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  • Alex Williams

Wired headphones (May 2019)

Wired headphones offer the most compatibility with products, have the highest audio quality, require not additional battery (unless there’s active noise canceling involved) and come in the widest range of styles to cater for the largest range of budgets. Unless you have a specific need that can only be met through wireless then always opt for wired. If you’re looking for wireless while you’re here head over to the top 10 wireless headphones.

When choosing your headphones it typically comes down to budget first, then feature picking. Given the range of options it can feel daunting but it doesn’t need to be.

In this guide, we’ll look at the top 10 wired headphones through a range of styles and budgets, if you’re already sure of the style or budget you’re looking for you might want to check out some of the narrower range of reviews below. Speaking of narrow range, if you’re in possession of a phone that doesn’t include a 3.5mm headphone jack then you might want to check out the USB-C headphone guide , we have you covered there too.


- Over Ear: Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BTBK [amazon link]

- In Ear: 1MORE Triple Driver [amazon link]


- Focal Clear Over-Ear High-Resolution Audiophile Headphones [amazon link]


- AKG K72 Closed-back Studio Headphones [amazon link]

Top 10

1. Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BTBK [amazon link]

- What to love: These headphones give the best of both worlds, offering wired or wireless. Good all around sound quality (especially when wired). Great value at <$150 [amazon link]. Good battery life when in wireless mode.

- What to hate: The volume level takes a dip when wireless. Some people (those who prefer a little more bass) may need to tweak the EQ settings on their source device.

2. 1MORE Triple Driver [amazon link]

- What to love: These are all about the sound. For in ear buds they deliver a tremendous level of detail in your music/audio. Rich and well rounded sound. Very comfortable. If you have a preference for in-ear then these are for you.

- What to hate: The build quality control means that some people have had issues with cables, connections etc..Some people have issues with the buds staying in the ear (which clearly can be a problem.

3. Focal Clear Over-Ear High-Resolution Audiophile Headphones [amazon link]

- What to love: Just everything from the build quality to the cables, the attention to detail, the range of connections and of course the audio itself. Outstanding headphones that if you ever have a chance to listen through will remind you why you love music.

- What to hate: There is very little to be said against these headphones, the only negative is the price, however if you’re even considering spending ~$1400 on a pair of headphones then this isn’t going to be a problem.

4. AKG K72 Closed-back Studio Headphones [amazon link]

- What to love: The price...for $50 you’re going to get some great (clearly not the best) headphones that deliver a good range, look stylish with a hint of retro and are comfortable.

- What to hate: Not foldable so you’ll need to take a touch more care as you go about your business. If you’re expecting these to actually perform as well as “studio” headphones you’re going to have reason to grumble, they just aren’t that good.

5. Sony MDRZX100 [amazon link]

- What to love: The price...for less than $20 you're going to get a really solid set of Sony headphones.

- What to hate: The material used on the ear muff is not going to last a lifetime. If you want that, save up and get a pair of Focal's.

Note that if you're looking wireless, the Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3 [amazon link] are outstanding.

6. Sennheiser MX 686G [amazon link]

If you're looking for some headphones to accompany you on a run or to the gym and you want to avoid Bluetooth (for the battery drain, the latency and the audio quality degradation) then you can do an awful lot worse than these guys.

7. Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones [amazon link]

If your budget break point is $100 then these are among the best headphones you're going to get. They are stylish, comfortable and above all deliver great sound.

8. Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones [amazon link]

People's love of all things wireless means that you get a whole lot of headphone here from Bose for just under $200. Not so shabby.

9. Urbanears Plattan 2 [amazon link]

You're on a budget that allows you upto $50 for your new headphones and aesthetics are as important as sound quality, then look no further.

10. beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium Edition [amazon link]

For less than $200 you can join the fanclub of these iconic headphones which are built to last, with incredible quality audio and classic style.