5 Best Audiophile Earbuds – Break Free

Best Audiophile Earbuds

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Whether it was an eye for innovation, unchecked greed, or both that drove Apple’s “courage” to remove the headphone jack and release the AirPods in 2016, true wireless earbuds are here to stay. 

As these things go, Hi-Fi brands had to go on and make their own takes on the best audiophile earbuds to service that part of the market. 

From an audiophile’s perspective, the TWS segment is a weird one. Audiophile earbuds attach a ton of new tech bells and whistles to a product that’s built on a very old-school foundation. That in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but it does change what these things are capable of – and more importantly, what we can and should expect of them.

So with that, here are our selections for great true wireless earbuds that’ll keep the music flowing freely:

  • Editor’s Pick: Jabra Elite 7 Pro
  • Contender: Beats Studio Buds+
  • Premium Option: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX
  • Budget Pick: Anker Soundcore Space A40
  • Also Consider: Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

What should you look for in audiophile earbuds?

Audiophile earbuds sit at a weird junction between two types of consumers with two very different sets of priorities: audiophiles who want audio quality above all else, and everyone else who value well-implemented features and creature comforts. 

The simple way to go about it would be to prioritize every possible aspect equally and find the best one from there. As someone who’s mostly on the audiophile side of the fence, I want the best sound quality I can get from these earbuds. 

Fit and comfort are also very important – arguably even more important for TWS earbuds than they’d be for their wired counterparts. After all, these are very complex devices that cram drivers, batteries, and all of the other electronics needed for them to work their magic in a very small space with very tight tolerances. 

The TWS Experience

And that’s kind of the problem. 

As I touched on in my review of the Samsung Galaxy Buds+, sound quality usually has to take several steps back to make a solid experience since the TWS experience is more often a matter of features than raw sound. 

Battery life is a given, sure, but TWS earbuds also need to be able to provide good voice quality in calls. Evolving competition has also resulted in many of the best audiophile earbuds having some form of ANC and transparency modes. 

Arguably the most difficult one that I’ve had to reconcile is the optional smartphone apps that give you access to all of the earbuds’ available features. They’d give you control over noise-canceling transparency mode, alerts, and gesture controls, among others – but what’s most important for us right now is the ability for you to use and make EQ presets for the earbuds through the app.

Integrating these EQ settings in the software package is great because it lets you tweak the sound of the earbuds exactly to your preferences. But to me, this also kind of invalidates the raw, out-of-the-box experience that makes reviewing audio products so interesting in the first place. 

Now whether this matter is something you’ll have to decide for yourself. This guide, however, will be a little less important than the rest of the TWS experience. Let’s get into our picks of the best audiophile earbuds.

The Best Audiophile Earbuds Reviewed


Jabra Elite 7 Pro

Business-class earbuds in more ways than one, with a suite of competent features and a polite sound

Price Range: $$
Brand: Jabra
Jabra 7 Elite Pro

The Download

With each foot firmly in the door of the business and lifestyle audio categories, Jabra has been one of the more reliable audio brands outside of the serious audiophile space. And with the consumer audio space raising the sound quality standards across the board, the Elite 7 Pro has been able to stand out as a personal favorite and a solid recommendation for audiophile earbuds.

Lasting 8 hours or so on a single charge with over 3 extra charges in the case, the Elite 7 Pro provides a smooth and easy-going sound throughout the day in just about any condition. The treble is a bit weak for my taste which tilts the balance into warmth but thankfully that can be changed pretty easily through the Jabra+ app, although the EQ is rather basic.

The Jabra+ app adds more bells and whistles to play with on top of controlling the Elite 7 Pro’s basic features. For the most part, they can be ignored – I only ever fiddled with customizing gestures and the ANC (which has trouble with plane and train noise), but I’m sure someone will find a use for the Soundscapes feature. 

For a regular out-and-about user such as myself, the Elite 7 Pro’s fundamentals are more than competent audiophile wireless earbuds

The Specs

  • Headphone Type:  Closed-back true wireless earphone
  • Driver Type:  Single 6mm dynamic
  • Features:  ANC / Transparency mode
  • Operating Range:  10 meters
  • Battery:  8 hrs earphones / 30 hrs case
  • App Features:  Custom EQ / Fit detection / Customizable controls / Ambient soundscapes

What’s in the Box?

