Best Over-Ear Headphones for your Upgrade Considerations

When it comes to raw sound quality, nothing beats the sense of scale a pair of decent over-ear headphones can provide. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, it’s likely you could benefit from a bit of music, or from shutting the world out for a bit of solitude – and the best headphones can be your best friend.

Here are some of the best sounding headphones.

Oppo PM-3 ($399)
The Oppo PM-3 is possibly the first closed-back Planar Magnetic headphones to roll out of a factory anywhere in the world. Using a driver that has a diaphragm printed with a conductor and held between two magnets. A magnetic field is generated as the music signal passes through the conductor reacts to the field generated by the magnets, causing the diaphragm to move. The idea is to offer greater accuracy and minimise distortion.

The balance and precision of the PM-3 meant that it delivers incredible definition across the entire soundscape, with a superbly detailed midrange nestled between gentle yet clearly defined low ends and crystal clear, natural highs.
The combination of planar magnetic drivers and closed-back design means they confidently isolate you from ambient noise while effortlessly delivering pristine sound frequencies directly into your temporal lobe.

The PM-3 are equally comfortable being plugged into a headphone amp at home as they are commuting through the hustle and bustle of a big city, and they stand head and shoulders above rival products from bigger brands.

Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature ($900)
The P9s have probably the best and most satisfying bass in a pair of portable headphones. Bowers & Wilkins loves to emphasize bass, as exhibited to an extreme in the recent P7 Wireless, and the P9s elevate that habit to a new height. Like perfect jelly, the bass of these headphones wobbles like mad without losing its structural integrity. You’ll have heard terms like "bloated" and "flabby" used to describe bad bass, and in each case the problem is a lack of precision caused by poor vibration dampening, bad speaker design, or sloppy frequency tuning — and none of those issues are present with these B&W headphones.

It lends solidity and authority to the overall character, and manages to underpin the whole sound rather than impress itself upon any other part of the frequency range.
This ensures there’s real transparency through the midrange, delivering huge insight into vocals and telling the whole story of every strum, pluck and plonk of an instrumental.
The treble is never an issue either, offering an open and natural sound in the top end that’s never squeezed or limited.

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro ($599)
According to Beyer the DT1770PRO has brilliant highs and a warm bass that give you a perfect sound profile unmatched by any other headphones of their kind.

“Due to its closed design with a high ambient noise attenuation and an enormous maximum sound pressure level, the DT 1770 PRO is ideal for musicians, sound engineers and producers for professional studio or monitoring applications. The efficient Tesla 2.0 drivers ensure a perfect sound with an excellent resolution, spaciousness and high output level. Perfect for mixing and mastering in the studio. Their extremely high level of efficiency is useful for users in loud environments such as sound engineers when listening to PA systems or musicians.”

Beyerdynamic has a point. For a closed PRO/monitor headphone the DT1770PRO performs really well: excellent resolution (just like the DT1990), great precision, detail and dynamics. The DT1770PRO delivers a precise and rich sound with great layering. For a closed headphone the sound stage and separation is really good and it gives the impression of a spacious sound (yet not so much as in the open version of course). If you’re used to listening to open headphones like the HD800 in example, than this DT1770 will still sound more concentrated, but it actually sounds fairly spacious for a closed headphone.

Sennheiser HD-800 ($1090)
The Sennheiser HD-800 is the headphone that has been specifically engineered in replicating the basic acoustic conditions of natural hearing. This level of performance has yet to be matched by any competitor. The HD-800 is the ultimate headphone to deliver nature.

The major technological advance in the Sennheiser HD 800 is the "ring radiator" driver. This driver delivers a couple of advantages: it reduces "cone breakup," which causes distortion at high frequencies; and it provides better imaging by being angled back towards the ears from a slightly forward position thereby emitting a rather more planar wave front than a normal headphones driver.

The Sennheiser HD-800 is for the discriminating audiophile seeking the best and most natural sound available. From rich bass lows to definitive highs, the Sennheiser HD-800 headphones deliver the exclusive sound that nature had intended.