Picture of the Sennheiser HD650 Reference Class Headphones, top side view.

Stereo Headphones Reviews, Earbuds

The list of   stereo headphone reviews   below details our personal experiences with each of these headphones and ear buds.

Stereo Headphones Reviews Introduction

Picture of the Koss Tech/2 vintage headphones, left ear cup, back view. Stereo headphones reviews.
Koss Tech/2 vintage headphones, left ear cup, back view. Stereo headphones reviews.

Hard to Find Great Sounding Headphones Yesterday

The quest for decent-sounding headphones at decent prices has led to many dead-ends and wasted dollars unfortunately. We’ve spent a lot for a little. E.g. We bought a set of extravagant Grado phones.  Then we also spent a little for a lot.  E.g. We purchased the much cheaper but better sounding Sony V500s and Sony V6 headsets.  But our favorite of them all for at-home, easy chair listening, are the Sennheiser HD-650 open-backed stereo headphones.  The least favorite is the Koss Tech 2 unit.  The others fall somewhere in the middle.

Closed Air Stereo Headphones Reviews

Today’s stereo headphones can sound as pleasing as a good pair of loudspeakers.  But you can spare your house mates or neighbors the loud music.  Do that by listening with headphones when only you actually need to hear the program.

Closed-back phones such as the Koss and Sony models reviewed below, all do an excellent job at containing the music. They also keep unwanted surrounding noise out.  Though the Sennheisers, also listed below, have the best overall sound in our view, they have problems.  E.g. Others in the room can hear your music, even when playing at low volumes.  Also, the Sennheisers do little to reduce outside sounds.  So the place where you choose to listen should be fairly quiet to avoid distractions.

Picture of the Sony MDR 7509HD studio monitor professional headphones in original packaging. Stereo headphones reviews.
Sony MDR 7509HD studio monitor professional headphones in original packaging. Stereo headphones reviews.

Headphone Amplifiers

Using headphone amplifiers (amplifiers specially designed for driving stereo headphones) allows adequate driving of the best headphones by today’s lower audio power devices such as iPods, portable CD players, and the like. We are especially fond of the PreSonus HP4 headphone amplifier, and have tried it with all the earphone units below with great aural success.  The serious audiophile will appreciate the improved sound from adding a headphone amp to your audio listening center.

Well-designed stereo headphones help head off a major source of noise pollution (the blaring stereo).  Apparently headphones are quite popular, as so many types and varying quality levels are available. Advancing audio and acoustic technologies have vastly improved the fidelity of even the cheapest of earphones, reduced their weight, and raised overall comfort levels.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

With the advent of digital noise-cancelling technology, surrounding noises, outside of the headphones can be further reduced in volume.  That way, all you hear, is the audio program.  Noise cancelling headphones work well on airplanes and in other chronically noisy environments.

Bluetooth Headphones

Then, there’s the Bluetooth headphones and infrared cordless technologies, that eliminate that pesky cable from the headphones to the audio device.  One drawback of these units is that they require batteries and an extra transmitter electronics.  But on the whole, wireless HD headphones sound pretty good nowadays, have decently-long range, and despite the batteries, are not overly heavy on the head.  So nowadays with so many options available, there’s less excuse not to use stereo headphones, in any situation where playing music at room-filling volume would be inappropriate.  We’ve yet to try bluetooth headphones however, though we have witnessed several brands of them on friends’ ears.  They love them.

Now you won’t feel the bass in your chest from your loudspeakers when listening through stereo headphones.  But you can buy ear speakers today that sound every bit as good as the best loudspeakers. Plus, you generally pay less for this single-person headphone listening option.

Stock picture of the Philips SHQ3200/28 ActionFit sports earhook headphones, around water, implying that they're waterproof. Stereo headphones reviews.
Philips SHQ3200/28 ActionFit sports earhook headphones, around water, implying that they’re waterproof, stock photo. Stereo headphones reviews.

