Symphonic Serenity: Headphones for Classical Connoisseurs

Read Time: Approx.12 min.

Enjoy Blissful Sonnets and Symphonies in High Fidelity

Classical music is known for its complexity, structure, and emotional depth. Compositions can include string instruments, woodwinds, brass, and percussion, as well as occasional vocals for styles like Opera. It may actually be the most difficult to define musical genre. In one sense, we are talking about music from a specific time period, the so-called Classical Period from 1750 to 1820. This period includes well-known works from the likes of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. However, there are other periods and styles of classical music: Baroque, Romantic, Renaissance, and Modern, to name a few.

And what is the essence of classical? Some might call it relaxing, but people who listen to classical music know that this isn't a one-size-fits-all description. Sure, classical music can soothe you, but it can also be highly invigorating and thought-provoking. It can make your spirits soar and it can move you to tears. It can even (arguably) make you smarter -- the so-called "Mozart effect." Read more about music, mood, emotion, and cognition.

Classical music encompasses a vast array of compositions, from solo piano pieces to grand symphonies, each with its own unique sound characteristics. String instruments like violins, violas, cellos, and double basses, are known for their rich, warm tones and a tendency toward the mid and upper-mid frequencies. Trumpets, trombones, horns, and other brass instruments offer a powerful, bright sound that can cut through the mix. Woodwinds, including flutes, oboes, and clarinets, have a more mellow, airy sound and can cover a wide frequency range. Percussion instruments, like cymbals, contribute to the dynamic range and add depth to the overall sound.

A well-recorded classical piece will showcase a wide dynamic range, with delicate passages and loud, powerful crescendos. These complex harmonies mixed with the various instruments used create a layered, multidimensional sound that with the right headphones, can transport you to the front row of the largest concert hall.

When it comes to the best headphones for classical music, we generally recommend a neutral or neutral-warm headphone. You want a headphone with amazing instrument separation that never skimps on the details and has a wide, enveloping soundstage that mimics a concert hall.  Much of classical music exists in the midrange, so you don't want a headphone that puts too much emphasis on either the high end or the low end. We find that a warmer sound signature provides more of a lush, immersive listening experience. We like the music to sound cohesive and flowing without an over-emphasis on details. Now, some people do prefer a brighter sounding or more analytical headphone for classical for bringing high-pitched instruments to life (or for focusing on details in instrumentation).

Should I choose open-back or closed-back headphones for classical music?

As far as open-back vs. closed-back headphones, an open-back headphone will provide a wider soundstage -- great for reproducing music recorded in a concert hall. A closed-back headphone, meanwhile, will give you a more immersive, in-your-head listening experience.

Do I need a headphone amplifier to get the most out of my headphones when listening to classical music?

Depending on the impedance of your headphones you may need a headphone amplifier to effectively drive them to optimal performance. Planar magnetic headphones and electrostatic headphones require additional amplification for the best possible playback.

The Best Headphones for Classical Compositions

To help you narrow your choices, we've curated a list of what we consider to be our best headphones for listening to classical music. If you're looking for the best headphones for classical under $1,000, you've got some great options. If you're looking to spend a little more, we've recommended a few headphones in the $1,000 to $2,000 range. Finally, you'll see some "cream of the crop" headphones over $2,000.

Under $1000

Grado SR225x Headphones

At a fitting $225, we have the SR225X from Grado. The SR225x delivers more texture and better voicing than the SR80x thanks to the newly implemented F cushion on the ear cups. The SR225x delivers you an up close and personal sound with plenty of detail. The SR225x compliments classical so well because of its ability to handle the dynamics of the genre at low-volume listening levels. Classical music can have extremely quiet and very dramatic passages, and there are some headphones that don't handle these dynamics well. The clarity range of Grado headphones can reveal new notes and details in songs heard hundreds of times. The driver and housing working in tandem react to sound vibrations and virtually eliminate transient distortions. With warm harmonic colors, smooth top-end, excellent dynamics, and a world-renowned mid-range, the SR225x produces a sound that’s pure Grado.

Dragon Cable Recommendation: No option for Grado Headphones

Denon AH-D7200 Headphones

The AH-D7200 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. 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. It’s great for just about every genre, especially classical, jazz, and most rock. We like to pair it with our Silver Dragon Premium Headphone Cable as well for added clarity. The Denon AH-D7200 is one of our top reference-sounding headphones in this price range, so if accuracy and neutrality are your thing, then the 7200s might be for you.

