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Best Headphones by Price Point


Various headphones on stands

The Best Headphones for Every Budget

What are the best headphones? The answer may surprise you that there is no universal consensus on the "best headphone" in the world. There is, however, a best headphone for YOU. That being said, we're going to need your help with figuring out this one. Your mission (should you choose to accept it): Figure out the best headphone for you.

Step One: What type of music do you like to listen to? This is the first question Drew likes to ask our customers on the phone. The genres you listen to go a long way in helping us figure out what products (headphones, amps, DACs, etc.) will sound good to you. Your music says a lot about you, and some headphones sound better with certain genres than others.

Step Two: Do you like to get lost in your music or listen for every detail? If you like to get lost in the music, we call this the "Warm and Musical" listener. If you like to pick up on every single detail in a song, we call this the "Analytical" listener. Every headphone has a sound signature and pairs well with specific genres of music based on how they sound. A warmer headphone might bring out more emotion and intimacy in a jazz performance, or the feeling of a rumble on an intense EDM track. Analytical headphones are great for classical if you like listening for individual instruments in a large ensemble, the details in a live performance like fret buzz on the guitar, or nuances in a singer's voice.

Step Three: What is your budget? How much are you willing to spend on a pair of headphones? Everyone has to start somewhere, and a reminder to those just starting out on their audiophile journey: You don't have to spend thousands of dollars to get great sound.

The bottom line is that everyone hears differently, so there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the best headphone out there. The better question to be asked is "what is the best headphone for you?" Hopefully these steps and headphone guide can help you figure out the answer to that question. Happy headphone hunting!

Headphones under $500
Headphones $500-999

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Headphones $1-2K
Headphones $2-3K
Headphones over $3K



Best Headphones Under $500

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The SR80X is the OG. The Original. The legendary headphone that started it all. The first pair was built in 1991 and it’s still in production today, being the longest running Grado headphone. The SR80 now uses the X series driver, which is their 4th generation design, and features a more powerful magnetic circuit, more efficient driver, and a number of other improvements. The Grado fit and comfort is classic - they haven’t changed much over the years, because well, they don’t have to. They sound great with just about any genre, especially rock, alternative, jazz and classical. But one thing is for sure: this headphone is known for its energetic and fun sound signature. Grado has great detail in their Prestige Series of headphones, and if you want additional clarity and tightening up of the bottom end we recommend pairing your Grado with a Silver Dragon headphone cable. We can easily hack your headphone for options that have their cables hard-wired in, like Grado. The SR80X delivers great sound at an equally great price.

Cable recommendation: No option for Grado headphones.


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We like the Sennheiser sound: detailed, analytical, expansive - the 560 S is a steal. It features an open-back design with angled ear cups allowing the drivers to sit outside your ears pointing down your canals. These things combined create a wonderfully large soundstage and superb imaging, giving your music the breath of fresh air it needs. Sennheiser has incorporated a new 120 ohm transducer, which features a special polymer blend in the membrane. The driver itself is incredibly efficient, allowing it to be compatible with any device without needing external power. The HD560 S has nice bass extension as well, providing some tight and responsive low end for a open back headphone of this price. Great for classical, rock, R&, specifically. Comfort is a 10 out of 10 as well, with a reasonable clamping force and large earcups that are pretty much fatigue-free as far as we're concerned. We like pairing Sennheiser with our Black Dragon headphone cables for added bass response and to balance out the superb detail with a touch more warmth and musicality. The Sennheiser HD560 S is some of the best Sennheiser sound at one of Sennheisers best price points.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.


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At a fitting $225, we have the SR225X from Grado. Although they might look a lot like the SR80X, don't get them confused. The 225 delivers more texture and better voicing than the 80 thanks to the newly implemented F cushion on the ear cups. I really like this sound, and despite the typical Grado clarity and range, the SR225X absolutely kills it on most of the genres I throw at it. Using the X series driver, each headphone is hand built at their headquarters in Brooklyn, and there’s something to be said about hand-crafted works of art. And the fact that they’re still making them. Just like they used to back in the day. The SR225X stands apart with redesigned cables and a new headband too, with more cushion and more durable wire. The SR225x is a great headphone if you like a fun and energetic sound signature, putting you up close and personal to the music you love. They sound especially great with rock, , alternative, jazz, and blues.

Cable recommendation: No option for Grado headphones.


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For the 325X you’re upgrading to a full metal housing with a lot of the same driver and design influence as the rest of the Prestige series lineup. The metal adds precision to the sound - enhanced imaging and just an overall better soundstage than the previous two Grado headphones mentioned. The added weight from the cups also surprisingly don't diminish the overall comfort either. Grado’s design adds sufficient padding on the top and sides, with enough clamping force that the headphone still sits nice and snug. We think the sonic upgrade is noticeable from the 225 to the 325, and it makes the price difference justified as well between the two. Similarly, the SR series pairs well with rock, alternative, jazz, and blues. 

Cable recommendation: No option for Grado headphones.


Now, if you’re a gamer and you want some of the best closed-back planar magnetic sound out there for under $500 bucks, then look no further and just get these. At $299, the Penrose headphones from Audeze are the little brother to my favorite gaming headphones on the planet: the Mobius, which I’ll talk about in a minute. The Penrose uses Audeze’s superb sounding 100mm planar magnetic drivers, and comes in two configurations: one for PlayStation and one for Xbox. Th great thing is that it's awesome for music listening too: ike it's big bro, it sounds great with everything: rock and classical especially. The Penrose connects to your console via the USB wireless dongle, which transmits 2.4ghz low-latency hi res audio wirelessly from your console to the headphones. You could also use Bluetooth 5.0 to connect to PC or mobile devices, or you could even go wired with the single entry 3.5mm headphone jack. The Penrose comes with a great sounding detachable boom mic and has controls on the ear cup for mute and individual volume and mic levels. Comfort is great, with ample padding and the build quality is top notch for a gaming set. So, gamers, meet Penrose. Penrose: gamers.

Cable recommendation: The Bronze Dragon Portable Headphone Cable will add warmth and body, while maintaining clarity.  


