Best Over-ear Headphones in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 19, 2018
A nice pair of headphones can turn any music into rich and vibrant tunes. This review will help you analyze your demands and choose the best option for you. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Connector Type
Sensitivity
Impedance
Frequency Range
Driver Diameter
Additional Features
Warranty
 
PROS
90° swiveling earcups for easy one-ear monitoring are quite comfortable. Nice headband material.
CONS
Noise-cancellation might seem insufficient.
OUR VERDICT
Professional monitor over-ears for studio work and DJs. Any sound is performed exactly as it's been intended.
detailed parameters
Connector Type
Wired only
Sensitivity
99 dB
Impedance
38 Ω
Frequency Range

15 Hz - 28 kHz

Driver Diameter
45 mm (1.7") Dynamic Dome Drivers
Additional Features
A wider frequency range ensures much better clarity of sound with deep bass, 1600 mW of maximum power input at 1 kHz, Protective carrying pouch
Warranty
2 years limited
PROS

RemoteTalk™ cable allows answering incoming calls and controlling the music playback without taking the smartphone out of your pocket.

CONS

The ear cup quality leaves something more to be desired.

OUR VERDICT

The sound quality of Beats headphones is hard to express with words: any of your favourite songs will sound more impressive than ever. Moreover, they sit on our head firmly, thanks to the angled earcups.

detailed parameters
Connector Type

Wired only

Sensitivity

Not specified

Impedance

Not specified

Frequency Range

Not specified

Driver Diameter

~35 mm

Additional Features

Microphone, RemoteTalk cable (answer calls, music control), Detachable cable, Angled earcups

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Special pressure-relieving cushions give an optimal ear cup grip. They also have an invisible 3D sewing seal for a better reflection of acoustic waves and to guide the sound into one spot.

CONS

A relatively short cable (1.2 m)

OUR VERDICT

A perfect choice if you like to listen to music with deep and powerful bass. The Advanced Direct Vibe Structure and an automatic sound range control make low-frequency sounds rich and crisp.

detailed parameters
Connector Type

Wired only

Sensitivity

106 dB

Impedance

40 Ω

Frequency Range

3 Hz - 28 kHz

Driver Diameter

40 mm

Additional Features

Beat Response Control, Advanced Direct Vibe Structure, Microphone, Swivel folding design, Pressure-relieving earpads, Built-in control panel

Warranty

2 years

PROS

Due to a closed design of the headphones, you get almost 100% noise cancellation. This way, you can focus on the music without any distractions.

CONS

The headphones barely fit the carry case.

OUR VERDICT

These Sennheiser headphones are extremely easy to use and connect, which makes them more distinct and accessible for everyone. In addition, they can transmit a Hi-Fi audio signal via Bluetooth, thanks to the AptX™ technology.

detailed parameters
Connector Type

Wired and Wireless

Sensitivity

113 dB

Impedance

18 Ω

Frequency Range

18 Hz - 22 kHz

Driver Diameter

~45 mm

Additional Features

Built-in battery: up to 25 hours, Microphone, Multiple device support, Detachable cable, Carry Case

Warranty

2 years

PROS

Support original BOSE Connect App, which unlocks various settings and opens even more useful features on different devices.

CONS

The audio insulation has some audible leakage.

OUR VERDICT

This model is comfortable for long music listening sessions. One of its biggest advantages is a highly efficient ANC, which makes them a perfect choice for public transport trips. 

detailed parameters
Connector Type

Wired and Wireless

Sensitivity

Not specified

Impedance

Not specified

Frequency Range

Not specified

Driver Diameter

1.38" ( 35 mm ) Dynamic Dome Drivers

Additional Features

Built-in battery: Up to 20 hours (wireless) or up to 40 hours (wired mode), Microphone, Multiple device support,  Carry case, Audio cable, USB cable, Airline adapter

Warranty

1 year

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Professional Quality

Over-ears are used not only for entertainment, favourite music and games. They can serve professional musicians to monitor the sound in music workshops. How do they work? Many vocalists use phonograms, transferred directly from the mixer board while recording vox. This allows coming into step and recording vox with the highest accuracy. Of course, the sound quality of such headphones should be above all praise. Just as Audio-Technica ATH-M50x has. The specs of these headphones provide high detail sounding, which will be useful for musicians. The 1.7" diameter of the driver can reduce a lot of outside noises, allowing users to hear all aspects of the recorded track. This model is popular among DJs, who just cannot be satisfied with a mediocre product.

