Over-ear headphones are the best sounding headphones in the market. Period!
The big drivers in them pump out deeper bass, providing an ultimate sound experience overall.
Apart from that, the over-ear headphones also create a tight seal around the ears, creating a good level of noise isolation.
Today, we are going to help you in choosing the best over-ear headphones for yourself.
Best Over-Ear Headphones for 2021 – Quick Look
(Click on the name of any workout headphones to read their in-depth review)
|Bose QC 35|
|Beats Studio3||10 ounces||Wireless|
|Beyerdynamic DT880||11 ounces||Wired|
|Cowin SE7||9.6 ounces||Wireless|
|Aiwa Arc-1||8.32 ounces||Wireless|
|TREBLAB Z2||8.32 ounces||Wireless|
|Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2||7.7 ounces||Wireless|
|Bowers & Wilkins PX||11.68 ounces||Wireless|
|Master & Dynamic MH40||11 ounces||Wired|
1. Sony WH1000XM3 – Best Overall Over-Ear Headphones
In our opinion, WH1000XM3 are the most beautiful and technology advanced headphones that have been ever created by Sony (as of writing this review).
Additionally, we also think that (a lot of people think that too) the Active noise cancelation on these headphones is better than what we get to see in Bose QC 35 II.
Being one of the biggest fans of Bose, that’s hard to admit, and we really hope that Bose would improve it’s ANC further in the next version of QC headphones.
2019 Update: Bose bought their 700s in the market with some upgrades, but still the active noise cancelation on the Sony XM3 is the best in the industry.
The most interesting feature on the Sony XM3 is the intuitive touch controls that are placed on the top of the earcups.
Our In-Depth Review:
Sony is a legendary manufacturer of audio products. Speakers, headphones, earphones, you name it, they got excellent products in every segment. And, it’s also true that we all have been a die-heart fan of Sony at some point in time.
The WH1000XM3 over here are expensive headphones that are ruling the market as of now. They are the successor to the very popular WH1000XM2, which had almost similar design and functionalities.
The two things where the Sony XM3 headphones excel are the intuitive touch controls and the quality of Active Noise cancelation technology.
Taking about the intuitive touch controls first, on the earcups, you get a flat surface with no physical buttons at all. All you have to do is touch on the left and right side of the earcup to change the tracks, touch on top and bottom on the front side of the earcup to adjust volume and touch on the very center to play/pause the music or answer/reject calls.
You can also activate the voice assistants from the right earcup just by touching and holding it for 3 seconds. Other than that you can also use this touch surface to activate the Quick attention mode.
For noise cancelation, the headphones use ANC technology as similar to Qc35, but it is kind of dynamic over here. It automatically adjusts the levels of noise cancelation depending on the type of ambient noises you are surrounded with. Nonetheless, it’s smart and powerful. You can mute everything from the light traffic noises to heavy noises of an airplane cabin.
Talking about sound quality, the headphones deliver rich and crisp audio. The 40mm large drivers on the XM3 produces precise bass with high-resolution audio that could be customized from the dedicated Sony mobile app built for the headphones. You would be surprised to see the depths you can go to customize the settings. We highly recommend you to check out the app.
- Premium design and robust build quality.
- Dynamic active noise cancelation.
- Quick charge.
- Touch controls, no physical buttons.
- No cons.
For all the fans of Sony accessories, these are the best over ear sony headphones you can get right now. They got great sound, probably the best noise cancelation, a beautiful design and above all elegant touch controls. Though they are a bit pricey, they offer alot of value to the consumer.
2. Bose Quite Comfort 35 II – Best from Bose
If you’re an audiophile like us, you would be faimiliar with the Bose company.
It is one of the leading manufacturers of premium audio products, and QC35 from them is a holy grain of wireless over-ear headphones.
According to us, and some of the other experts in the industry, the Bose QC 35 features the best active noise cancelation technology after Sony XM3.
And along with that, there are a lot of other great things about these headphones that you’ll love.
Our In-Depth Review:
We would like to start off by saying that these are definitely not cheap. They might not be the most expensive headphones, but they are still pretty expensive. But we would also like to say that every penny spent on them is totally worth it.
As usual, let’s talk about the design and the build quality of the headphones first.
The body of the headset is a build-up of high-grade plastic with comfortable cushion padding on the headband and earcups. The design is not the prettiest, but it looks really good. The headphones are available in two colors: Black and Silver.
On both the earcups you get a few buttons to control some important functionalities of the headphones.
