For anyone out there who perhaps is just starting to stick their toes into the vast ocean of audiophile headphones, at first you might only be familiar with the biggest players in the market (the company’s that are constantly bombarding you with television ads and celebrity endorsements), but scratch beneath the mainstream surface, and you will find a treasure trove of electronics manufacturers who are producing headphones of a quality that you have more than likely never experienced!
No brand has paid HeadphoneCharts.com money to list their brand. We hand-selected brands by looking at and testing headphones beneath the mainstream surface, and included the manufacturers who really wowed us! For those of you who are well-versed in music production, mixing, mastering, etc. the brands on this list will come as no surprise to you.
Now, let’s dive right into HeadphoneCharts’ Top 40 Headphone Brands to Consider in 2017 to learn more about our favorite headphone brands currently on the market!
Audeze was founded in 2008 by two men whom previously worked to develop specialized flexible circuit materials for NASA. Upon realizing that their invention would be perfect for headphones, they began designing and producing their impeccable headphone lineup, and they haven’t looked back, creating the world’s finest planar magnetic headphones.
STAX is a Japanese headphone manufacturer whom you have probably never heard of before unless you are big time into audiophile headphones. STAX are pioneers of electrostatic headphones, and even though their designs may be unorthodox, you can rest assured you are hearing some of the finest quality headphones on the planet.
Beyerdynamic has been family owned and operated since their foundation in 1924, and you can really tell that the Beyer family is heavily invested in continually ensuring that their family name is attached to only the finest German engineered headphones.
Sennheiser, founded in Germany in 1945, produces a wide range of audiophile headphones across all price points, including the current world record for the Most Expensive Headphones, the Sennheiser HE1060, valued at $55,000!
Focal, the greatest headphone manufacturer located in France, only produce a small number of headphone models, but each one is unique, beautifully designed and crafted, and offer sound quality rarely achieved by other brands.
Shure, along with Beyerdynamic, are often considered to be two of the first electronics companies in the world, as Shure was founded in 1925. Shure monitors have long been favorites of recording professionals and audio engineers for their neutral, balanced sound signature.
Bowers & Wilkins is a British electronics manufacturer that produces audio equipment, most notably loudspeakers. Bowers & Wilkins was founded in 1966 by John Bowers in England. Their headphones all scream sophistication and class, and they are some of the most comfortable headphones you will ever wear.
A relative newcomer in the headphone market, HIFIMAN was first introduced in 2007, and they have been revolutionizing the industry since day 1, with their incredible advances in creating beautiful-sounding planar magnetic headphones at a lower price than previously thought possible.
AKG is an award-winning manufacturer of both professional and DJ headphones. You are very likely to come across AKG’s if you ever find yourself in a recording studio or a nightclub with a DJ. Their open-back over-ear K701’s are straight up legendary!
Originally founded to produce custom earpieces for the hearing healthcare market, Westone gradually moved into the audiophile headphone market, and now produce some of the highest-tech, most advanced in-ear headphones on the market, including the W60 model, which contains 6 drivers per ear!
Bang & Olufsen are producers of luxury audio equipment of the highest magnitude, and you can find B&O electronics only in the finest and most exclusive boutiques. Their headphone line, often referred to as BEOPLAY are stunningly crafted from luxurious materials, and tuned beautifully.
Fostex was founded by Foster Electric who have been developing high quality speaker components since 1949. Fostex continues to develop quality products for professionals and high fidelity enthusiasts.
Audio-Technica, another Japanese titan in the audio industry, have been manufacturing world class audio equipment since 1962. A few of their headphones are considered classics today, and their ATH-M50x Headphones are one of the best values you can find.
Produced by hand with love in Brooklyn, New York, Grado Labs is one of the only major headphone manufacturers to produce all of their equipment in the US. Their retro designs and focus on superior audio quality are just a couple of their hallmarks.
V-MODA produces perhaps the hottest DJ headphones available today, tuned by a collection of experienced audio engineers and DJs to produce boomin’ bass without sacrificing the rest of your music. Built like a tank, a pair of V-MODAs can survive the harshest conditions unphased.
Chances are good that you have probably seen Pioneer car audio decks and speakers in your friend’s cars before, but Pioneer also makes an entire lineup of well-crafted and well-priced headphones, utilizing the same high quality components and engineering that make their car speakers second-to-none.
Philips is focused on delivering high-fidelity sound. Philips Fidelio headphones are the result of uncompromised acoustic engineering and a commitment to exacting standards in both audio and ergonomic performance.
Koss is often recognized as the company that invented the first high fidelity stereophones, paving the way for every other company on this list to produce headphones of their own. Sure, there are headphone manufacturers out there today that produce fancier headphones than Koss, but Koss will always be the originator, and their products are still well-made and affordable.
