Best Headphones 2018

By Muhammad Asfand Yar | Audio

best-over-ear-headphones

Over Ear headphones, also called Around Ear headphones sometimes, are those ones that have large earcups that sit around your ears rather than on them. Over-ear headphones have an advantage over other headphones types such as On-Ear headphones because their earpads press against outer ear. That’s why these types of headphones are perfect to use for extended time period.

But this thing also goes against them. Since they surround your ears completely they can make your ears hot after a while or so. Over-ear headphones are also less portable too, because of their large size. Over Ear headphones come in 2 types: Closed and Open-back headphones.

Most Over-ear headphones around us are closed-back headphones. It means that the back side of their earcups is closed. These headphones provide good noise isolation but too loud sound can irritate some users. On the other hand, there are some Open-backed headphones, which have opened back side of their earcups. This type of headphones have more “open” sounding but your music will leak outside.

So now that you know the merits and demerits of these over-the-ear headphones. Let’s start this review of Best Over Ear Headphones you can get in 2018.

7. Philips Fidelio L2

Philips-Fidelio-L2-Best-headphones-2018

Philips is trying hard, in recent times, to come up to terms with big players in the audio industry like Sennheiser, Beats and Bose etc. We reviewed Philips Fidelio M2BT in our guide – and actually like it. But M2BT was an on-ear. Let’s find out what this over-ear model from Philips got for us?

Design:

Looking at it, Fidelio L2 may not look like an over-ear design. That means you will get some ambient sound from your surroundings, but not as much as in on-ear headphones. Its headband is made from aluminium, earcups are leather-coated and nicely padded. One minor hiccup you can have while using them is (I mean are) warm ears. But this warming is very slight and by the way that is a pretty generic issue with Over-Ear headphones. Overall, its comfort is good and you can trust it to wear for long periods.

Controls and Other Functions:

It supports two cables: one for the in-line remote and the other for the microphone. For control options, it has only one button. But don’t worry, that single button is enough for you to answer/end calls, skip back/forth songs and pause/play them as well. For your information, this button works for both of your iPhone and ‘Droid models. But one thing you might miss in its inline remote is that these controls don’t support volume adjustments.

You can fold it for portability reasons, but it doesn’t collapse from middle – like Sennheiser Momentum 2.0.

Performance:

Since this headphone doesn’t have a classic over-ear design its sound is rather more “open”. But this design may keep you away from better noise isolation provided by other over-ears. In terms of sound quality, it has a very sharp and clear Sound + right amount of bass. Well there are many other headphones that can give you more clear sound, but if you play low bit-rate audio on them, there aren’t many left that can give good sound. That’s where Philips Fidelio L2 is at its best. It easily makes poor sound quality less terrible.

Enough is one word, for which you can define its Bass. Like clarity, there are others that can beat Fidelio L2 in Bass. So if you’re a true Bass lover then keep on reading this post. But for others who like more balanced sound and less expensive headphones, this is a pretty good option.

6. Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II

Bose-SoundTrue-Around-Ear-II-Best-Headphones-2018

Bose SoundTrue II is the successor of the original SoundTrue which was a midrange over-ear headphone that seemed, at least by its looks, an amalgam of the two earlier released produced by Bose — AE2 and AE2i + some flashy colors to target the younger audience.

Design

Headphones with stylish design are coming more and more in recent years. To keep up with this tradition, Bose has made some minor changes in this pair. It is available in 2 color options: Charcoal Black and Navy Blue. In both cases, you’ll get a uni-color headphones pair with large leather-coated earcups. These earcups can be folded in its headband to portability.

Features

Its cable connects to its left earcup. This cable features an inline remote control and microphone for mobile devices. Remote control offers usual functions such as Pause/play music, skip/forward songs and answer/end call etc. To save you from wondering whether it supports your mobile device or not, Bose has two versions. An iPhone version will give with Apple devices. On the other hand, there’s a Samsung version too which will work with Android devices and others.

This cable is detachable too. So you would only buy a new cable if you’ve broken your previous one, instead of buying new headphones altogether.Unlike some other headphones by Bose, this one doesn’t provide you Active Noise Cancellation. Yet, you won’t be able to hear a lot of ambient noises from the outside — thanks to its tight seal, filters and solid build earcups.

Sound Quality

For a closed-back headphones pair, its sound is fairly open. In addition to that, it also delivers accurate, clear sound and prominent Bass (good, but not up to Beats’ level). Treble is also very smoother. Although its clean sound makes HQ music perfect, it also makes low-quality audio worse (A little problem that isn’t present in Sony MDR-1A).

Bottom Line

There are some headphones better than Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear, yes. So if you’re an audiophile, continue reading. But in its price range and with this level of comfort, built + more than good sound quality, it’s a very good option.

