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Best over-ear headphones in 2019

On-ear headphones may not be as popular as before, but they are still widely marketed.

They are great for when you need the best sound quality you can expect from headphones. Whether it’s enclosed planar magnetic, such as the Sony WH-1000XM3, which are quite portable and great for traveling , or open like the Sennheiser HD600, designed for home use, full-size headphones provide the best way to enjoy music without having to spend money on speakers.

Best overall: Sennheiser HD600 / 650

Price: from 18 790 rub.

Without a doubt, if you are looking for the best full-size headphones, you should pay attention to the Sennheiser HD600 or the open HD650. Both products are similar in form factor, and the only real difference is a slightly different sound characteristic.

Let's start with comfort. Both devices are perhaps the most comfortable headphones on the market. The ear pads and headband resemble real pillows - no complaints about comfort or fatigue. Since they are open, you do not need to worry about ear fogging.

If we had to give a gold medal for sound quality, the HD600 is an indisputable favorite. The soundstage is very wide thanks to its open design. Low bass is not very rich, but nonetheless noticeable. Mid and high basses, along with mid and high frequencies, are very smooth. The HD650 is a slightly different story as the device adds more low bass. Otherwise, the sound characteristic is identical.

The HD600 and HD650 have two main drawbacks: the open design means that sound will leak out no matter what environment you are in, so you probably want to use headphones at home. Another significant drawback is that both products require an amplifier in order to achieve the best result. You can try connecting the headphones to your phone, but you will likely have to increase the volume to maximum. Fortunately, the HD600 and HD650 do not need so much amplification. In addition, the headphones have a proprietary cable. Fortunately, it is removable, and Sennheiser seems so self-confident that they sell the cable separately.


  • Great sound quality.
  • Super comfortable.
  • Great soundstage.


  • The sound leaks out.
  • Amplifier required.
  • Proprietary cable - in case of breakdown, you need to buy from the manufacturer.

Best Active Noise Reduction: Sony WH-1000XM3

Price: from 18 250 rubles.

It is not surprising that Sony is still the king of Active Noise Canceling (ANC) headphones, and the WH-1000XM3 is the best model in this category. Not only that, the headphones have the best-in-class active noise reduction, the device has all sorts of functions that may be needed in the headphones, and battery life from one charge is 30 hours. When the WH-1000XM3 is not working, you can connect the supplied USB-C cable and use the fast charging technology. Ten minutes of charging provide five hours of listening. Unfortunately, you cannot use the headphones during charging.

The sound quality is decent if you are a fan of heavy bass. However, this will not make much difference, since the sound can be adjusted using a smartphone (on both Android and iOS).

You can also turn on the surround mode using your palm - you need to close your right ear. This allows you to hear everything without removing your headphones. Perhaps this could be done better, since holding your hand on your right ear for more than 15 seconds can be tiring.

WH-1000XM3 is also convenient. This is not the best product on the market, but headphones are better than most others. The ear pads and headband are very soft.


  • Great battery life.
  • Customizable sound.
  • Comfort.
  • Ambient Sound Mode.
  • Great app for iOS and Android.


  • Unable to charge and listen at the same time.
  • The surround mode could be implemented better.

Best Wireless: Nura Nuraphones

Price: 34 990 rub.

First of all, Nuraphones use medical sensors to measure sound perception. During the tuning process, they play a set of sounds to understand how your ears react to them, while recording an ear response that is 100 times lower than what most people hear.

Besides super awesome personalization features, Nuraphones are both in-ear and on-ear headphones. The part above the ear is used to create the bass, and the part inside is used to play the rest. This allows Nuraphones to have a very wide soundstage, despite the fact that these are closed planar-magnetic headphones.

The app provides several other tuning features besides ear perception analysis. There is a slider "dive mode", which is an amplifier of low frequencies. This increases the volume of the bass, and thanks to the design, it will not cause any distortion in the songs. The battery life is good. The official indicator is more than 20 hours, however, we were able to listen to music for 30-35 hours without recharging.

Nuraphones, however, have some drawbacks. First of all, there is no on / off switch. Headphones use a sensor in the right ear to determine if the user is wearing the device. This leads to a strange problem when it takes a few seconds to turn on and off the device, sometimes up to 6-8 seconds. In addition, when you finish using the device, it takes up to a minute to disconnect.


