The Best Headphones 2019

Julio Franco

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

There are a dizzying number of headphones out there. Combined with different types and use cases available, there's an endless selection to pick from. That's where this buying guide comes in, which is based on professional reviews, user comments, and our own experiences. We've updated our best headphones selection to recognize the latest technology, trending choices and combined overlapping categories (wireless goes mainstream!).

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Puiu

TS Evangelist
I got the DT 770 80 ohm version for under 120$. it should be better for those that don't want to use headphone amps and you should not notice a difference in sound quality (the treble should be a bit less fatiguing).
 
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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
I have the Sony WH-1000XM3 and I have to agree that they're better than the Bose counterparts... Many of my friends and family have the Bose, and they also agreed after I swapped with them :)

Cheaper, more comfortable and pretty much the same sound quality (I'm sure an audiophile would have a more in-depth opinion).
 

gamerk2

TS Evangelist
While I can't speak for the ATH-m40x, I can speak for it's big brother, the m50, and highly recommend. Also, the headset is built like a tank; 5 years of abuse and still perfectly working, which is amazing given how many headsets I own for six months that have one side dead.
 

koblongata

TS Addict
B&W PX7, lowest latency Bluetooth of them all, even lower when with Aptx Adaptive. High-end sound too, It's $350 instead of $399 at the moment. Sony & Bose's flagships while slightly better at noise cancellation, they are horrifyingly laggy and do not sound as good.
 

ziffel66

TS Booster
I bought the WH-1000X MK3 over BF, and I was blown away. The ANC is spectacular, and the sound quality rivals my Sennheiser HD595's. Super comfy too. I wore them for 5+ hours on the 1st day and had no complaints.
 
If the Grado 325es are anything like my 225es, then I'd pass on them. It's not that they're bad, but they're just not good enough at the price. I owned Grado SR-60s for 20 years and upgraded to the HiFiMan HE-400s and they are a very nice sound improvement (for 20 years and 4x the price). I then got the 225es next and they simply fail to compare as IMO they are too bright.

I also have AKG 553 Pros for closed back privacy and Philips SHP5900s for walkarounds. At $50-60 on sale the Philips are a steal. Headphones just shouldn't be this good for only a few bucks. I wonder whether the Philips Fidelio X2HR recommended here for $100 are that much better.
 

FPSChris

TS Enthusiast
I have the M50x and a £30 usb dac amp. They are superb for the price.
I've been using the headphones for home and DJing in loud environments.
Only issue being closed, it gets a tad warm in the summer months so keep em clean of sweat, they will last you a lifetime.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
WH-1000X MK3 has a 200ms+ latency, some of the laggiest, if you only listen to music or doesn't mind or simply cannot tell if sound coming later when watching video or gaming, yeah, why not. To me though, it's unacceptable.
Actually, 200ms is about average for ANY Bluetooth headset... if you are gaming or watching a movie, I suggest simply attaching an audio cable - since ANY wireless headset will give you the same results...

There was also a separate section for GAMING headsets - that was for a reason :)
 

koblongata

TS Addict
Actually, 200ms is about average for ANY Bluetooth headset... if you are gaming or watching a movie, I suggest simply attaching an audio cable - since ANY wireless headset will give you the same results...

There was also a separate section for GAMING headsets - that was for a reason :)
So that was what I am thrilled by PX7, its native latency is already quite low that I can't really complain though still noticeable but not 200ms noticeable, and with Aptx LL connection I really don't need a separate pair of gaming headset (tested with Creative W2 dongle). And then there is Aptx Adaptive I don't have anything that supports it to test it with yet for now, but I believe it will be even better.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
So that was what I am thrilled by PX7, its native latency is already quite low that I can't really complain though still noticeable but not 200ms noticeable, and with Aptx LL connection I really don't need a separate pair of gaming headset (tested with Creative W2 dongle). And then there is Aptx Adaptive I don't have anything that supports it to test it with yet for now, but I believe it will be even better.
Well... from this review of your PX7...