5. Audio Technica MSR7

Audio-Technica-ATH-MSR7

Audio Technica couldn’t match up to Beats and Sony — in terms of making their headphones stylish. Yes, they usually sound good but you need something extra to make people buy headphones. They call it stylish looks. Due to this fact apparently, Audio Technica made ATH-MSR7 last year.

Design:

In design, MSR7 is a bit different from M50X which sounds good and doesn’t look so. MSR7′ earcups are more soft with foam padding in soft leatherette. Its headband is also more narrow which may have unusually tight fit on some of us.

It’s mostly made from plastic but has aluminium on outer parts to give a premium look. Its top side is coated by dark brown leatherette but there’s no padding on it.

Its ear cups can rotate along their metal axis but they can only be rotated up to 90º. Audio Technica has even labelled these earcups as “left” and “right” to make you stop thinking that which one is which.

Features:

MSR-7 comes with not 1 but 2 wires: 1 each for home and portable use. For home purposes, you’ll get a 3m cable that can be connected to a TV or an AV receiver.

The other one features a 1-button remote and will work with both Android/iPhone. It features 45mm TrueSund Drivers. These drivers have specially created diaphragm and a custom circuit board to improve sound quality and minimise distortion.

While its’ earcups provide noise isolation but there’s no such thing as Active Noise Cancellation, perhaps due to the fact that these headphones don’t work in wireless mode.

Sound Quality

Since I said that it has TrueSound Drivers, this pair of headphones puts extra stress on clarity, detailed sound and precision. Unlike some other stylish headphones’ makers (Beats) ATH-MSR7 don’t have any extra bit of Bass. Its overall balance is also neutral. Since they’re not open-backed headphones they create narrower soundstage.

4. V-Moda Crossfade M-100

V-Moda-Crossfade-M-100-Best-Headphones-2018

V-Moda Crossfade M-100 was released back in 2012 but still, it is one of the best over-ear models you can get. In this headphones pair, V-Moda started giving good sound quality in its headphones, before that it was all about style and design.

Design and Construction

Speaking of design, M-100 may seem unusual to you, especially if you look it from sideways. Unlike some other headphones that have circle-shape earcup plates, M-100 has ones with a diamond shape. You can customize them if you like to do so.

It has pretty solid build which is due to its steel frame, earcups that have been made by tough plastic material and an extremely flexible leather-covered headband. Its cable is also tangle-free. Its earcups can be folded inside of its headband.

One downside of its steel hinge is that you can’t put it on your neck when not listening music.

Other Features

One nice this about this pair is that you can plug your cable in any earcup of your choice. Along with M100, you’ll also get some other things such as V-Corks, SharePlay cable etc.

 V-Corks are the pro-stuff. Since these headphones have dual inputs, you need V-Corks to plug up one of the input either if you’re not sharing music or if you’re mixing two sources at the same time aka. DJ work.

 Sound Quality

V-Moda headphones have been generally tending to give you powerful bass. But this bass comes at the expense of Treble and Midrange.  This time, however, there is rich, detailed sound. Bass is present, yes, but there is no distortion even at high volumes.

Soundstage also boosts clarity. M100s also provides passive noise isolation but, to be honest, this noise isolation won’t work in louder environments. You can increase volume to have noise isolation but that could lead to other people hearing your music.

3. Sony MDR-1A

Philips-Fidelio-L2-Best-headphones-2018

From looks, MDR1-A resembles Sony’ older over-ear headphones MDR-1R. Although MDR-1A was extremely comfortable, Sony made further improvements in design. The first thing that differentiates them are angled earcups which suits ears better. Its ear cups are softer and cushioned. On the other hand, its finish is a bit textured for better handling.

Features

Sony MDR-1A has inline remote feature and microphone on its wire. You may have seen many headphones with apple-friendly inline remote controls that have some limited functionality. Well, Sony took a different route and made a pro-android inline remote control. Although it works for iPhone users too, you can change volume using it. As far as Android users are concerned, they can use SMartKey app to customise the functions of that one-button inline controls.

Performance

There are many headphones that simply aren’t for purists. Some have exaggerated bass whereas some have the treble issue. But this headphone, Sony MDR-1A, just have the perfect combination of Bass, Treble and Clarity you need to have a rich sound experience.

While you won’t feel the Beats-Esque thumping Bass, its sound is crispy and immersive. There is one general problem with some headphones — including some expensive ones — that they make low-bitrate MP3s, a little bit harsh. But that isn’t a problem in this headphone either. In fact, while it makes low-quality songs less unimpressive, rich and high-quality music will be refined by it.

2. Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear

Sennheiser-Momentum-2.0-Around-Ear

Momentum 2.0 are the second iteration of original Momentum Over-Ears. While the basics are kept same, Sennheiser has made some minor tweaks. These tweaks are largely done on design front – due to the fact that original momentum was criticized for their comfort or lack thereof.

