Best Headphones of 2020

There are so many great headphones on the market. And to choose only a few models in every price range while ignoring so many others seems plain wrong. So, let me preface this guide by saying that the headphones listed below are some of MajorHifi’s personal favorites. Some of these headphones are relatively newcomers, while others are all time classics. If we left some great ones off the list, it doesn’t mean we don’t love them. But during this awful global pandemic, tough choices have to be made. Otherwise, I’d be here all day. And I’ve got things to do, like go outside and stare at closed shop windows. So, here are arguably the best headphones of 2020. Mind you, the year is still young. So, stay tuned for updates.

What Are the Best Headphones of 2020?

Under $5000

Final Audio D8000 Pro Edition

The D8000 Pro Edition delivers an extremely well balanced, super tight and all-encompassing sound. It also offers the kind of detail and precision that you’d expect from one of the most skilled headphones on the market. It’s an unadulterated sound signature that will please listeners who gravitate to the most realistic listening experience. So, unsurprisingly, if you like a lot of flavor and added character in your sound profile, you might want to keep looking. But personally, I’m a sucker for any headphone that doesn’t lie. And this baby is so gorgeously sincere, it can make a grown man cry.

Focal Utopia

For those who are new to the audiophile world, know that the Focal Utopia is the Porche of headphones. They look and feel sexy, and the level of speed and clarity is in a class of its own. The Utopia’s beryllium drivers give them an accuracy and transient response rivaled by few. And the balance is oh so sweet to the ears. Rest assured that you will miss nothing in the mix of your track. They are expensive, at almost 4 grand, but if you can afford it and appreciate highly detailed music listening, you should drop everything right now and buy these headphones. We don’t say that often, but for these headphones it is true.

Abyss Diana Phi

Tons of dimension and spaciousness, and some of the most precise imaging I’ve heard in a high-end headphone, especially ones this portable. If you appreciate a truly 3D listening experience, you’re going to love these cans. Balanced for versatility, the Diana Phi handles every genre you throw at it. Ample detail, lots of body, clean separation, and super sweet tuning that lends itself well to long listening sessions. In fact, the Diana Phi would surely be a crowd pleaser if everyone in the crowd had 4 grand to spend. But for the lucky few, there will be no buyer’s remorse.

Under $3000

Meze Empyrean

I couldn’t say it better than one of our best reviewer’s, Steph Durwin: “The Meze Empyrean is a beautifully executed headphone. It is comfortable, sounds incredible for a wide variety of genres, and gives life to both dense and sparse arrangements. It feels active without feeling hard, but rather gives an aesthetic sense of softness to mixes that need it, and specificity to mixes that need it equally.” The Empyrean, though pricey, could be priced much higher, and discerning audiophiles would still pay for it. That’s how good it is.

Under $1500

Audeze LCD-X

Clear and punchy bass. Scrumptiously warm mids and clear highs that, at the same time, avoid the slightest hint of harshness. This is one rich and smooth sounding headphone. In fact, it’s like honey to the ears. There’s a reason why the LCD-X is the only headphone listed in this price range; in terms of listening enjoyment, nothing else rivals it.

UNDER $1000

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro

The DT 1770 Pro is 600 bucks. But it could sell for a lot more. It’s one of the few dynamic driver headphones listed in this echelon, as planar magnetic drivers are the newer, more trendy technology. But make no mistake. This is a top class audiophile listening experience. Although these cans are marketed more towards professional applications, I still find them to be a hell of a good time. The kind of transparency, gorgeous balance, punch and fluidity that these headphones deliver may be unparalleled at this price point. The only caveat is that the DT1770 Pro is 200 Ohms. So, unlike most dynamic headphones on the market these days, you will need an amp to drive them.

Dan Clarke Audio Aeon 2 Open

Dan Clarke took over the MrSpeakers name last year and released this fantastic headphone. Those who have listened to the original Aeon Flow and found that the sound signature to be a little anemic should give the former MrSpeakers a second chance. Elegantly balanced and multidimensional, with a classy level of warmth and color, as well a lot more charisma than its predecessor, there’s no question that the Aeon 2 is a tough competitor at this price point. In fact, at the end of last year, MajorHifi gave these can the coveted MajorHifi Gold Award. Personally, I think it’s the best open-back planar magnetic headphone under 1000 bucks.

Under $500

Final Audio Sonorous III

Warm and hearty bass, full midrange and smooth highs make these cans my favorite sound signature in the Final Audio Sonorous lineup. These are some big sized headphones, but they deliver spectacular sound for 400 bucks.

Under $300

Audeze LCD-1

It’s hard to find planar magnetic technology at this price point. But Audeze delivers it in their lightest and most portable headphone to date. The LCD-1 is designed as a reference headphone for musicians and music engineers. As a result, it has a relatively even balance and feels accurate across the frequency spectrum. At the same time, the LCD-1 is richer and more charismatic than most dynamic driver reference headphones. So, if you’re a music professional who is also looking for a good time, the LCD-1 is a solid option.

Under $200

Beyerdynamic DT 770

Don’t expect a deep and fat bass. But do expect a well-balanced, accurate and super transparent sound signature that’s trusted by recording artist across the globe. I saw Paul McCartney wearing these cans in the studio. Enough said.

Audio-Technica M50X

The M50X is one of the most popular headphones on the market. Famous for it’s punchy bass and bold, v-shaped sound signature, modern genres, like pop and electronica sound especially good on this classic DJ style cans. At the same time, fans of folk and acoustic genres will also appreciate the light and playful feel that the higher frequencies deliver. Kids love them, hipsters dig them, and even geeky audiophiles like me have mad respect.

Under $100

Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro

I swear I’m not a ho for Beyerdynamic. The company just makes objectively good headphones. The DT 240 Pro sports a relatively flat balance. But it’s still fun. Punchy bass with clear low frequency transients, combined with a full and detailed midrange and a touch of high frequency extension, makes these cans an enjoyable listen and a great bang for your buck.

Audio-Technica M40X

It has a flatter balance than the M50X, but sports the same well-built DJ design as its more famous big brother. Solid build, reliable sound quality. No complaints here.

You can find any and all of these headphones for the best price here:

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And you’ll find some on Amazon too.

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