Looking for the best headphone’s money can buy? Having a larger budget widens the scope of available headphones, and to be honest, can make it even more difficult to make the right choice.
When you buy an expensive pair of cans, you want to know that you are getting quality sound and design. Therefore, with so many great options out there for the average consumer and audiophiles alike, we’d like to present to you the best headphones under $1,000.
So, let’s go through them and find the perfect set of premium headphones…
Top 8 Best Headphones Under $1,000 Reviews
1 Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Over Ear Isolating Headphones
The Audeze LCD-2 has been on the market for many years due to its high-quality, warm sound, and amazing sound stage. The LCD-2 over-ear headphones are Audeze’s closed back variant to the original LCD-2.
The great build quality found on the original LCD-2 is still here. The frame is mostly metal and doesn’t creek at all. The updated design took some weight off, making the headset super comfy to wear for any period of time. The leather headband can fit the largest of heads, and the earpads are large, soft, and isolate really well.
What’s in the box? Lot’s of bass…
There aren’t any extras on offer here. In the box, you will only find the headset and a standard 3.5 mm braided cable (with a 6.3 mm adapter.) There is no case, a standard inclusion at these higher price points, but considering the closed back LCD-2 is already cheaper than its predecessor, it is understandable, albeit a slight inconvenience.
With a 70-ohm impedance and a relatively low sensitivity of 97dB. The 70-ohm impedance and low sensitivity means this headset is not really suited for small devices like mobile phones. It works, but they more often than not sound lifeless or not loud enough. The headset is better suited with a dedicated headphone amplifier, such as the Schiit Magni 3.
Lot’s of bass…
It’s unfortunate then that the sound is actually geared towards a consumer-friendly sound. The bass was quite pronounced on the original LCD-2, and the closed back design makes it even louder.
The wide sound stage of the open back, helped a lot of the instrumentation breathe and tamed some of the bass. Here the bass is wild and untamed. It’s loud and eats up a lot of the sound. At higher volumes, it also distorts a bit.
The mid-range sounds fine, but some of the space there gets taken away by the bass. The highs are clear and bright. They never became distorted or piercing.
- Great design.
- Isolation is good.
- No case included.
- Bass can be too heavy at times.
2 Beyerdynamic Amiron – Most Comfortable Headphones Under $1,000
Next up, in our review of the Best Headphones under $1,000, we have a superb pair from Beyerdynamic. The company are known for their excellent premium headphones, and the Amiron is the jewel in the crown.
The first impression upon putting on the headphones is how comfortable they are. Beyerdynamic uses Alcantara microfibers and micro velour to wrap and puff up the earpads and headband. The Alcantara microfiber and micro velour have a tendency of heating up your ears, but Beyerdynamic have somehow gotten rid of this issue.
Built to last…
The frame itself is mostly steel with minimal creaking. The headset feels like it can withstand a lifetime of use with relative ease.
The headset never feels heavy, and the 45 mm drivers are given ample space to breathe. Connecting the headset is easy with a 3m cable and a 3.5 mm jack and 6.3 mm adapter.
Lively and crisp…
Open back headphones have a tendency to leak sound, and these are no different. There are benefits to open back headphones, though, in that you get a great sound stage and a more refined sound. Music sounds lively and crisp, although you wouldn’t want to use these in a room while your significant other is sleeping.
The bass is clear and well rounded, but where the headphones really shine is the higher frequencies. Vocals sound great, with pristine clarity without ever sounding harsh. The highs are bright and cut well through the mix, but never sounds raspy.
Sound quality without the bells and whistles…
These headphones have no flashy technology but offer some of the best sound quality for headphones under $1000 you can get.
- Nice bass.
- Great sound stage.
- Sound leakage due to open back design.
3 Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote IEM – Best In-Ear Headset Under $1,000
Beyerdynamic’s Xelento Remote in-ear monitors are truly made for audiophiles on the go.
The Xelento Remote oozes premium and style. The earphones are made of steel that has been beautifully polished. The rear panels are black, contrasting the steel and adds a pleasing aesthetic.
Quality all the way…
The range of included accessories all feel premium too. The seven included ear tips, three of which are memory foam, tells you from the get-go that these earphones are no joke. The carrying case is leather, and the cables are silver plated.
There is no adapter included, but considering that Beyerdynamic label these as on the go earphones, the intended use is for mobile phones which do not need an adapter.
