In ear headphones are fantastic for when you are on the move, but what if you are in the mood to chill out at home and don’t want to bother the neighbours. There are so many options to choose from, how do you make sure you are getting the best value for your money, how do you choose a quality product?
The two criteria to look for in a quality set of on ear headphones are quality of sound and comfort level provided by your headphones.
The Best On Ear Headphones
1. Sennheiser RS120 On-Ear Wireless RF Headphones with Charging Cradle
The Sennheiser RS120 II wireless headphones are a lightweight, user friendly and high performing pair of headphones with a mid-range price tag. The RS120 II excels for home audio or TV use with a well-padded design for long duration listening, and an effective range of up to 300 feet. This is the best represented wireless headphone on the market right now for wireless effective range in the mid-range priced category. Whilst many users report little to no interference between the base unit and the headset even at great distances, the RS120 II also features an in built tuning dial for minor tuning requirements.
This product may not be suitable for people with cardiac pacemakers and implanted defibrillators as the product generates stronger permanent magnetic fields which may interfere with these devices.
The base unit charges the two AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries by resting the RS120 II headset on the metal cradle, battery life is up to 20 hours. The RS120 II is compatible with anything that has a 3.5mm or 6.3mm headphone socket and up to three RS120 II units can connect to the transmitter for your next silent disco, bluetooth isn’t supported however.
The Sennheiser RS120 II unit is a great mixture of quality, price and functionality from a trusted manufacturer. Highly recommended.
2. Sony MDRXB950BT/B Extra Bass Bluetooth Headphones
Sony has a history of engineering quality personal audio devices and the Sony MDRXB950BT/B is no exception. Wireless utility, pristine sound quality and a minimalistic combine to create a fantastic listener experience. The Sony MDRXB950BT/B come with a bass boosting functionality that does not overpower the treble although the bass is fairly balanced anyway so this will come down to user preference. Other features include Bluetooth compatibility, an in built microphone.
The built in rechargeable battery provides approximately 20 hours playback, but if worst comes to worst and you find yourself out of juice there is a good old fashioned cord included for conventional listening. A micro-usb cable comes with the unit which can plug into your laptop for charging, this cord is very short however so plan your charges accordingly.
High levels of cushioning provide for comforatble wearing, even for long time periods, however some users have reported that this cushioning is a little much. Try before you buy.
Sony MDRXB950BT/B are available in three colors; red, blue and black.
3. Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones
If you are on a tight budget but looking for the best headphones for your money, look no further than the Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones. These are seriously one of the best entry level headphones out there. A 10 foot cable gives you most of the freedom of a wireless headset, without the price tag. Bass delivery is not an issue and sound quality general leaves little to be desired.
The padded headset is comfortable and doesn’t heat up easily and the levels of background noise cancellation are on par with much pricier headphones. The ear cups themselves will suit a smaller eared user, if you have larger ears the Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones may not be for you. Nevertheless, a very strong pair of headphones for those on a tigher budget.
4. Beats Solo2 Wired On-Ear Headphone, Luxe Edition
The descendant of the world famous Beats Solo, the Beats Solo2 Luxe Edition had big shoes to fill. Whilst similar in most aspects, the Beats Solo2 has done away with some of the Beats Solo design flaws. The structure has been strengthened and previously visible screws have been hidden, the headphones have been altered to fit tighter on the users head, so be wary if you are looking to upgrade an already tight pair of Beats Solos. Aesthetically, it is difficult to overlook the Beats brand – the Beats Solo2 Luxe Edition come in a wide range of polished vibrant colors.
The original Beats Solo were criticized by some for being a bit bass heavy, the Beats Solo2 Luxe Edition have been redesigned on an acoustic level to bring more treble to increase the sound profile and clarity. The bass has been balanced and it leads to a better headphone all round. Other features include an in line microphone and remote control with color matched cables.
A crowd favorite as always.
5. beyerdynamic DT 990 Edition 32 Ohm Over-Ear-Stereo Headphones
Beyerdynamic originated in Berlin in 1924 constructing cinema speakers and the has been synonymous with high quality, German made audio products ever since. Beyerdynamic products are designed and tested in Heilbronn, Germany, and products are assembled mostly by hand of their employees.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium 32 OHM Headphones are multi-awarded open backed headphone suitable for studio and personal use. ‘Open backed’ refers to the ear cup of the headphone which is vented to allow sound to travel in and out of the ear cup. When compared to a regular closed headphones the effect of open headphones is that it allows for sound energy to escape the ear cup, leading to a rich and more engaging listening experience. This does of course mean that sound will escape so these might not be the best choice for the library.
The DT 990 delivers strong and clear trebles and satisfyingly deep, defined bass by its own right, but to truly appreciate what these things can do an amplifier will take you there.
The unit is very structurally stable, the initial tight clasping of the headphones can be overcome with routine use or by placing them over some books to stretch gently. Most Beyerdynamic parts can also be bought and replaced individually, the default cord is coiled which may not be to the liking of some.
A 250 Ohm Professional version of the DT990 is available for those looking to take their listening experience to the next level.
6. Bose SoundTrue around-ear headphones II – Apple devices
The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones II is the ‘design refreshed’ version of the original Bose SoundTrue and technically, not much has been changed, not that it needed to. Minor design modifications include the thickening of the headband and a slimming down of the ear cups. Memory foam over the ears and on the headband continue to provide unrivalled levels of comfort. The thickening of the headband has added structural stability along with considerable weight when compared to the original Bose SoundTrue, however, this is not likely to affect the average user.
Users reported an increase in bass production when compared to the Bose SoundTrue at a slight sacrifice to mid and high range sound.
A 20 inch cable attaches to the left ear cup only and is removable for storage, the SoundTrue II aren’t wireless. The unit isn’t noise cancelling per se, although by design of the unit, some back ground noise will be blocked. The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones II are compatible with most Apple devices. The SoundTrue II is a pricey piece of equipment, but its unlikely you will be disappointed.