Review of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones

Music Nation

Japan is famous for a big number of outstanding manufacturers such as Sony, Yamaha and others. The rivalry level in this field is just extremely high, so it takes a lot of efforts to gain customers' attention. Audio-Technica is no exception, but it is still one of the leaders in the market of microphones. Audio-Technica mics are widely used during various grand events like Grammy where musicians make live performances without phonograms. The company has been in the market since 1974 and knows all traps and pitfalls of the manufacturing process pretty well; this long-year experience is what actually makes their final products so brilliant.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones in the use

Word of Advice

High impedance (38 Ω) means that this pair of headphones would sound better if used with professional equipment such as mixing consoles, which can handle top-quality data transfer at high volume. Any regular smartphone won't be able to cope with such high impedance and unlock the potential of this device to the full.

Detailed review of Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Audio Technica ATH-M50X Review!
 

Beats ML9E2ZM/A

The Beauty You Won't Want to Hide

With Beats Solo² you would be able to truly immerse yourself in your favourite music. Whether it be in AAC, FLAC or MP3 formats, you will be surprised by the crisp sound. Superb sound quality of headphones from Beats is hard to express with words: every single one of your favourite songs will sound more impressive than ever. Thanks to a carry case included in the package, you can easily transport the headphones in your bag. Putting this model inside the carry case might seem tricky at first, but in fact, it is quite easy to do. For a simple transportation of the headphones, all you have to do is collapse both earcups one by one. After that, they fit in the soft carry case almost perfectly. In addition, the detachable cable makes transportation an easy task. Moreover, the suave design of Beats Solo² is noticeable even from a distance so maybe you won’t even want to hide them in the carry case at all. Thanks to the well-thought-out and aesthetic curves of the headphones, the screws are barely visible. With an adjustable and flexible headband, this model is extremely comfortable and suitable even for a prolonged use. The earcups are ergonomically angled to add even more comfort to your ears; this will come in handy if you love to spend a lot of time listening to music while jogging, being in a gym, or mixing music tracks. On top of that, with the dimensions of 11.5 x 14.8 x 21 cm, the Beats are one of the most compact models out there.

Review of Beats ML9E2ZM/A On-Ear Headphones

What's Inside

As other Beat models usually do, this model comes with a handful of useful features that are not just regular hardware. With a built-in microphone, you can use these headphones as a headset. Additionally, a RemoteTalk cable allows controlling the playback of your songs or answering the incoming calls in case you are using a phone. The fact that this is a wired-only model may be a turnoff point for some customers, however, look at it this way: although wireless models are somewhat more convenient, they usually lack that extra sound quality that wired models have. Not to mention that constant signal losses are a bummer. As for convenient features, The Solo² is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry devices. However, the voice control is an exclusive feature of Apple devices only. Made for an extensive and prolonged use, the Beats headphones offer rich high-quality sound regardless of the genre you are listening to. Overall, the Beats Solo² is a perfect choice if you need the headphones that will last you a long time.

Beats ML9E2ZM/A On-Ear Headphones in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Sony MDR-XB950AP

Tight Grip on Music

The MDR-XB950AP Sony over-ear headphones is an ideal pick if you are a music fan or a hardcore gamer. Two 40 mm neodymium drivers create an absolutely stunning level of sound quality. With dimensions of 20 x 15 x 3.5 cm and weight of 245 g, this model is relatively lightweight. On top of that, the cushioning of the earpads is extremely soft so the headphones can be worn for several hours without any discomfort. The oval shape of the earpads is made to match the shape of your ears and to relieve the pressure on them as well. Additionally, the tight grip created by tight cushioning forms a bit of a vacuum between your ears and the pads, which also reduces outside noises and acts as a passive filter when you listen to your favourite artist. The headphones also feature an Advanced Direct Vibe Structure technology that generates a balanced level of bass. Hence, no matter what your favourite music genre is you will be able to enjoy it with these headphones. To add even more sound quality, the tight bass that is created by the Bass Response Control (which you can turn on or off at any given time) optimizes the diaphragm of the headphone drivers to reproduce low frequency sounds better. Given that, if you tinker the equalizer on your phone or other music gadgets you can achieve almost perfect, noise-free level of sound. In addition, the rigid aluminium band creates a slight vibration when the bass is too loud, that way you can feel every single beat of the track.