  • Jabra Elite 7 Pro earphones
  • 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
  • Charging case
  • Charging cable (USB-C to USB-A)

Stuff I like

  • Smooth, easy-going sound
  • Excellent IP57 resistance rating
  • Solid battery life
  • Great fit, comfort, and isolation

Stuff I like less

  • EQ customization is too basic
  • Treble could use more energy
  • ANC is notably weak
  • Can fall out with rough use
Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Beats Studio Buds+

An Apple-connected product that plays surprisingly well outside of the ecosystem

Price Range: $
Brand: Beats
Beats Studio Buds+

The Download

Despite being relegated to being Apple’s sub-brand, the notorious Beats by Dre still comes up with decent (and sometimes great) headphones that people lambast since they’re from “the bad brand”. Whether or not that’s still true today, there’s no denying that the Studio Buds+ is one of the best audiophile earbuds they’ve ever put out—and you don’t need to be an Apple user to get the most out of it. 

Sporting a delightfully 90s translucent colorway, the Studio Buds+ offer a bassy but surprisingly midrange-forward sound that some might find a bit too in-your-face but has that energetic vibe that works well for workouts and such. If you don’t like it, though, you’ll need a separate app to tweak it – the Beats app doesn’t have custom EQ functionality.

Although it doesn’t have the instant pairing and other Apple-exclusive features on account of its lack of the H1 chip, what it does manage to do is provide a similar experience on Android with next to no features missing like ANC, transparency mode, and spatial audio support through Dolby Atmos. 

Dedicated Apple users might find this lacking, which is understandable but the Beats Studio Buds+ nails down all of the essentials for audiophile earbuds and does them quite well no matter what device you use.

The Specs

  • Headphone Type:  Closed-back true wireless earphones
  • Driver Type:  Single 8.2mm dynamic driver
  • Features:  ANC / Transparency mode / Spatial Audio
  • Operating Range:  ~10 meters
  • Battery:  9 hrs earphones / 27 hrs case
  • App Features:  Control customization

What’s in the Box?

  • Beats Studio Buds+ earphones
  • 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
  • Charging cable (USB-C to USB-A)

Stuff I like

  • Swanky clear color
  • Solid 9-hour battery life
  • All features accessible without an app

Stuff I like less

  • Midrange is a bit forward
  • No custom EQ in the app
  • Beats app doesn’t do much
  • Some might not like the physical buttons
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX

The best audiophile earbuds that B&O has to offer, built for the modern user

Price Range: $$$
Brand: Bang & Olufsen
Bang &Olufsen Beoplay EX

The Download

With the way average buyers have been more willing to pay more for premium experiences, brands like Bang & Olufsen have not only become more “attainable” but also less unique in their position as a fancy form-over-function kind of brand.

The Beoplay EX is one such earphone. Although B&O’s design language is subtle and minimal, the diminutive size of these audiophile Bluetooth earbuds ends up making the things look painfully generic – and this on a $400 pair of earphones.

The software experience isn’t much better. It has ANC and transparency like most others, but it doesn’t work as well as examples from Sony and Bose. The ergonomics are great, but don’t push any boundaries – the AirPods Pro exists and still holds that crown to my ears. 

Their sound, however, is by far some of the best that they’ve released in recent memory. I’d say it’s about as good as the first-gen H6 headphones from 2013, which I still consider to be their best-sounding headphones. Mostly balanced but with curves and bumps in most of the right places, the Beoplay EX has what I would consider a very “hi-fi” sound; not quite clean and neutral enough for mixing use but works just fine with any music you run through them. 

As far as the high-end segment is concerned, the Beoplay EX is one of the best audiophile earbuds around, price tag notwithstanding. 

The Specs

  • Headphone Type:  Closed-back true wireless earphones
  • Driver Type:  Single 9.2mm dynamic driver
  • Features:  ANC / Transparency mode / Qi charging
  • Operating Range:  10 meters
  • Battery:  6 hrs earphones / 20 hours case
  • App Features:  EQ presets

What’s in the Box?

  • Bose QuietComfort II earbuds
  • 4 pairs of ear tips (XS, S, M, L)
  • 1 pair Comply foam ear tips (M)
  • Charging cable (USB-C to USB-A)

Stuff I like

  • Balanced, hi-fi style sound signature
  • All-weather IP57 dust and water resistance
  • Great fit and forget ergonomics

Stuff I like less

  • Weak app experience
  • ANC and transparency modes are better turned off
  • Has a treble peak that may be annoying
  • Unimpressive 6-hour battery life with ANC
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Anker Soundcore Space A40

Another hit from the king of budget Bluetooth audio

Price Range: $$
Brand: Soundcore by Anker
Anker Soundcore Space A40

The Download

If Bose rules the premium shelf of wireless ANC tech, Anker’s Soundcore brand does the same on the budget side. With measured steps back in build and sound quality, the Soundcore Space A40 manages to provide a similarly feature-rich audiophile earbuds experience to the Bose QC Earbuds II at a fraction of the price. 

