When I picked 2019’s best gaming headsets, I was able to break it down into different price categories, selecting favorites for every budget and some solid second choices.
For good old-fashioned wired headphones released this year, there’s no reason to go to such lengths.
There’s one clear pick, and one clear runner-up.
These two headphones are so good for my personal needs that they slowed down my rampant headphone buying, changed my internal grading benchmarks, and re-excited me about studio headphones around a certain price when I thought the segment was all but dead in terms of innovation.
If you’re in the market for wired studio headphones around $100 that will work perfectly for monitoring, critical listening, home listening, or gaming purposes, the two pairs listed below are excellent choices that outshine the current competition.
BEST WIRED HEADPHONE OF 2019: AKG K361
Whoa whoa whoa Alex, the K361 and not the K371? Yes. I’ll explain why.
The AKG K361 (official page) is one of the best “trimmed down” headphones I’ve ever used.
Trickle-down engineering is prominent in consumer technology design. Over time, the tech advancements developed for higher-end products make their way into lower-cost goods that offer a bigger bang for your buck.
Headphones shoot for this all the time but frequently stumble. Cheaper versions of iconic headphones often lose out on too many of the core features that made the costlier model attractive. Build quality suffers. Materials feel bad. Smaller drivers change the tuning.
Not so with the K361. Yes, it’s built of cheaper materials than its bigger brother. But those thinner materials also shave the weight dramatically, improving the already excellent comfort without feeling cheap or brittle. The sound profile is a bit thinner in terms of warmth and impact, but the headphones still use the same titanium coated drivers…