Top 23 Best Headphones for Classical Music 2020 [Buying Tips Provided] – Arkartech

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Our Pick For Top 11 Headphones for Classical Music

Nowadays, headphones are too common, but the best headphones for classical music are not.

They help you recognize features of classical music without necessarily knowing exactly how they were composed or having a technical language for describing them.

You need a pair of headphones that provide uniqueness of instruments and vocal clarity. Finding such type of headphones doesn’t have to be a struggle.

This article seeks to explore the best headphones for classical music for 2019.

Apart from the buying tips we have provided, you can filter through our product list to find a model that best suits your needs. 

Comparison Table for Top Headphones for Classical Music 

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Best Headphones for Classical Music 

#1 – Sennheiser HD 598 HeadphonesBest for Clear and Neutral Sounds

If you are searching for the best audiophile headphones for classical music, look no further than the Sennheiser HD 598.

Looking almost identical to the previous models of the brand, the HD 598 offers unrivaled comfort as well as unblemished audio eminence for classical music.

These trendily-made over-ear headphones are equipped with earcups made of high-gloss burl wood, which is as durable as metal mesh.

Unlike conventional headsets, the HD 598 feature groundbreaking acoustic engineering that delivers exceptionally detailed, balanced, and natural sound. 

This unique headset provides superb comfort for long hours listening periods, thanks to its light construction, leatherette cushioned headband, and velour ear cushions. 

The obvious setback of this headset is the open back design, which can easily bleed sound into your immediate environs, thus upsetting other people with your music.   

What We Like

  • Conveys in-depth, balanced, natural sound
  • Extremely comfortable for long listening
  • Ergonomic acoustic refinement deliver a superior soundstage
  • Virtually compatible with almost every single sound device

What We Don’t Like

  • Open back construction is inclined to bleeding
  • Not the most portable choice

#2 – Grado SR80e Prestige SeriesBest Budget Buy

Replacing the renowned prototypes, Grado has presented the SR80e. With an almost identical appearance to the previous models, the SR80e offers new sound features for classical music.

These headphones have a low impedance and high sensitivity. The SR80e is redesigned, featuring new drivers, multi-conductor cables, and a new housing.

The open back construction is equipped with special plastic earcups that have nearly zero resonance to keep your sound pure and clean. 

Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones

The on-ear black foam pads of the SR80e are more comfortable for long listening. The soft vinyl, adjustable headband fits snuggly and doesn’t apply too much pressure on your head.

This model is more laid-back and the bass is fuller and deeper, adding up to a smoother tonal balance when listening to classical composition.

What We Like

  • Upgraded driver design gives you more clarity
  • Cable is made of high-quality copper
  • Better-quality bass resonance boosts overall detail
  • Soft vinyl, modifiable headband and foam pads are very comfortable
  • Natural audio quality with no overstated frequency extremes

What We Don’t Like

  • The jack of the headset is not smartphone-case friendly
  • Sound leakages due to open back construction


#3 – Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones Best for Balanced and Transparent Sounds

Check out another set of high performing audiophile headphones. Distinct acoustics, top-quality components, and state-of-the-art production make them an audiophile’s dream.

The earcups are not heavy, but just enough that you can feel them. The big size means that the cozy like-velvet ear cushions truly serve more as cushioning for your jaw and head.

This also means they may be too large for your portable sound source, but it is okay since they are engineered to work with higher quality systems.

Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone

The oval designed headband with polyester cushioning provides exceptional comfort with no excessive pressure on the head.

Sound quality is the key to the excellence of these headphones. Classical music tracks will sound well-proportioned and meshed distinctly in between careful acoustic tones.

What We Like

  • Exceptional comfort for long listening periods
  • Delivers superb transient response
  • Improved frequency response
  • Transparent & balanced sound
  • Durable magnets ensure all-out efficiency

What We Don’t Like

  • Open back design is exposed to bleeding
  • Ear cushions may be overly sized for some users

#4 – Beyerdynamic DT 880 HeadphonesBest Wearing Comfort

These are among the highly-priced phones for classical music enthusiasts. They are produced in Germany with guaranteed performance.