Review of Sony MDR-XB950AP Xtra Bass Headphones

Extra Bass

With a wide frequency range that spans from 3 Hz to 28 kHz, you can actually hear the instruments in your favourite songs that you didn't know were there before. With such a wide range the headphones can pick up even the most silent notes that you’d never hear otherwise. Truly, this model never stops to amaze: with a high 106 dB/mW sensitivity it is able to convert the electric signal into high-quality acoustic waves with a productivity of a much bigger amplifier. That basically means that you will be able to hear a loud and quality sound across the entire audio spectrum, unlike other models such as earbuds and vacuum headphones. Furthermore, the headphones feature a built-in control panel that allows you to switch tracks and answer phone calls on the go without taking your phone out of the pocket. If that is not enough for you, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that this model can be folded for an easy transportation inside the bag. To sum up, the Xtra Bass from Sony is definitely an interesting pick for any music or gaming fan who looks for high-quality headphones at a moderate price.

Sony MDR-XB950AP Xtra Bass Headphones in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT

A Sound to Remember

While other brands are slowly building up their reputation, Sennheiser capitalizes on their well-known trademark. HD 4.40 BT model proves that, totally. Made with the famous Sennheiser quality, it is a combination of wireless and wired headphones, which leaves more room for possibilities. You can attach or detach the cable for your convenience whenever you feel like. This will be useful if you spend a lot of time in public transport or your everyday schedule is action-packed and involves a lot of walking. Wherever you go, you can take your music with you, thanks to an updated Bluetooth 4.0 this model is equipped with. Moreover, this model is also compatible with aptX codec, which provides even more freedom of movement. This part of the software is responsible for transmitting a High-fidelity signal without potential losses. Keep in mind that you will have to spend two or three extra minutes trying to fit these headphones inside a carry case in case you don’t want to purchase a bigger one. Nevertheless, these Sennheiser over-ear headphones feel and sound like a premium model, their modest price aside.

Review of Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT Over-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Wireless Possibilities

With a high-capacity built-in battery, you can listen to your favourite tracks for up to 25 hours. This enormous time will be suitable for you if you enjoy travelling, hiking or simply like sports and spending time in the gym. As for the comfort, the earpads of this model are made of soft leatherette that gives an exceptional level of comfort even after several hours of use; it will last for a long time, too. Quality materials used in Sennheiser audio devices make them distinct from other brands. When you touch them for the first time you can actually feel that they are built to last.

Engineered for mobile devices, these wireless over the ear headphones are compatible with most of the Apple iOS and Android mobile devices. This model also features Near Field Communication that allows instant pairing with any compatible devices. However, you should be aware that call answering works only if you have Bluetooth mode enabled. Likewise, you lose the Bluetooth capabilities such as a microphone and aptX when you are using the headphones with the wire connected.

The Sennheiser over-ear headphones are capable of blocking a fair amount of noise when you are out on the busy street, which is surprising for a model that uses passive noise cancellation. All in all, the HD 4.40 Bluetooth over-ear headphones are one of the few budget-friendly models that can compete with the top of the line products when it comes to sound quality.

Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT Over-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Bose QuietComfort 35

Noise Cancelling at Its Best

In this review, we decided to examine one of the best over ear headphones. BOSE always produced perfect headphones with an exceptional noise-cancellation, but they were wired only. The new QuietComfort 35 device is an advanced wireless model which provides a maximum comfort. When it comes to headphones wear style, the important feature for a customer is a design. These headphones are full-size and over-ear. Their ear cushions are durable, cosy, and soft. Even after 4 hours of wearing, they still feel comfortable. Though they do not allow the covered area to breathe, so you may feel uncomfortable when it is too hot. This model is also equipped with volume-optimized EQ in order to deliver balanced sound at any volume. We consider this model one of the best regarding noise-cancelling technology. The QC35’s noise-cancelling is very effective so you can use these headphones literally everywhere, regardless of how noisy the environment is. A great advantage of the QuietComfort 35 headphones is that they're able to operate for up to 20 hours on a single charge. They are rather expensive but such specifications are worth paying.