Dragon Cable Recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium Headphone Cable will add top-end resolution while enhancing detail retrieval.

HiFiMan Arya Stealth Magnets Headphones

The update to the original Arya, the HiFiMan Arya Stealth Magnets Headphones are detailed and transparent—the perfect combination for classical compositions. The stealth magnet technology essentially allows waves to pass through the magnets without generating interference. The sonics are detailed and transparent, and the dynamics are absolutely stunning. 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. 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.

Dragon Cable Recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium Headphone Cable will add top-end sizzle while enhancing detail retrieval.

HiFiMan Arya Stealth Review


Sennheiser HD 800S Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 800S Headphones deliver exceptional detail and 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. The open-back design is great for imaging and with one of the most expansive soundstages on the market, you’ll be surprised at just how big your music can sound in the HD 800S. We recommend pairing the HD 800S with a headphone amplifier to get the best performance from these drivers, along with a Black Dragon Premium Headphone Cable for added warmth and musicality.

Dragon Cable Recommendation: The Black Dragon Premium Headphone Cable will tame high-end energy and add warmth to the low end.

HiFiMan HE1000 V2 Stealth Magnet Headphones

The HE1000 V2 Stealth Magnet Headphones is the third version of HiFiMan's first planar magnetic headphone. HiFiMan implemented their Stealth Magnet technology, which provides a more refined low end, crisper details, and heftier mids. It's got a wide soundstage with a natural, detailed, and dynamic sound that's both relaxing and resolving. The top end is prominent, but not fatiguing: Mids are slightly forward, and the bass is deep and well-controlled. The overall design of these headphones is in line with other HiFiMan headphones: Ergonomic headband, window shade grill design, and large ear cups. Enjoy reference sound quality with these audiophile-grade wired headphones. 

Dragon Cable Recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium Headphone Cable will keep the bass controlled and tight, while adding some top-end resolution

Grado GS3000x Statement Series Headphones

At the top of the Grado totem pole is the GS3000x, one of their flagship Statement Series headphones. The GS3000x is equipped with Grado's X series drivers and the larger G cushion ear pads. The biggest difference here is the cocobolo wood paired with a metal chamber, adding great texture, emotion, and mass to your music. It’s a stunning-looking headphone with 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 like to pair the GS3000x with our Black Dragon Premium 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.

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

Over $2000

Focal Stellia Headphones

The Stellia is Focal’s flagship closed-back headphone with a sophisticated bronze design and one-of-a-kind sound. The Stellia uses a dynamic driver made with beryllium, which lends a more analytical sound—but the Stellia is anything but clinical sounding!  It delivers an exceptionally detailed and nuanced sound, catering to those who live for critical listening. The Stellia incorporates a dampening system on the rear venting port of the driver that releases energy and helps produce a larger extension, resulting in a more controlled bass response.  You'll experience more depth and height to the soundstage, resembling a concert hall's sound. The Stellia's low impedance makes it easy to drive, so you can the headphones with a portable device and enjoy amazing classical and jazz music without compromise. 

Dragon Cable Recommendation: The Black Dragon Premium Headphone Cable for added musicality

Focal Stellia Review

Meze Audio Elite Headphones

The Meze Elite open-back planar magnetic headphones have a more balanced than warm sound with tons of clarity, detail, and low-end representation. The bass is clean, deep, and tight, but the Elite is not a bassy headphone. The midrange is on the forward side with great vocal texture and nuance. The Elite has a gloriously big and wide soundstage with a good amount of height and depth. It's not going to add any coloration to the sound and will suit a variety of genres, particularly classical, blues, and jazz. The Elite sports a sophisticated black and silver design with Meze's signature ovoid-shaped ear cups. At about 15 ounces the Elite is comfortable with a strong but flexible headband that fits most head sizes. The Elite's build quality and sound put it at the top with other audiophile flagship headphones at this price tag. We recommend pairing the Elite with our Silver Dragon Premium Headphone Cable to add some top-end resolution and to pull out those middle and high frequencies.