  • Great sound quality.
  • Hearing sensations and medical testing.
  • Long battery life.


  • May seem uncomfortable to some.
  • Corporate port for wired listening.
  • Slowly turn on / off.

Best Budget Wireless: Tribit XFree Tune

Price: from 2 300 rub.

Want wireless headphones with really long battery life? Tribit XFree Tune is what you need. They work up to 40 hours without recharging. For many people, this is enough for a week. Of course, the device is charging via Micro-USB, which is currently out of date, but this is not a problem if you have many old gadgets.

In terms of sound quality, XFree Tune works well. The bass is elevated, but not too overwhelming. The middle range is neutral and smooth, the emphasis is made at high frequencies, which makes some tracks quite bright. The sound is V-shaped, which many users may like.

In terms of comfort, the XFree Tune feels great. There is no fatigue in the ears, and the headphones themselves are relatively light. The ear pads and headband are also made of leather, which plays the role of a good pillow.


  • V-shaped, bright sound.
  • Comfortable.
  • Great battery life.


  • Charging via micro-USB.


Best Budget Noise Cancellation: Mpow H10

Price: from 3 600 rubles.

The Mpow H10 is definitely the best wireless headphone, especially considering the price.

In terms of sound quality, the H10 deserves above average ratings. The bass is generally flat and neutral. The middle range is great, you can also see good sound at high frequencies. However, for some users, the device may seem too harsh.

Battery life - up to 30 hours without recharging. Usually the headphones in this price range work from 10 to 15 hours without recharging, and this is with the ANC turned on. Yes, the Mpow H10 has active noise reduction, and, fortunately, ANC does not affect the sound quality in any significant way. Noise reduction is excellent at this price - well suited for travel to work and when used in office rooms, although there are some problems during the flight.

Comfort is also surprisingly good. There is no problem with fatigue or pain after several hours of use. The ear pads use soft material, and the rest of the headphones are mostly made of plastic, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Thanks to him, the H10 is very lightweight, which makes the device even more convenient.


  • Great battery life.
  • Comfortable and light.
  • Good active noise reduction.
  • Sound quality is above average.


  • The sound is a bit sharp.
  • ACP during flight could be better.


Best budget open: Philips SHP9500

Price: from 4 800 rub.

Open headphones are great for home use, but if you use them only in such conditions, this does not mean that they should be expensive. Please note that the Philips SHP9500 is a low-cost open-source headphone that barely compromises.

In terms of comfort, the ear pads and headband are large enough for most users. You will not have problems with comfort, fatigue or hearing loss due to the open design. Of course, the headphones are wired, so there is no need to worry about Bluetooth audio codecs or charging. The cable included is detachable, and fortunately Philips uses a standard 3.5 mm jack, so you can connect any 3.5 mm cable and it will work (including with microphones).

The sound quality is excellent, as expected. You will not need an amplifier due to lower resistance, but with it, the device will sound better. The overall sound is really good with a neutral characteristic with slight changes that most people will not see here. And since these are open headphones, the sound stage is very wide.

Obviously, the device has the typical disadvantages inherent in any open earphones. The device is intended for use at home in a quiet environment. Sound is also leaking insanely, again due to the design.


  • Great sound quality.
  • Wide soundstage.
  • Great comfort.


  • Sound leakage.
  • Designed for home use.
  • Wired.


Best Planar: HiFiMan Ananda

Price: from 64 000 rub.

Most of the headphones available on the market use dynamic drivers, and for good reason. They are easy to manufacture, they sound good and can be used in any device - from wireless headphones to large speakers in the stadium. However, there are other types of drivers, including planar magnetic drivers. It is here that HiFiMan Ananda appears on the stage - headphones designed for people who really care about sound quality.

And it is really good here. The bass is neutral and even, while the midrange is also relatively flat, with minor dips and elevations below and above the neutral, respectively. Treble is where the device fails. Treble is quite uneven with large dips in all ranges, which makes the sound a bit strange. This is normal for planar models, since they tend to perfectly reproduce low and mid frequencies, but not high ones.

The comfort is decent. The ear pads and headband are quite large. If your head is relatively smaller, the ear cushions can actually reach the jaw, which is very inconvenient. In addition, the headphones are quite heavy thanks to the planar magnetic driver.