Review of Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sound Quality

Due to the Bose QuietComfort 35over-ear close-fitting design the earphones isolate some external noise passively. But its ANC (active noise cancelling) technology lets you stay with your own thoughts and you can enjoy your favourite music in any environment. An important feature is that ANC allows you to listen to music even at low volumes in rush hour. These headphones will not block out all high frequencies and will provide perfect sound at low frequencies. We consider that as an advantage because sometimes you need to hear some warnings from the outside such as announcements or ambulance sirens. Moreover, sometimes you don’t need noise isolation (for example, when you are at home) but there is no option to turn it off. ANC can affect the quality of the sound, but this model provides rather good smooth sound and controlled bass. Summing up all specifications we consider this model as a perfect noise cancelling device with a rather good sound quality, design, and price.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Infographics

Comparison of Over-ear Headphones

What Are Over-Ear Headphones?

Headphones are a sound output device, which delivers sound straight to our ears. There are a lot of different types of earphones nowadays: some of them have large ear pads and drivers for proper sound quality, others are designed for use on trips and journeys. This is where the active noise reduction technology is heavily used. The headphones with this technology have an additional microphone on the exterior of the driver, which reads the external sound and sends it to the processing unit to invert the noise. Thanks to this process you can enjoy listening to noise-free music.

If you are fond of music and enjoy various parties at home, we recommend you to pay attention to our best soundbars review. It'll help you choose a soundbar, which will strike you with an amazing sound performance! Looking for smaller earphones? Read the following best earbuds review and look through most popular and frequently bought devices along with their key benefits. And remember, even the coolest headphones can be of no use if your MP3 player cannot handle them. In this article, you will be able to choose the optimal player corresponding to your specific needs.

What Features to Compare

Type

To choose headphones of your dream you should decide how you will use them. There are several types of design, each making the headphones serve a special purpose. Sport earphones are light and wireless, but the sound quality is not as good as it could be. On the other hand, large headphones are quite often poorly adapted for outdoor use, though sound quality isn't bad at all, owing to a large driver and excellent general sound specs. Large and comfortable ear pads can reduce a lot of external sounds, ensuring excellent sound performance and providing a feeling of comfort. All these features allow you to use large headphones for a long time without overfatigue. There are also wireless modifications, which can transfer sound data via Bluetooth, but they have time limitations due to battery performance.

Sound Parameters

Sound specifications are the key element you should consider when choosing headphones. A wide frequency range will add low and high frequencies to the sound and give it more colours. If the headphones have 3Hz - 28 kHz, the low frequencies will be of maximum quality and bass will be literally tremendous. And of course, the high frequencies will deliver the minute particulars of the music you listen to. The next important element is impedance, which serves to transfer sound data from the input device to the headphones. If we have 2 sets of headphones, the first with 32 Ω impedance, and the second - with 24, the second will sound louder, because the sound signal will meet a lesser number of impediments.

Additionally

Package and specifications of various headphones may differ, but as a rule, manufacturers add a lot of useful accessories and supplements to improve sound quality and extend the working lifespan of the device. One of such supplements is the NFC technology, which makes it possible to connect headphones to a smartphone in a mere second just by bringing two devices close to each other. Thanks to this technology, smartphone control can be performed right from the headphones and there's no need to take the phone out each time from your bag or pants' pocket.

Did you know?

Advantages of Over-ear Headphones

Like any other kind of headphones, over-ear headphones have their advantages and disadvantages. They are less portable since most of the models are rather bulky compared to in-ear and on-ear headphones. Although it all comes down to a personal taste, some over-ear headphone models can be either very comfortable or very uncomfortable. Especially since almost all over-ear models are pricey, it is recommended to try them out for a couple of hours before buying to figure if the particular headphone model fits your head and ears. It can be a tricky task to do since most of the retail shops do not offer such kind of service but if you have a music records shop nearby you can actually wear and try out a lot of headphone models since they allow listening to records before buying them. This way, you can figure out if the particular model fits you in terms of comfort and additionally check the sound quality of the headphone speakers.

The main advantage of over-ear headphones should be their exceptional comfort over other types. When you actually find the right model that suits your needs, they are extremely comfortable and easy to use. On the contrary, in-ear and on-ear headphones are a problem, they can be hard to fit inside or on top of the ear. Human ear positioning can be uneven and some people have slightly different ear shape as well, that is why it can be a real challenge to find the right model of earbuds.