A button to turn on Bluetooth and NFC, a multi-function button to turn on Google Voice assistant and Siri, volume controls, a button to turn on Alexa, and then a button to switch between three modes of active noise cancelation: high, low and off.
Though the headphones use Bluetooth 4.1 for connectivity and not the very latest Bluetooth 5.0, it still holds the connection firmly and provides a standard connectivity range of 33 feet. The battery on the headphones is simply outstanding. You get a range of 20 hours of battery range on wireless mode and 40 hours when hitched with the cord.
Talking about the active noise cancelation on Quite comfort 35, it’s brilliant. It works great for all the scenarios and you won’t be able to hear anything, not even the white noise that is generated by a few of the “noise-canceling headphones”.
The sound that Bose QC35 produces is incredible. The audio is highly detailed, and you can hear each and every aspect very clearly. Combine it with crisp bass, and you get an amazing audio experience overall. The headphones detect the type of music you are playing and then optimizes the sound automatically, no need of equalizer for that.
The noise-canceling mechanism is not just present for the audio, but also on the microphone for seamless calls. Bose has integrated a noise rejecting a dual-microphone system that cancels out the ambient noises and delivers crystal clear voice calls to your recipients.
The best thing about the Bose headphones is the Bose connect mobile app that comes along. The app won’t do anything much in terms of sound quality, but it can control most of the other features. You can control noise cancelation levels, manage Bluetooth connections, perform firmware updates and much more.
- 40 hours of ANC in wired mode.
- Three levels of active noise cancelation.
- Highly-detailed audio reproduction with precise bass.
- Very light weight and comfortable.
- No Cons.
Yes, these headphones are expensive, but they also deliver a world class audio experience. The Active noise cancelation on these headphones is one of the best that we have ever tested, and they are also one of the most comfortable over ear headphones on this list. If you have done any research in past, you probably know how great QC35 are.
3. Beats Studio3 Wireless – With Class 1 Bluetooth
Beats is one of the oldest headphones brands in the market which is known for creating excellent sounding headphones.
The Studio3 wireless are pure ANC equipped headphones that are available in a lot of color variants.
The best thing about the Studio3 wireless headphones is the fast charging functionality. You can get 3 hours of music playback on just 10 minutes of charging.
Our In-Depth Review:
Most of the time we struggle with the color variants of the headphones and then end up either buying black or white-colored headphones. The headphones usually come in 3 or 4 basic color variants only, which means we don’t actually have a lot of choose from.
But, things are different in the case of Studio3 wireless.
These headphones come in a total of 10+ variants, and there is not a single variant that we don’t like. All of them are on the matte finish and look great. It would be irrelevant to name all the 10+ variants here, but we would like to suggest two of the variants that are our absolute favorites. Those two variants are Midnight Black & Raptors white.
The design of the headphones is minimalistic and the build quality is fantastic. The headphones are made up of all plastic, which doesn’t look cheap at all. The cushion padding on the earcups is quite thick and very soft, this not only provides comfort but also helps in creating an isolated environment.
These soft ear cushions come with ergonomic pivoting and advance venting that allows them to fit any head sizes perfectly.
On the earcups, you get control buttons for skipping tracks, adjusting volume, answering/rejecting calls, and also activating mobile assistants like Google Now and Siri.
In terms of noise cancelation, the Studio3 wireless features Pure adaptive noise cancelation, instead of Active noise cancelation. Both technologies are a little different. Active cancelation basically cancels out everything, Adaptive noise cancelation, on the other hand, is a dynamic thing that automatically adjusts the Noise cancelation level based on the surrounding noises.
For connectivity, studio3 uses standard Bluetooth that would work with all the Bluetooth enabled devices. Additionally, they also come with Apple W1 chip for Class 1 Bluetooth connectivity, which allows longer and stronger connectivity with devices running on iOS 10, macOS Sierra, Watch OS3 and later versions.
Along with connectivity, the battery range is good too. You can use them for 22 hours straight on a single charge, or 40 hours if you plan to use them on wire mode. Like most of the other high end headphones, Studio3 wireless also supports quick charging, which comes out really handy.
- Absolutely gorgeous design.
- Excellent battery range of 22 hours.
- W1 chip for Apple devices.
- Premium quality sound, especially for EDMs.
- Active noise cancelation needs improvement.
Though the noise cancelation is not perfect, the design is outstanding and build quality is pretty solid. For someone who is more into Hip Hop, EDM, Pop, and Rock would definitely love the sound quality. Also, if you own a Apple device, then W1 chip is a big reason to consider them.
4. Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium – Semi Open Back Headphones
Beyerdynamic is a very popular brand when it comes to studio grade headphones.
The company is known for creating some really high-quality open-back headphones, that are used by a lot of music professionals.
The DT880 premium edition over here are semi-open back headsphones that offer stereo sound along with some really good comfort quality.
Our In-Depth Review:
The audio experience on DT880 would be quite different from any other headphones. Most of the headphones that people use are either open back or closed back, only a few of them use semi-open-back design.
Semi-back open headphones deliver natural and vibrant sound, while slightly attenuating the ambient noises.
DT series from Beyerdynamic is a popular series of professional headphones. DT880 has a fully open back variant structure that is ideally created for studio purpose, the DT880 premium semi-open back headphones are designed to be used with Mobile phones and tablets.
When we previously tested the DT880 premium, we said that those were the most comfortable headphones on that list. And we can say the same for these two. The leather padding on the headband is as usual like any other headphones, but the velvet padding on the earcups is the USP. Its too soft and gives a whole new feeling when used.
The sound quality on the DT880 premium is very natural with deep bass. Nothing has been overdone, everything seems precise. Even though the headphones come with a bass-reflex system, that doesn’t mean there is too much bass. Bass is just what you would want.
The music sounds distinctive and you can clearly hear the minute details. The sound quality on these and DT880 pro is not very different, but there is surely some difference on the comfort part.
The DT880 premium fits not too tight on the ear, while the 880 pros fit tight so that they don’t get displaced during faster movements in the studio. This actually allows you to use the 880 premium for a longer period of time as there would not be any kind of discomfort.
As mentioned in the specifications the DT880 premium is available in 3 variants: 32 OHM variant, 250 OHM variant, and 600 OHM variant. All of them come at a different price point.
- The 32 Ohm version is ideally made for usage on mobile phones, tablets or even laptops.
- The 250 Ohm version is set up for home stereo systems.
- The 600 ohms would work best with a Hi-Fi audio system with power headphone outputs or with headphones amplifiers.
- Extremely comfortable earcups.
- Decent noise attenuation.
- Natural and detailed audio reproduction.
- Rich bass response.
- Cord is not detachable.
Beyerdynamic DT880 premium is ideal for those who like to use their headphones for both personal and slight professional (studio) use. They are not cheap, but they are not too expensive either. The sound quality is great, the bass is precise, and the comfort quality is excellent.
5. Cowin SE7 – With Protein Earpads
In the past few years, Cowin has gained alot of popularity in the headphones market.
First, their E7 got popular, and then the E8 came along, both of which are budgeted Active Noise-canceling Headphones.
The only reason why we are reviewing SE7 today instead of the immensely popular E8 is the overall design.
The E8 surely looks great, but we think the SE7 looks even better. Also, most of the technical functionalities on both the headphones are same.
Our In-Depth Review:
The design of the headphones is the best part. First of all, it’s a foldable design, which makes them very portable to carry around. The body of the headphones is in all-matte finish built up of all plastic.
The company has brought forward some really exciting colors for these headphones. We picked up the dark green color and they were truly beautiful.
Along with the design of the headphones, the manufacturer has given equal importance to comfort quality. You get a light padding on the center of the headband and protein earpads covering on the earcups. For those who don’t know, the protein earpads are usually more comfortable than the cushion padding.
On the earcup, you get all the major controls you will ever need. Buttons to control the volume, a button to answer/reject the calls, ANC on/off switch, controlling music, and a button to switch easily between your calls and music. Just to let you know, turning off Active noise cancelation when not needed would extend the battery range.
Talking about how good the Active noise cancelation works on these budgeted headphones, it’s good. It can easily cancel out airplane cabin noise, traffic noise, noise in a crowded office, and a lot of other noises that could distract you from working or just listening to music.
Along with the Active noise cancelation and Aptx Hi-Fi technology you get an amazing audio experience. The audio reproduction is highly detailed, and you would surely be able to hear the things that are hard to listen with any other normal headphones. The audio gets even better because of the seamless Bluetooth 5.0 transmission.
- Effective Noise cancelation.
- 50 hours of battery range without ANC.
- Affordable as compared to some other ANC headphones.
- Unsurpassed sound.
- Weak Bass.
