12 Best Headphones for Classical Music in 2017

Not only are decent headphones essential for listening to classical music, but finding a pair can actually let you experience sounds and performances that you might have otherwise missed.

Classical music is a vast landscape that can sometimes seem overwhelming, and the search for a really solid pair of headphones can feel quite the same way. We’ve done a bit of research for you, and we think that once you’ve taken a look at what we’ve found, you’ll be in for a sonic experience that’s second to none.

Whether you’re a classical music aficionado or just new to high-end headphones, we’ve got the details that will help you find the best headphones for classical music.

Top 12 Headphones for Classical Music Table

DesignNameIn-ear or Over-ear?Corded or Bluetooth?Rating (1-5)
  1. Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones Over-EarCorded 4.6
  2. Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones with CCAW Voice Coil Over-Ear Corded 4.6
  3. Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone Over-Ear Corded 4.6
  4. Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-ear Headphones Over-Ear Corded 4.6
  5. Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones Over-Ear Corded 4.5
6. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium 250 ohm Over-Ear Corded 4.5
7. Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones Over-Ear Corded 4.4
8. Earbuds In-Ear Headphones / Earphones In-Ear Corded 4.3
  9. Symphonized NRG 3.0 Earbuds | Wood In-ear Noise-isolating Headphones In-Ear Bluetooth 4.3
  10. Philips X2/27 Fidelio Premium Headphones Over-Ear Corded 4.3
  11. Hifiman HE400S Full-Size Planar Headphone Over-Ear Corded 3.9
  12. Klipsch R6 In-Ear Headphones In-Ear Corded 3.5

How to Choose Headphones for Enjoying Classical Music

Before you go and thrown down your hard-earned money, there are a few things to consider that might make a significant difference when you’re shopping for the best headphones for classical music. You don’t want to miss a single note from any movement, and we’re here to help.

At Home or on the Go?

Classical music can transport you to another time and place, but occasionally, you’d like to physically transport yourself to another place while the music comes with you. The first thing you’ll need to decide is if you want to go with a pair of headphones that are more suited for a single location, or if you want something that’s made to travel.

Don’t worry, because we don’t think you’ll necessarily have to compromise sound quality for portability, but all headphones are created different, so think about the size, weight, and overall portability that are going to work best for you.

The Perfect Fit Can Make All the Difference

We can talk about sonic clarity all day long, but if your headphones aren’t comfortable, then what’s the point? Only you know your head, but a comfortable headphone experience is a must.

Take a look at the quality of the foam around the earpieces and across the headband. Adjustability is usually a pretty good idea, especially if you have a larger-than-average head. Some companies also produce replacement covers and pads for the headphones, so you can customize the feeling or replace the pads if they get worn out.

Let Your Lifestyle Help You Decide

Babysitting a pair of headphones is a no-brainer for some, and for others, it’s like asking them to take on a second full-time job. Some of us are on the go and used to having a bit of extra luggage, and some of us need our hands free and our body unencumbered to get through the day.

It’s up to you to decide if you need to be able to store your headphones. Are you a traveler, and will your headphones travel with you? Different models are collapsible and some even include carrying cases for storage when they’re not in use. Other people can just leave them around their necks for the afternoon. Which one are you?

Don’t Put the Tech Before the Experience

You want a solid pair of high-quality headphones because you love the music, not because you want to look like a hip-hop DJ on his day off, or to impress a bunch of teenagers. It’s easy to get caught up in specifications about ohms of resistance and neodymium magnets, but make sure that the music is the bottom line.

We think that if you take the specifications as a rough guideline, they can steer you towards your best choice. If you stress about the numbers and a lot of confusing engineering jargon, you could miss out on a great set of headphones that will take your listening experience to the next level.

Top 5 Best Headphones for Classical Music Reviews

1. Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones

Sennheiser’s HD 598 takes the top spot because it combines exceptional audio quality with first-rate comfort, and in the process it looks just fabulous. Like many of Sennheiser’s other offerings, these headphones provide distortion-free sound that’s tuned by audio engineers.

High-end transducers inside each cup produces a more realistic sound than you’ll find anywhere on the market. These magnet-driven coils provide a spatial quality to the sound that lets you hear the whole orchestra.