These headsets deliver extraordinary spacious reproduction and exciting, natural sound. These head phones partially lessen ambient noise to provide a pleasant audio experience.

Unlike traditional products, the DT 880 features replaceable parts, which makes this model a dependable choice for many years to come.

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Over-Ear-Stereo Headphones. Semi-open design, wired, high-end, for the stereo system

The blend of aluminum yokes, cozy ear pads, and flexible headband provide a satisfying fit and an unchanging exterior for many hours of listening.

This model is known to produce highs that are piercing. So, they may not be a great choice for people with sensitive ears.

What We Like

  • True sound definition
  • The semi-open design delivers complete sound spectrum
  • Headband and ear cushions feature breathable materials
  • Reproduction of immersive 3D acoustics

What We Don’t Like

  • Velour on the cups may get matted
  • Intense highs may be inapt for sensitive ears

#5 – Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X HeadphonesBest for Vibration Proofing

The ATH-AD900X is a stunningly, well-designed pair of open back headphones. They qualify as the fifth best audiophile headphones in our list because of the array of reliable features. 

The back side of the earcups are equipped with a see-through metal grill that allows you to see some of the internal components of the drivers.

The ATH-AD900X is outfitted with big velour ear pads for maximum comfort. Unlike most over-ear models, this one comes with a very flexible and cozy-fitting headband that applies no pressure to your head.

Audio Technica ATH-AD900X Open-Back Audiophile Headphones

The vibration-proof housing accommodates CCAW voice coils and 53 mm drivers that deliver superb sound reproduction.

The open back structure and extremely wide frequency response (5 Hz to 35 kHz) delivers natural instrumentals and vocals.

The elegant construction is also fitted with a substantially long cord for easy maneuverability. The cord is equipped with a 3.5 mm jack, and you can also use the detachable quarter-inch adapter. 

What We Like

  • Redesigned and heavily cushioned earcups for superior comfort
  • Adjustable wing support on the headband ensures there is no bass bleed
  • A wide frequency response for natural and clear instrumentals and vocals
  • Delivers precise imaging and a smooth tonal balance for classical music
  • Vibration-proof housing

What We Don’t Like

  • Bleed a lot into the surrounding
  • Not a suitable choice for smaller heads

#6 – Shure SRH1440 Professional Open Back HeadphonesBest for Wider Compatibility

The first thing that you are going to notice about these headphones is their price. Are they worth the money? Let’s find out.

They have an open back construction and high sensitivity rating, which means they are mainly designed for in-house use.

The Shure SRH1440 are completely redesigned. Every design feature you will find on standard models, such as the headband, earcups and cable attachments are pretty much reinforced for durability.

Shure SRH1440 Professional Open Back Headphones

Shure actually includes two similar sets of 7 feet cables. The package also includes an extra set of earpads, and a portable travel case.

The open back style of these headset allows more spatial listening, giving your classical music more depth and direction. The performance is even better at home with a powered amplifier.

If you want a wider soundstage that provides exceptional positioning of instruments and sound effects, the Shure SRH1440 is the real deal.

What We Like

  • Open back construction promotes a more natural audio response
  • Velour ear pads and premium cushioned headband offer superior comfort
  • Optimized impedance offer wider compatibility with portable sound devices
  • Heavily reinforced parts for long-term use

What We Don’t Like

  • Not a suitable choice for outdoor use
  • May require a powered amplifier for superior performance

#7 – Grado SR325e Prestige Series HeadphonesBest for Enhancing Vocals

Grado prestige series has been extremely popular in the industry. One of their latest inventions is the SR325e, which is well-known for its brilliant dynamics and excellent vocals.

When compared to the previous models of the prestige series, Grado SR325e provide two important upgrades.