Headphone Comfort

In addition to good high fidelity stereo sound, decent headphones should be comfortable.  The Sennheiser HD-650 phones below did the best at providing the most comfort with their velour-lined ear cushions.  The Sonys came in at second place, and the Koss headphone were least comfortable and probably the heaviest too.   If you don’t mind wearing ear buds, today’s better units are so light. In fact,  you may forget that you’re wearing them. Admittedly though, it’s hard to find very light ear buds that sound really good too.

So we hope you’ll find the headphone reviews below helpful in choosing an appropriate set of stereo headphones.  We will add to this list as we encounter and test new audio headsets and ear buds.

Links to Our Stereo Headphones Reviews


Apple Earbuds

  1. Apple Earpods Earbuds Earphones for iPod iPhone Review

Auvio Earbuds

  1. Auvio 3300271 Pearl Buds Earbuds Review Good.
  2. 3300352 Element Auvio Earbuds Review    Good.
  3. Auvio 3300465 Stereo Earbuds with Carrying Case Review   Better.

iWorld Earbuds Stereo Headphones Reviews

  1. iWorld Matrix Neons Earbuds with Hands Free Mic Review     Poor to good.
  2. Sonic iWorld Earbuds with Mic Review   Okay.
  3. iWorld Stealth Sound Earbuds Review    Good.

Koss Earbuds

  1. Koss Noise Isolating Earbuds KEB30K Review     Poor.

Philips Earbuds

  1. Philips SHQ1000-28 Waterproof In-Ear Sports Headphones Review   Pretty good.
  2. SHQ3000 Action Fit Earhook Sports Philips Headphones Review    Decent.
  3. Philips SHS3200 Earhook Sports Headphones Review   Good.

Skullcandy Earbuds Stereo Headphones Reviews

  1. Skullcandy Ink’d Earbuds S2IKDZ-003 Review
  2. Supreme Sound Fix Skullcandy Mic3 S3FXDM-209 Earbuds Earphones Review

Sony Earbuds

  1. Make Believe Sony MDR-EX10LP In-Ear Rock’n Buds Headphones Review    Low treble and bass, as well as too small buds.
  2. Sony Make Believe Headphones DR-EX12iP Review     Low bass, small drivers.

Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

Bose Earphones

  1. QuietComfort 15 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Review
  2. Bose QuietComfort 25 QC25 Acoustic Noise Canceling Earphones Headphones Review Best.
  3. QuietComfort 35 QC35 Bose Wireless Headphones Earphones Review Best.

DJ and Professional Studio Monitor Stereo Headphones Reviews

Koss Headphones

  1. Koss Tech 2, Tech2, Tech/2 Headphones Review       Worst.

Sennheiser Headphones

  1. Sennheiser HD-650 (HD650) Headphones Review    Best.

Sony Stereo Headphones Reviews

  1. Sony MDR-7506 (MDR7506) Headphones Review     Very good.
  2. MDR-7509 (MDR7509) Sony Headphones Review     Very Good.
  3. Sony MDR-V4 Digital Headphones Review     Good.
  4. JBL Flip 3 Bluetooth Speaker Review
  5. Sony MDR-V500 (MDRV500) Headphones Review    Very good.
  6. Review of the Sony MDR-V6 (MDRV6) Studio Monitor Pro Headphones    Very good.
  7. Sony MDR V700 Headphones Review, Dynamic Stereo   Okay but not great.

References for Stereo Headphones Reviews

  1. Bluetooth Technology    on Wikipedia
  2. Headphone Amplifier   on Wikipedia
  3. Headphones   on Wikipedia
  4. Noise Cancelling Headphones   on Wikipedia
  5. Stereo Sound    on Wikipedia

Revision History

  • 2019-03-21: Added tags, key phrase targeting, and subheadings.  Fixed some HTML errors and typos.
  • 2015-12-14: Added more appropriate tags.
  • 2015-10-06: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-01-12: Added white space and adjusted ad placement.
  • 2014-11-02: Tightened and revised content.  Added this piece to the Headphones category.
  • 2012-05-06: Originally published this post.
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