Compared to the more intense V-shaped sound of the Bose, the Space A40 has a warmer, more mid-centric sound that is mostly smooth aside from a rather painful treble spike in the 9 to 10 kHz range. While they already sound pretty decent out of the box, the Anker app gives you a ton of customization options to let you tweak the sound and ANC performance to your heart’s content.

Despite its $100 price tag, the Soundcore Space A40 does not feel compromised in any way. And as budget killers go, they could even put many of the more premium options to shame. These are a solid consideration if you don’t want to put too much money on something that’ll last at most 5 years.

The Specs

  • Headphone Type:  Closed-back true wireless earphones
  • Driver Type:  Single 10mm dynamic driver
  • Features:  Adaptive ANC / Transparency mode
  • Operating Range:  10 meters
  • Battery:  10 hrs earphones / 40 hrs case
  • App Features:  Custom EQ / ANC presets / Control customization

What’s in the Box?

  • Anker Soundcore Space A40 earphones
  • 5 pairs of ear tips (XS, S, M, L, XL)
  • Charging cable (USB-C to USB-A)

Stuff I like

  • Feature-rich app
  • Huge case battery life
  • Excellent ANC performance for the price

Stuff I like less

  • Not the best sound out of the box
  • Sibilant peak is annoying
  • Pretty bad mic quality
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Apple AirPods Pro 2

A gem of an audiophile earbud, trapped behind Apple’s walled garden

Price Range: $$
Brand: Apple
Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen

The Download

For a company that’s so often associated with making people pay more for worse and more restricted experiences, Apple apparently still cares enough to make one of the best audiophile earbuds on the market. With a slightly warm and smooth sound signature, the AirPods Pro 2 offers an admittedly great listening experience that’s easy on the ears no matter what genre. 

Of course, being an Apple product (and not Beats) means that you’ll need to be firmly in the ecosystem to get the most out of the AirPods Pro 2. If you don’t already have a recent iPhone or iPad, you’ll be locked out of spatial audio, in-phone ANC control, and other software-side features. 

As someone well outside the Apple walled garden, the AirPods Pro 2 are crippled and outshone by the WF-1000XM4 and the QC Earbuds II – but for those who are well and truly rooted in the garden, these audiophile earbuds make it very difficult to leave. 

The Specs

  • Headphone Type:  Closed-back true wireless earphones
  • Driver Type:  Single 11mm dAdaptive EQ / Spatial Audioynamic drivers
  • Features:  Adaptive EQ / Spatial Audio
  • Operating Range:  15 meters
  • Battery:  6 hrs earphones / 24 hrs case
  • App Features:  ANC control / Control customization

What’s in the Box?

  • Apple AirPods Pro 2 earphones
  • 4 pairs silicone of ear tips (S, M, L, XL)
  • Charging cable (Lightning to USB-C)

Stuff I like

  • Exceptionally clean sound
  • Access to all Apple-exclusive audio features
  • Top-tier transparency mode
  • Most pocket-friendly case

Stuff I like less

  • Annoyingly short battery life
  • Some might want more exciting sound
  • Intentionally crippled app experience
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Stars


Whether we like it or not, true wireless earphones are here to stay. And while they were off to a bit of a rocky start, the best audiophile earbuds have matured quickly to become a viable solution for audiophiles who need to cut the cord. 

I’d still stick to my wires wherever possible – they still win out in raw sound quality alone. However, your intended use case is a very important consideration when you’re shopping for these things; and when the situation calls for it, I wouldn’t mind going fully wireless either. 

Given the choice, I’d personally go for the B&O Beoplay EX for its fun and agreeable sound quality, which I’m happy to trade out ANC performance for. For most people, though, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro or the Beats Studio Buds will provide an excellent all-around experience on any device. 

Tech enthusiast since childhood with a passion for finding the perfect gadget or accessory for the job. Always happy to share knowledge on electronics and digital trends. Music lover, 5K runner, instinctive optimizer. Impressed by fit and finish. Inspired by art and engineering.

This post was last updated on 2023-12-03 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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