Best Headphones For Classical Music - Enjoy Your Favorite Symphonies On The Go
The best way to listen to classical music is to immerse yourself in it. Besides listening to a live orchestra, the best way to fully immerse yourself in the melodies is with a pair of quality headphones.
Unfortunately, finding the best headphones for classical music can be incredibly tricky. Manufacturers are making headphones based on what people are most commonly listening to. Unfortunately for classical music lovers, most people like their headphones to sound base-ey.
To make things even worse, the headphone market is unimaginably large. This makes finding the best headphones for classical music incredibly tricky.
Thankfully, you're at the right place. With my help, you'll be sporting a pair of classical headphones in no time!
I've picked the six best classical music headphones you can find on the current market. As a bonus, I've also compiled a short classical headphones FAQ.
In a hurry? After 26 Hours of Research, We Recommend:
Last Updated: October 2023
By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best headphones for classical music available for those who are interested in enjoying the classic the best possible way. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best headphones for classical music currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
Headphones For Classical Music Compared
6 Best Headphones For Classical Music - Reviews And Recommendations
Picking the best headphones for classical music can be quite tricky. You can easily end up with a pair that won't just underperform but also burn a hole in your wallet. Thankfully, you're at the right place.
I've spent dozens of hours on research and went through hundreds of different models to bring you this list of the best headphones for classical music. I made sure to include a wide variety of models from every price range.
Our Rating: 98/100
AKG is one of the world's best headphone manufacturers, and their K702 headphones prove it. AKG K702 is just one of four headphone models AKG launched as a celebration of their 65 years in the business. However, unlike other 65th-anniversary flagship models, the K702 has the best sound quality for classical music.
The first thing that blew me away about these headphones is their build quality. You can really see how much time AKG's R&D department spent on making the K702 feel high-quality. The AKG K702 features a combination of metal, leather, and plastic.
The earcups are made out of plastic, while the headbands feature two metal wires with a suspended leather strap that rests on your head. Although there's no headband cushion to speak of, the AKG 702 headphones are quite comfortable to wear. If you have a bigger head, you might feel slight discomfort, but only after a couple of hours of wearing them.
I especially love the velour on the ear cups - it's incredibly soft. It makes wearing these headphones for classical music a joy. The removable ear pads are surprisingly soft and thick enough to keep the drivers away from your ears.
I have nothing bad to say about the design. Maybe AKG should have worked a bit on the headband, but that's just a minor complaint.
AKG K702 has an open back design. While this has its advantages, it also has some disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of noise isolation, which means the K702 headphone is not a great pick if you're planning on wearing them in crowded places. On top of that, they "leak" a lot of the sound. However, the sound stage and sound quality are otherworldly!
The K702 headphone is incredibly neutral sounding. They do have some bass in them, but you should skip these headphones if you like listening to base-ey music. These headphones are all about that mid-range. The mids are incredibly crisp and clear. These headphones' overall tonality is perfectly neutral, and I especially love how vivid the vocals are.
My only issue is the treble range. It's a bit high for neutral headphones, but nothing major. The sound stage is what makes these headphones one of the best choices for a classical music fan. It's incredibly clear, and you won't have any trouble picking up different instruments in the melody.
Our Rating: 94/100
You can't talk about hi-fi headphones without mentioning Audio Technica. This company has an incredible success track in making reasonably priced headphones all about the listening experience.
Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM headphones are no exception. They deliver incredibly clear sound out of the box, and they're comfortable to wear, too!
The first thing that went through my mind when holding the ATH MSR7GMs is how big they are. But the oversized design actually serves a purpose. It ensures they fit almost every head size.
Just like the AKG 702, Audio Technica ATH MSr7GM features two metal wires with a suspended headband. However, unlike the K702, the MSR7GM headband has cushions for additional comfort. Unfortunately, the headband is a bit too loose for my comfort, but the metal wires still have more than enough spring in them to keep the headphones firmly in place.
The earcups are built out of high-quality plastic and feature thick and comfortable ear pads. This means you don't have to worry about the drivers touching your ears. You won't have any trouble enjoying your favorite classics for hours on end without any discomfort.
The only issue I have with them is the audio cable. It's quite stiff and non-detachable. This narrows down their use case to just home listening.
Just like the previous model in the list, Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM also features an open-back design. This means the soundscape is much more spacious, which makes them perfect for classical music.
The sound quality is incredibly crisp and clear. Although the highs are a bit too brash, the mid-range is more than decent. The low-end is present, but just enough to give more depth to the sound. This means they're not that suitable for listening to different genres like rap or techno.
When it comes to soundstage, it's on par with the K702. I had no trouble sensing the distance between different instruments. You won't have any trouble picking up the distance and depth between different instruments, and, thanks to amazingly crisp details, you'll be fully immersed in your favorite classics.
The treble range is a bit too harsh at times, but I think that has something to do with the recording and not the headphone drivers.
Our Rating: 90/100
Beyerdynamic is another fantastic brand that offers some of the best headphones for classical music on the market. The DT 880 model offers excellent build quality and flexibility.