If you not only want over ear headphones, but like to have a pair of active nosie cancelation headphones, and that too at a decent price point, then SE7 should be the headphones you must look at. Everything from the sound quality to the comfort is satisfactory, but the bass is not that good.
6. Aiwa Arc-1 – High End Audio Technology
The chances are you haven’t heard about the brand Aiva yet.
We didn’t hear about them too until someone recommended us to try their ARC-1 wireless over-ear headphones.
ARC-1 are mid-budget headphones that come with exceptional audio engineering.
As compared to Cowin SE7 above them, they sound much better but do not have the Active noise cancelation integrated.
Our In-Depth Review:
We would not think twice before saying that these are one of the best sounding headphones. The audio framework used in them is very advanced and powerful. The headphones use 40 mm, dynamic bio-cellulose drivers, with Aptx low latency codecs and 24 DSP. More information on this mechanism and the performance would be discussed later in this review.
Talking about the build quality and the design first, everything is neat and basic. The headphones are a build-up of both metal and plastic. To be very specific the headband is made up of metal and the earcups are made up of sturdy plastic.
Along with the headphones, you get a lot of good accessories in the package. They come with a rugged case that would make it easy for you to travel with headphones. The cord is ultra-durable, made up of nylon, shielded with anodized aluminum.
It’s really important to talk about the connectivity of these headphones. The headphones come with Qconnect technology and multipoint to provide seamless connectivity to multiple devices at the same time. You can connect up to two devices to the headphones at the same time. You can also connect another pair of headphones to ARC-1 and share the same music on that headset too.
The battery is good too. It’s not the best on this list, but 20 hours on a single charge is pretty impressive. On top of that, you get the integrated quick charge technology that can give you 3 hours of juice on 15 minutes of charge. The battery percentage could be monitored from the indicator present on the top of the earcup.
Getting back to the sound quality, the Arc-1 brings out audiophile audio quality that is pleasant to hear, and credit for that goes to a two-piece, stiff biocellulose cone.
- One of the best sounding headphones.
- 180-degree padding on the headband.
- Very lightweight build.
- Audiophile quality sound experience.
- No Active noise cancelation.
They easily beat few of the most expensive and popular headphones in the market in terms of sound quality. Yes they don’t have ANC, but that’s acceptable looking at the price point which is very low as compared to high end headphones.
7. Treblab Z2 – Affordable ANC Headphones
Treblab is known for creating budget friendly audio accessories like headphones, earphone, and speakers.
The Z2 over here are sports wireless headphones that come with Active noise cancelation at an affordable price point.
These are recommended for people who are looking to get a pair of wireless over-ear headphones for workout purpose.
Our In-Depth Review:
We would like to start off the review by saying that do not expect too much from the overall design. The build quality is nice, but the overall look is nothing special. The headphones are all matte black in color with glossy design on the top of the earcup which gives them a feel of the cheap headphones.
Though the design is not too good, everything else is exceptional. And, we would like to start off with the specification that we absolutely loved on these headphones i.e. battery.
We previously thought that C0win SE7 has the best battery range of 30 hours, but that’s not true. The Trelab Z2 has defeated the SE7 with a massive battery range of 35 hours on a single charge. This insane battery range is achieved by the integrated PlayXtend battery inside the Z2. But it does not come with quick charge technology like a few of the other headphones.
The other thing that needs to be talked about is the comfort quality of these headphones. First of all, since they are made of just plastic, the overall weight lies at around 8.32 ounces, which means that it would not put any pressure on the head. Apart from that, they have good leather padding on the headband and ultra-soft cushion padding on the earcups for supreme comfort.
Getting into the audio experience on these headphones, the manufacturer has integrated some great technology to make sure you get a wonderful experience. The 40mm drivers are backed up with Aptx neodymium magnets, advanced sound 2.o technology, and Bluetooth 4.2 for better frequency transfers. The highs are clear, and the lows are decent, not too punchy, just good, and the midrange is clear too.
- Excellent battery range.
- Ideal for workout purposes.
- Ultra-comfortable cushion padding.
- HD surround sound 2.0.
- Design looks cheap.
The sound of the headphones is good, and the comfort quality is good too. But, you need to remember that these headphones have CVC 6.0 noise cancelation, also the design is not too good looking. We highly recommend you to compare these with Cowin SE7 before making a decesion.
8. Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 – With Smart Sensors
If you haven’t heard of the plantronics brand, then you haven’t probably ever digged into the popular headphones in the market.
The backbeat series is a popular series of headphones that come with Active noise cancelation at a decent price as compared to high-end headphones.
