the BackBeat Match 6100 over-the-ear wi-fi headphones are a really strong alternative for each the health club and on a regular basis use. The adjustable sport-fit headband has an IPX5-rated water resistant and sweat-proof design, 40mm angled drivers and noise-isolating earcups with an “Consciousness” mode. Battery life is rated at 24 hours. They sound fairly good and actually keep in your head securely — you may alter the stress within the headband, which is revolutionary and excellent for train headphones. 

They’re just a little costly at their checklist value of $180, however Amazon has them for $130, and typically the worth dips nearer to $100. They’re accessible in black, camo and grey.

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