Ultrasone, perhaps most well known for their $4,299 Edition 5 headphones, literally one of the top 5 most expensive headphones in the entire world, produce several other (much, much more affordable) options that still offer much of the same class and refinement found in the Edition 5’s.
Etymotic Research are often given credit for producing the first insert earphones back in 1984, and the chief mission of their company is to design products that accurately assess hearing, improve the lives of those with hearing loss, and enhance the listening experience of music lovers everywhere.
Panasonic, another one of Japan’s titans of electronics, produce a vast array of award-winning headphones, as well as other audio equipment and electronics. Their vision has been helping to shape and mold the tech industry since 1918.
Denon, founded in 1910, is a Japanese electronics company that was involved in the early days of development of digital audio technology, while specializing in the manufacture of high fidelity professional and consumer audio equipment. Their Music Maniac series of headphones deliver kickin’ bass and power.
One of the most well-known headphone manufacturers, Bose’s savvy marketing has positioned them as one of the major players in the headphone marketplace today, and their noise-canceling technology & extreme comfort make them a very attractive option for many headphone fanatics.
Klipsch utilizes a proprietary “Klipschorn” in their equipment, which is a fully horn-loaded design technology that established industry standards for high sensitivity, wide dynamic range, low distortion, smooth frequency response and powerful bass. Klipsch’s precise sound can be attributed to the Klipschorn.
Like Grado Labs, Master & Dynamic is a New York City-based premium audio brand with a deep passion for building beautifully crafted, technically sophisticated headphones for creative minds. We believe that their headphones are some of the more attractive and unique that we’ve seen.
Producing some of the most stylish and sophisticated-looking headphones today, Harman Kardon offers a full lineup of headphones, ranging from in-ear earbuds, on-ear headphones, and full size over-ear headphones, featuring the finest leather earcups and precision tuned drivers.
PSB, a Canadian audio equipment manufacturer, takes their over 40 years of speaker experience and places it into their relatively new lineup of headphones, which is surprising many in the audiophile community for their precision sound and quality build design.
NuForce is a sub-brand of Optoma. NuForce audio products are designed for people that care about audio. They are built from premium quality components to deliver sleek, futuristic design and exceptional sound.
Sony is perhaps the most well known electronics manufacturer on Earth, so you would expect them to produce headphones, but what you might not expect is just how good they are! Sony headphones are regularly used in recording studios and in the homes of audiophiles the world over.
Monster became fairly well-known in the headphone arena when they took on the job of producing the original run of Beats by Dre headphones. Apple may produce Beats now, but Monster still has a multitude of other Monster-branded headphones that are just as good as Beats, and perhaps even better.
Pronounced “eye-eye-eye”, AIAIAI is an audio design company dedicated to developing high quality audio products for everyday use. AIAIAI’s modern, minimalist headphones and earphones deliver clear, amplified sound, and are built to last. Perfect for DJs and musicians.
Since 1927, the JVC brand has been associated with the very best in audio and video technology, and that continues to this day with their lineup of well-made, often bass-heavy headphones.
Known primarily as a manufacturer of computer speakers, Creative has also moved into the headphone market, in an attempt to reach the video gaming community. Their sophisticated and stylish headphones are not only outstanding for gaming, but they work perfectly well for casual music enjoyment as well.
Since 2005, MEE audio has been focused on crafting headphones with exceptional audio quality and design, winning acclaim from casual listeners and audiophiles around the world. Specializing in sports, wireless, and high fidelity headphones, MEE audio is committed to providing the best user experience, performance, and value with all of their products.
Brainwavz provides high-end in-ear headphones specifically designed for high-quality sound and customized to provide the user with a headphone that can be used across a wide range of audio genres and styles at and affordable price.
SoundMAGIC, founded in 2005, produce headphones which deliver immersive sound quality, outstanding durability and stylish aesthetics, consistently outperforming similar headphones from more well-known competitors.
Onkyo is a Japanese brand that you perhaps haven’t heard of, but they have been manufacturing luxury electronics since 1946. Onkyo translates to mean “sound harmony” and it is absolutely true that you will experience sound harmony when listening to any pair of Onkyo headphones.
JBL have been recently involved in a huge television advertising campaign to their their name out there like some of the other major headphone brands, and with good reason-- JBL produces a full line of excellent wired and wireless headphones, that are durable and sound great.
One of the most popular headphone brands with kids, teens, and young adults, Skullcandy recognizes the importance of not only high quality sound reproduction, but also hip, modern designs with bold colors and patterns. Make a fashion statement with a pair of Skullcandy headphones.
Founded in 2010, SOL Republic are another headphone brand that skew toward a younger demographic of music listeners, focusing on youthful designs, and a sound signature meant to make music come alive and sound fun.