There is more padding on the leather headband, which makes them more comfortable. They are outfitted with full metal aluminum earcups that are powder coated to reduce transient distortions.

GRADO SR325e Prestige Series Stereo Wired Open-Back Headphones for classic music

If you compare tracks between this model and the previous ones, the SR325e delivers clearer vocals and instruments for a classical music enthusiast.

A classical music track will not sound hard-edged or bright, just well-imaged and charmingly sharp. Extended listening is a true delight with this model thanks to its dynamic, detailed, and balanced sound. 

What We Like

  • Smoother changeovers from the lowest to the highest frequency range
  • Powder coated earcups reduce transient distortions
  • Thicker and more comfortable headband and ear cushioning
  • Clearer vocals and instruments compared to previous models

What We Don’t Like

  • They bleed heavily into the surrounding
  • You may feel the drivers pushing on your ears

#8 – AKG Q701 Quincy Jones Signature HeadphonesBest for Bass Boosting

These are widely popular audio enthusiast entry-level headphones that most people love their sound signature.

At first glance, you will admire the elegant open back, over ear construction. The headphones have a circular ear cup design with perforation and small AKG accents spread around.

The design is further incorporated with lightweight leather headband with small pockets that feel good. The overhead flexible tubes allow for easy adjustment of the headband.

AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Signature Reference-Class Premium Headphones

If you are listening to classical music, you will be pleased with the sound quality of these headphones. They deliver distinct highs with good lows in response.

If you are in favor of a slightly harsh as well as an electric signature, you will be happy with the AKG Q701. But the harsh signature doesn’t fully compliment vocals.

What We Like

  • Circular ear cup design fits perfectly over the ears
  • Headband adjusts automatically with respect to the shape of your head
  • High-performance magnets deliver minimum distortion
  • Delivers sparkling highs followed by the precise bass response

What We Don’t Like

  • May introduce fatigue during extended listening
  • Earpads may get hot at the point of contact

#9 – Focal Utopia HeadphonesBest for Wider Soundstage

If you have no problem breaking the bank for a pair of headphones, then you should settle for this insanely expensive model.

It takes the ninth spot in our list of the best headphones for listening to music because of the unique sound quality features and sophisticated appearance.

The headband is made of carbon fiber that provides a cozy and comfortable fit for all head sizes as well as shapes. You get nothing short of ultimate comfort.

Focal - Utopia Headphones M-Shaped Dome Loudspeaker Built Within Headphones

The very first convincing feature is the wide range loudspeaker design made of Beryllium. By design, the headphones are open back and over ear. So, bleeding is common with this headset.

The Focal Utopia are quite resolving headphones with a unique sound signature. They tend to be bright sounding with a wide soundstage, which is mostly ideal for classical music.

The frequency response of this model tends to lean towards powerful highs. So, they may not be ideal for you if you prefer mid-range signatures.

What We Like

  • Uniquely designed beryllium loudspeakers
  • Powerful representation of vocals and instruments
  • A very long cord for maximum maneuverability
  • Carbon fiber headband and ear cup design for comfort

What We Don’t Like

  • The extremely expensive price tag
  • Very powerful highs that may be unsuitable for sensitive ears

#10 – Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise Cancelling HeadphonesBest for Noise Cancelling

If you are in search for the best closed headphones for classical music, look no further than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

This model looks sophisticated and lavishly made. The headband is made of soft and supple synthetic leather, which is very comfy on the head.

Stainless steel retractable arms are used along with a firm clicking system that prevents any accidental adjustments when wearing.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones with Alexa voice control

Closed back, over-ear earcups are expertly made. The right side ear cup is fitted with easy to use controls, including play, pause, and volume adjustment.

If you are in search for truly wireless headphones for classical music, then these are the real deal. They provide a stable Bluetooth connection. You also get more functionality with the Bose connect app.

These headphones sound well-rounded. They are louder and the bass is just a little bit harder, but the mid is a bit more forward.

