The options of headphone design you can choose from seem endless, but you’re basically just choosing between on-ear, over-ear, and in-ear headphones. Each of these three types have their own merits. In this roundup, we focus on on-ear headphones.
Generally, this type of headphones is able to deliver richer bass and better audio quality than in-ear headphones. This is thanks to their larger drivers; they also don’t rely on an in-ear seal to produce sound. But that’s not the only advantage of on-ear headphones. They are more lightweight than over-ear headphones as well, making them more comfortable and portable. With this said, here are our picks of top-rated on-ear headphones for 2015.
Top-Rated Premium On-Ear Headphones
The compact Beyerdynamic T51i boasts top-otch sound quality that can get you excited about listening to your favorite music. It is also sturdily built and comfortable to the ears despite sitting on your ears. Made in Germany, this model is a sure solid pair of headphones that can last you for years.
The T51i is a far cry from its discontinued predecessor, the T51p. One of its many improvements is the three-button inline remote and microphone that’s designed to work with Apple’s smartphones and tablets, but may or may not work with Androids and Windows devices.. Its relatively lightweight metal design is a welcome feature as well, making it look futuristic and stylish without appearing too sporty. Its earcups fold flat for easy storage in the supplied, well-designed carrying case. Speaking of the cups, they are fortunately padded with memory foam, allowing them to sit on the ears without applying too much pressure. And unlike other models, its headband shapes nicely with your head. In terms of sound quality, it delivers excellent detail and resolution. It is also pretty versatile — it doesn’t lean towards a certain genre over another. Its bass is surprisingly robust, despite it being a compact model.
Top-Rated Portable Headphones
If you travel a lot but can’t leave your music behind, check out the Marshall Headphones Major II. If you’ve seen the original Major headphones’ design, you’ll likely recognize the Major II. Don’t be fooled with the almost the same external design, though. This new model is significantly improved, with better sound quality and greater value for money. Moreover, it can be folded flat and has a detachable cable for easy transport.
Its earcups have a more rounded design, the hinges and headband are more flexible, and it has better fit and is more comfortable than the first Major. The double-ended coil cord has an inline one-button remote and microphone for cell phone calls that works with both Android and iOS smartphones. Additionally, its dual 3.5mm jacks allow you to choose which side you prefer to wear your cable on; you can also have another person plug in and share your music. Compared to the first model, the Major II excels in delivering better sound quality as well. Bass response and other sound details are fairly warm and clear. Overall, these headphones are pretty well balanced and sound as good as more expensive headphones.
Top-Rated Inexpensive On-Ear Headphones
If you want a pair of headphones that delivers superb sound quality without breaking the bank, the Skullcandy Grind may just be the perfect fit. Although it is lightweight, it seems turdily constructed, with a metal headband and high-quality plastic earcups that don’t look or feel cheap at all. It also sounds surprisingly good for the price and comes with an interesting feature: the remote and microphone are integrated into the left earcup, which is similar to the the setup you’d get with a wireless Bluetooth pair of headphones. In addition, there’s a button on the outside of the ear cup that lets you take calls, play or pause tracks and skip them forward and back. It’s designed for use with both iPhones and Android phones.
When it comes to sound performance, the Grind is a well-balanced pair of headphones that offers decent clarity and is pleasant to listen to. However, you won’t be able to get the richness and refinement you would from a higher-end headphones. But that’s not a real deal-breaker, especially when you’re on a budget. In conclusion, the Grind is a solid choice for anyone looking for quality on-ear headphones who doesn’t want to spend a lot.