The best of the best…
The Xelento Remote offers the best sound you can possibly find on a pair of in-ear monitors at the moment. From the very first note, you will be in awe at the amount of depth, volume, and clarity provided by these earphones. It is still not comparable to a pair of quality over-ear headphones, but it would be unfair to compare them to headphones anyway.
The Tesla coil, the technology Beyerdynamic uses in their premium headphones, has been scaled down and fitted into these earphones. They are able to push sound pressure levels up to 11dB, and the frequency range goes from an incredibly impressive 8 Hz to 48KHz.
Perfect balanced in the frequencies…
The sound itself is clean, crisp, and punchy. The bass is present but doesn’t overpower. Each bass note is distinguishable and never sounds muddy. Vocals are front and center. The highs are given ample space to breath and ring across the sound stage.
There is no denying that these are some of the best sounding earphones, if not the best, on the market right now.
But are they worth the price?
Yes, if you are an audiophile, have the money and want in-ear monitors exclusively. However, if you are happy with a great pair of over-ear headphones, you will get better sounding headphones at the same price or even lower.
- Premium build quality.
- Great sound.
4 Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3 – Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $1,000
The king of noise cancelling headphones. Sony’s WH1000XM3 is definitely one of the hottest commodities in the headphones market right now. Recommended by some of the top YouTubers like MKBHD and Unbox Therapy, everybody wants a piece of these.
Why are these headphones so sought after?
The Sony’s WH1000XM3 not only provides stunning audio quality and comfort but also has class-leading noise cancelling capabilities.
Both color options have a premium matte-finish and plastic frame. Plastic frames aren’t the most durable, but the headset is a lot cheaper than a lot of the other headsets on this list. The vinyl wrapped earpads are very soft, but some heat build is expected with vinyl, but it never gets so hot that it becomes uncomfortable.
Keep the noise out…
Where the Sony’s shine, is the noise isolation. If you are a frequent commuter and want something to block it all out, then they’ve got you covered. The active noise cancellation filters out most low rumbles, whilst the thick earpads help block out any higher range frequencies.
The sound quality is on par with the noise cancellation. The Sony’s provide a less bass-heavy sound than some headphones. Instead, they opt for a well-balanced mix. Bass is still present, clean, and clear. Vocals sound great on these, as well as the rest of the mid-range.
Guitar solos burst from the seams and tear your ears apart, as they should. Hi-hats and cymbals crash like thunder, yet never strains your ears.
Superb sound stage…
The sound staging is also excellent, although not nearly as good as any open-back headphones.
If you are on a tighter budget, or you prefer saving some money instead of blowing your full $1000 bucks, the Sony’s are our recommended headphones.
For more information on the masters of isolation, take a look at our in-depth Sony WH 1000XM3 review.
- Class-leading noise cancellation.
- Great neutral sound.
- Amazing battery life.
- Plastic design.
5 Bowers & Wilkins PX Active Headphones – Best Build Quality Headphones Under $1,000
Next on our reviews of the Best Headphones under $1,000, we have the Bowers and Wilkins PX. This shines due to its rigid build quality, but it falters when it comes to active noise cancelling and sound quality.
The PX is in direct competition with the WH1000XM3 and Bose’s QC35. However, both of those offer better active noise cancelling at a lower price and are much more comfortable as well.
Bowers and Wilkins get rid of most of the leather and chrome. Instead, we get a matte-finish and vinyl wrapped earpads and headband. The earpads themselves have also been made thinner. The headphones look great, and all these choices have obviously been aesthetic choices. Unfortunately, a lot of comfort has been lost.
However, the angled drivers do provide excellent sound staging, and they have a very realistic 3D space, great for music, movies, and games.
Everything on top of everything else…
It’s hard to pinpoint where the sound went wrong, but the overall sound is muddy. A lot of vocals, guitars, and synthesizers get lost or muddled in the mix.
The most probable cause could be that the lower mid-range frequencies have been boosted a bit too much. This is where a lot of key instruments, such as the snare and male vocals are found.
Not for the commute…
The noise cancelling isn’t much better. It did well to block the low hum of the air conditioning in our office, but once we tried them out in a coffee shop, it was clear that the noise cancelling wasn’t going to cut it.
To find out more, check out our review of the Bowers and Wilkins PX5.
- Solid design.
- Great battery life.
- Muddled sound.
- Not comfortable.
6 Sennheiser HD 700 Headphone – Best Sounding Headphones Under $1,000
Sennheiser is definitely one of the best headphone manufacturers out there at the moment. Whether it’s gaming headsets or studio headphones.