What We Like

  • Wireless Bluetooth connection offers freedom of movement
  • Portable headphones for classical music
  • Very comfy headband and ear cup design
  • Active noise cancelling is suitable for use in the public
  • All-rounded sound signature is very satisfying
  • Much more refined and accurate bass

What We Don’t Like

  • May experience Bluetooth connection problems depending on your audio device
  • They may not be the most ideal for picking up calls

#11 – Audio-Technica MSR7 HeadphonesBest for High Resolution Audio

We complete our list of the best headphones for classical music with the Audio-Technica MSR7. They are designed to deliver extended frequency response from mid to low.

They come with a flexible swivel structure that allows you to fold flat the ear cups for easy storage. This makes them portable for travelling.

The headband and ear pads are made of soft memory foam for superior comfort. Overall, the built quality is good, but the hinges on the headband creak slightly when adjusting.

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7BK SonicPro Over-Ear High-Resolution Audio Headphones

The sound quality is ideal for classical music. The mid-range is relatively recessed and the highs and bass are slightly boosted.

The most unique sonic feature of this headset is the stunning level of clarity with high agility and razor-like accuracy.

What We Like

  • Extended frequency response from mid to low
  • Included air vents control air flow to improve dynamics
  • Comes with a rigid, lightweight housing that minimizes resonance
  • Well-positioned drivers eliminate sound distortion and improve transient response

What We Don’t Like

  • Clamping force is a little bit too much
  • Hinges on the headband produce a creaking sound when adjusting

Our More Picks of Headphones for Classic Music

Go all-out with the best headphones for listening to music that have all the impressive features you could want:

  • Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO: These premium headphones have detailed frequency response, enhanced treble, and controlled bass for listening to classical tracks. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO: Spatial reproduction of this model is remarkable; well-translated highs and ultra-low bass are suitable for reproducing a lighter and clearer texture of classical tracks.
  • Sennheiser HD 800S: Not only are they very comfortable to wear. They deliver natural and realistic sound field with almost zero resonance.
  • Sennheiser RS 175: These wireless headphones are compact and ergonomic. They deliver surround sound experience and boosted bass. They are also among the best portable headphones for classical music.

Classical music headphones that are of great build and quality and suitable for a mid-range budget:

  • Panasonic RP-HD605N-K: These headphones are engineered for premium playback. They offer wireless convenience, noise-canceling, comfort, and superior sound quality.
  • AKG K712: They guarantee fatigue-free extended listening while providing airy and spacious quality sound reproduction without compromise.
  • B&O Play Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i: Experience the best in lavish design and superb classical music reproduction with these amazing headphones.
  • Bose QuietComfort 25: You not only get a distinctive wireless design in white or black, you can control your classical music as well as calls on Apple devices. They are among the best closed headphones for classical music.
  • HIFIMAN HE-500: These headphones are very tangible and detailed. You will hardly hear any overt colorations of voices.

Budget classical music headphones with decent sound quality and comfort:

  • Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X: They are designed to provide easy-wearing comfort and natural classical music listening experience at a very affordable price tag.
  • Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X: These headphones offer remarkable sound clarity of stringed instruments and vocals. They also offer easy-wearing comfort.
  • HIFIMAN HE-400I: If you want a high-performance listening headset, this is the real deal. Fast response time guarantees quality sound.

What Factors to Consider when Listening to Classical Music? 

When listening to classical composition, you need to pay close attention to instrument separation, clarity, and voices. You need headphones that can satisfy the following: 

#1 – Soundstage

In very simple terms, headphone soundstage is the stereo image created by the headset. It is all about how narrow or wide the image is.

When positioning sound effects, sounds, and instruments in the stereo image, the headset with superior soundstage will provide you with the best of your classical music.

In most cases, open-back headphones deliver grander soundstage (you can hear the violins on your left and flutes on your right) when compared to closed-back. 