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The Aonic is Shure’s maiden voyage into the world of noise canceling headphones, and for the most part, they don't disappoint. The large ear pads and headband cushioning are incredibly comfortable, and combined with Shure’s extensive history in both the pro and consumer audio market, you can be assured the sound is an accurate representation of how the music should sound. The nice thing about the Aonic 50 is that it gives you full control over the noise canceling, allowing you to adjust the ambient settings to your liking. You also have access to the latest hi res codecs : LDAC, AptX HD, etc. You can use the Aonic 50 wired with the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the Silver Dragon portable headphone cable is a perfect pairing. The Aonic will be great for just about every genre, but rock, alternative, blues, and jazz are standouts. Combined with the nice and punchy sound, the Aonic 50 are a great choice for those wanting to tune the world out, but pay a lot less than the competitors.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Portable headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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The 99 Classics are some of our favorite sub-500 bucks headphones. Meze Audio makes some of the best headphones around, and their sound quality and overall craftsmanship stretches from their highest flagship level cans all the way down to the entry level models too. The 99 Classics are a lot of our daily drivers here at the office, and the $309 price makes it that much sweeter to get this level of fidelity. The styling is sexy, with both metals and woods creating a timeless looking headphone. Fit is great - the headphone is light and the wide headband and moderate clamping force make for an easy adjustment to get the right spot. Simply put them on and the headband automatically adjusts to where it needs to be. The drivers are incredibly efficient on the 99 classics - fun and energetic sounding, putting you in the music with the close - but not too close - soundstage. The curved ear cups actually provide a nice amount of space and help with the imaging. It’ll do justice to all your music, no matter the genre.

Cable recommendation: No option for the 99 Classics headphones.


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The Momentum 4 is the noise canceling headphone for audiophiles. They made some great upgrades from the Momentum 3 that put it much more in line feature-wise and stylistically as the newer Sony XM5. But when it comes to the sound, the Momentum 4 is tuned more more accurately than the XM5 for audiophiles who like a more analytical and detailed sound, with some great bass articulation. These are great for classical, jazz, alternative, synthwave, and more, bringing out some nuanced clarity and expressive midrange. The Black Dragon portable headphone cable is a great match, boosting some low end and retaining that mid and high detail. Bluetooth and hi res codecs sound great, comfort is even better than the last gen (which was phenomenal), and the new gesture and touch controls make navigating your music as simple as swiping a finger. What more could you want?

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon Portable headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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Ricky: "Here it is. My gaming daily driver. I love this headphone." So you’ll notice it looks a lot like the Penrose, and it is, but its just a bit better. Amazing sound with Audeze’s closed back planar magnetic drivers, ear cup controls for volume, mic, mute, etc. Detachable boom microphone, and more, it's a great headphone for any application: gaming or listening to music. At $399, the thing that sets the mobius apart is the integrated head tracking. Put these things on and you can get full 3 dimensional sound: either turn your head and have the volume localized like you were listening on speakers, or have the sound adjust as it tracks your head movement. It’s cool, there’s no denying that, and it makes for some cool gaming experiences if you’re using VR or using screen gyro control like on the Switch or 3DS. Sounds great with everything: rock and classical especially. Even synthwave and EDM with the energy of the drivers. Bluetooth, wireless, and USB audio makes this headphone a swiss army knife for any occasion, which is why we use it all the time for both gaming and music needs.

Cable recommendation: The Bronze Dragon Portable Headphone Cable will add warmth and body, while maintaining clarity.  


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The impressive thing about the Sundara is that it brings HiFiman’s flagship-level tech with the Stealth Magnets all the way down to the entry level price of the Sundara. And boy do they sound good. The Sundara driver easily shows off its muscles with anything you throw at it, and add the wooden ear cup design to keep all that energy and fidelity in, and you have a headphone that can easily go toe to toe with other cans twice the price. Aesthetically, they look a lot like the R10 series, but the cups are more shallow. They still provide a great amount of space and imaging though, and they’re incredibly easy to drive as well. The Sundara sounds great with any genre, especially jazz, and they perform impressively with both intimate or large and expansive ensembles. They’re light as a feather too, giving it an excellent comfort rating and perfect for long listening sessions. These have impressed the masses, so great job here Hifiman.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.


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All hail the noise canceling king! These hardly need an introduction, and the XM5 are some of the best high-end consumer grade headphones on the market, if not THE best. The styling looks great and is incredibly functional. Gesture and touch controls are responsive and the integration with the Sony headphones app is one of the best user experience for a headphone I've had with tons of control and sound customization. The active noise cancelation or ANC is top of class, and does an amazing job at blocking problem frequencies so you can focus on the music. It does so well that it’s basically like sitting in a quiet room all by yourself with nothing but your music. I don't know about you, but that's the kind of experience I want when sitting on a noisy and crowded plane. The drivers have been enhanced this year too, with better high end crispness and bottom end definition. It makes a great pairing with our Silver Dragon portable headphone cable too. Sony’s fun and energetic sound signature works well with every genre out there, so if you’re looking for a great do it all headphone with the best ANC on the market, then look no further. It’s the total package.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Portable headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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Ok, I'll spare you all the jokes that are rampant in the marketing materials for this headphone, but the Hemp headphone from Grado is a surprisingly MELLOW experience. Grado decided to go with a JOINT effort between hemp and maple into the custom ear cups - each designed with a unique grain pattern and sonically are very enjoyable to listen to. At $469, Grado likes to say this headphone is a SLOW BURN, getting better with each listen, and I’ll be BLUNT with you, I think they’re worth the price. In all honesty, they have a warm tonality to them that fits well with Grateful Dead, Phish, jam bands, and the like. But really, we did like them with rock, blues, and R&B in particular. All in all, you don't have to set HIGH expectations for great sound, and the Grado Hemp headphones just might be of the best sleeper cans on this list.

Cable recommendation: No option for Grado headphones.


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The Edition XS from Hifiman makes some essential upgrades to its predecessor, the Edition X. The Edition XS is the next level up from the Sundara Closed Back that has the excellent stealth magnet technology. You can read more about what the stealth magnets do and sound like in our review of the XS on our blog, but needless to say we're big fans of this design. HiFiman’s ear cups are large and open back, giving the listening some of the best soundstage and transparency in Hifi sound, and this is almost identical to the styling of some of their more expensive offerings. Comfort is key, and the Edition XS does a great job of not providing any pressure over the ears, the headband evens out the weight distribution. I mean, I’m wearing this headphone for hours with no issue. Being a planar driver you’ll find highly detailed sound recreation, bass response is surprisingly good, and the mids are lush - it's a great range of fidelity all around. We recommend pairing the XS with either the Black or Blue Dragon headphone cable for additional depth in the low end and clarity overall. It’ll sound great with folk, Americana, and jazz. The Edition XS from Hifiman is easily a mid-tiered headphone marked at an entry-level price.

Cable recommendation: The Blue or Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.


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The 660 S is a popular headphone that provides some expansive soundstage and great detail - with a driver design very similar to the 800 series. It's the follow up from the 650, and uses the new transducer design. The 660 is an incredibly efficient headphone being able to be run by almost anything, especially phones. Padding is more than sufficient on the 660 S - extremely comfortable ear pads and headband, the headphones are light enough that they don't cause any issues, and the open back design of the headphone creates a pressure-free listening experience. The 660’s are great for just about every genre out there, but if you’re a detail freak or imaging is important to you during your music listening, then the 660 S will not disappoint. Classical and alternative sound awesome on them. Rock is punchy, and even EDM sounds nice and “digitally crispy.” We recommend pairing them with the Black Dragon headphone cable for additonal low end weight and a more musical presentation. The 660 S is Sennheiser’s best headphone for under $500.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.