The most interesting thing about the headphones is the connectivity range.
Our In-Depth Review:
Apart from all the features that you get to see in any good headphones, the backbeat pro 2 comes with some additional features that are not just interesting, but also very helpful.
The most favorite feature of us on these headphones is the connectivity range.
On any standard Bluetooth headphones, you generally get a connectivity range of 33 feet, but on the backbeat Pro 2 the connectivity range is extended to 330feet, but that would be only available with the devices that have Class 1 Bluetooth.
Even though the headphones are packed with so much technology, you still get a really good battery range. You get a continuous playback of 24 hours on a single charge, and once the battery gets exhausted, you can either recharge it or start using the headphones in wired mode (you need to charge the headphones to use ANC).
The headphones feature sensors that pause the music as soon as you remove the headphones from your head, and resume it as soon as you wear them back. This not only saves you some hassles but will also improve the battery life as we all have the habit of keeping the music playing even after the headphones are taken off.
Last but not least, the headphones come with rich, immersive Plantronics signature sound quality. The sound quality gets even better with the integrated Active noise cancelation technology.
- Active noise cancelation at an affordable price.
- Swiveling earcups.
- High-res sound quality.
- 300feet range with class 1 Bluetooth devices.
- Active noise cancelation is average.
The Plantronics Backbeat 2 might not be the best headphones on this list, but in terms of few specifications it is surely ahead of few headphones. These could be perfect for users looking for branded headphones at a decent price point, not too cheap, and not too expensive.
9. Bowers & Wilkins PX – With Beautiful Design
B&W is a high-end brand that creates premium quality, ultra beautiful headhones.
The PX model over here is a smart headset that comes with adaptive noise cancelation and optimized music performance.
We are 100% sure that everyone is going to love the beautiful design of these wireless headphones.
Our In-Depth Review:
First of all, these are not cheap or mid-budget headphones. They are expensive, and with that, we mean really expensive. If not the most, they are surely one of the most expensive headphones on this list.
Getting into the review, we would like to talk about the build quality and the overall design of these headphones first.
To make sure that you don’t have any comfort issues with these headphones, the manufacturer has added an ample amount of padding on both the headband and earcups. The headband comes with leather padding on the center, while the earcups come with leather earpads with a ballistic nylon outer for even more comfort.
For noise cancelation purposes, the PX uses Adaptive noise cancelation technology that comes with 3 adjustable modes, so that you can adjust the level of noise cancelation according to the scenario. The 3 ANC modes are City, Office, and Flight. The office mode offers light ANC and a powerful sound, the other two modes offer stronger ANC, but surely compromises in terms of sound quality.
The other good thing about the PX headphones is the smart sensor it comes with. The headphones auto turn on as soon as you put them on your head and auto turn off as soon as you put them off. This not only saves the hassle of turning them on/off but also helps to save the battery.
Talking about the sound quality, the PX headphones use Qualcomm aptxHD technology to deliver crystal clear wireless audio. The mids are accurate and treble is clear, the bass is precise but could be a bit strong for few genres. Also as per our experience, the sound quality is better when the ANC is completely turned off.
- Exceptionally beautiful and durable.
- Multiple Adaptive noise-canceling modes.
- 33 hours battery range on wired mode with ANC on.
- Dedicated mobile app for audio customization.
- Noise cancelation affects the sound quality.
The PX are surely one of the most beautiful wireless headphones in the market that are also very durable. But, if we compare them to similarly priced headphones like Bose QC 35, then they are not as good as them in terms of sound quality and noise cancelation. We would recommend QC 35 or XM3 over them.
10. Master & Dynamic MH40G1 – Sturdy Build Quality
For those who are not aware of the brand, Master & dynamic is known for producing audiophile headphones.
The MH40G1 are wired headphones that come with lambskin-wrapping and two heavy-duty woven cables.
The design is highly detailed, and the headphones are available in a lot of different color variants that would be loved by the users.
Our In-Depth Review:
After Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones, these the probably the most beautiful headphones on this list. The headphones are built up of machined metals with an excellent leather covering on some parts. The headband in itself is very thin and flexible that makes the headphones a good fit for people with large heads.
The body is quite durable in itself. It’s made up of aluminum, enhanced with stainless steel in the areas prone to high-strain.
The headphones also perform very well in terms of comfort. The memory foam earcups and inner headband are covered with soft lambskin that provides endless comfort and allows you to listen to music on them for countless hours. You also get extra different colored lambskin earpads with the headphones to give them a different look, or as a replacement when old ones start tearing off.
