Let’s be honest. There’s no point in living if we can’t enjoy rock and roll. For this reason, God has put me on your computer screen to help you find the perfect pair of rock and roll headphones.
In terms of rock, it’s all about the midrange. We want it full and detailed. A big chorus and a clear guitar strum. With this in mind, I’ve put together a list of the Best Rock and Roll Headphones in almost every price range. If you’re looking for in-ear rock and roll headphones, click here. (I’ve listed mostly rock ballads in this headphone review. I’m in a sentimental mood. So, sue me. I’m sorry to all you hard rockers out there.)
Best Rock and Roll Headphones
Under $200 – Best Rock and Roll Headphones
Sennheiser HD 599
For 200 bucks, you won’t get a better rock n’ roll deal than the Sennheiser HD 599. It’s got midrange warmth, clarity, balance and soundstage. It’s also a very intimate sound.
Elton John’s Rocket Man gives you a good idea of what these cans are capable of. From the beginning of the song, you already get a feeling of significant depth.The vocals are a little in front of the piano, and then the bass comes in, forward and proud. As the chorus is introduced, the guitar strums are crystal clear and the back-up vocals are beautifully warm. The sound completely engulfs you. A very rich experience.
You can find these babies for the best price at:
Audio 46: Sennheiser HD 599 Open-Back Headphones
Under $300 – Best Rock and Roll Headphones
No huge lows, but a nicely detailed midrange. These headphones have slightly emphasized upper mids but without any harshness, which is rare. As a result, you get clear acoustic and electric guitars. There’s no muddiness from the lower frequencies and the separation is top-notch.
Listen to George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord. The two acoustic guitars are well separated from one another, allowing you to clearly differentiate the one on the left from the one on the right. The texture of the guitar strums is clear. And the soundstage is wide too, so you can really make out the distance of the guitars and the “hallelujah”. Beautiful.
You can find these puppies for the best price at:
Audio 46: Sony MDR-1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones
Under $500 – Best Rock and Roll Headphones
Final Audio Sonorous III
I’m a sucker for a warm sound. And midrange warmth is what you get with these dynamic driver headphones. However, it’s no slouch in terms of clarity either. In fact, the Sonorous III delivers the perfect balance between transparency and oomf. The most impressive thing about these headphones is how well balanced they are. You get such a comprehensive frequency range that I would even use these cans as reference monitors for mixing.
Try out Imagine Dragons’ Next To Me. A massively solid kick drum starts of the song and soon a very delicate and clear sounding acoustic guitar comes out. Enter the singer, and you get a present vocal, which is neither too forward on removed. And once the bass guitar kicks in, the song reveals a warmth and emotive quality that you won’t hear with other headphones in this price range.
You’ll find these cans for the best price at:
Audio 46: Final Audio Sonorous III Headphones
Under $700 – Best Rock and Roll Headphones
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Speaking of balance, let’s talk about the painfully phenomenal Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro. An audiophile’s dream for sure. These 250 Ohm open-back puppies are designed for sound professionals. If you have an amp and want to be blown away by accuracy, buy these. They’re my favorite headphones on this list. The lows, mids and highs are so exquisitely balanced that you get a very full sounding mix. Even more stunning, is the clarity and separation. And the spacious imaging is spot on. It’s a clean and smooth sound that is not only perfect for rock, but for almost every genre.
Take Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, for example. The beginning of the song starts with a radio changing stations. Listening to its distance, you feel the accuracy of the imaging and the width of the soundstage. The acoustic guitar comes in with some hard picks, showing ridiculously detailed texture. It feels like the guitar is being played live, right in front of you. That same intimacy is apparent when the vocals come in. You’ll swear that you’re in the recording studio. Once the chorus is introduced, the sound is utterly luscious. There’s not one missing detail, not one instrument that bleeds into the other. Separation, separation, separation. Man, listening to these again, I simply can’t believe how good they are.
You’ll find these genius cans for the best price at:
Under $1500 – Best Rock and Roll Headphones
Let’s go planar magnetic! If you’re willing to throw down some cash, you can get a great deal. Enter the Audeze LCD-X. It’s about 500 bucks cheaper than it should be because it doesn’t come with the usual Audeze briefcase. Why is it the perfect rock and roll headphone? Out of all headphones in this price range, it has the most present and detailed mids on the market. Hear guitars in your songs like you’ve never heard them before; the clarity is impeccable, while still delivering a satisfying fullness. It might be a tad less bassy than other Audeze cans, but it still delivers beautiful lows without overwhelming the rest of the mix. And the spaciousness…Wow.
I used Nathaniel Ratecliff & The Night Sweats’ You Worry Me as one of the test songs. The mix usually sounds a bit muddled in the midrange, specifically in the chorus. Not the case with the LCD-X. Ordinarily, the hefty bass in the song dominates the mix, but that didn’t happen here. And listening to these cans, I finally realized why the mids felt so muddy in this song. There are long-held brass notes throughout the chorus. This was much less obvious when listening through other headphones. If you have doubts about spending this kind of money, rest assured that you’re getting a big rock and roll bang for your buck.
You’ll find these Rolls-Royces for the best price at:
Audio 46: Audeze LCD-X Open-Back Headphones
Peace, brothers and sisters.