Best Headphones $500-$999

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Now we’re heading into the Reference Series, which introduces some really nice wooden cups to the Grado design. The housing’s sleeve and ring are made from maple, while the core is made from hemp. The wood adds some nice tonal characteristics to the sound as well, providing more warmth than Grado’s plastic or metal offerings. As you can probably guess, the X in the name means that Grado is using their 4th generation drivers, with a more powerful magnetic circuit, reconfigured diaphragm, and more. The 44mm drivers sound great and the fact that they’re still handmade in their factory in Brooklyn after almost 30 years says a lot about the company. New cables and headbands revamp the headphones for the newer X generation, and they work great for genres like rock, folk, alternative, and metal. The wooden cups are a nice upgrade from the Prestige series, and if you’re a fan of great build, great comfort, and great sound, then at $550, the Grado RS2X should be on your list.

Cable recommendation: No option for Grado headphones.


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The R9 from HiFiman takes a lot of stylistic cues from the more expensive R10 series. You’ll notice right off the bat that the headphones retain the same basic shape and the design of the larger ear cups. The R9 has what HiFiman calls the topology diaphragm, which refers to the special nanoparticle coating that is applied to its surface. The result is a more natural and detailed sound overall. And detailed they are. I’m a big fan of hifiman headphones because everyone I try out sounds great. Despite being closed-back headphones, the R9’s pack a lot of space for your music - the ear cup is designed as such to help the sound spread out, resulting in some great imaging and soundstage, especially for a closed-back dynamic driver. Great for rock, alternative, folk, and even jazz and classical - it’s versatile. The red is striking too - which ironically or not, looks and sounds a lot like the TH900 from Fostex. The hifiman Bluetooth adapter works with this headphone too, like the R10 series, giving you the option to go wireless if you want. Since it’s a single-entry headphone, we like pairing the R9 with the Silver Dragon portable headphone cable for added clarity and low-end definition. Efficient drivers sounds lovely, feels great, and looks cool too. Hifiman HE-R9 - at $599, it’s a solid high entry-level or mid-tier headphone.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Portable headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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At $750 the Grado RS1X is a trifecta of sweet looking woods. They combine Maple, Hemp, and Cocobolo into an amazing-looking ear cup, and along with the RS2X of the Reference Series, provide some nice warm tones for your music too. The RS1X uses the newer X series driver, which is a larger 50mm driver that’s tuned specifically for the tri-wood RS1X. It’s great for a lot of genres, specifically rock and folk, and the tone is even good for heavier music like metal and grunge. The wood adds a nice body to the mids that help guitars sound chunky and rich. Like the rest of the X series revamps, you’ll get some new sturdier cables and headband padding, and those changes alone go a long way to enhancing the comfort of a great-sounding headphone. We’ll have more Grado’s coming up, but the RS1X is the top of the Reference Series line by Grado. And yes, it sounds just as good as it looks.

Cable recommendation: No option for Grado headphones.


