Sometimes, tiny earbuds just won’t do. Sometimes, you just want to block out the world. Over-ear headphones can offer the comfort and sound many smaller headphones just can’t match.
From noise cancelling to Bluetooth-enabled, cheap to expensive, from one the likes of which you may have never seen, to one that’s in nearly every recording studio and radio station in the country, here are 5 great over-ear headphones.
Before we get going, if you’re curious about the value of high-end headphones, or have questions about headphones in general, first check out Are Expensive Headphones Worth It?, What Are The Best Headphones?, Noise Cancelling vs Noise Isolating Headphones and How To Compare Headphones.
Sony MDR-V6 and MDR-7506
These seemingly identical Sony headphones have been around for ages. Most recording studios and radio stations use them for monitoring. They’re cheap, sound good, and are practically indestructible. The earpads, which eventually wear, are replaceable. They have a surprisingly neutral sound; most headphones in this range push a lot of extra bass. Some people prefer the 7506, while some like the V6s. Having heard them back to back, I like the 7506 a little better.
PSB M4U 1
There are a LOT of headphones available for around $300. Very few offer the sound quality of the PSBs. Here’s what CNET had to say: “The PSB M4U 1 is a remarkably clear sounding headphone. The clarity isn’t the result of boosted treble or midrange frequencies; no, the M4U 1 just sounds neutral (it isn’t the sort of headphone that emphasizes bass).” Personally, they’re some of the best headphones I’ve heard.
Two options ...
I use a Plantronics USB headset with a boom mic that swings straight up, right out of the way. I can use it with Skype for hours without it bother ing me. EBAY $30, shipped. List price $50.
I also have small, $10 USB-sound card dongle that has two submin plugs for mic and headphones. Convenient when using my camers with intrgrated microphone. Also, when in a coffee shop, I plug in a very small cell-phone type earbud with inline microphone. Easier to carry in the laptop case. But falls out easily. Were I to use this more, I'd switch to a Jabra to keep it in better.
Hope this helps.