While the sound is impeccable, the comfort is pretty top-notch too. Each earpiece is padded with high-quality foam under the super-soft touch of velour. The same foam pads the headband with padding of high-quality leatherette.

The mesh covers on the outside of each ear are detailed with real wood.

2. Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones

Sony has a track record of excellent electronics, and their MDRV6 headphones keep the tradition alive. These headphones deliver the quality you expect from Sony, but at a lower price point that makes them a bit more accessible, especially to new listeners.

40 MM diameter drivers to provide wide surface area for superb dynamics and deep bass down to 5 Hz, so that’s going to cover everything from the high-end strings to the low-end of the timpani. The earpads are designed to block a great deal of outside noise, and oxygen-free copper wiring provides maximum conductivity with minimal noise interference.

One of the reasons that we love these headphones is their collapsible design. Right above each earpiece, there’s a hinge that lets you fold them up so you can put them in your bag or tuck them into a carrying case.

3. Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphone

Like Sony, Sennheiser has a proven track record of excellence in high-end audio equipment. This headset is no different, and it represents the best the Sennheiser engineering has to offer.

Matched neodymium magnets and lightweight aluminum drive the sound, but the HD 650 is also outfitted with a feature called “acoustic silk”, which dampens distortion across the entire acoustic range. This allows you to get an even greater level of clarity from the hand-matched magnets that drive the system. Full-spectrum frequency response is essential for classical music, and these headphones give you everything from the lows to the highs.

The physical design of the headphones is what you’d expect from a pair of high-end studio headphones, from the chassis to the luxurious foam padding. If you are a serious audiophile with a truly experienced ear, we think that you’ll appreciate that difference, but the increased cost is what had us place these headphones at #3 on our list.

4. Philips SHP9500 HiFi Over-ear Headphones

We love the Phillips SHP9500 for the way that they provide a high-quality audio experience for a fraction of the price of other headphones. The broad functionality of these headphones is well-suited to all types of music from classical to metal or even gaming.

50mm neodymium drivers with gold connections provide a wide spectrum of sound with minimal interference that’s ideal for the whole-symphony experience that you want with classical music. The open-mesh of the earphones allows a small amount of sound to escape, which actually helps to reduce audio distortion and improve the listening experience.

An adjustable headband and full foam padding throughout gives it a comfortable feel that will take you through a full listening experience. These headphones also offer an extra-long cable, which might not seem like much, but the extra freedom of movement makes the headphones very easy to enjoy.

5. Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones

Monitoring headphones are an excellent choice for classical music because audio engineers are looking for sounds at all frequencies, and Shure’s SRH840 have the goods to let you enjoy the best your music has to offer.

40mm dynamic neodymium drivers provide a full-range audio experience with a frequency range and sensitivity that is ideal for your classical-listening needs. Oxygen-free copper wiring and gold-plated connections reduce interference, and the foam-padding earpieces reduce ambient noise that could detract from your listening experience. The neutrality and clarity you get from these headphones is comparable to any high-end studio headphones from names like Sennheiser and Audio Technica.

The adjustable, padded headband is built for comfort. These headphones also have a collapsible design that lets you fold them up and tuck them into a bag when you’re not listening. These headphones don’t require amplification with digital devices, making them a great choice if you’re listening with your phone or an MP3 player.

Our Final Thoughts on Classical Music Headphones

Classical music appreciation requires you to be able to hear the music, and think that if you put in the time to do a bit of research, you can find the best headphones for classical music appreciation. The next time the strings start to swell and the timpani begin to rumble, you’ll be there to hear every note.

This was a close race and we think that you’d be happy with any of our top five, but there can be only one winner. The Sennheiser HD 598 was #1 for a reason, and we don’t think that you’ll be disappointed with the sound quality, the fit, or the cost. The wide frequency range and remarkable spatial clarity give you the sound you’re looking for as an enthusiast of classical music.

The real distinction in our choices came from different features for different situations, but for home use, we recommend the Sennheiser headphones.

Sony’s MDRV-6 is an excellent pick for anyone who wants to enjoy their classical music on the go or in public environments.