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The Ananda’s are some of our favorite headphones from Hifiman. They have everything you want in a mid-tiered audiophile can: great fit, great styling, great comfort, and of course, great sound. The ear cups are large, with an asymmetrical shape - giving the user maximum comfort with a no-pressure fit and enough room and airiness for the music to sound incredibly expansive and dynamic. The low end is weighty, but not bloated - it’s not going to be for bass heads, but there’s enough accuracy and presence for most people I would say. Mids and highs are detailed and smooth - it’s a really pleasant listening experience overall and combined with the comfort level of the headphones they’re easily one of my favorites for longer listening sessions. The Ananda is relatively easy to drive, but of course, with all larger planar magnetic headphones, we recommend throwing as much power at them as possible for the best sound quality. They’re great for classical, jazz, folk, Americana, and classic rock. We also like pairing them with our Silver Dragon headphone cable for added clarity and detail. The Ananda’s are HiFiMan’s best mid-tiered headphones in our book.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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Everything Meze Audio does, is….Ameze. They just don’t manufacture a bad headphone, and the 109 pro is not just their answer to an open-back version of the 99 Classic. It’s quite a bit more than the 99’s, at $799, and the sound quality is just as improved. I described it in my review of the headphones like getting the top-end clarity of the Elite matched with the warmer overall tone of the Empyrean. Great for rock, blues, jazz and alternative in particular. It’s an impressive quality even at this price range, and Meze always crafts its headphones with some of the best stylings on the market. There’s a lot to be said about the design too, which I’m also a huge fan of. It’s classy looking and exudes quality all around. The design itself is similar enough to the 99 Classics, with the double headband frame, the headband adjustment mechanism, and the wooden earcups. The grill on the side however is stunning and gives you a great look at the beauty of the headphone inside and out. I’m glad they mimicked the 99’s in this regard, because the comfort on them was primo, as is the case with the 109 Pro too. The 109 Pros are by far one of our favorite headphones in this category for their excellent looks and sound. And sometimes that’s all you need.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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The new Bathys headphone from Focal is their first high-end noise-canceling headphone. It’s a familiar enough design if you’re a fan of the Focal aesthetic, which I think most people are. They look sharp. Like other headphones on our list, Focal sticks with their tried and true styling and comfort. I mean, if it ain’t, broke, right? It’s a superb-sounding headphone, and with the option to go wired or wireless, it makes for an incredibly versatile set of cans. What makes the Bathys stand out however is the USB-DAC mode which can offer up to 24-bit, 192 resolution thanks to the integrated DAC and amplifier. It's also the sound quality that sets it apart. Great soundstage for a closed-back headphone, the bass response is tight and thumpy, and the mids and highs are clear and detailed. It’s gonna sound good with just about everything out there, but rock, classic rock, and folk were standouts. We like pairing the Bathys with our Black Dragon portable headphone cable for some added warmth and definition. It's a great Focal audiophile sound, just in a portable and wireless package with noise canceling. I mean, what's not to love? At $799, you get a headphone that sounds great with every genre out there, and tons of features like ANC and app integration, it’s hard to go wrong with the Focal Bathys.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon Portable headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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Okay, so you want some of the best gaming headphones on the planet? Let me introduce the LCD-GX by Audeze. But you’re like, wait, these just look like regular Audeze open-back headphones… You’re right in a sense, and that’s part of what makes them so good, is that yes, you could use these just like any great headphone for music listening. However, Audeze includes a cable with a microphone that terminates at the end of the headphone connection, allowing you to use a cable with a mic or one without. At $899, the LCD-GX sound great for gaming in general, and when it comes to genres they certainly shine with classical, jazz, alternative, and rock. The open-back design will also provide a great soundstage and airiness to your music and gaming audio alike. Even though the LCD-GX are incredibly efficient drivers, being able to plug directly into the controller or phone, we recommend pairing them with a headphone amplifier, since the planar magnetic drivers will perform much better the more power you throw at them. We also recommend pairing them with the Silver Dragon headphone cable for added clarity. The Audeze LCD-GX is one of the most premium headset options to upgrade your gaming experience when it comes to sound and fidelity, and they work for listening to music just as well.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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The AEON 2 closed-back headphones from Dan Clark Audio equals great sound, plus great design and form factor, plus excellent comfort. The AEON 2 make some substantial improvements over the first generation AEON by updating the drivers - flipping them 180 degrees to remove the magnets and flow structures from getting in the way of the ears, removing gaps in the construction, using higher precision-machined flow structures, and improving the dampening which results in better resolution and frequency response. All these updates made an already superb-sounding headphone even better, which is why the AEON 2 is so popular, in both the open and closed-back versions. The closed-back version is going to sound great with energetic genres like rock, blues, and alternative. Pairing the AEON 2 with the Silver Dragon headphone cable will also result in improved clarity and detail. The other nice thing about the AEON 2 is the engineering that went into making an incredibly comfortable folding design without making any sacrifices to said comfort or sound quality. It folds into a nice compact design that’s perfect for travel, especially with the included hard case. At $899, the AEON 2 closed-back is a solid pick at this price range and is one of our favorite audiophile-grade quality headphones for travel.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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In the same vein, at $899, the Noire version of the AEON 2 looks exactly the same, other than it being a metallic black. That being said, it certainly doesn’t sound the same, as the Noire in the name is meant to imply that it’s warmer. And that’s certainly the case. The Noire has richer bass and low-end and top-end energy. The mids are airier, and it’s a nice tonal difference from the original AEON 2. Fans of EDM, rap, R&B, synthwave, and metal will appreciate the warmer and more music nature of the headphone and combined with the Silver Dragon headphone cable, the AEON Noire is a formidable headphone. It maintains the same foldable design as the other AEON 2 headphones and is a great option for those wanting a different sound than the original AEON 2.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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To finish out our AEON 2 collection is the open-back version. Also at $899, the open-back version has all the same updates as the closed-back, improved sound quality, foldable design, etc. Like the closed version, they lean on the warm side of neutral, but the biggest difference is that the soundstage is enhanced, really giving the music space for the performance. I think it’s a big difference from the closed-back version - they both sound awesome, but the open-backs are just more expressive. Of course, a lot of it comes down to the ergonomic scenario - where are you gonna be listening to music, to determine if you want the open-back or closed-back. You really can’t go wrong with either, it’s more so just personal preference. They’re gonna sound great with rock and metal in particular. Silver Dragons are always a good match for the AEON 2 headphones. Open or closed back - it’s up to you. But the AEON 2 headphones from Dan Clark are next level.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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Alright, bass heads. The LCD-2 from Audeze is gonna pique your interest here. At $995, Audeze has made a headphone that is absolutely perfect for genres like Blues, Folk, and Country. The LCD-2s are made of hand-selected Caribbean rosewood, and the overall design is typical of what you would find on other LCD headphones from Audeze. They’re on the larger side, but comfortable enough for long listening sessions. The sound signature is on the warmer side, with a smooth top end and a lot of low frequencies shining through. We definitely pair it with our Silver Dragon headphone cable to bring out some more clarity and detail overall, tightening the low end, and providing a cleaner sound. EDM, rap, and R&B lovers rejoice. The LCD-2s will certainly benefit from added power from a headphone amplifier as well. If you like a warmer sound signature and the LCD sound from Audeze, then the LCD-2 is for you.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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The Ananda BT from Hifiman is one of the best-sounding wireless headphones we’ve heard. Period. At $999, Hifiman has created a wireless version of one of their most popular mid-tiered headphones, the Ananda, and for all intents and purposes, it looks exactly the same. Except for the fact that they’re included a detachable boom microphone that works well for gaming or even taking calls on mobile. The other thing you’ll notice is that they’ve actually taken out the headphone jacks completely. This might seem like a strange move, but they’ve allowed the user to use USB audio for the complete high-resolution tethered experience, and it’s pretty awesome, allowing you to send up to 196/24 via the USB-C jack. Even wirelessly, with high-resolution codecs, you can transmit up to 96/24. It’s one of the few, truly great wireless experiences with audiophiles in mind. It goes great with rock, metal, and even classical and jazz sound expressive with the warm-leaning sound signature. The large, open-back, planar magnetic drivers sound just awesome, so if you’re looking for one of the best wireless headphones for audio quality on the market, then look no further.

Cable recommendation: No cable option for the Ananda BT.


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The Celestee Headphone from Focal is one of the best sweet spots for a sharp-looking, great-sounding mid-tiered audiophile headphone. It has the same styling as the Bathys, Stellia, etc, which is great because of all the Focal designs, I love this one. The Celestee leans to the warm side in regard to the sound signature, making it a great match for genres like blues, country, folk, and more. We like to pair the celestee with our Silver Dragon headphone cable to balance out that musicality with a little more detail and clarity. The closed-back dynamic driver design from Focal is hard to beat, and they’re incredibly efficient drivers. The Celestee exudes quality, from the navy blue and copper aesthetic, various premium leather and metals, working seamlessly together, it’s one of the best-looking headphones we sell at Moon Audio.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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The 7200 is Denon’s mid-tiered reference headphone. We like the classic-yet-touch of modern aesthetic with the black leather headband, the brushed silver, and the gorgeous walnut ear cups. Denon uses a 50mm freeEdge driver diaphragm in their AH series, made from a nano-fiber material. Little distortion, and accurate frequency response, resulting in a great neutral, reference sound. They’re incredibly comfortable, with plush cushioning on the ears and head, and there’s something about closed-back wooden ear cups that really appeal to me when it comes to sound. The dynamic driver closed up retains a lot of that energy in the music, without letting it escape like in open backs, and the cups are domed as such that it gives the music just enough room to sound a bit bigger, giving instrumentation a touch more space for the performance and improving imaging over other closed-back dynamic headphones. The wood is expressive, and I really enjoy that. It’s great for just about every genre, especially classical, jazz, and most rock. We like to pair it with our Silver Dragon headphone cables as well for added clarity. The Denon AH-D7200 is one of our top reference-sounding headphones in this category, so if accuracy, neutrality, and genre versatility are your thing, then the 7200s might be for you.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.