The HD700 is the little brother to the HD800, which is Sennheiser’s top of the line headphone in the HD range. Similar to the HD800, these boast an open-back design, renowned for their amazing sound staging and clarity of sound.
Amazing sound stage…
Aesthetically, the triangular shape of the headset sets it apart from most other headphones’ circular earcups. It’s not only an aesthetically driven choice. It is mainly due to the angled drivers, that are responsible for the amazing sound stage.
The headphones are surprisingly light for how big they are. Weighing merely 200 grams, they never wear you out whilst wearing them. The earpads are covered with microfiber. They are really soft, comfy, and never heat up during use.
Quality and accuracy…
The balanced sound does justice to any well produced and mastered music. These are true audiophile headphones, and the sound stage is 100% true to the original mix, and the open back design helps even more.
There are some setbacks with open back designs. There is a lot of sound leakage, so don’t blast these in an office with co-workers around you. They also don’t isolate noise as well as closed back headphones. If this doesn’t bother you, then these headphones are by far the best sounding headphones in our review.
- Amazing sound.
- Great build quality.
- Comfortable and lightweight.
- Sound leakage.
7 Shure SE535 – Best Value for the Money In-Ear Headphones Under $1,000
Shure has been in the business long enough that when they introduce a new, premium pair of in-ear monitors, you take notice.
But what really makes these earphones great, is the detachable cables from the earphones. Shure offers plenty of different cable options that can be attached to the earphones, and there is one for iPhones, Android, or even wireless Bluetooth. The cable itself is quite strong and is Kevlar reinforced.
There are plenty of ear tips available, so finding the right fit is quite easy.
Shure keeps things light by using plastic to make the earphones, instead of steel. We were surprised that even though there is no steel present, the earphones never feel cheap or flimsy.
The best of both worlds…
The SE535 proves that it is possible to have rumbling, thunderous bass with clear and bright highs.
It’s quite a feat, considering these are in-ear monitors and not over-ears. Unfortunately, the sound stage is a little narrow. It’s present, and we can tell where most sounds come from, but when songs get a little crowded, it can be difficult to separate some instruments from each other.
It is important to note that the extra cables, like the lightning connector for iPhones, need to be bought separately, which ups the cost significantly.
- Great sound.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Narrow sound stage.
- No in-line microphone included.
8 Hifiman HE-400I – Best Value for the Money Headphones Under $1,000
The HIFIMAN HE-400I are the least expensive over-ear headphones on this list. So, how do they compare to the flashier headphones listed so far?
These use planar magnetic flat drivers, which produce a clear and dynamic sound. They act like cones or domes, which tend to also create a great sound stage.
Nice and comfy…
The headphones themselves are quite bulky and heavy. The leather headband is comfortable, and the velour earpads are soft and decently padded. Velour earpads tend to isolate better, but these are open back headphones, so their purpose is strictly comfort here.
The sound on the HIFIMAN HE-400I is clear and crisp, and it’s better than some of the flagship models of other companies, like the Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones. The open-back design allows the music to really breathe with a wide sound stage, giving each instrument its own little place in the mix.
Great at home, not so good for the commute…
Listening to these cans alone in your room is as good as it gets for audiophiles, especially when you consider the price. Unfortunately, listening to these in an office might not be the same. The sound leaks a lot, meaning your co-workers will also be listening with you. Ambient noise also creeps into the music, which can be distracting.
But regardless, if you want excellent sound quality but don’t want to spend $1000, then these are well worth a listen.
- Great sound.
- Sound leakage.
- Bulky and heavy.
Not sure if you want to spend $1000?
No problem, there are some excellent cheaper options on the market. So check out our reviews of the Best Headphones for Rock Metal Music, the Best aptX Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, the Most Comfortable Headphones and the Best Sony Headphones currently available.
So, what are the Best Headphones Under $1,000?
Making the best choice when you’re spending this much money on a pair of headphones can be difficult. And you want the best bang for your buck, no matter what your budget is.
Therefore, if you are looking for the best over-ear headphones $1000 can get you, the…
…is your best buy. They offer the best sound on the list, albeit it, with the shortcomings of an open-back design.
If you don’t want the open back design, and instead want to isolate yourself from the world, the…
…are the best noise-cancelling headphones you can currently buy.
However, if you want something small and inoffensive, the…
…are the best earphones money can buy. A sturdy steel design makes these unbreakable, and the sound on offer is as good as you can get from the smaller drivers in earphones.