I’m in a lull in my headphone odyssey right now. I haven’t bought any new pairs in a while, and the release cycle won’t pick up again until the summer months. I’m also pretty pleased with the small collection I currently have.
So what are my favorite headphones then? Well I’m going to tell you. This is outside of a review context, so these are not the best, necessarily(that doesn’t exist) but the ones I like the most at this moment in time.
MY FAVORITE HEADPHONES
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
Combining wonderful comfort, a solid build with plenty of metal parts, and a sound profile that has great sub-bass extension and crisp speedy high tones…the DT770 is a real winner.
Its only real “flaw”, in my mind, is that the cable doesn’t detach. But that’s not a deal-breaker. If you’re handy with tools and it really bothers you, you can mod the cable yourself.
I like all three impedances of this headphone. I like their solid amount of isolation, thanks to the dense foam in their pads. You’d think that this dense foam would make them uncomfortable over time, but they fit nicely even around my glasses. They’re perfect for writing in a coffee shop, long gaming sessions, or even some detail-focused editing work.
Are their highs an acquired taste that some folks might find a bit annoying or overdone? Yes! Is their sound signature tweaked just enough that neutral-seekers might be a little let down? Yes! But then, these are my favorite headphones. Their overall performance, build, and comfort for the price just appeals to me more than anything else I’ve tried.
M50X and DT990 Pro
The M50X and the DT990 Pro both have sounds that are close cousins of the DT770, with slightly sculpted audio that’s still in the realm of “studio-style.”
The M50X’s are a great benchmark headphone. They have a decent build, a removable cable, they fold down, and they’re efficient enough to sound great out of anything, even a PS4 controller. They’re only let down a little by their strangely tiny ear pads, slightly thin soundstage, and headband that’s prone to flaking after a year or two. Oh, and if you don’t like subbass extension you won’t like them.
I don’t usually like open headphones…but I really like the DT990’s. They have actual bass performance. It’s really hard, due to the way physics work, to make open headphones that can still put out some bass, but the DT990’s deliver this somehow. They also have highs that will just stab you in the face if you’re not careful, and a comfort that’s just below the DT770’s because their pads might actually be a touch too soft. They compress quickly and might press more into your ears as a result.
Again, I’m a crazy person who loves the DT770 sound, and the 990 is like that cranked up a bit. So there you go.
MY FAVORITE GAMING HEADSET
Wait. The Astro A10? Not the HyperX Cloud Alpha? Or the Turtle Beach Elite Pro? Or the Steelseries Arctis Non-Pro?
No. The Astro A10!
It’s $60. It has a removable cable. It’s built like a hilarious tank, with a profoundly good feeling metal headband and robust slide adjustments. The microphone is exceptional enough to use for broadcasting. The memory foam pads are decently comfy over long sessions. And the sound is nicely rich, throaty, and non-fatiguing.
It has everything you’d ever need in a gaming headset for a price that isn’t stupid, and it’s probably the best product Astro has ever made.
HyperX came close to the mark with the $50 Cloud Stinger, but then Astro showed up a few months later to rain on their budget parade with a $60 product that’s much better.
So there you have it. The only headphone that also appeared on the previous version of this list from two years ago is the M50X. That should tell you something, yes?