 


Best Headphones $1,000-$1,999

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Like our other Grado offerings, the X series uses the newer 50mm drivers, and the GS1000X sports a lovely mahogany and ipe wood ear cups that not only look great but sound great too. They also use Grado’s G cushion, whose distinctive shape also helps the tuning of the headphone itself. The Statement Series is a rich sounding set of headphones, plenty of detail, but at the same time great bass response. It’s a sonic improvement over the E series, which the X series updates. The GS1000X will be great for rock, metal, alternative, blues and more. We like to pair it also with our Silver Dragon headphone cable for added detail. Overall, it’s a solid choice for a mid-tiered Grado headphone that will perform leaps and bounds better than the ones under this price range.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.

 


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The R10 series consists of 2 variations, the R10D, which stands for the dynamic driver version here, and the R10P which is the more pricey planar magnetic driver variation. The design itself might be a little polarizing, with the larger ear cups, but there’s one thing you can’t deny, and that’s the amazing sound quality - partly in thanks to the ear cups. The R10D is a fun headphone, it has a lot of energy, top end clarity, and the ear cup design helps the low end feel larger as well as enhance the overall soundstage. Hifiman has even created a Bluetooth module for the R series, allowing you to make the headphones wireless with their single entry headphone jack. The dynamic version is going to sound great with rock, alternative, blues, and metal in particular. We like pairing them with the silver dragon portable headphone cable too for tightening the low end response and adding a touch more detail to the mids and highs. The R10D is an excellent headphone if you’re looking for something with a little more connection or ergonomic variety than some of the other headphones on this list.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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The Clear MG from Focal makes some awesome improvements over the original Clear, making it Focal’s premiere mid-tier headphone for audiophiles. It sounds just as good as it looks too - it’s like they took a bronzer to the original Clear - the browns and coppers with silver accents just look awesome. The big deal here is the new M shaped magnesium dome, it really improves the dynamics and balance. Details are nice, and it's just an overall solid reference signature. It’s gonna be great for blues, country, and folk in particular. We like to pair our Silver Dragon headphone cable as well for added detail and tightening up the low end. The Clear MG is one of our favorite Focal headphones here at Moon Audio and we use it as a staple for many of our testing sessions. It’s tried and true great sound and comfort, and we’d be doing you a disservice by not recommending it for anyone looking for one of the most premium headphones in this price range.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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The Arya Stealth Magnets is the update to the original Arya - not stealth magnets. See the difference? Stealth Magnets. Like many of our updated headphones or 2nd generation iterations, the stealth magnets provide a different flavor for the sonic pallet, if you will. The stealth magnet technology essentially allows waves to pass through the magnets without generating interference. Sonics are detailed and transparent, and dynamics are absolutely stunning. You can read more about the technology on our site, but know that Hifiman’s tech is the real deal when it comes to premium sound quality. The new version is a little more analytical than the original, which was warm-leaning. You’ll find the Arya stealth magnets great for genres like blues, folk, rock, and metal. We like to pair the Arya with our silver dragon headphone cable too for added clarity and details. The Arya Stealth Magnets is a big improvement over the original, so if you like the HifiMan sound, it’s hard to get any better in this price range.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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I had the privilege of testing this headphone when it came out, and boy was I impressed. It’s kind of a sleeper hit, because it’s Denon’s flagship, and to be honest I didn't expect much from a flagship at this price. First of all, I’m a big fan of the vintage yet touch-of-modern look of the black leather, brushed silver, and slick looking wooden ear cups. They use the 50mm FreeEdge drivers like the rest of the AH lineup of headphones, and the ear cups are made from japanese bamboo. So Japanese bamboo has natural vibration dampening properties, and the result is a clean and natural sound to the music. As such, the 9200 is neutral sounding when it comes to the signature. It has a tight bass response and some clarity and detail in the mids and highs. We recommend pairing the 9200 with the Black Dragon headphone cable for some added warmth and body to the music to help fill out some of those mids and low frequencies. It’ll sound great with classical, jazz, and rock in particular. The Denon AH-D9200 is a flagship-level headphone without the flagship-level price, and it’s the only headphone on this list where I can say that.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.


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The X is the most neutral of all the LCD collection, and is popular among audiophiles, studio engineers, and musicians. It’s clear, accurate, and we’d classify it as forward with some great top end sizzle. It’s gonna be great for Rock, Metal, and anything with a lot of energy. The open back design of the LCD-X has a wonderful soundstage, giving ample space for the performance. Imaging is also great, which is partly why it's so popular with mixing engineers too. The LCD-X will sound great with classical, acoustic music, folk, and even rock will have a nice energy. We recommend pairing the LCD-X with our Black Dragon headphone cable to add some warmth and musicality to the audio. The drivers are incredibly efficient, you can plug them into your phone and they’ll work just fine, but you’ll get much better performance hooking them up to an amp. The LCD-X - if you’re a fan of the analytical audiophile persuasion, then be sure you have them on your list.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.

 


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The MM-500, priced at $1,699.00, is Audeze's new open-back headphone for professional mixing. The MM stands for Manny Marroquin; Audeze teamed up with the award-winning producer/mixer on the design. And really, who better to collaborate with than someone who will actually be using the product you design together? Star power aside, I think the MM-500 is going to appeal to audio pros and audiophiles alike. It's got some parallels with the very popular LCD-X, which Audeze calls the Audio Professional's Choice, but MM-500 is definitely a new and different headphone. The mm500 does a better job than the LCD-X with detail and separation, the overall presentation is more powerful and energetic. Less bass than the 500 however, but not by much. Acoustic rock, folk, and anything vocal-centric is going to sound amazing on the MM500. We also like to pair them with the Black Dragon headphone cable for added warmth and body to the music. If you’re a studio engineer, or a hyper-detail freak, definitely check out the MM-500 from Audeze.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.


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As I’m sure you guessed it, the XC is the closed-back version of the LCD-X from Audeze. At 1799, the closed drivers retain a lot of that energy from the excellent planar magnetic drivers and have a forward sound signature with plenty of top end resolution. That energy makes it a great fit for EDM and rock, where the instrumentation can be impactful but articulate. Like the LCD-X, we recommend pairing them with a headphone amplifier to get the best performance from the drivers. Our Black Dragon headphone cable makes a great match with the LCD-XC too to bring out more musicality and warmth. If you like a more immediate sound with energy, then you should check out the closed-back version of the LCD-X, the XC, from Audeze.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.

 


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One of my favorite headphones on our list here, the HD800 S from Sennheiser, can run double duty as a great music listening headphone as well as one of, if not THE, best high end headphone for gaming. At 1799, Sennheiser’s detail monster delivers some of the best clarity and forward-sounding audio than any other headphone available at Moon Audio. It’s impressive, and the sound signature will appeal to any detail lover and genres like Classical, Jazz, Acoustic music, and more. The comfort is next level, with large oversized ear cups that completely envelop your ears and excellent padding, I can wear these for hours without any fatigue whatsoever. And that's for both music listening and gaming. The open back design is great for imaging and one of the most expansive soundstages on the market, and you’ll be surprised at just how big your music can sound in these things. Classial, Rock and, Jazz are certainly recommended genre pairings. We definitely recommend pairing the HD 800 S with a headphone amplifier to get the best performance from these drivers, along with a Black dragon headphone cable for added warmth and musicality. Look, if you want some of the best detail in a headphone for music or gaming then look no further. The Sennheiser HD800 S is for you.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.

