Music in High Fidelity – 7 Best Over-Ear Headphones in 2021

Lady on bridge with over-the-ear headphones

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7 Best HiFi Over-The-Ear Headphones

Over-ear or around-ear headphones boast the musical juggernaut hard to replicate through on and in-ear headphones and earbuds. Their bulky size and shapes make them high fidelity sound devices that can cancel out the ambient noise and let you fully immerse in the stereo experience.

Over the ear headphones are also called circumaural, meaning ‘over the external ear’ cans.

From sound engineers to disc jockeys and regular music buffs, everyone prefers over-ear headphones over the other headset options due to their uncompromised sound quality. 

Editor’s Pick
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM4 continues an already successful headphone heritage from the 1000XM3. Excellent battery life, comfort and sound signature (especially for those who love theSony sound style).

Also Consider
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

The Bose Noise Cancelling 700 model is both a stylistic and impressive musical experience. The noise-cancellation is top level and until the QC 45 comes to market we’d put these in top spot to compete with the Sony.

If you also belong to that old school lot that doesn’t want to sacrifice sound quality and experience for convenience to look tech-savvy, continue reading this post. 

We have researched, rounded up, and reviewed some of the best over-ear headphones of this year. This list will make it easy for you to pick your next top-quality over-ear headphone among the multitudes of options available in the block.

Without any further ado, let’s review the seven best over-ear headphones of 2020.

But if you are in a hurry and don’t want to sift through all the reviews, here’s a glimpse of the seven best over-ear headphones available in the market right now.

  1. Bose 700 NC Headphones
  2. Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones 
  3. Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50
  4. Sony MDR7506 Large Diaphragm Headphone
  5. Panasonic RP-HT161-K Over-Ear Headphones
  6. Sennheiser HD280PRO Over-Ear Headphones
  7. Philips SHP9500 Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones

1: Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose 700 Noise cancelling Headphones

The Bose 700 are an easy choice I know, but to be honest I am still a huge fan of the QC 35ii and newer QC 45. That said, these are the best competitor to the Sony WH-1000XM4 at this time and my personal favourite.

The Bose 700 have the same breathability that the other Bose headphones have. Light, airy and comfortable. This means they stay comfortable for longer periods of time.


  • Voice prompted NFC pairing and powerful Bluetooth function
  • 11 levels of active noise-cancelling which are user selected
  • 20 hours of non-stop tunes


  • A bit to artistic for some peoples tastes

Read more reviews on the Bose 700 Headphones on Amazon.

2: Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones 

Sony WH-1000XM4

If budget is not your issue and you want to get the most cutting-edge over-ear headphone available in the market, then Sony WH-1000XM4 is certainly an option worth considering. This over-ear piece by the Japanese tech giant is also a wireless device and features advanced noise cancellation technology. 

This high-end over-ear headphone also works with Sony’s state-of-the-art Edge AI. This compatibility makes its use more intuitive and immersive. Unlike many wireless headphones that take ages to charge, Sony WH-1000XM4 boasts fast charging. Just plug it in for 10 minutes of charging to enjoy five hours of nonstop wireless music experience.

The clean and sleek construction of these headphones is also worth mentioning. There are no buttons and only touch sensor controls for volume, answering phone calls, and pause/skip/play. 


  • Updated design— relieves ear pressure for long-lasting comfort
  • Features speak-to-chat technology— automatically reduces volume during conversation
  • Boasts wear detection sensor— pauses playback when headphones are removed


  • A bit heavy on the pocket

Check out the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones on Amazon.

3: Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50

Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50 Headphones
Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50 Headphones

Over-ear headphones are considered a staple peripheral for gaming stations. If you also like your gaming headset in over-ear configuration, consider Turtle Beach’s Ear Force Recon 50. It is a great headphone in many aspects. First of all, it features 40 mm large speakers that offer hi-fi stereo results. With Ear Force Recon 50 on, you won’t miss any thundering low and crisp high in the audio. 

Then, a list of its features makes it a perfect gaming headset. It features a highly sensitive mic that picks up your voice with all the clarity so you can easily coordinate with fellow gamers while playing multiplayer. It is also lightweight compared to most off-the-shelf over-ear headphones, making it hassle-free to play for hours without removing the headphones.

We also like these Turtle Beach headphones for their compatibility. You can use them with Playstation Xbox, PC gaming setups, and all mobile tablets with 3.5 mm audio connections. 


  • Features convenient in-line controls
  • Removable mic for hassle-free listening and watching experience
  • Available in five different color combinations


  • The material used on earcups could have been better

Check out the Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50 at Turtle Beach

4: Sony MDR7506 Large Diaphragm Headphones

Sony MDR7506 Large Diaphragm Headphones
Sony MDR7506 Large Diaphragm Headphones

If you are looking for rugged over-ear headphones that offer supreme sound quality, then Sony MDR7506 is the item you are looking for. These wired over-ear headphones feature neodymium magnets in their 40 mm drivers. This top-quality construction makes for good power handling. 

The speakers fitted in these headphones also boast impressive frequency response ranging from 10 Hz to 20 kHz. In other words, you can appreciate and enjoy the high treble and low-end bass and reverberating mid of the soundtrack being played.

Another impressive bit about Sony MDR7506 is doesn’t feel like a wired set of headphones— thanks to its 9.8-foot coiled cord. It provides enough slack for moving around in a small studio and recording room without removing the headphones.