"Update 11/21/2019: We had previously listed the PX7 to have 61ms of latency with aptX(HD), as we thought it was aptX Adaptive showing up as HD on our testing rig since it is backwards compatible. This was a reading mistake, and the 61ms was an error, which was pointed out by a user. After getting this feedback, we remeasured the latency, with 3 different dongles, and got results around 220ms with aptX(HD). The PX7 still support aptX Adaptive but we don't test for this. The review and text have been updated."

220ms of latency... seems pretty much the same as the Sony... and the same as virtually every other bluetooth headset ... aptX is what gives you low latency - but that means a degradation on sound quality... better, again, to simply attach an audio cable.
 
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koblongata

TS Addict
Well... from this review of your PX7...

"Update 11/21/2019: We had previously listed the PX7 to have 61ms of latency with aptX(HD), as we thought it was aptX Adaptive showing up as HD on our testing rig since it is backwards compatible. This was a reading mistake, and the 61ms was an error, which was pointed out by a user. After getting this feedback, we remeasured the latency, with 3 different dongles, and got results around 220ms with aptX(HD). The PX7 still support aptX Adaptive but we don't test for this. The review and text have been updated."

220ms of latency... seems pretty much the same as the Sony... and the same as virtually every other bluetooth headset ... aptX is what gives you low latency - but that means a degradation on sound quality... better, again, to simply attach an audio cable.
I have read that Rting review before... Please try Aptx LL YOURSELF, it is the bare minimum for me, PX7 is one of the very few that has it, and it delivers better & clearer sound than Bose and Sony.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
I have read that Rting review before... Please try Aptx LL YOURSELF, it is the bare minimum for me, PX7 is one of the very few that has it, and it delivers better & clearer sound than Bose and Sony.
I'm not an audiophile - nor do I have your headphones... personal opinions are all well and good - but I'm leaving it to the experts when it comes to actual stats, etc...
 

Soulburn74

TS Booster
Thank you for not completely focusing your reviews on features BESIDES the actual sound quality. It seems these days, headphone/headset reviews seem to get their rocks off purely on noise cancellation quality, and completely forget to speak about the actual sound quality......
 

TeddyBallgame

TS Member
The terms latency and or lag never appear in the article. Pretty funny considering they're pushing wireless so hard. These products have their place but tell the whole story.

 
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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
The terms latency and or lag never appear in the article. Pretty funny considering they're pushing wireless so hard. These products have their place but tell the whole story.
Who’s pushing wireless so hard? They have a category for wireless and non... and since all wireless headphones have basically the same latency, why would it need to be mentioned in an article on the best headphones?
 

QuantumPhysics

TS Evangelist
I'm happy enough using Sony's PS VITA headphones ($25) because the bass is excellent and they can drown out background noise...like when I was on a 777 from Seychelles to Dubai and a infant was screaming next to me for 4 hours.

Can't think of a better test than that.
 

Musician

TS Enthusiast
I had the HD800 (pretty similar to HD800S) and it didn’t appealed to me even after buying all the tube amps and R2R DAC and cable upgrades.

The Grado PS500e (bassier cousin of SR325e), powered off the iPhone adaptor sounded much more engaging. If you compare dollar vs enjoyment, the Grado is a much higher value product.
 

Bullwinkle M

TS Addict
I never bought any Bluetooth 1.X device
Nor 2.x, nor 3.x nor 4.x device

I finally convinced myself that 5.x Bluetooth was worth a look

1st. NEVER mix earlier versions of bluetooth with 5.x and then complain about latency problems

"ALL" of your devices should be Bluetooth 5 and Aptx HD if that is what you want to test
(same with LDAC)

If you have a 4 channel digital audio recorder, try recording direct over a cable to 2 channels and record the same signal over bluetooth 5.0 to other channels

You can now get an exact delay measurement for the bluetooth channels and you can also tell exactly how bluetooth affects the signal

Invert the bluetooth tracks and mix them back with the wired tracks (Time aligned of course) at a level that gives you the "Minimum" audio output

What remains is the difference between bluetooth output and a wired connection

 

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