 


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This is one of Drew’s favorite headphones here, and there are lots of reasons why. It’s a well known and respected headphone in the audiophile industry, and it’s one of the top of the line reference headphones by Fostex. It’s a neutral sounding headphone - it's very linear from top to bottom as Drew likes to say, and that makes it a great headphone for a lot of genres out there. Blues, folk, country and EDM are especially lovely on them. We like pairing the TH900 Mk2 with our Black Dragon headphone cable to add more body and warmth to the music. Being a reference headphone, it’s far from being analytical sounding, and it does a lot of things well for different genres. Comfort is awesome - cushioning and clamping force make it easy to just sit there and listen to the music. So if you want a headphone where you can do that for a lot of different genres of music, be sure to check out the Fostex TH900 MK2 headphones.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.


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Of the LCD lineup of headphones from Audeze, the LCD-3 is the warmest of the bunch. If you like your low end THICC then these might be the headphones for you. Audeze has the same open-back design on the 3’s as their other LCD offerings, similar large ear cups, headband design, grill, etc. It’s a tried and true design from Audeze, but that’s where the similarities end. The LCD-3 has huge bottom end extension, making it great for genres like EDM, electronica, and jazz. At the same time it’s incredibly detailed, with great articulation. If I’m wanting to just get lost in my music, these are one of the first headphones I’ll grab. It just provides an incredibly rich environment for my music to live in. We like to pair the LCD-3 with our Silver Dragon headphone cable for added clarity and detail. Bass heads and electronic music lovers, check out these headphones because I’m sure they won’t disappoint if you’re looking for a new set of cans in this price range.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.

 


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At the top of the Grado totem pole is the GS3000X, at $1995, it’s their flagship Statement Series headphone. The GS3000X of course has the new X series drivers that we’ve already discussed a few times, with the 52mm driver and a newer cable and headband design. It also features the larger G cushion ear pads. The biggest difference here is the cocobolo wood paired with a metal chamber, adding some great texture, emotion, and mass to your music. It’s a stunning booking headphone with the wood grain and is certainly fitting design-wise and sound-wise for a flagship headphone. The sound signature can best be described as musical and expansive - not necessarily warm - but the Grado tuning makes it sound excellent for classical, jazz, and blues. We also like to pair the GS3000X with our Black Dragon headphone cable for some added warmth. If you like Grado and want the best they have to offer, be sure to check out the GS3000X headphone.

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.

 


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Like all things Sony, you can expect one of the best V-shaped headphones on the market. There’s a ton of bass as well as some excellent top end in the Z1R, making it a great fit for a lot of genres out there, but some of our favorites were rock, pop, EDM, and R&B. They’re on the large side, but don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re uncomfortable or unwieldy to wear. They’re pretty light, all things considered, and I’ve worn these for hours without any issue. Sony likes to put you “in the action” of your music, so the soundstage is a lot smaller than other headphones on our list, but it’s not too small that it sterilizes the music. In fact, it keeps the performances lively and exciting. We like to pair the MDR-Z1R with our Silver Dragon headphone cable for added clarity and definition. At $1999, they’re the best Sony has to offer in sound quality for a headphone. Check them out if you want a headphone under $2000 that can do it all.

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.

 


Best Headphones $2,000-$3,000

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The Audio Technica ATH-ADX5000 is an open-back dynamic driver headphone. The ear cups are on the larger size, but at just 9.5 ounces, this is a really lightweight and comfortable headphone. The frame is made of strong, lightweight magnesium; the earpads and headband are fashioned from Alcantara, a material known for its durability and comfort. The ADX-5000 has a very detailed and resolute sound, which makes it great for music with lots of instrumentation and/or stringed instruments. The wider soundstage gives a great sense of imaging, so you can imagine the various instruments in your mind’s eye. The ADX-5000 does have a lot of top-end energy, so you’re really going to hear instruments in the treble range.

Standout genres: Classical, jazz, bluegrass

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon headphone cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.


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The Fostex TH-909 dynamic driver headphone is an eye-catcher with stunning red lacquer ear cups and cool grille design. The housing features a double-layer structure composed of etching metal, diversifying the resonance points and presenting a gorgeous appearance. The open-back design gives the TH-909 a wide and airy sound, so the music feels less concentrated in your head. It's detailed and fast sound with a great bass presence, making it an especially good match for genres like heavy metal, rock, EDM, R&B, classical, and jazz. This is a headphone that favors neutrality and accuracy over warmth and emotion. Mids are neutral and accurate, while highs are on the tamer side.

Standout genres: Rock, metal, EDM, R&B, classical, Jazz

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.


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The HiFiMan HE1000V2 is an open-back planar magnetic headphone with large, oval ear cups with a wood veneer and perforated leather head strap to help with heat dissipation. The patented “Window Shade” grilles help achieve a wider sound with excellent imaging and clarity. The natural, detailed, and dynamic sound is both relaxed and resolving. The top end is prominent, but not fatiguing; mids are slightly forward, and bass is deep and well controlled. While not a warm headphone per se, it has enough warmth to keep it from sounding more analytical. 

Standout genres: Blues, folk, country, classical

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will keep the bass controlled and tight.


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The Meze Liric is a closed-back planar magnetic headphone with a more subtle but no less beautiful design than its open-back siblings, the Empyrean and the Elite. It’s also smaller than those headphones, and weighs less than 14 ounces. The black with copper accents is quite striking, and the wide headband has symmetrically placed cushions in a “+” shape to allow proper air flow. The Liric's sound is clear, clean, full-bodied, immediate, and immersive. Lows are on the warm side, mids are forward, giving a sense that the music and vocals are close; and the highs are prominent and well defined. This versatile tuning is going to work particularly well with genres like rock and blues, and the closed-back design makes it feasible for portable use.  

Standout genres: Rock, blues, alternative, vocal m

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon Premium headphone cable will bring more fullness and body to the sound.


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The RAAL CA-1A is a unique headphone in that it uses a ribbon driver. Yes, like ribbon tweeters found in full-size loudspeakers. The sound is analytical, fast, and airy, much like an electrostatic headphone. It’ll really let you hear all of the nuances in your music. We really like the CA-1A with classical, jazz, and blNow, if you have an amplifier or an interface box that supports ribbon headphones, you can purchase just the CA-1A for $2,000. Or, you can get it with the TI-1b transformer interface, which you can connect to a high-powered headphone amp. The CA-1A has a minimalistic, utilitarian design and comes with two sets of ear pads for different sound effects.