- Available in multiple colors.
- Interchangeable earpads.
- Lambskin wrapped for supreme comfort.
- Detailed sound signature.
- Do not come with Active noise cancelation.
Master and Dynamic MH40 are good souding headphones that have a very unique and neat design. The very soft lambskin covering add alot of comfort to the ears. The only thing that we miss on these headphones is the active noise cancelation.
Over Ear Headphones – Buyer’s Guide
If you have come down this far, then you must have probably read the reviews for the headphones that are mentioned above. This additional buyer’s guide will further refine your thoughts on how to choose the best over-ear headphones for yourself.
First of all, you have made an excellent decision about going with over-ear headphones instead of on-ear headphones.
Over-ear headphones provide a better audio experience overall and do a decent job of blocking out the surrounding noises.
Before we move on to the buyer’s guide, let’s see how over-ear headphones actually differ from on-ear headphones.
Earcups on on-ear headphones are relatively smaller as compared to over-ear headphones, which allows them to rest just on the top of the ears. They don’t completely cover the ears which means that you can still hear the surrounding sounds along with the good music.
On the other hand, earcups on over-ear headphones cover the ears completely adding a flavor of noise isolation. This makes sure that you are not disturbed by the surrounding noises and also get better audio experience at the same time.
But on-ear headphones are quite comfortable as compared to over-ear headphones. And that doesn’t mean that over-ear headphones are uncomfortable, its just that on-ear headphones are more comfortable, cause no sweating or heating around the ears and feel less bulky.
How are Over-Ear headphones better than On-Ear?
On-ear headphones are relatively smaller compared to over-ear headphones. They are perfect for the situation when you want to enjoy the music and also want to listen to surrounding noises at the same time.
Over-ear headphones are actually great when you want to cut out the external sound and have even better music experience.
The over-ear headphone overall fit well, while the on-ear headphones are prone to falling since the fit is not tight.
In our experience, the on-ear headphones are more comfortable as compared to over-ear headphones since there is no sweating.
However, over-ear headphones come with large drivers that pump out a louder and better sound.
Wired vs Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
There is a notion that the wired headphones offer a better audio experience than the wireless headphones which is true but with the advancement of technologies and the launch of Bluetooth 5, that difference has gone down extensively.
But if we start considering the convenience of using the wireless headphones over the wired headphones, that minor sound quality difference starts to fade away.
There are a lot of excellent wireless over the ear headphones available in the market, but another fact is that the wireless headphones are expensive as compared to wired ones.
If you want to get a really good audio experience on a pair of wireless headphones then be ready to shed a decent amount of money for that.
How to wear over-ear headphones properly?
Before you put on the headphones, look for the right and left a mark and then wear it accordingly. Some sounds are produced to deliver through a specific driver to create a better sound effect, so wearing the headphones in the right position is quite important.
After that make sure that the earcups cover the ears completely, if they don’t, try extending the headband until they do.
Our personal tip: Don’t hear the music in loud volume for a long period, this could be harmful to your ears.
Active Noise Cancelation
ANC or Active noise cancelation is a technology where the outside noises are canceled before reaching your ears. With ANC turned on you get a whole new audio experience.
The best ANC usually come in high-end premium headphones.
Currently, the Bose QC 35 and Sony XM3 are ruling the market in terms of active noise cancelation.
There are a lot of other headphones on this list that come with Active noise cancelation.
In the past couple of years, the hype for ANC has gotten into a whole new level. People have started buying it just to cancel out the surrounding noises. High-end ANC headphones do a great job of canceling out the external noises so that you can focus well on your work.
But, ANC is not cheap. If you want the best ANC you should keep atleast $300 aside.
Some of the headphones also come with Adaptive noise cancelation, which means the level of noise cancelation would auto-adjust depending on how loud the ambient noises are.
What are the best over-ear headphones for Bass?
None of the headphones on this buyer’s guide are bass-heavy. Although most of the headphones have precise and clean bass, if you are strictly looking for something boomy then, unfortunately, won’t find anything satisfactory on this list.
However, we have in past reviewed some headphones that were bass-heavy, you can find them on our list of best bass headphones.
Sony MDRXB800 headphones come with a direct vibe structure that offers a superior bass response.
Sony MDRXB950BT is another pair of headphones that come with Electronic bass boost circuitry.
