7 Most Expensive High-End Headphones in 2019

The world of high-end headphones is just as alluring as it is inaccessible. If you count yourself among the happy few who can afford expensive, high-end headphones, we have a treat for you: a list of the top seven best audiophile-grade headphones in 2019.

ProductBrandNamePrice
SennheiserSennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone SystemBuy on Amazon|$1699.95(Price as of 07/19/2019 19:49 ET)
HIFIMANHIFIMAN HE1000 V2 Over Ear Planar Magnetic HeadphoneBuy on Amazon|$2699(Price as of 07/19/2019 19:49 ET)
GradoGrado GS1000e Statement Series Open-Air Stereo HeadphoneBuy on Amazon|$995(Price as of 07/19/2019 19:49 ET)
beyerdynamicbeyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation Audiophile Stereo Headphones with Dynamic Semi-Open Design (Silver)Buy on Amazon|$669.99(Price as of 07/19/2019 19:49 ET)

Sennheiser HD 800 S

Seven years after the release of the mighty HD 800 flagship headphones, Sennheiser has finally blessed us with a new version, the HD 800 S, which features the same proven transducer technology and the innovative earcup design of the HD 800, but changes things up in the medium and low frequency range.

Using the innovative absorber technology that was first introduced in the IE 800, the HD 800 S neutralize the so-called masking effect, which causes the human ear to not hear higher-pitched sounds that occur simultaneously with louder sounds in a lower frequency range. The result is a clear sound without any unwanted peaks.

Many describe the sound of the HD 800 S as bassier when compared to the HD 800, and we feel the same. The exquisite tonal balance that all owners of the HD 800 like to praise is still there, but the headphones now feel more alive than ever.

The design and build have remained mostly unchanged, with the previously silver earcups now being solid black. The damped headband and the luxurious, microfiber earpads are as comfortable as ever, and the open construction is so breathable that your ears won’t get hot even during the hottest summer days.

As one would expect from a flagship product manufactured by Sennheiser, the headphones are shipped inside a luxurious box that hides and protects not only the HD 800 S but also two impedance-matched, low capacitance cables—one terminated with a 6.3 mm connector, the other with 4-pin XLR.

Beats Studio3

Coming up next, we’ve got some beautiful headphones from Beats. These are some of the best that money can buy for wireless connectivity, excellent battery life, and overall great sound. This one even comes with active noise cancellation. They’re a little on the larger side, but Beats is able to pack some seriously high-end hardware inside.

Like we mentioned, one of the areas where Beats really shines here is in battery life — a single charge will get you about 22 hours of straight music playback. They come in a nice carrying case for easy portability, too.

Buy it now: Amazon

Bose QuietComfort II

Bose is well-known for its QuietComfort II headphones, providing you with excellent sound quality, design, and even active noise cancellations. These over the ear headphones are actually extremely comfortable, and make it easy for all-day listening.

Whether you’re a causal listener or a studio professional, Beats is able to cater to both audiences with the QuietComfort II.

Battery life is really good in the QuietComfort II headphones as well, giving you 20 hours of playback on a single charge. Bose hits all of the checkboxes on good audio too — great treble, deep bass, and perfect mids.

Buy it now: Amazon

Hifiman HE1000 V2

The original Hifiman HE1000 headphones were, and still are, interesting for several reasons. They are the first headphones to feature a nanometer-thick diaphragm, their steampunk-inspired design is a welcome departure from what we usually see in the high-end headphone category, and their advanced, asymmetrical planar drivers are known for producing airy highs, beautiful mids, and deep bass.

Despite the headphones’ $3,000 price tag, the original version sold like hot cakes, so it’s really no surprise that Hifiman had been working on their successor. The Hifiman HE1000 V2 is now out, and it introduces many refinements to the proven formula.

The leather headband now has a greater range of motion for better comfort, the earcups are slightly narrower to decrease the overall weight of the headphones, and the earpads have more ergonomic beveling, which creates a more aggressive seal to improve the bass response.

While relatively minor, these improvements do add up, and make what many already consider to be the perfect headphones even better. Just like the previous version, the HE1000 V2 also comes with three different sets of audio cables, allowing you to enjoy your music from any audio source.

Grado GS1000e

At $1,000, the Grado GS1000e are among the less expensive high-end headphones, but their more affordable price doesn’t mean they sound any worse than premium headphones from other manufacturers.