Standout genres: Classical, jazz, blues, acoustic music

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon Premium headphone cable will add heft to the bottom end while smoothing the higher frequencies.


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The Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 is an open-back planar magnetic headphone with a smooth, neutral-warm sound. The gorgeous, handcrafted design is available in a choice of six colors, utilizing such materials as wood, rocks, and gems. This is a heavier headphone, weighing in at 550g to 615g, depending on the materials used in your chosen design. Rosson Audio Design was started by the co-founder of Audeze, so some of the Audeze sound comes through here. The RAD-0 has the warmth and musicality of the LCD-3 and the top-end sizzle of the LCD-X. 

Standout genres: Rock, jazz, classical, acoustic music

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will really bring out detail in the midrange and upper frequencies.


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The Stellia is Focal’s flagship closed-back headphone. The full-grain leather on the headband is soft and cushy, and the sophisticated bronze design gives this headphone a one-of-a-kind look. The Stellia weighs about 15 ounces and is very comfortable. This headphone uses a dynamic driver with beryllium, which lends a more analytical sound. But the Stellia is anything but clinical sounding. It’s detailed and energetic, with a smoother top end. The closed-back design means you’re going to experience more depth and height to the soundstage as opposed to width.

Standout genres: Folk, Americana, classical, jazz

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon Premium headphone cable will give the Stellia a more musical sound.


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The Meze Empyrean is an open-back planar magnetic headphone. It’s definitely a looker, with ergonomically pleasing ovoid ear cups and a wide headband. It's a larger headphone, weighing just under a pound. The Empyrean features the first Isodynamic Hybrid Array driver, one of the lightest and most advanced planar magnetic drivers on the market. The Empyrean has a warm, lush, and emotive sound. It also has an exceptionally wide soundstage, giving your music an expansive and majestic quality. Bass is well extended, vocals are smooth, and highs are relaxed. It’s a great headphone for classical, jazz, and EDM.

Standout genres: Classical, jazz, EDM, vocal music

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will balance the warmth while supporting upper-end detail.


Best Headphones $3,000 and Up

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Dan Clark is known for planar magnetic headphones, but the VOCE is actually an electrostatic headphone. Electrostats are known for being fast, detailed, and airy, but Dan Clark put a little of that more relaxed planar sound into the VOCE, so it’s less clinical than your typical electrostat. It’s very crisp and clear, with a little bit of warmth. The bass is clean and tight, mids are on the forward side, and highs are pleasant. The VOCE weighs about 11.5 ounces and feels good on the head. It’s got this spider-web design on the grilles, and a wide, perforated head strap. As with any e-stat headphone, you must use an appropriately powered amplifier or energizer. The VOCE is designed to be compatible with all 580 volt pro bias amps. The VOCE ships in a walnut storage box with clear acrylic doors, a built-in headphone stand, and a slot for the specialized cable, which is included with purchase.

Standout genres: Classical, folk, blues, acoustic rock

Cable note: No Dragon Cable option. You must use the specialized stock cable.

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The HiFiMan HE1000SE is an open-back planar magnetic headphone with a very detailed and dynamic sound. It’s on the analytical side, but it’s more natural than clinical. HE1000 series headphones have one of the largest planar diaphragms made. This gives them the ability to provide subharmonic low frequencies better than any other headphone, in our opinion. You’re not going to get big, bloated bass, but you’’ hear subharmonic frequencies that most headphones can't pick up. The HE1000SE has a huge soundstage, making it especially suitable for genres like classical and jazz, and the open-back design is going to suit aggressive genres like rock and metal. It’s a very comfortable headphone, with larger, teardrop shaped ear cups; a wide, perforated leather head strap; and a headband designed for stability and durability. It weighs just under a pound and comes with three cables.

Standout genres: Classical, jazz, rock, acoustic music

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon Premium headphone cable will warm the middle and low frequencies for a fuller sound.

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The open-back planar magnetic Expanse from Dan Clarjk Au has a wide and airy sound, so your music will sound spacious with plenty of breathing room. Resolution is phenomenal; you’re going to hear so much detail in your music. The sound is snappy, articulate, and transparent, making it a great choice for music with lots of strings and other instrumentation where you really want to hear that definition. Orchestral music will have you feeling like you are seated in front of a large stage, picking out the various sections. Treble on the Expanse is rich and prominent, mids are clear, and the low end favors punch over rumble. This headphone has a striking black design with pops of bright blue, including the stitching on the underside of the leather head strap. The grille features a hypnotic computer-generated design. It’s very comfortable, and foldable, too! Now, planar magnetic headphones sound their best with added power, so you’ll want to use a DAC/headphone amp to drive the Expanse.

Standout genres: Classical, bluegrass, orchestral music, jazz

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon Premium headphone cable will balance the more prominent mids and highs with some bottom-end warmth and weight.

$3,999.99

The Dan Clark Audio Stealth is a closed-back planar magnetic headphone, but it isn’t simply a closed-back version of the Expanse; it has a different sound, and a design that swaps the blue stitching for red. The ear pads are generously cushy and use a leather-suede combo. The leather head strap is quilted on the underside with pops of red stitching, and the headband is DAC’s signature NiTiNol nickel-titanium that will hold its shape. Plus, the headphone is foldable! The Stealth is designed to disappear and let the listener relax into the music. It’s a smooth and natural, organic sound, but still quite detailed, making it especially good for jazz, blues, and acoustic music. You’re going to get excellent bass extension, clear and present mids, and relaxed highs. And while it’s a closed-back, the soundstage is a bit wider than you’d expect, so the music never sounds congested or cramped. Moreover, the closed-back design keeps sound from leaking out, making this headphone feasible for the office or travel. Just know that planar magnetic headphones sound their best with added power, so you’ll want to use a DAC/headphone amp or appropriately powered digital audio player.

Standout genres: Jazz, blues, acoustic music

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will add some sizzle and spice to the smoother top end.

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The Meze Elite is an open-back planar magnetic headphone. The ear cups are ovoid shaped, which are meant to mimic the shape of the ear. Despite its larger size, this is a really comfortable headphone, weighing about 15 ounces. The Elite has a warm and spacious sound, with tons of clarity and detail. Bass is clean, deep, and tight, but it's not a bassy headphone. Mids are on the forward size, with great vocal texture and nuance. Highs are smooth and pretty. The Elite has a gloriously big and wide soundstage with a good amount of height and depth. The side sound and warmer signature will suit a variety of genres, particularly classical, blues, and jazz. As a bonus, the Elite comes in a really cool high-strength aluminum suitcase with hefty foam inserts that’s going to keep your headphones protected during storage and travel.