Which headphones brands are most reliable?
Bose has always been our favorite brand, and it is probably the best brand in the market when it comes to producing premium audio products.
Sony is another great brand that has been popular for decades now. And with the launch of Sony XM3 – which is considered to have the best ANC tech at the moment, the hype for the brand in the headphones segment has gone to the next level.
Sennheiser is another popular brand that has mastered the art of producing excellent headphones. We don’t have any Sennheiser headphones on this list, but we recently reviewed then PXC 550, and they were incredible.
Cowin is one of the emerging brands that have a lot of great headphones in its portfolio.
Are Over-Ear Headphones uncomfortable?
With most of the over-ear headphones, you will get to feel a little heating and sweating near the ears. And that’s ok since the headphones cover the ears completely, which results in heat getting locked in and causing some sweating.
But just for that, we can not say that the over-ear headphones are overall uncomfortable since the heating and sweating are minor.
The overall comfort quality of your headphones depends on the weight of the headphones, how comfortable the padding is, the size of the headband and some other minor factors.
Also with the latest high-end headphones, you won’t get to see the minor and heating and sweating too since they come with high-quality earcups padding.
Using over-ear headphones for Gaming
All gaming headphones are over-ear headphones but all over-ear headphones are not gaming headphones.
What do we mean by that?
Well, gaming headphones usually offer surround sound which helps in getting an overall great gaming experience. Surround sound brings in life to the in-game audio and helps you identify the location where that gunshot came from.
You can use the over-ear headphones for gaming, but that depends on certain conditions.
Are you a casual gamer or a professional gamer?
Do your over-ear headphones offer virtual surround sound?
If you are a casual gamer, any over-ear headphones would suffice, but if you are a professional gamer, a dedicated gaming headphone with surround sound is a must.
Open Back vs Closed Back
Open-back headphones and closed-back headphones offer a quite different audio experience.
The sound quality on open-ear headphones is usually flat while on closed-back headphones its feels quite enhanced.
In terms of design, the difference between both types is very simple. On open-back headphones, there is a vent or grill on the outer side of the earcups for the air to pass freely, while on closed-back headphones everything is sealed.
Both of the designs have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s have a look at a few of them.
Talking about the sound quality, since open-back headphones are specially built for audiophiles, the audio they produce is flat so that musicians can hear the real sound and then mix it accordingly.
Sound in closed-back headphones is enhanced so that it feels good to the ears of a normal user.
Talking about comfort, open-back headphones are more comfortable since there is no heat lock and sweating with them. But that doesn’t mean that closed-back headphones are uncomfortable or there is a lot of sweating in them, but since they are completely sealed, little sweating and heating could be felt.
Talking about Noise isolation, Closed-back headphones surely offer great noise isolation, while in the case of the open-back headphones, its almost none.
Below are the things you need to consider before going for a pair of over-ear headphones.
Back in time, everyone used to say that wired headphones are better than wireless headphones in terms of sound quality, which was absolutely true. Headphones at that time were running on older Bluetooth versions, which didn’t offer great connectivity and frequency transfer like we get to see today.
But technology has changed now!
Most of the wireless headphones today come with Bluetooth 4.0+, which offers improved connectivity and better frequency transfers.
So it doesn’t actually matter what type of headphones you are choosing, both types will offer great audio experience. However, if you are going for an active noise canceling wired headphones, then get ready for an external ANC module, while in case of wireless headphones the module is in-built.
If you are looking for over-ear headphones, then you must be most probably aware of the term noise isolation. For those who are not aware, Noise isolation refers to the ability of the headphones to block out external noises.
But, don’t confuse it with active noise cancelation. ANC is a mechanism that uses a microphone to pick up the surrounding noises and then produce sound to cancel it. It basically produces counter sound to cancel out ambient noises.
On the other hand, the quality of noise isolation totally depends on the fitting of the headphones. The tighter the fit around the ears, the better the noise isolation.
What should I choose? Noise isolation or Noise cancelation?
Noise cancelation headphones offer better audio experience, that’s just the truth. But that audio experience comes at a higher price point. Also, the ANC headphones are suitable for users who spend time in other noisy areas, for those who plan to use the headphones just in their home, would be satisfied just with the noise isolation.
Build quality should always be great for any type of headphones. We have used headphones that started breaking off in just a few days, and we have also used headphones that lasted for years without any damages.
For the headphones that are mainly built of metal, you don’t need to worry about it as they are very robust in nature. For headphones that are mainly built of plastic, you must do proper research and see if that plastic is sturdy.
