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5 Superstar Headphones

5 Superstar Headphones

If you want the very best sound quality you’ll need to pay for it, and these can swill definitely do you proud.

Take your favorite tunes to another level by playing them through the pair of luxury headphones they deserve. A good set of cans really do make a difference, and if you team them up with a decent source and a headphone amp, you’re good to go for the full-blown audiophile experience.

Philips Fidelio X2


These are the most comfortable over-ear headphones we’ve tested in a while, with large velour ear cups providing a soft fit and decent isolation. They really are a joy to wear. And for $400 the sound quality is superb. After burn-in, they reveal some precise bass while also producing wholesome mid range and detailed, smooth highs. It’s all balanced and satisfying.

Typically for Philips, the product looks really fantastic too, and is built with a solid aluminum frame. The low impedance cable makes them ideal for home as well as on-the-move listening.
These are fantastic headphones and offer brilliant value for money.

Shure SRH1540


The SRH1540 are truly superb. Offering a very flat audio signature, their sound is clean and lush. Bass hunters might want to look elsewhere, but for anyone who wants a neutral pair of cans that do justice to any source, these are probably the best at this price point. Bass isn’t lacking, it’s just crisp and subtle.

They’re also extremely comfy and come with spare ear pads in case you use them so much you wear them out.

If you consider yourself an audiophile and your budget for new headphones is around the $500 mark, these are the best ones to buy. These will definitely please even the pickiest of audiophiles.

Sony MDR-Z7


Sony’s latest audiophile-grade headphones are excellent and possibly the least fatiguing pair of headphones in this test, which is testament to the warm, comfortable sound that Sony has created. However, the similarly priced Shures outperform them in almost every other area.

The Sony’s sound a bit low on dynamism at low volumes and generally the Shures sound cleaner and more balanced. If Sony is your brand you wouldn’t be disappointed with these headphones, but we’d suggest waiting for the price to come down a little before buying. While these are a great pair of headphones, they are by no means the strongest here.

Oppo PM-10

Oppo PM-10

Headphones don’t get more fancy than these, and they’re the only headphones on test that use planar magnetic drivers for a more accurate sound. This process enables more precise sound frequencies, and it shows The Oppos sound excellent and, unlike many other audiophile-grade headphones, their low impedance allows them to be driven by mobile devices — so you can carry them with you. That said, you should really pair them with a headphone amp to get the best out of them and, when you do, you won’t believe how warm and rich they sound.
These are fantastic headphones that justify the price tag.

Sennheiser HD800

Sennheiser HD800

The HD8005 have been around for four years and they’re still incredibly good.
The open-back design makes sound leakage a problem for office listening, and you won’t be able to take them with you on the go, but at home there is no better product in this test.
Sound is astonishingly accurate, giving you the feeling you’re listening to live performances, but the construction disappoints – the ear cups are made from plastic and the headband is flimsy.
But they’re also very lightweight and they look like they mean business too.
Not perfect, but sound quality is the real deal. Brilliant.

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