  • Headband with added padding— more wearing comfort
  • Gold-plated audio jack— provides seamless connection across devices
  • Folding construction— easy to carry and store


  • Some users may find it hard to deal with its coiled cable

Visit the Sony MDR7506 Large Diaphragm Headphone on Sony

5: Panasonic RP-HT161-K Over-Ear Headphones

Panasonic RP-HT161-K Headphones
Panasonic RP-HT161-K Headphones

Panasonic RP-HT161-K is a low-price option you can consider instead of the above-reviewed Sonny headphones. It is important to mention here that the reasonable price of Panasonic RP-HT161-K has no bearing on the features it boasts and the sound quality it offers. 

To begin with, these headphones by Sonny’s native counterpart also feature neodymium magnets in its speaker. It can handle a power output of up to 1000mW. This means you can use it with a range of audio devices and enjoys the same supreme quality of sound without missing any instrument and beat being played on any frequency.

Like Sony MDR7506, Panasonic RP-HT161-K also features a long audio cord that doesn’t compromise your mobility altogether. These Panasonic headphones come without a mic in the stock option. However, you can order them with a mic as well.


  • Plush padded earpads— provides comfort and cancels out ambient noise
  • Offers great value for money
  • Easy on the eyes— sleek design with a matte-black finish


  • Hinge in the center of the headband might be uncomfortable for some

Check Panasonic RP-HT161-K Over-Ear Headphones on Amazon

6: Sennheiser HD280PRO Over-Ear Headphones

Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Headphones
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Headphones

Many users have to make a tradeoff between sound quality and wearing comfort while choosing over-ear headphones. Sennheiser provides you an option to not make any such compromise with these over-ear headphones. Sennheiser HD280PRO is a set of robust, sturdy headphones that offer crisp sound quality and full wearing comfort to the head and ears.

The headphone is lightweight but boasts high-power output control with wide frequency response. Whether you are listening to a treble-rich EDM playlist or grooving with bass-heavy R&B tracks, with Sennheiser HD280PRO on, you will get to hear the original sound produced in the studio.

As mentioned earlier, Sennheiser has taken special care of users’ comfort in this headset. It features plush earpads that ensure your ears don’t feel the pressure of earpieces. Moreover, the headband has two small cushions that make the headphone virtually weightless above your head. 


  • High ambient noise attenuation— enjoy your music without any disturbance
  • Folding and rotating earcups for space-efficient storage
  • Long and replaceable coiled audio cable


  • A bit expensive

Check Sennheiser HD280PRO Over-Ear Headphones on Sennheiser

7: Philips SHP9500 Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones

We are rounding off our list with another all-around over-ear set of headphones. Like the first item on our list, Philips SHP9500 can also be declared the best over-ear headphones for various reasons. What catches your eye immediately is SHP9500’s 50mm driver that is the largest among all the over-ear options we have reviewed here. Those 50mm speakers deliver full-spectrum sound to let you get a theater experience with your headset.

Philips has kept their design open-back to ensure that these large earcups don’t build pressure. This open-back design doesn’t just prevent pressure buildup behind drivers. It also improves the look of the headphones and allows more diaphragm movement for better sound transparency.

We also like Philips SHP9500 for its overall comfort quotient. Despite being bulky with 50mm drivers, it doesn’t feel too heavy on the head. Breathable ear cushions and double-layered headband cushions play an important role in keeping this strapping set of headphones comfortable to wear.


  • Angled drivers— perfectly align with ears
  • Steel headband with double padding— durability with comfort
  • Wide frequency response— enjoy all stereo highs and lows 


  • The construction of the audio cord could have been better

Check our review on the Philips SHP9500 Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones on Make Life Click

Things to Consider While Buying Over-Ear Headphones

If you want to explore more options besides these seven over-ear headphones, consider these factors.

Speaker/Driver Size

Not every set of headphones labeled as “over-ear” delivers an over-ear experience. If you don’t want to get confused by the misleading packaging and labeling, always read the specs of the headset you are checking out. Keep in mind that any over-ear headphones must have at least a 30mm speaker/driver. Anything smaller than that doesn’t fall in the over-ear category.

Wireless or Wired

Wireless headphones have become all the rage in the last couple of years. If you want to match up with changing times, go with wireless headsets. Wireless headphones are also good options for everyday commute and long pedestrian hauls. Make sure that the wireless set you pick boasts strong Bluetooth pairing and offers extended playtime with fast charging. 

On the other hand, wired headphones are suitable if your use remains confined to a desk, chair, and couch. The benefit of opting for wired headphones is you can get the specs of a wireless option but at a lower price. While shopping for a wired set, ensure that it features a long, durable audio cord with a super-sturdy jack.

Noise Cancellation

Over-ear headphones either have passive or active noise cancellation. Headphones with active noise cancellation use radio waves to attenuate and override the noise. Meanwhile, passive noise cancellation is mostly made possible through earcup padding. Headphones with active noise cancellation certainly offer better sound quality than the ones that only use padding to cancel out ambient noise.

Comfort Quotient

Last but not least, don’t forget to look at the construction of a headphone for its wearing convenience. It should feature thick padding on earcups. Its headband should be flexible enough and preferably sports a layer of cushioning as well. If you feel pressure on your ears while wearing headphones, go with an open-back design (like Philips SHP9500).


We hope that the above reviews and buying guide help you find the best over-ear headphones for your high fidelity requirement within your price range. The Bose are still our favorite wireless see with ANC.

Among the wired headphones set, Sony MDR7506 is worth considering. It features big drivers with high power handling and wide frequency response. Also, the coiled wire is long enough to let you easily move around.

If you find this article helpful, don’t forget to share it with your friends and fellow fans of high fidelity over-ear headphones.

Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.

Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.

This post was last updated on 2024-05-22 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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