Picking a high-performance set of headphones is almost as difficult as picking a partner. You’ll probably snuggle up with them at night and share emotional experiences you’ll remember forever. But like a partner, you can’t just trade in your headphones for something better when they stop working for you. For one of those bigger headphones investments, I’ve put together this guide to help you find the best headphones under 1000 dollars.
If you’re an audiophile ready to drop 1000 dollars on a pair of high-end headphones, it’s important to make the right choice the first time. In this list, I’ll explore headphones that will not leave you disappointed. Whether you are looking to mix or you just want a great listening experience, I’ll help you find the perfect headphones.
Best Headphones Under 1000 Dollars – Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best headphones under 1000 dollars? A lot of personal preference will go into making your choice, but if price tag isn’t one of them, you’re in for a real treat. Whether you’re looking for the best-sounding studio headphones, or noise-cancelling headphones for your next plane ride, the perfect set of headphones for you will depend on your listening objectives.
If you’re building a recording studio, you have a different set of needs than if you just want to curl up on the couch and listen. Your choice will also be different if you plan on listening to your headphones through a smartphone or through an amp.
The 1000 dollar price point is where you see major improvements in performance. These are not the free headphones they hand out on airlines for long flights, 1000 dollar headphones are meant to provide a life-altering listening experience—if they don’t, you went with the wrong pair!
In answering the question, what are the best headphones under 1000 dollars, my aim is not to write a technological treatise explaining every technological element that goes into great sound.
However, it’s important to have a basic understanding of some essential terms and concepts. Basic concepts allow us to provide technological specs for the headphones on my list. However, there really is no substitute for putting on the headphones and giving them a listen.
Comfort is also important, and a set of headphones that provides great sound is useless if it pinches your ears. Here are some important terms and concepts:
1. What Is The Difference Between In-Ear, On-Ear, And Over-Ear?
In-ear headphones are often referred to as earbuds. They are especially effective for short term listening, but they are known to become uncomfortable after long listening sessions. Some users experience issues with keeping them in their ears. Luckily, this list won’t be including these.
On-ear headphones are marginally better than in-ear; however, they don’t seal out external noise and might leak sound. On-ear headphones can often result in pinching and become uncomfortable after long listening sessions.
Over-ear headphones are the choice for most audiophiles. They seal the ear and are much more comfortable for long duration listening.
Over-ear headphones are larger and more powerful than earbuds or on-ear headphones—not to mention the bass capability for over-ear headphones is fantastic. Most professional recording and mixing is done using over-ear headphones.
2. What Is The Difference Between Open-Back And Closed-Back Headphones?
Closed-back headphones prevent sound leakage with a closed outer surface. Open-back headphones allow sound waves to pass in and out, creating a deeper sound sensation. Closed-back headphones are superior for isolating track elements and are used for recording.
Open-back headphones can be used for listening, creating, mixing, and more.
3. What Is “Frequency Response?”
Frequency response, measured in Hertz, is composed of all of the frequencies that the headphones are capable of replicating.
The human auditory range is from 20Hz to 20kHz. However, high-quality headphones tend to exceed this range.
The reason is that sound is the movement of air, and high and low frequencies can be felt even if they can’t be heard. Headphones that can produce sound outside of the auditory range of human beings help create a completely sensory, superior audio experience.
4. What Is Impedance?
Impedance is the electric resistance of a set of headphones. Impedance is measured in Ohms, and the higher the rating, the higher the resistance.
Higher impedance means that more power will be required to drive the headphones. Higher impedance means that the headphones are not likely to get blown out when used with an amp. High impedance also creates a lower current that reduces the background electrical noise you might hear with low impedance headphones.
5. What Is Sensitivity?
The sensitivity rating gives you an idea of how loud the headphones will go. The majority of high-quality headphones are capable of volumes that are painful to listen to if you turn them up to the maximum setting.
How I Reviewed The Headphones On This List
I reviewed the items in our list of the best headphones under 1000 dollars on a variety of factors. We’ll examine:
- Price Range
- Frequency Response
- Fit Overall Comfort
- Aesthetic Design
Overall Price Range Of The Headphones On This List
I’ll cover headphones ranging in price from $170 to $1000.
More expensive headphones often feature a superior frequency response and have more accurate tonal qualities.
Many of the headphones on this list include carrying cases and cables as part of the base price.
However, I found that included cables often were not of sufficient quality to do service to the headphones. The more expensive headphones produce superior sound, but it’s up to the consumer to decide whether the degree of improved sound quality is equal to the percentage of price increase.
I found good deals in the midrange pricing.
What Headphones Are In This List
- Sony MDR-Z7
- Meze 99 Classics Walnut Silver Headphones
- Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro
- Oppo PM-3
- 1MORE Triple Driver Over-Ear
- Audeze LCD-2 Over Ear Open Back
- Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless High-End Stereo Headphone
- Bowers Wilkins P9 Signature HiFi Over Ear Headphones
- Focal Elegia Audiophile Circum-Aural Closed-Back Over-Ear Headphones
- Ultrasone Signature Pro S-Logic Plus Surround Sound Professional Closed-back Headphones
The Best Headphones Under 1000 Dollars — The Verdict
All headphones listed in this survey provide tremendous audio quality.
Best Headphones On A Budget
The best value was the 1MORE Triple Driver Over-Ear.
Around $170, the 1MORE had great frequency response, good sound, and low enough impedance to be used on most devices.
I liked the concept of the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless High-End Stereo Headphone, but I didn’t like the need for frequent recharging. Although it is great to have the freedom of a wireless, high-quality headset, it is frustrating to have to wait for your headphones to charge up.
My Overall Favorite
My favorite set of headphones overall was the Audeze LCD-2 Over-Ear Open Back.
I prefer the sound quality of open-back headphones, and the wood finish, sound quality, and overall aesthetic of these headphones put these headphones above the rest.
The Audeze have a high frequency response and high enough impedance to prevent blowouts and electrical noise.
When YOU Choose
When making your selection for the best headphones under 1000 dollars, be sure to consider the advantages and disadvantages of open back and closed back, and whether you’ll be listening on amplifiers or from your smartphone.
Remember, if you go with a low impendence set of headphones, to listen on regular devices, you’ll need a headphone amplifier.
Whatever you select, you’ll find that the sound quality on high-quality headphones blows a $40 set out of the water.
Enjoy the new depth and feel you discover in your favorite music with your new set of the best headphones under 1000 dollars!