Grado headphones are famous for their retro design that relies heavily on wood and leather. The GS1000e are hand-crafted in Brooklyn, NY, and the hand-selected mahogany-tone woods are used both for their aesthetic beauty as well as their acoustic properties.

The GS1000e utilize 50 mm dynamic transducers with Grado’s new 12-conductor cable design for wide soundstage and accurate sound representation. Thanks to the wooden earcups, the headphones have a full-bodied sound with warm harmonic colors and a dynamic low end.

These high-end headphones are for people who like their music to sound fun—not just accurate. So many flagship headphones have such dry, surgical sound that it ends up being fatiguing and not enjoyable. The Grado GS1000e are at the opposite end of the audiophile-listening spectrum. Their presentation is detailed, their separation and layering are stunning, yet they are still incredibly warm and suitable even for modern music genres.

Audio-Technica ATH W5000

The Audio-Technica ATH W5000 have been available for many years now, and they’ve remained popular among both seasoned and young audiophiles to this day. You can tell that these headphones have been around for a while because of their widely copied design. While timeless in many ways, the ATH W5000 can’t match the style and personality of many other premium headphones. We don’t think that’s really a problem since we select headphones based on their sound—not looks.

And you better believe that the Audio-Technica ATH W5000 sound great. The 53 mm drivers are equipped with a neodymium-magnet system designed exclusively for the W5000, featuring a permendur magnetic circuit with exceptional magnetic characteristics. The ebony housing gives a distinct color to the sound of the W5000, and the generously-cushioned leather earpads provide long-term listening comfort.

While the Audio-Technica ATH W5000 absolutely shine with classical music, we wouldn’t hesitate to use them for listening to any music genre. Their versatility is increased even further by their closed-back construction, which keeps outside noise at bay. Whereas many other high-end headphones are only usable in quiet, controlled environments, the Audio-Technica ATH W5000 can be used virtually anywhere.

Beyerdynamic T1 Generation 2

Being sit-down-and-listen headphones, the Beyerdynamic T1 Gen. 2 feature plushy earpads for long-term listening comfort as well as a generously-padded headband. Coming from Beyerdynamic, a German manufacturer of cutting-edge audio equipment, the build quality on the T1 Gen. 2 is nothing but excellent. From the rounded edges to the delicate metallic grill to the subtle color shades—the T1 Gen. 2 are simply stunning.

The attention to detail extends to their sound reproduction. The Beyerdynamic T1 Gen. 2 use Beyerdynamic’s Tesla technology for louder sound with less distortion and a wider frequency response.

The name was chosen because the transducers inside the headphones are rated at over 1.0 Tesla, the unit of magnetic induction or magnetic flux density in the meter-kilogram-second system (SI) of physical units. As such, they have almost twice the volume of ordinary headphones.

Of course, Beyerdynamic doesn’t expect you to listen at ear-bleeding volume levels. The higher volume simply allows you to stay farther away from the maximum volume, which often brings with itself various sound defects and artifacts, such as hiss.

ProductBrandNamePrice
SennheiserSennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone SystemBuy on Amazon|$1699.95(Price as of 07/19/2019 19:49 ET)
HIFIMANHIFIMAN HE1000 V2 Over Ear Planar Magnetic HeadphoneBuy on Amazon|$2699(Price as of 07/19/2019 19:49 ET)
GradoGrado GS1000e Statement Series Open-Air Stereo HeadphoneBuy on Amazon|$995(Price as of 07/19/2019 19:49 ET)
beyerdynamicbeyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation Audiophile Stereo Headphones with Dynamic Semi-Open Design (Silver)Buy on Amazon|$669.99(Price as of 07/19/2019 19:49 ET)

Verdict

As you can see, there are plenty of expensive high-end headphones out there. Some of these will connect over wireless to your iPhone, and others are wired-only.

That said, you don’t necessarily need an expensive pair of headphones to get really good audio. Some of the headphones that are well over $1000 are more dealing with small intricacies that only audiophiles are going to notice, or they’re just adorned with a ridiculous amount of actual gold.

That said, you really cannot go wrong with either the Bose QuietComfort II’s, or even the Beats Studio3 headphones. They’re still both expensive, but provide you with some excellent wireless sound.