World's Most Proclaimed Best Headphones Brands
It is certainly impossible to imagine a day without headphones, especially if you are music buff or feel bore to do the daily chores. Headphones, while being one of the most wanted digital devices, are also among the simple technological devices.
This simple technology for hearing music is actually a savior, as it aids in getting rid of the daily boredom, allows listening to favorite and soothing tracks anytime and anywhere without disturbing others, and assists in concentrating while studying.
It is not uncommon seeing people buying headphones in bulk as per the popular brands or specifications. This is because they need different types of headphones for different tasks. For example, a waterproof model is required while listening under shower and a wireless model for listening on the go.
Brand: A Critical Factor Deciding What Headphones Should I Get
It is actually a trend to consider the different brands of headphones for choosing the best piece. Whether the buyer is a layman or an expert, headphones brands ranking is perhaps the major criterion in choosing the brand.
For most audiophiles, the best headphones brands are the main target, when it comes to what to look for when buying headphones. The interpretation or connotation of the term ‘best’ here can be famous headphones brands, premium headphones brands, top rated headphone brands, or expensive headphones brands.
However, in reality, the term ‘best’ means the one that is most suitable for you, as per your budget and requirements such as loudness, sound clarity, bass, and balance. The best brand for you may not be one of the top brands of headphones but is certainly a good and reliable one.
Well nowadays, the chosen brand is actually one of best brands for headphones for most of us. This is because an increasing number of brands are coming under the ‘best’ category through their improvements and innovations.
Their products are becoming so pervasive in today’s life, which was not the case a few decades ago. So, let’s first explore the journey of their progress by understanding their modest beginnings, innovative recent developments, and surprising future aspects. We shall then explore the top 10 headphone brands.
Just get into a nearest store of electronics and you will be stunned to see the different sizes, shapes, look, types, colors, and brands of headphones. In fact, just a single brand has several varieties to offer. This points out to the interesting journey of evolution.
The history of present day headphones is traceable back to the early days of telephone and telegraph. Well, the first pair of headphones surfaced before two centuries, during the late 1800’s. However, they had only one earpiece and yet weighed around 10 pounds. Only the telephone operators used them.
The first pair of headphones for listening to music came out in the 1890’s when they appeared as stethoscopes. Opera fans used them to enjoy music from their home. Here is the timeline of remaining historic developments:
- 1910: Nathaniel Baldwin developed the first effective pair in his kitchen, which the U.S. Navy brought without patenting it.
- 1937: One of the headphones best brands, Beyer Dynamic in Germany, initiated the making of the first dynamic headphones known as the DT48. These headphones continued to be in production until 2012. However, even today, this type is one of the most famous pairs.
- 1949: Another currently top brand, AKG, introduced their first headphones, the K120.
- 1958: This year witnessed a big twist when John C. Koss came up with the first stereo headphones. Yes, you guessed it right! He laid the foundation of the Koss brand. This new pair was revolutionary, as its sound quality was decent enough for listening to music.
- 1968: Koss introduced the first US-made pair of electrostatic headphones, which was lightweight.
- 1979: Sony introduced its first Walkman with a pair of lightweight headphones. This was another major milestone, as portable music player triggered a market for portable headphones.
- 1980s: Earbuds and the in-ear models were introduced.
- 1989: Dr. Amar Bose came up with the first noise-reducing pair, after finding it tough to use a normal pair while on an airplane in 1978, due to the roaring engine.
- 1997: Sony introduced neckband headphones, which aimed at removing the earbuds’ con of no sound isolation.
- 2000: The first commercial pair of Bluetooth headphones came up.
- 2001: The first iPod was introduced with its signature white earbuds. This was the time when the trend of smaller headphones had completed its journey. It was common to see individuals with a white cord running up to the ears from the pockets, several times in a day.
- 2008: Beats Electronics came up with Beats by Dre, which are amongst the most famous headphones today. Offering deep bass, the brand’s collection attracted more of the NBA players and teenagers.
- 2011: Sennheiser introduced the most expensive headphones, the Orpheus, costing almost $40,000.
- 2012: JVC introduced the first foldable and lightweight model, HA-S400; and Apple came up with EarPod with iPhone 5.
- 2014: JVC came up with waterproof and washable models for the sports fans.
- 2015: The first wireless in-ear smart headphones came up – the Bragi Dash earbuds. Well, the beauty is that you can take calls, store music on them, track your fitness, and even wear them while swimming.
- 2016: Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from its latest iPhone model, 7. This has replaced the included earbuds with those that connect through the Lightning port. So, if you wish to have your own headphones, you need a Bluetooth wireless model. Similarly, Sony has started a futuristic prototype, the N headphones that you need to wear around the neck to direct acoustic signal upwards only for you to hear.
