In Tune with Jazz: The Best Headphones for Immersive Listening

Read Time: Approx. 10 min.

Swing into Sonic Bliss with the Ideal Jazz Headphones

Ah, the crisp highs and smooth lows of jazz music. Jazz music has many styles. You've got Big Band and Swing, think Duke Ellington; Bebop (Charlie Parker), Cool or Smooth jazz (Miles Davis), and Fusion (Herbie Hancock). It's largely instrumental with brass and percussion, piano, clarinets, upright bass, guitar, and much more. You might describe it as contemplative, expressive, abstract, improvisational, smooth, or progressive. It evokes images of smoky nightclubs, sophistication, and sensuality.

Jazz has its roots in the 19th century New Orleans. Drawing from blues and ragtime, early jazz featured brass bands performing in marches, parades, and funerals. Over time, instruments such as piano and drums were added, and jazz began to split off into multiple subgenres, later incorporating amplified instruments. Today, there are many, many types of jazz, with such varied instrumentation as saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, clarinet, upright bass, drums, guitar and electric guitar, and more.

With jazz music, you really want to experience all of the nuances in the music, so a detailed and natural-sounding headphone is a good bet. If you like a more immersive and smooth sound, consider headphones with some added warmth. And if you really like detail, an analytical-sounding headphone can work too. However, headphones that sound too analytical or bright (treble-forward) can make jazz sound tinny and fatiguing. Ideally, you want smooth mids, tight bass, and highs that are controlled. A headphone with a fast sound, quick decay, and great dynamics will allow you to keep pace with faster-paced jazz, where volume and tempo changes happen frequently.

jazz music

Are open-back headphones better than closed-back headphones for jazz music?

An open-back headphone design will help create a wide soundstage, so your music sounds airy and individual instruments can shine. Meanwhile, a wide frequency response will ensure that you are hearing the full range of magic in your music, and a closed-back headphone will deliver an immersive "in your head" sound.

The Best Headphones for Jazz Melodies

With these guidelines in mind, we've curated a list of what we consider to be our top headphones for listening to jazz. If you're looking for the best headphones for jazz 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 SR80x Headphones

The SR80X is the OG. The Original. The legendary headphone that started it all. The SR80 now uses the X series driver, which is their 4th generation design, and features a more powerful magnetic circuit, a more efficient driver, and several 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.

Dragon Cable Recommendation: No option for Grado Headphones

Meze 109 Pro Headphones

The 109 Pro Headphones from Meze Audio deliver impressive sound quality at this price range and Meze always crafts its headphones with some of the best styling on the market. 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. The 109 Pro inherits Meze's amazingly wide soundstage and retains a lot of energy that creates a very organic sound. It uses specially-tuned dynamic drivers that deliver a lot of high-end clarity like the Elite and the warmer tone of the Empyrean at the same time. It has an immediate bass response — Tight, punchy, and not bloated whatsoever. Dynamic drivers deliver great bass and that combined with an open-back design gives you a very impactful and dynamic sound. 

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

Meze 109 Pro Review


HiFiMan HE1000 V2 Stealth Magnet Headphones

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 the bass is deep and well-controlled. While not a warm headphone per se, it has enough warmth to keep it from sounding more analytical. 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.

Denon AH-D9200 Headphones

The Denon AH-D9200 is a premium over-ear headphone that exudes beauty on the inside and outside. Step into the music with a natural and detailed sound signature that delivers energetic mids and extensive highs. Build quality and materials matter and Denon didn't skimp with the AH-D9200. Denon's choice of bamboo earcups lends a classy and natural look to the headphones, but they also serve a purpose. Japanese bamboo has unique vibration-dampening properties that Denon says provide a natural and detailed sound that rivals a concert hall. Talk about hearing the music just the way the artist intended. Overall the AH-D9200 has a balanced flagship-quality sound: Incredibly resolute and offering some great mid-range energy. With a tight bass response and some clarity and detail, we think the AH-D9200 sounds great with jazz music. The build quality and overall comfort level of the AH-D9200 fall in line with the standard for a high-quality flagship-level headphone, and considering the price point for other flagship model headphones out there, it's a downright steal.

Dragon Cable Recommendation: Our Black Dragon headphone cable will add some warmth and body to the music to help fill out some of those mids and low frequencies in the Denon AH-D9200.

Denon AH-D9200 Review

Over $1000

Dan Clark Audio Stealth Headphones

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 (DAP).

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

Denon AH-D9200 Review

Audeze LCD-5 Headphones

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 great resolution; 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.

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

Audeze LCD-5 Review

Our favorite Jazz albums

the look of love album cover

The Look of Love

Diana Krall

WaJazz album cover

WaJazz: Japanese Spectacle Vol.I - Deep, Heavy, and Beautiful Jazz from Japan 1968-1984

Hiroshi Suzuki

heavy weather album cover

Heavy Weather

Weather Report

miles davis album cover

Kind of Blue

Miles Davis

Moon Audio Qobuz Playlist

Dragon Audio 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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