There are probably as many types of headphones available today as there are microphones. Each (supposedly) has its own niche use. Personally, I see just three main types – noise-cancelling, wireless, and all the rest.
Why? Because, if you need noise-cancelling headphones, you simply have to find a pair that truly cancels the outside noise, and you’re good to go. And because, if you can’t be tied down by a wire, you get a pair of wireless headphones, and off you run. And finally, because, if you don’t need either of the above features, you just find a decent pair you can afford, and you’re done shopping.
You may argue with my argument and have excellent reasons for doing so, and I won’t argue back. For most people, though, my rationale holds a lot of water. So, all that said, in this review I’ll show you the most popular headphones available (as of this writing) at Amazon. You see, it’s also hard to argue when a lot of people say that a product is good-to-great, which is what they’ve said about the headphones you’ll see below.
Speaking of Amazon, if you just want to check out the pricing and availability of these headphones over there, you can click (tap) the links in the list just below. Otherwise, keep scrolling and reading to discover the details of each before making your decision and purchase.
- OneOdio Studio Pro-10 Headphones
- OneOdio Studio Wireless C Headphones
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Headphones – Closed
- Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO Headphones – Semi-open
- Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Headphones – Open
Obviously the three Beyerdynamic models are just variations on a theme, but I couldn’t really leave any of them off the list.
OneOdio Studio Pro-10 (Budget Wired Headphones)
I think the OneOdio Studio Pro-10 headphones are so popular mainly because of their low price. You get more-than-decent quality for what almost amounts to pocket change. OneOdio touts the Pro-10 phones as “studio monitor” gadgets, but I think they would work just fine for most other purposes as well.
If you poke around a bit, you’ll see that some owners say the Studio Pro-10 phones are “bass heavy”. However, at least one user claims (and I agree with him) that this is a misconception. It’s not that these are bass heavy, it’s that other headphones in this class are bass light. The Pro-10s are actually giving you the bass you should be hearing that other headphones are not.
Let’s take a quick look at the specs next.
- Speaker: 50mm
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 110dB +- 3dB
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz
- Max input power: 1600mW
- Plug Type: 3.5mm / 6.35mm stereo
- Cable 1: 9.8 ft. (stretched) 3.5mm to 6.35mm coiled cable
- Cable 2: 3 ft. 3.5mm to 3.5mm straight cable with microphone
You can rotate the ears cups both left and right. This can be handy for single-ear monitoring, if you actually are using these as monitor headphones. You can also fold them flat which is nice anytime you’re not actually using them at all.
Having a detachable spring cable has its benefits as well, especially one that comes with both 3.5 millimeter and 6.35 millimeter plugs on each end.
OneOdio Studio Wireless C (Budget Wireless Headphones)
If you liked what you saw above in the OneOdio Pro-10 model but want wireless capabilities instead, take a look at the OneOdio Studio Wireless C headphones.
These have virtually the same specs as the Pro-10, but you can use Bluetooth for wireless listening instead of a cable. OneOdio claims you can get up to 80 hours of listening time per charge. Of course, that depends on how you use them – volume, distance, etc.
So why is there a cable in the package? That’s for connecting to a microphone, if you don’t want to use the built-in mic. (Actually, there are two cables – the other one is a USB charging cable.)
So why would you want a mic connected to your headphones? Video gamers already know one answer to that question. You can also use a mic for wired phone calls.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (Best Headphones for Audio Monitoring)
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are very popular and are often compared (favorably) to the Beats brand – usually winning the battle between the two. However, even though these are really popular, you may find even better alternatives in the market.
One reviewer suggests the following options.
- Sony MDR-1A
- Bose Soundtrue AE2
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 32ohm (See below)
- Status Audio CB-1
- B&O PLAY H6
- Philips SHP9500
- Audio-Technica M40x (the M50x’s little brother)
- HIFIMAN Edition S
That’s quite a list! And I won’t argue against any of them. That’s not my purpose here, which is to tell you about the most popular models out there.
You may have noticed that I recommend the Audio-Technica M50x for audio monitoring. Many others claim they’re the best headphones for music listening in general. Going back to the reviewer who suggested the list above, his complaints are about the build, the comfort, and the sound of the ATH-M50x.
Regarding build, he has a minor complaint about the fake leather that’s used. This will only be a potential problem in the long run.
Comfort is a bigger problem in that the clamping force on your ears may be too great. If you have a small head and/or small ears, this may not matter as much. Also, you can try to bend the metal frame a bit to reduce the pressure.
In many ways, the sound you hear through your headphones is the most important factor. Our reviewer calls the sound coming from the M50x’s “Clear, detailed, accurate. But also harsh, fatiguing, and narrow.” You may find you agree, especially if you use them for an extended period of time. If you don’t, you may never notice.
Here are the significant specs for the ATH-M50x headphones.
- Sensitivity – 98 dB
- Impedance – 38 Ohms
- Weight without cable – 10 oz.
- Frequency response – 15-28,000 Hz
- Ear cup swivel – 90 degrees both directions
- Style – Collapsible
- Cable 1 – Detachable 1.2 meters – 3.0 meters (3.9 ft. – 9.8 ft.) coiled
- Cable 2 – Detachable 1.2 meters (3.9 ft.) straight
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO (Closed Headphones)
Remember that list of alternatives to the ATH-M50x headphones up above? The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO (the 32 Ohm model) was in that list. And I’m here to tell you about them.
These are closed headphones, but that doesn’t mean noise cancelling. The best you get in this area is “ambient noise isolation” to about 20 dBA.
Before I go any further into the specs of the DT 770s, I’ll mention some closely-related options in case you’re interested.
The DT 770 also comes in an 80 Ohm and a 250 Ohm model. You have a choice a black or gray styling.
If you don’t want the closed ear cup style, Beyerdynamic also makes semi-open and totally open models.
Getting back to the DT 770 (32 Ohm) closed model, we see that you get a 1.6 meter straight cable in the package. These German-made headphones are great for general music listening as well as for gaming.
Beyerdynamic especially promotes the comfort that these around-the-ear headphones provide. They weigh 270 grams without the attached cable. Their frequency response is from 5 to 35,000 Hz which is the widest (and theoretically best) range of any of these headphones.
If you need other musical accessories, check for them here.