The above track of progress indicates that the headphone technology is likely to advance. This is perhaps because the users are demanding much more and better headphone specs, such as better sound, improved signal, and more comfort and convenience. Here are some future inventions:
Push Device, not Pull Device
At present, headphones are pull devices, which means that you need to pull music from another sources such as tablet or PC for listening to it. However, an upcoming trend is of a push device, wherein somebody else determines the songs to be played.
Push is symbolized by the streaming services such as iTunes Radio where a program or a DJ picks the tunes. There will be no need of powerful complex interface or another source. This is analogous to a compact radio with preset buttons wherein the music is pushed directly to the device.
Well, the hardware will bring this change. It is believed that headphones might come with cellular chips to stream preset playlists or channels directly, without being connected to a source. The benefit is that people will naturally enjoy listening to music. Apple might get this started!
Quality Wireless Devices – The Trend Started with New Orpheus
Sennheiser has just come up with the refurbished Orpheus idea, which is Orpheus HE1060. It features state-of-the-art technology for transforming music into something that you can feel a part of.
It ensures matchless audio quality giving a feel of live music being played and the best frequency response that no other transducer offers. You are also ensured of only 0.1% distortion at 100dB for making more details audible, which even studio speakers do not offer.
Prediction is being made of very high sound quality for audience requiring greater clarity and less distortion. Toward this trend, the next step is also for better battery life in wireless devices.
This is another upcoming technology wherein music listening will happen not from the ear, but from the other part of the body. It gives the ability to listen privately while keeping the ears and eyes on people talking around.
Right now, the latest attempt in this field is from Studio Banana Things that has come up with Batband, a high fidelity experience through an inventive bone conduction system.
It features transducers emitting waves that are sent at a frequency that the skull bones can conduct and the inner ear can perceive. Thus, your outer ear is free to listen outside without losing comfort or quality.
Even Sony is developing the futuristic headphone technology implementing human body communication. It is using the body to transmit signals to headphones, which removes the need of wires or interference-vulnerable Bluetooth players.
Through the body, the embedded ear pads gain and convert a fluctuating signal without affecting the body. This open-ear design is ideal for those who need to work with media and yet need to take care of a ringing phone or a crying baby.
Debunking Myths about the Best Headphones Brands
Choosing the best brand requires you to consider different aspects such as popularity, brand age, product quality, and its kind (dedicated or consumer electronic). While considering these things, most of us follow some myths, voluntarily or involuntarily. Let’s unleash them now!
Older Brands are Better and More Successful than Newer Brands
Well, this is not always true, although the older brands have been around for many years. If this was to be true, the recent startups such as Audeze (2009) as a dedicated headphones brand could not have beaten Sony as a consumer electronics brand up to some extent, by producing quality headphones.
Consumer Electronic Brands offer Headphones of Better Quality than Those of the Dedicated Brands
In many cases, it is the other way round. Consumer electronic brands offer many more electronic products apart from the audio-based ones. This might give you a feel of their broader and diverse electronic expertise than the dedicated ones.
However, if you look for a top 10 or 15 headphones brands list, majority would be the dedicated ones. Just Google it or see our list below! So, even the dedicated brands offer better quality headphones.
Only Popular Brands Offer Quality Headphones
This is an interesting myth, not a fact. Although it is hard to believe, even new brands tend to offer quality headphones.
In many cases, the popularity is due to the effective blend of celebrity promotion and branding, and not due to the actual product quality. This indicates that a brand with high fan following does not denote high quality product as well.
So, in short, the quality does not fully correlate with the popularity. Choose a brand that gives quality products with or without popularity.
You must be thinking why to go through the history and future of headphones first before coming to this focal sub-topic, right? Well, it is necessary to do so, as you can get an idea of what exactly to expect from the products of different brands.
We have chosen the top 10 brands of headphones for you, exclusively on the basis of quality.
Sennheiser – Since 1945 – The Incredible Provider
Sennheiser is the brand offering audio systems. However, it is incredible, as it simply paves the way for “Let the sound take you away”. Based in Germany, it has mastered engineering headphones, which ensure the best clarity and sound expected otherwise from a live performance.
Its headphones also offer other cool features such as noise cancellation and balance of treble and bass. The brand is rated highly for its noise cancellation technology. You can even choose a pair by usage such as travel, gaming, DJ, studio, and assistive listening.
Sennheiser headphones are usually moderately priced although you get some expensive models too. The best ones are in the collection of on-ear headphones. It is ideal for versatile music fans and professionals requiring headphones, microphones, and other audio systems.
Acoustics and Cinema Equipments (AKG) – Since 1947 – Largest Supplier for Professionals
This is another German brand but is more famous for its sustained goodwill. Founded in Austria, the brand is the largest supplier of headphones to the studios, audio engineers, and DJs.
Now owned and managed by an American-based employer, AKG headphones have out-of-the-box designs and distinct styles, even if they are wireless.
Producing only microphones and headphones, AKG has a different approach for headphones from its competitors. It offers the best quality without compromising performance even by a bit.