For all the headphones mentioned on this list, you don’t need to worry at all. All the headphones are built up of solid materials that will last for a long time.
While evaluating any type of headphones, comfort quality is always on top of our priority list.
You can have the most futuristic headphones with intelligent connectivity, Hi-Fi sound, great design, and other awesome features, but if the headphones are not comfortable, well then it’s game over.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the comfort quality of the headphones.
The weight of the headphones, the flexibility of the headband, padding on the headband and earcups, and the drivers.
According to us, the weight of the headphones should be close to 10 ounces. In rare cases, you can extend that up to 15 ounces, but anything above that could be heavy for the head.
Regarding padding, there is actually a lot of padding types available in the market while Memory cushion being the most popular out of them. You must have a look at the thickness of the cushion padding. It should not be too less on the earcups, and not too much on the headband.
You should also do research, and make sure that the drivers don’t heat too much. Heating wouldn’t allow you to use them for multiple hours, even though if they are too soft.
Wired or Wireless, the controls are generally present on the earcups in the form of physical buttons.
In a few of the recently released high-end headphones like Sennheiser PXC 550 and Sony XM3, you get to see no physical control buttons, everything is controlled simply by touching the top surface of earcups as these type of headphones come with intuitive touch controls.
Talking about the type of controls, a pair of over-ear headphone must-have volume controls, control to switch tracks, control to answer/reject calls, and if the headphones have Active noise cancelation, then a dedicated switch to control that.
FAQ’s Related to Over-Ear Headphones
Do over ear headphones sound better
This totally depends on the type of user you are. For a normal user who listens to music for fun would feel that the over-ear headphones are better, while the users into music production would feel that the open-back headphones sound better. In general, since the over-ear headphones are covering your ears completely, the outside noises get blocked, which results in clear audio with less interference from the ambient noises.
In-ear vs On-Ear vs Over-Ear
The major difference between all the three of them is that in-ear headphones fit in inside the ears, on-ear headphones rest on top of the ears, while the over-ear headphones cover the ears completely. Comparing the noise isolation in them, the in-ear headphones offer the most isolation since they offer the tightest fit among all the three. The isolation is least on the on-ear headphones since they just rest on the ears, creating no seal at all.
Which are the best over-ear headphones
As of writing this buyer's guide, Sony XM3, Bose QC35, and Bose 700 are few of the best over-ear headphones in the market. But that's when we are looking for noise-canceling over-ear headphones specifically. If active noise cancelation is not something that's on your wishlist then there are a lot of good and cheap options available. Aiwa Arc-1 is one such option available for you.
Which are the most comfortable over-ear headphones
Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium is the most comfortable over-ear headphones on this list. Apart from that Bose QC 35 and Sony WH1000XM3 would also offer you a premium level of comfort.
For how long can you wear the headphones
As long as you are comfortable wearing them, you can use them. But that is not recommended because loud music would still be going in your ears and that would not be safe.
What is the difference between noise isolation and noise cancelation
Noise isolation is basically achieved by creating a good seal around ears so that the outside noises do not penetrate through. Noise isolation, on the other hand, is a technology that creates a counter white noise to cancel out the surrounding noises.
Can I use over-ear headphones for workout
Yes, there is no issue with using over-ear headphones for the workout. A few things we would recommend before using over-ear headphones is to check that they are sweat-resistant and that they do not produce a lot of heat which might become an issue mid-workout since your body would be releasing a good amount of heat at that time too.
Are over-ear headphones heavier than on-ear headphones
There is no such data that shows that the over-ear headphones are heavier than the on-ear headphones. The weight of the headphones does not depend on the size of the earcups let alone. The overall build material is what mostly contributes to the weight of the headphones.
Do over-ear headphones produce a lot of heat
Most of the over-ear headphones, in general, produce some heat. Now the amount of heat varies from headphones to headphones, but there would be only a few of the headphones in the market that do not produce any heat at all. Now coming to our real question, if that heat is too much? Well, that depends upon the headphones and your usage too. Using over-ear headphones for prolonged hours causes some heating and sweating near the ears.
No other type of headphones sounds as good as over-ear headphones.
They offer great noise rejection which means you get to listen to the best of sound without any distortion.
Here is the short summary of our buyer’s guide:
Best open-back over-ear headphones are Beyerdynamic DT880.
The most beautiful over-ear headphones on our list are Bowers & Wilkins PX.