If you're looking for a high-quality semi-open headphone, the Beyerdynamic DT 880 will meet your expectations.
Just like most of Beyerdynamic's headphones, this headphone model has an excellent build quality. Unlike most of you would expect, the DT 880 model is very light and flexible. The connection joints are pretty strong, so you won't need to worry about cracking or breaking.
When it comes to the ear cup design, they're big and ride around the ears offering great comfort. What's more, they're covered with velours, so they feel very soft. The headband can't be removed, but it's covered in leather and well-padded with foam. If you prefer a removable headband, we recommend you go with the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium model.
The clamping pressure in this model is good, and you can adjust it for better comfort. The downside of these headphones is that they come with a hard-wired cable.
Although these pair of headphones have a semi-open design, they will leak some sound and allow for ambient noise. However, compared to open-back models, these semi-open headphones do offer some isolation.
This model offers good and balanced sound quality. They offer a boost in hi-fi, which is good news for avid violin fans, but not that good news for people who like bass in their listening experience. The bass isn't powerful, but it's present. The midrange frequency response present, and it will offer you a neutral and intimate sound.
When it comes to the soundstage, it's spacious and engaging. What's more, you'll be able to hear instrument separation with good detail retrieval, which makes these headphones a fantastic choice if you want to listen to classical music.
Our Rating: 80/100
The Philips SHP9500 headphone is the perfect choice for those who want to enjoy classical music without breaking their bank. If you’re not too picky about the build quality and need headphones for the average everyday usage, the Philips SHP 9500 will perfectly suit your needs.
Even though these headphones have a simple metal and plastic construction, they will remain comfortable throughout many listening hours. Because of the simple construction, these headphones are very light. The headband is double-layered with a cushion so that the headphones sit comfortably around your head.
What’s more, the ear cups have a breathable design making these headphones the ideal choice in hot climates. You can be sure that the Philips SHP9500 will offer maximum comfort wherever you go.
The newer model of these headphones comes with a 5ft cable that offers you the ability to move around and multitask freely without interrupting the symphonies you’re listening to. However, the Philips SHP9500 has no sound isolation or noise cancellation, so make sure the volume is not high when using them in public.
Overall, this headphone's construction is pretty solid, and you can enjoy classical music while doing other activities.
For their price, the Philips SHP 9500 headphone offers a surprisingly good sound quality. They deliver well-balanced mids and highs, as well as good bass for a neutral sound stage.
The fidelity in these headphones isn’t ideal, but we can freely say it’s satisfactory. However, if you’re an audiophile, the Philips SHP 9500 isn’t the best choice for you. The bass in these headphones isn’t crunchy; instead, it is quite average. The sound can get grainy when you turn up the volume.
If you aren’t looking for the best listening experience and want nice headphones to enjoy your classical music while lying around the house or multitasking, these headphones are a fantastic option.
Our Rating: 85/100
The Sennheiser HD 600 has been around since 1997, and they're still one of the best pair of headphones you can find on the market.
If you're aiming at a great all-rounder, the Sennheiser HD 600 is the headphone to go.
The Sennheiser HD 600 has an open-back design, so make sure the volume is not too high when you're in quiet public places. However, there's not much to talk about when it comes to the overall design because it's pretty average.
They're made mostly from plastic; only the headphone's grill and headband adjustment arms are made out of metal. Even though they're made from plastic, the quality is excellent.
The Sennheiser HD 600 model is modular, which is a big advantage. The headband, shell, drivers, and earcups can be easily replaced without any specific tools. This headphone is very light, making it sit comfortably around your head.
The headband is also very comfortable because it's well-padded and soft so that there won't be any hotspots while wearing them.
The earcups are padded with memory foam, and their shape fits perfectly around the ears. When it comes to the clamping force, it's high when you buy them. However, after some time, the clamping will reduce, making them very comfortable to wear.
The bass of the Sennheiser HD 600 is fantastic. However, one minor downside is that they lack the punch and quantity you would get with a closed-back design. Neither than that, this headphone accurately reproduces the low-end frequency response, and the mid-range frequency response is natural and clear.
You'll be able to hear acoustic instruments, bowed, and vocals in great detail. The treble also offers details. However, in some recordings, it may sound overemphasized. This can sometimes be a downside, but it'll also add more life and detail to dull recordings.
When talking about the soundstage, it's not very wide, but it's accurate. The soundstage in the Sennheiser HD 600 offers a nice and intimate sound making this model excellent headphones for classical music.
Our Rating: 83/100
If you're looking for the perfect combination of price, performance, and quality, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro will definitely meet your expectations. These are truly some of the best headphones for classical music.
Although some may argue that the price is too high, compared to other high-end models, it isn't.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro are open-back headphones that offer great build quality and comfort. The build quality in this headphone is so good that we can say they're almost built like a tank. If you're a real audiophile, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro will definitely offer you a professional experience.