Design:

For a first time, its design is almost perfect. Even Hardcore headphone users will not find too many flaws in it. There are some changes from previous models. As I said earlier that there were some cons in previous model’ comfort level. That was largely due to small earcups, which make ear-fit a problem.

So in the 2nd generation, all of Sennheiser’ headphones – Over-Ear or On-Ear – come with large earcups. These large earcups are thick too. Apart from being large and soft, they won’t bite off ears with their grip. That being said, I understand it’s easier for you to conclude that this headphone is much more comfortable than its previous model.

And I also need to mention that these earcups won’t let your ears overly warm. Basic design remains same. One exception is the new L-shaped plug in 2.0 – which is capable of being used with a phone which covered by a protective case. The inner part of earcups is shinier – making them easy to wear.

Features

Have you ever felt discriminated – as Android-owner – when seeing a headphone has the ios-only inline remote capability? Personally speaking, I have.

To cure this problem, Sennheiser has two version for you. An Android version and an IOS one. The main difference between ’em is cables – one have IOS-inline remote cable and other have an android one. Of course, you can buy another detachable cable, in case you want to switch your smartphone’ OS.

Noise Cancellation

As it is an Over-Ear headphone, one area for which you shouldn’t worry, is its Noise Reduction Capabilities. Over-ear headphone cover all of our ears, that’s why making ambient noise difficult interfere in your music. For additional Noise cancellation, momentum 2.0 uses Sennheiser’s own NoiseGard technology. In my experience, there aren’t many headphones, that can bring your more effective noise isolation. In fact, it’s one of the best over ear noise cancelling headphones pair

Sound Quality

As far as sound quality be refined, it is arguably the warmest and sound-rich headphones are there in the market. No matter what genre you listen to, it won’t disappoint you. Momentum 2.0 has carried the signature sound of original momentum, with refinement level we’re not used to – especially among Bluetooth Headphones.

First of all, we’ll talk about its treble, because that was the feature which was dim in original momentum. It resulted in a closed soundstage, which in turn, reduced speed and clarity in music. Momentum 2.0 is more in-line with music. Though treble level isn’t very high – which would be bad too – it’s just at the right amount.

Middle notes are clear, despite having strong bass. But let me tell you that you won’t get any beats-like thumping bass level in it. But one good thing about momentum 2.0′ bass is that it is deep but being brute. Its sub-Bass level is impressive too. It looks like you have a dedicated small sub-Woofer. Clarity and Detail level for every vocal is present. It can be bit sharp of first timers/ soft music-lovers but you’ll surely get used  to it.

In short, you can expect a pretty good sound, for all genres, from it.

Battery life

Momentum 2.0 has a very impressive 22 hours battery life in wireless mode – can sometimes go to 25 hours if the volume level is kept low –  when Noise Cancellation is activated. You can play it in passive Mode through wire – in case battery drains out. One thing should be noted here is that passive mode is a wire-only feature, you can’t use it in Wireless mode.

Verdict:

One good thing about this headphone is that it can be used in both Wired and Wireless modes. In fact, Sennheiser was rated as one of the best wireless over-ear headphones in our wireless headphones 2018 review

1. Bowers & Wilkins P7

Bowers-Wilkins-P7-Best-Over-Ear-Headphones-2018

For years, B&W headphones have been loved by audiophiles and purists. That was good in a sense, but on a broad picture, this thing prevented them from creating headphones target for masses. All that changed when they launched P7.

Design

P7 has large earcups that comfortably sit around your ears. By Bowers’ standard, its earcups are a bit firm. Since these earcups are little big, you can get little hot ears after long sessions of music. These earcups can be folded too. Apart from leather, the other two things you’ll see in this pair is Steel and Aluminium. Both have their own merits. Steel is tough whereas Aluminium is lightweight and looks good.

At first sight, you’ll that its cables are non-removable but they are. To do so, you’ll have to pop off the earcup with your nail. This cable has a 3-button inline remote which only works properly for iPhone devices. On Android devices only central button works which means you can’t adjust volume while playing music.

Sound Quality

In P7, Treble is carefully enhanced. Unlike some other headphones in this list, a poor quality recording will not sound bad in P7. The sound is also very clear and detailed. Yet Sennheiser momentum is clearer and is also warmer in the midrange.

One critical thing to notice is its lack of substantial noise cancellation. Bass response is also above par.

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About the Author

Muhammad Asfand Yar, or Asfand as his friends call, is Author cum Owner of List Enthusiast. Blogging is his old new-found love. He writes to boost his Knowledge - and yours too. He usually remains in front of computer screen - even when he isn't writing any Blog post - doing computer programming. C++ is his passion. Catch him on twitter @asfandyar12.

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