Standout genres: Classical, blues, jazz, vocal music

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable will really pull out middle and high frequencies and add some top-end sizzle.

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The CRBN is the first electrostatic offering from Audeze, known for planar magnetic headphones. This is a beautiful headphone with an all-black design save for the stainless steel rods. The large oval ear cups feature a cool etching on the grilles, and the pads are incredibly comfortable. This headphone does weigh a little over a pound, but somehow it doesn’t feel very heavy. The CRBN driver features a patent-pending polymer film with suspended ultra-thin carbon nanotubes. Originally developed for MRI medical applications, Audeze adapted those innovations for the CRBN. It’s got a beautifully clear and transparent sound, with sparkly highs that aren’t bright or fatiguing, prominent mids, and impactful, punchy bass. The sound is big and natural, not analytical, and the overall tonality is pleasant and inviting. The CRBN is compatible with all 580 volt pro bias amps, and as with other electrostatic headphones, you must use the included cable.

Standout genres: Classical, jazz, folk, acoustic rock

Cable note: No Dragon Cable option. You must use the specialized stock cable.

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The Audeze LCD-5 may be a lower weight than its predecessor siblings, but it's made serious gains in resolution and clarity. If you enjoy the clean, tight bass and distortion-free sound of a planar magnetic headphone, AND you want great soundstage and imaging plus lots of detail and nuance, the LCD-5 is a gem. Instrument separation is top-notch, making this headphone great for listening to more complex music where you really want to hear all of the individual sounds that comprise the whole, such as classical and jazz. The top end on the LCD-5 has some sizzle; upper mids are on the forward side; and bass is tight, punchy, and well extended. This headphone is a looker, too, with a sleek black carbon fiber headband, black perforated head strap, and tortoiseshell finish on the rings.

Standout genres: Classical, jazz

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon Premium headphone cable will smooth the prominent top end without sacrificing detail.

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This second-generation open-back dynamic driver headphone from Focal retains the excellent detail retrieval of the original, but with a sound that leans more smoky jazz club than surgical suite. In other words, it’s warmer than the more analytical original. While the driver design did not change, Focal made some structural changes that affect the sound. Most notable is the grille design, which lends itself to a more open sound, as well as the shape of the speaker grilles, which improves the linearity of the treble. Some people found treble on the OG Utopia to be a bit peaky, and the new Utopia has smoother treble. The sound is fuller and rounder. There’s also a greater depth of field, so the music is going to feel like it’s farther out in front of you. The Utopia 2022 has a versatile sound signature that’s going to complement a variety of genres, from blues and folk to rock. If you like a warmer sound for classical music, the warmth coupled with the side sound is going to be great. It’s also a very comfortable headphone, with cushy ear pads and a carbon fiber headband that helps keep the weight of the headphone evenly distributed on the head. 

Standout genres: Blues, folk, rock, vocal musi

Cable recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium headphone cable is going to support detail retrieval in the mids and highs.

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The Susvara is HiFiMan’s top-of-the-line planar magnetic headphone. The Susvara’s sound is neutral yet musical and exciting - addicting, really. Pop these on your head and you can’t help but smile. Your music is going to sound bold, expressive, and impactful. Detail and instrument separation are top notch. The bass is deep, textured, and well controlled. Mids are rich and realistic, and highs are non-fatiguing but plenty sparkly. The Susvara is a power hog, so you’re not going to drive it using portable gear. You’re going to need an ample desktop amplifier. Not to worry - the sound is so special that you won’t mind. Plus, the Susvara is an open-back design, so you’re not going to be using this out in public anyway. The Susvara weighs just under a pound, and it’s definitely a larger headphone, with big ear cups. The metal and wood design echoes the sound signature: natural and exciting.

Standout genres: Blues, folk, acoustic rock, classical

Cable recommendation: The Black Dragon Premium headphone cable will add warmth and weight in the low end.

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This isn’t just a headphone, it’s a fully balanced, complete sound reproduction system from Warwi. Designed as a reference studio monitoring headphone system for high-resolution audio production (recording, mixing, and mastering), it's also a high-end playback device for consumer use. Like the VOCE, this is an electrostatic headphone, and it comes with its own discrete amplifier. Actually, it’s a full-feature preamp with line output, DAC, headphone amp, energizer, and network player via Roon for streaming. The sound is quick and clean, amazingly detailed, very nicely balanced, and wonderfully immersive. The sound is so transparent, so pure, so deliciously enjoyable, you really won’t feel like you’re listening through headphones. Instead, you’ll be transported to the concert hall or recording studio, with no barrier between you and the performers. The headphones have a large, generously padded headband. And look at this interesting grille design that shows off the copper-colored mesh behind the drivers. The ear pads are covered in Cabretta leather, and the inner perimeter uses acoustically absorbent foam. Whatever you listen to you - particularly jazz, choral, and orchestrtral music - you’re going to experience it in a whole new way, with more clarity, more detail, and more realism than you thought possible.

Standout genres: Classical, jazz, choral, orchestral music

Cable note: No Dragon Cable option. You must use the specialized stock cable.


Dragon Cables

Generally, stock audio cables are manufactured with subpar materials, metals with impurities, poor geometries, and an overabundance of layers to make them look and feel like a fire hose. Inconsistency and lack of quality control in stock cables can lead to poor sound quality and a veiled sound vs what the musician intended for you to hear and feel from the music. Dragon cables are handcrafted to the highest standards made to order according to your specific needs.

Why Dragon Cables?

At Moon Audio, we create a custom cable for you using the highest quality UP-OCC silver or copper conductors that can be manufactured. UP-OCC metals are void of impurities and are optimized for signal transfer and sound quality. We have one of the largest collections of audio and headphone connection options available online and we create limitless audio cable options depending on your specific gear and needs. Dragon Premium Cables feature the same quality construction as standard cables, but with upgraded solder and premium Furutech connectors.

Silver Dragon Sound Signature: The Silver Dragon is the original cable. Silver strands clarify instrument separation, increase the soundstage, and find previously lost high and mid-frequency sounds. Transients appear more cohesive and the bass tighter for a more controlled sound. The detail and clarity of the Silver Dragon make it a perfect match for classical music and other genres with many nuanced instruments.

Black Dragon Sound Signature: The Black Dragon is warm and smooth with a musical presentation. Copper strands enhance the body, shape, and immediacy of the music. The detail and expansiveness of the Black Dragon make it a flexible fit where a broad range of musical genres are played. It can also improve bass frequencies on bass-light headphones. The smooth, musical quality makes it a perfect fit for headphones that tend to sound a bit edgy or bright. Despite its warmth, the Black Dragon does not have a laid-back, lush sound. It is much closer to neutral, making it a very natural-sounding cable.



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