The sound quality of over-ear models can be a revelation to many that have not yet tried them out. A jump from your standard iBuds to regular moderately priced over-ear headphones can be huge. With smaller models of headphones, you kind of have to compromise between sound quality and volume. Besides, all types of headphones have fragile cables, that’s why it is important to pick a model with a detachable cable if a longer life of your headphones is something you care about.

How to Prevent Hearing Damage Using Over-ear Headphones

Nowadays when there are so many distracting sounds around we subconsciously try to increase the music volume when we use headphones. Although this filters the majority of noise types, loud sound can damage our hearing beyond repair. That’s why it is important to find the perfect balance between the quality and the loudness of sound.

There are a couple of ways you can test your headphones and prevent hearing damage using them:

  • Use an equalizer - this feature is present in many modern audio playing devices and allows to configure various frequencies to your liking. When configured correctly you can listen to your favourite music at low and moderate volumes without quality loss.

  • Set a safe level of sound - depending on the type of headphones and the environment. A simple test in a quiet room can help you manage the most comfortable sound level. First, you will need to put on the headphones and turn the music on, after that set the volume to a preferred level. Next, put off the headphones and take them in your hand. Hold them extended in your hands and if you can still hear the music then this volume level is too high. Keep repeating that until you find your comfortable loudness level.

FAQ:

Q: Headband on my headphones is stiff and it feels uncomfortable to wear. Is there any way I can fix this?

A: Most of the circumaural (over ear) headphones have an adjustable headband that you can slide up and down for comfortable use. We recommend adjusting the earcups according to your liking before using headphones. Slowly slide the earcups until they sit even around your ears or until the ear pads cover the ears comfortably. Remember that the headband must fit tightly but not tight enough for you to feel uncomfortable.

Q: How can I charge my wireless headphones?

A: Since all wireless headphone models come with either a charging cable or with a cable and adapter you can charge them from any power source that is compatible with the cable provided. Most of the wired models can be charged with a USB Type-C charging cable, therefore, you can charge it from any device that has a USB output such as laptops, PCs, power banks, and battery chargers even if you don’t have a USB-to-outlet adapter. In case you want to charge your headphones from the outlet remember to use an adapter with output rating (mA) specified by the manufacturer. Otherwise, you may damage the built-in battery.

Q: When I insert the headphone cable into my phone I cannot hear the music properly, instead, the sound becomes muffled and I can hear cracking sounds. Could my headphones be faulty or broken?

A: If the sound that you hear when you insert the cable into your device becomes muffled it appears that you may not have inserted the phone plug all the way into a connector. In case the audio playback still sounds muffled after you've pushed the plug all the way in you may need to contact your manufacturer’s tech support for a replacement. We also recommend making sure that your device is compatible with your headphones model since it may also be the case of distorted audio output.

Q: Are over-ear headphones noisy or do they leak sound? I want to use them in public transport but don’t want anyone to hear what I’m listening to and annoy people.

A: Depending on the model, in some cases, over-ear headphones can actually leak sound if you listen to music at high volumes. Otherwise, the closed construction of the earcups prevents loud sounds from leaking and people around you won’t be able to hear anything coming out of the headphones. In addition, over-ear headphones also block any external sounds so you won’t get distracted by outside world. That’s why we do not recommend listening to music at high volumes and staying alert to your surroundings due to the risk of accidents.

Q: I'm used to travelling on foot a lot and headphones being dirty is one of my biggest concerns. Is there any way I can clean them on my own?

A: Yes, you can clean your headphones. However, your options are limited. To clean your headphones you will need a dry, soft cloth, rubbing alcohol or a sanitizer. Remember that when you use alcohol or a sanitizer you can only clean ear pads when they are detached, otherwise there is a risk of a short circuit and damaging the speakers of your headphones. In case your ear pads have become damaged please contact your manufacturer’s tech support if you need to replace them.

Sources:

1. How to Choose Headphones, wikiHow.

2. Justin Yu Headphone buying guide, CNET. November 26, 2013.

3. Steve Guttenberg How to pick the right headphones - for you, CNET. July 26, 2014

4. Headphones Buying Guide, Best Buy.

5. Chris Woodford How do headphones work? Explain that Stuff. June 15, 2016.

6. Headphones, Wikipedia. November 11, 2016.

7. William Harris How Noise-canceling Headphones Work, HowStuffWorks. 2016.

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Publish Date: 2018-05-03 15:05:43