A big advantage of the DT 1990 Pro headphone is that the cable is detachable. As for the earpads, they're padded with soft memory foam that will fit well around your ears. However, the earpads are hard to replace.
The headband is padded and lightweight making them an excellent choice if you want to wear them for extended periods of time. You can multitask or chill around your house while listening to your favorite symphonies, and you won't even notice you have them on.
Overall, we can say that the construction is outstanding. However, if you're not a fan of the open-back design, we recommend you go with another model.
When it comes to sound quality, it's a bit tricky to evaluate because the DT 1990 Pro has two different sounding headphones. The "A" earpad version offers a natural frequency response, while the "B" version offers a nice bass boost.
The soundstage is amazing. You'll have the feeling that an orchestra is playing around you. The resolution is just breathtaking.
The treble is also excellent, while the highs can sometimes be too energetic for some tastes. The midrange responsiveness is not fantastic but combined with the low and high delivery; everything evens out.
Headphones For Classical Music FAQ
Should I Go For Open-Back Or Closed Back Classical-Music Headphones?
One of the first things you need to consider when looking for the perfect pair of headphones for classical music is what type will best work for you. Headphones come in two flavors: open-back and closed-back headphones- each with its own set of pros and cons.
As the name suggests, closed-back headphones feature a closed earcup design. This means that the headphones are not "drawing in the fresh air," which means the sound is a lot more base-ey. On the other side, closed-back headphones are excellent when you're on the go because they cancel out the noise.
Open-back headphones feature an open earcup design. This means they're always drawing in the fresh air, which results in a wholly different soundscape. Open-back headphones are much more natural sounding and are just perfect for immersing yourself in classical music soundscapes. Unfortunately, these headphones are terrible when it comes to isolating the outside noise. This is why their best for home use.
Over-Ear, On-Ear, or In-Ear Headphones?
Besides choosing between a closed-back and an open-back design, you also have to consider how you like wearing them.
You can choose between over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear headphones.
Over-ear headphones are best for listening to classical music. They offer the best sound quality for classical music. Unfortunately, they're also the bulkiest of the bunch. This is why they're best for enjoying classical music at home. Of course, you can wear them when on the go, but you'll start feeling the weight pretty quickly.
On-ear headphones rest on your ears, and they're the most common. While not offering the same sound quality as over-ear headphones, they're still more than decent at delivering the right frequency range for classical music. On top of that, they're perfect when you're on the move.
In-ear headphones are also incredibly common. Although you might think they're not that capable due to their small size, they're just as capable as over-ear headphones. On top of that, their noise isolation capabilities are second to none. This makes them perfect if you like listening to classical music while working out.
What Type Of Drivers Are Best For Classical Music?
When it comes to earphone drivers, there are three main types:
Dynamic drivers are the most common. In fact, most classical music headphones on the market feature dynamic drivers. This type of driver features a voice coil that's attached to the diaphragm that produces the sound. Dynamic drivers are more than capable of producing the right frequency range for classical music, and they don't require an amp to work.
Planar magnetic drivers are a step up from dynamic drivers. They feature two permanent magnets that move the diaphragm. The two magnets remove any distortions from the sound. While they're excellent at reproducing classical music in its glory, planar magnetic drivers are very expensive. On top of that, they're quite heavy, which is why they're mostly reserved for professional studio headphones.
Electrostatic drivers are the newest contender on the market. These drivers utilize incredibly thin stationary diaphragms that resonate when you introduce them to electrical current. Although they produce the cleanest sound out of all other headphones on the market, they're quite expensive.
What Are Classical Music Headphones Power Requirements?
The headphone power requirements are determined by impedance and sensitivity. When on the lookout for the best headphones for classical music, these two features are quite essential.
Impedance is measured in ohms and represents the amount of current your classical music headphones can withstand before burning out. Headphones can feature an Impedance anywhere between 8 and 600 ohms. The more ohms, the more power you need to make them work. Just keep in mind that you must have an output with the same impedance.
Sensitivity, measured in dB, refers to how loud your classical music headphones can get. With high sensitivity headphones, you won't have to crank up the volume on your playback device to hear your favorite classics. This is where impedance comes into play - the louder the headphones, the higher the impedance. This is why you should always look for a sweet spot of high-sensitivity with low impedance (around 32 Ohms)
What Is The Sound Stage?
Besides sound quality, another essential feature to look out for in the best headphones for listening to classical music is the sound stage. The sound stage gives your spatial recognition of every instrument in the playback—the better the sound stage, the better the instrument separation.
This feature is essential when it comes to enjoying classical music. Classical music includes a wide array of frequencies that all play at the same time. And when it comes to soundstage, open-backed headphones are second to none.
What About Headphone Comfort?
Classical music pieces have a pretty long runtime. For instance, Gustav Holst's "The Planets" has a runtime of 30 minutes. This is why you must find yourself a comfortable headphone.
I recommend you get a headphone that has an adjustable headband and (if possible) a detachable cable. When it comes to ear cups, the most comfortable material is memory foam, but keep in mind that that costs extra.