The 8 Best Over-Ear Headphones to Buy in 2017

Rock out with these top-of-the-line over-ear cans

Focal Listen Closed Back Over-Ear Headphones
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Over-ear headphones have large earcups that fully surround your ears, isolating outside noise and typically delivering high-quality sound. They are larger than their on-ear counterparts, with a thick headband that is more comfortable than many other listening devices. But they range widely in quality, starting with bargain prices and going all the way into the thousands for professional audio engineers. This list includes headphones right for every budget and listening style.

Designed in France by Focal’s acoustics engineers, the Listen headphones deliver incredible sound and style. These excellent over-ear headphones have noise isolation technology and are made with quality materials. And while they might not quite compete with the highest end headphones on this list, they are more affordable and hit all the right marks.

The contemporary design features two brushed chrome earcups that feel strong and sturdy, holding comfortable memory-foam earpieces that house 40mm titanium drivers. The headphones are lightweight and the closed-back design provides excellent noise isolation in busy environments. There is a microphone on the cord that easily connects with smartphone assistants.

The best part about the headphones is the sound, which is excellent for the price point. Exclusive cone technology makes for a remarkably balanced and neutral sound that includes a rich bass that doesn’t overpower, as well as crisp and clear mids. The undeniably rich low frequency means that you don’t need to crank the volume to enjoy your music.

These headphones win accolades for their excellent sound quality, delivering a true Hi-Fi experience powered by planar magnetic drivers. Audiophiles appreciate the natural and balanced sound signature that delivers a full and rich sound stage. Double-sided spiraling coils and a fem-optimized magnet system maximize sensitivity and connectivity, while a seven-layer diaphragm ensures stable thermal stress and vibration. You will never experience any distortion, just pure audio at a sensitivity of 102dB.

The headphones are well constructed, though they fall behind more expensive pairs in terms of quality. They are lightweight, coming in at less than 10 ounces. The closed-back design helps isolate noise from the outside world. In terms of build, the headphones are constructed with strong metal and plush padding materials.

Audeze is a luxury headphone company based out of California. Founded in 2008, the Audeze team combines the technological expertise of NASA scientists with the revered design of BMW engineers to create award-winning headphones fit for a professional studio producer. The LCD-XC headphones are their closed-back model, designed for recording engineers, but also a great fit for luxury audiophile enthusiasts.

The LCD-XC uses Audeze’s legendary planar magnetic technology to deliver the most accurate sound possible. Space-age materials are wound in the ultra thin diaphragm to dramatically reduce distortion and give room for an enormous sense of space with fantastically detailed midrange and high frequencies that reveal layers to your favorite audio recordings you never noticed before. 

Handcrafted in California, the headphones use only the most luxurious materials. The distinctive wooden earcups are fashioned from gorgeous equatorial African Bubinga wood. The headband is made from either real lambskin leather or microsuede, while the earpads feel heavenly with their acoustical foam. Every aspect of these headphones will satisfy the senses, making them an excellent purchase for music-lovers.

If you are looking for the best noise-cancelation on the market, then the Bose QuietComfort 35 are the headphones for you. Bose has long been the market leader in noise-cancelation technology and the QuietComfort 35 don't disappoint. Available in black or silver, the design is minimal yet comfortable. All of the controls are housed on the right earcup, where you will be able to manage call management, pairing and track navigation. The headphones will last on wireless for 20 hours, while the built-in microphone allows you to take calls when you are paired with a phone.

As far as noise-cancelation goes, expect the loud rattle of a plane or crowded train to disappear when in use. Bose has also upped their game in the audio department, using a volume-optimized EQ for consistent and balanced performance that takes outside elements into account. While the soundboard is not quite up to par with some of the high-end headphones on this list, it is very good, especially when paired with world-class noise isolation. 

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best noise-cancelling headphones

These wireless over-ear headphones from Mpow pack a lot of desirable features at a great price. First, they can switch between wireless and wired modes, allowing you to listen to music for 13 hours and then plug in the included audio cable as soon as they run out of batteries. A built-in mic allows you to make wireless calls while walking around the house, while the Bluetooth connectivity pairs with any of your devices within 33 feet.

The headphones also have passive noise isolation, which helps to reduce background noise to give you a more pure listening experience. The noise isolation pairs with a 40mm neodymium driver and CSR chip to produce a Hi-Fi listening experience. Finally, the durable anti-scratch UV finish and soft protein leather look and feel great for this price range.

With 32mm speaker drivers and a closed type acoustics build, these headphones from Philips deliver great sound at an affordable price point. They are available in four different colors, all with adjustable ear shells and a headband to fit your head. For the price, the build is of surprisingly good quality, with soft, breathable ear cushions and the ability to compact and fold flat. The sound is designed to place an emphasis on bass, with a sensitivity of 106 dB and impedance of 24 Ohms.

Turn heads with these distinctive headphones from HIFIMAN. These oversized headphones are large, but lightweight, weighing 30 percent lighter than other full-sized planar magnetic designs. The polymer earcups are large and circular with a gloss charcoal finish and mesh grate for a modern look, while custom beveled earpads made of pleather and velour deliver comfort and improved sound quality.

The well-engineered design extends to sound as well, with a massive diaphragm that allows for high signal input and flexible bass and treble. The planar magnetic technology evenly delivers magnetic force for low distortion and faithful recreation of live sound, resulting in excellent transient response and an enjoyable listening experience. 

These headphones by BestGot are affordable, colorful, comfortable and well-made, perfect for kids. They're available in seven fun color patterns and have durable construction, meaning they can survive a backpack or less-than-gentle handling. The lightweight design won’t get heavy during long use, while an adjustable and padded headband makes them the perfect size for anyone. Finally, two 40mm high fidelity drivers deliver a balanced and enjoyable listening experience and inline microphone even makes them available for phone calls.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best headphones for kids

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