This has made their headphones quite costly due to which they are usually not so popular in important consumer markets. However, using its pair of headphones once makes a professional its big fan due to great sound balance and noise cancelling ability.
Bose – Since 1964 – The Chief Sound Refurbisher of Audio and Car Audio Systems
This American company in Massachusetts offers audio equipments. However, it is one of the highest selling headphone brands.
Bose headphones are not only for listening to music but also for refurbishing the effect of technology on the listener. They ensure clarity of sound, incredible sound, loudness, noise cancellation, durability, and nice design.
However, its headphones are expensive. Despite this, people do not hesitate to buy them.
So, there is no need to think in terms of money for buying Bose headphones. You cannot doubt the quality, as the brand is considered to be the actual inspiration for Beats by Dre.
Still, you will find users who do not prefer Bose, as they are likely to get the same technology at a less price. However, there is hardly any brand that can beat the advanced technology and engineering of this brand.
Audio-Technica – Since 1962 – The Superior Performer
This is another dedicated audio equipment brand known for its over-the-ear and open-air headphones. Based in Tokyo, this brand a variety of different headphone models, all admired for clean and balanced sound.
These headphones have a unique winged design adding to the comfort level. However, the most unique aspect is their soundstage. This means using one of its best models makes you feel right in the middle of the music group giving a live performance.
Due to this ability, the headphones are also ideal for gaming. You can also precisely judge the distance as well as direction of different sounds, such as an alarm or footsteps.
In short, the brand offers pure sonic goodness, compatibility with most smartphones, budget options, and professional performance.
Sony – Since 1946 – The Impervious Maker
There is no one who is unaware of this brand. This consumer electronics giant is admired strongly for its several electronics items, including earphones and headphones.
Let us not forget that Sony has contributed significantly to the history of headphones by introducing portable players. It has always been a pioneer in the audio/music industry.
Due to its promise of providing the most advanced headphones, the brand even today is the first choice of several technical geeks. Its headphones reflect class and quality. Some of its models never fail to make an appeal to engineers and DJs. You can even get a good quality headphone bass amp.
Its earphones are a bit expensive but are quite highly performing and sturdy. However, the issue with this brand is that you need to search on which models are worth your money and which are not.
Rockjaw – Since 2012 – The Understated Delighter
This one is a relatively new brand offering elegant and finest quality earphones with tuning filters. However, the British brand has won the hearts of audiophiles by offering innovative solutions.
Currently, it is offering only a handful of earphones but none of them compromises the sound quality, regardless of whether you are watching a movie or listening to a track.
As a result, its products uplift your overall experience. This is the reason why it has secured a place in our top 10 list. Its products are also lightweight and durable.
Beyer Dynamic – Since 1924 – The Sound Energy Delimiter
This is another German brand known for its innovation to make you feel the energy of sound. You will find this brand in many bestseller lists due to its innovativeness and technology. Beyer Dynamic is also one of the market leaders in offering all types of sound amplifiers and audio devices.
Beyer Dynamic is admired for its microphones, conference systems, and headphones. Even more specifically, musical enthusiasts and professionals rely on it for economically priced earbuds and on-ear headphones that are durable and offer sound clarity.
The headphones are most robust in the treble area due to which they are ideal for classical music, which is analogous to Sennheiser. You can even expect a good headphone amplifier.
- HifiMan – Since 2007 – Truly Hifi Seller
Providing headphones and accessories such as amplifiers, HifiMan is also a new dedicated brand own and run by an American audio engineer. It is becoming popular for its headphones of superb quality, especially in terms of bass where Sennheiser is likely to lack.
The brand is among the top personal audio brands and is praised for its planar-magnetic headphones implementing the state-of-the-art driver technology. You can enjoy superb sound on the go and long hours of cozy listening.
However, the headphones are costly but not in comparison with other brands. For example, HifiMan offers headphones at $400, which might be available at more than $1000 in the store of other brands. Still, they are costly but worthy to invest if you are willing to pay.
Shure – Since 1925 – The Strong MP3 Uplifter
Offering a variety of audio systems including conference systems and headphones, Shure aims to take MP3 and mobile listening experience to a higher level. Its earbuds are considered to be the most ideal ones in the world.
Shure is one of the best headphones brands for enjoying great detailed sound, high end clarity, and extra bass from small speakers. Although the earbuds are lasting; the headphones whether in-ears, on-ears, or over-ears, are not so durable. This means you cannot prefer them during workouts.
Oppo – Since 2004 – The Planar Magnetic Adventurer
Okay, this is a Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer. However, this does not mean that all Chinese products are unreliable.
The brand is admired for its amazing planar magnetic headphones. This is because they changed the general belief of planar magnetic devices, which is of heavy and unattractive. No longer are these headphones bulky or unsightly. Oppo’s models are streamlined and offer detailed sound.