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

Meze Elite Review

Focal Utopia 2022 Headphones

The Focal Utopia 2022 Headphones is the second-generation open-back dynamic driver that retains the excellent detail retrieval of the original Utopia, but with a sound that's warmer. The Utopia 2022 still uses the same 40mm M-shaped dome drivers, but they're tuned differently with a warmer presentation. Better depth of field and is more intimate sounding than the original Utopia. They are very engaging with a bass that's tight and controlled. The Utopia 2022 is going to deliver the listener a more musical flagship experience. The Utopia 2022's versatile sound signature will complement a variety of genres from blues and folk to jazz and classical.  

Dragon Cable Recommendation: The Silver Dragon Premium Headphone Cable to support detail retrieval in the mids and highs

Focal Utopia 2022 Review

Our favorite Classical Albums

Choral Masterpieces Album Cover

Choral: Masterpieces

Harmonia Mundi

A New Journey Album cover

A New Journey

Celtic Woman

Fantasia Album Cover

Fantasia (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Leopold Stokowski & The Philadelphia Orchestra

Humanity Chapter I Album

Humanity - Chapter I

Thomas Bergersen, Two Steps From Hell

Moon Audio Qobuz Playlist

Dragon Cables

When you're investing in a pair of audiophile headphones you want your listening experience to be enjoyable—from the moment you put on your headphones, plug in the headphone jack, and turn up the volume. Every link in your signal chain is important and a poorly constructed headphone cable can be what stands between you and exceptional sound.

Now, not every audio cable is poorly constructed, but sometimes stock audio cables are treated as an afterthought by manufacturers. While stock cables are designed to be functional, a custom audio cable elevates your headphone experience by providing superior sound quality, durability, and customization options, making it a worthwhile investment for any discerning music lover.

Our HiFi Audio Dragon Cables bring out more of what you love in your music and audio gear. We craft our cables using only the purest and best raw materials to unveil your music. We know that every listener hears differently so we've created three Dragon Audio Cable lines each with their own unique sound signatures that will tailor your listening experience to your preferences. We may recommend a Silver Dragon headphone cable as the ideal pairing for your headphones, but it's only a recommendation! Ultimately, they're your cans, so if you're a warm and musical listener through and through, the Black Dragon headphone cable might be a better fit for you.

If you love your headphones but wish they had a bit more top-end sparkle - a Silver Dragon Headphone Cable would be a great option. If your USB cables keep dying - as many stock cables do - then check out our quality USB Audio Cables. We say time and time again that materials matter, and our audio cables and custom geometries actually help to bring out those desired properties in your gear and music. We make tons of custom options for our customers so that you can get the right HiFi Audio cable for your exact needs. If you have any questions feel free to Contact Us and we'll be more than happy to help.

Moon Audio Silver Dragon Logo

Silver Dragon

Clear | Detailed

  • 4 x 99.99998% UP-OCC Stranded Silver Conductors
  • Available in standard & premium
Moon Audio Black Dragon Logo

Black Dragon

Warm | Musical

  • 4 x 99.99998% UP-OCC Pure Copper Conductors with 7N Purity
  • Available in standard & premium
Moon Audio Blue Dragon Logo

Blue Dragon

Neutral | Uncolored

  • 4 x 99.99998% UP-OCC Pure Copper Conductors with 7N Purity
  • Available in standard & premium
Moon Audio Bronze Dragon Logo

Bronze Dragon

Musical | Inviting

  • 8 x 99.99998% UP-OCC Stranded Copper Conductors
  • Available in portable headphone cable
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 Audio Cables are handcrafted with the highest standards and made to order according to your specific needs. 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.

Why Dragon Cables?
You’ve heard the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, right? Well, the same applies to your brand new audiophile-grade headphone or other audio components. The weakest link, in this case, is your stock audio cable or the cheap interconnects the manufacturer threw in the box just to get you up and running. Why is the audio cable always an afterthought, when it’s just as important as the rest of your system? At Moon Audio, we use the purest and best raw materials in our cables to unveil your music. We believe that materials matter and your audio cables should have the same care and craftsmanship that manufacturers put into their audio components and headphones. Audio cables are ultimately the connection to your music. The fact remains that cabling is often considered the last priority to that of the main product and a means to cut down the overall production costs. It’s as simple as that. Dragon Cables elevate every note - as if you were hearing your favorite music for the very time. 

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