With the holidays approaching at a haunting pace, it is time to look back at some of the best headphone products to release this year. We have seen big launches from widely known brands, and some from other brands not as known in this market. This year sees new heavy hitters from the likes of two standout audiophile brands, as well as new iterations from returning mainline headphones. Here are some of the best ones you can buy for 2022.
Everyone was expecting a continuation of Sony’s popular 1000X line this year and they delivered with the XM5. This new 1000X headphone completely redesigns its look. Its got bigger earcups and a thinner headband, making the fit lighter and more comfortable to wear for a few hours. Many of its best features are ones that already carry over from the XM4, like its industry-leading noise-canceling and 360 Reality Audio mode. What they look to improve is its base sound performance, helped by a new driver unit that aims to improve clarity. No matter what you think of its performance, the XM5 is great for all the ways you can customize its sound, and is still one of the best options for travel.
This year, Sennheiser finally unveiled its follow-up to the Momentum 3 with the Momentum 4. The Momentum 3 was already known as one of the best wireless headphones for sound quality, and the Momentum 4 improves every aspect of it. Its bass is bigger and cleaner, the soundstage is wider, and the design of the headphones is a lot more comfortable. Like the XM5, the Momentum 4 has a new build, with bigger earcups that encompass more of your head. It is a more circumaural design that benefits the fit as well as isolation. You also get some strong ANC here, offering a great balance between noise-canceling and pure sound quality.
If you’re looking for something in the ballpark of the Momentum 4, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 is a perfect alternative. It’s another update from a previously acclaimed headphone that makes every enhancement it needs to. The biggest showcase of the S2 is its bass and build quality. You’ll get a thick and impactful low and, along with some of the best-looking Bluetooth headphones on the market. Especially if you purchase the blue variation, the PX7 S2 has one of the sleekest and classiest designs you can come across.
The PX7 S2 isn’t the only headphone that B&W released this year. The PX8 is one of the big three high-end headphones to come out this year. While the price might catch you off guard, the PX8 offers a fantastic sound that makes up for it. You’ll also find a similar build to the PX7 S2 but with more high-grade materials. If you’re just looking for a great, high-end headphone where the sound signature just goes down as smoothly as possible, then the PX8 is a fantastic pick.
One of this year’s best new editions to the wireless headphone game is definitely the Focal Bathys. Focal is most known for its selection of high-end audiophile headphones, and this year they decided to go Bluetooth. They’ve made wireless headphones before, but the Bathys are made to be in a class of their own. The goal of the Bathys is to offer the same pure sonic detail that exists in a number of their headphones, and they totally succeed. On top of that, you get some great ANC and a companion app that gives you an EQ. In its wired DAC mode, the Bathys stand up to some of the best premium closed-back headphones on the market.
Focal isn’t the only audiophile brand to release wireless headphones. Mark Levinson products are mostly high-end audio systems, but this year they released their first wireless headphone. It is one of the most expensive selections on this list, but the No.5909 is more than worth it if you’re willing to dish out the cash. Of course, the sound quality is the best aspect of the headphones, but the No.5909 offers some of the strongest ANC around. It even rivals Sony’s effectiveness, being one of the quietest headphones I have heard in a long time. You’ll also get a smooth bass that is adjustable, and a spacious soundstage that rivals other closed-back headphones in this region.