Surprisingly, Ananda does not require any amplification. In fact, the company is promoting the idea of ​​using a device with a mobile device. This is due to a resistance of 25, which is relatively low. You probably won't want to use them in public places, as they are open and transmit sound.


  • Good sound quality.
  • Large ear pads.
  • An amplifier is not required.


  • Heavy.
  • Ear cushions may be too big for some.
  • High treble is not the best.


How to choose the best on-ear headphones

Although many people opt out of full-size headphones in favor of more portable ones, they still play an important role in the market, especially if you care about sound quality or the soundstage. You must also consider comfort. These headphones will be on your head and may squeeze the upper part for several hours at a time.

Of course, there is impedance. Although this is not so important when it comes to portable or wireless headphones, it does matter if we consider a high-quality device.

Sound quality

If the sound quality was not excellent, all of the named models would not be on this list. The first thing that attracts people is the quality of playback. No one would consciously decide to purchase a device that sounds like trash.

Our favorites, Sennheiser HD600, Philips SHP9500 and HiFiMan Ananda, are solid options designed for those who want the most accurate sound possible. All three can essentially reproduce a neutral sound without any problems, and if there are any inconsistencies, then this is easily fixed in the equalizer.

Nuraphones is our fourth choice because of how controversial the sound can be. For us personally, they sound absolutely fantastic as for portable headphones with active noise reduction.

The best active full-size headphones for sound quality:

  1. Sennheiser HD600
  2. Philips SHP9500
  3. HiFiMan Ananda
  4. Nuraphones by nura
  5. Sony WH-1000XM3


Comfort is the second most important thing when it comes to full-size headphones. If they are not comfortable, and you can not wear them for a long period of time, then the point is to buy?

Sennheiser HD600 / 650 - the best options. They seem like real pillows on the ears and on the head. The headband is not too large, so the devices do not exert additional pressure.

The next, unsurprisingly, are the Sony WH-1000XM3. Although they are not as comfortable as the HD600 or HD650, they still sit well. This is very important if you need to use the device for a long time, possibly during a flight. When it comes to travel, you need to have the most comfortable headphones.

The best full-size headphones ranked for comfort:

  1. Sennheiser HD600 / 650
  2. Sony WH-1000XM3
  3. Philips SHP9500
  4. Mpow h10
  5. Tribit XFree Tune


Generally speaking, the lower the resistance, the better. The higher the impedance value, the greater the likelihood that you will need an amplifier. In an attempt to avoid undue technical problems, the resistance shows how much power and sound the headphones may require. The higher the impedance, the more power is required.

In general, the figure for mobile devices is usually 32 ohms or lower. All of the above means that you probably need an amplifier. However, this number is not universal, like smartphones such as the LG V30 , which theoretically can pull out sound on headphones with an impedance of about 600.

This does not mean that connecting headphones with high impedance to a device with a low impedance will also not lead to a change in sound. This combination is likely to work. However, you will probably need to maximize the phone's volume level to get some kind of sound from it, if any.

Not surprisingly, the Mpow H10 is our best bet in this regard. These are relatively inexpensive headphones designed for portable use. Sony's WH-1000XM3 and Nura's Nuraphones are the next two, as both devices are designed for wireless use and can be connected to almost any device.

Interestingly, the Philips SHP9500 and HiFiMan Ananda are our last two choices, even though they are open. Typically, this type of headphone has a higher default impedance, but the SHP9500 and Ananda can be used with a portable device without any gain. Of course, an amplifier always helps if you want to get the most out of your headphones.

Best full-size headphones for resistance:

  1. Mpow h10
  2. Sony WH-1000XM3
  3. Nuraphones by Nura
  4. Philips SHP9500
  5. HiFiMan Ananda


Over time, on-ear headphones become smaller, more compact, and wireless options are increasingly coming out. However, not everyone wants this, and sometimes users just want to sit at the table, put on their headphones and enjoy the music. If this is familiar to you, then the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650 is a fantastic choice.

Both of these products are not portable due to the open design and amplifier requirements. You can take a portable amplifier and carry it with you, but then you will encounter the problem that everyone around you can hear what is playing on the headphones.