#2 – Frequency Response

This is a measurement of how headsets respond to audio signals. It has everything to do with the intensity of bass, treble, and mid that the headsets deliver in hertz (Hz).

The normal frequency response range of headphones is usually 20 (bass) to 20,000 Hz (treble). Lower frequencies represent bass and higher ones represent treble.

The best headphones for classical music should have a flat frequency response, which generates a more precise image of the original sound source. 

#3 – Impedance

Headphones come in a variety of impedance ratings, all the way from 8 ohms up to 50,000 or more. Impedance refers to electrical resistance.

Preferably, the impedance of your headphones should match the impedance of your audio source (such as a smartphone), although this is not a must in all cases.    

You can connect high impedance headsets to a low impedance audio source with no trouble. However, do not attempt the reverse.

Anything lower than 25 ohms is considered to be low impedance. Therefore, high audio levels can be achieved with a small source of power. But you are likely to experience blowouts. 

#4 – Neutrality

Neutrality simply means that the headsets are capable of replicating the flat frequency response of the speakers’ sound.

A flat sound signature is a desirable output when listening to classical music. Flat means that there is no emphasis on any particular frequency.

If the sound signature is flat, then you can hear the classical music as it was detailed (naturally). Idyllically, there is no headphone driver that is truly flat.

However, most well-known brands try as much as possible to manufacture headsets that produce a natural sound. 

What Features to Look for When Buying Quality Classic Music Headphones? 

There are numerous headphones that you can listen to classic music with. They range from lightweight earbuds to full-sized headsets that produce amazing output.

Here are the major features that you should look for: 

#1 – Over-Ear, On-Ear, or In-Ear

Best headphones for listening to music come in three major designs: over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear. The most ideal headset depends on your listening habits as well as preference.

Most users would prefer this design for its high-quality sound. They are usually bigger and bulkier compared to the other designs. They have large earcups that cover the ears completely and a thick headband. 

Normally, these headphones have large drivers, which are capable of delivering clearer and deeper sounding music. Most closed headphones for classical music are over-ear.

Over-ear headsets are not the most portable option. They may not be convenient for long-duration listening.

When compared to over-ear, on-ear headsets are normally compact. They come with small earcups that sits on the ears.

If you want portable headphones for classical music with a more compact construction and a comfortable fit, you should look no further than on-ear headphones.

In-ear or earbuds became famous with the launch of MP3 players and iPod. They are designed to fit into the ear.

As far as sound quality is concerned, earbuds are the least favorite. This is so since they come with miniature drivers.

They are the least comfortable because they put too much pressure on your ear canal. You may also find them uncomfortable due to the shape and material of the earbud tips.

However, if you want the most portable headphones for classical music, then earbuds are the real deal. They are remarkably easy to carry around. 

#2 – Open-Back vs. Closed-Back

Headphones are available in two major designs: open and closed back. The most common design is closed-back, which is most essential for noise isolation.

The closed headphones for classical music features earcups that are sealed with heavy-duty plastic or metal. The enclosed earcups block any ambient noise.

In the headphone industry, closed-backs take almost all the points as far as general performance is concerned. However, they are a few concerns when it comes to classical music.

Closed-back headsets are not sonically good. This is so because of the unwanted reflections caused by the back and forth movement of the drivers.

The exact opposite of closed-back designs is open-back (earcups have vents), which allow outside noise to get in for a live listening experience.

The drivers of open-back headphones move more freely, resulting in better transient response, lower distortion, as well as greater efficiency.

The lack of internal reflections produce a more natural music sound. You get a wider soundstage and a superior timbre, which is exactly what you need for classical music listening. 

#3 – Wired or Wireless Headphones

Wired headphones force you to sit within a few feet of your audio source, which is poor ergonomics. Even when extended, the wire becomes inconvenient.

Thanks to full-range wireless headphones, which are sonically far better to earbuds used with portables. You can listen to your classical music at midnight without disturbing your housemates.

Wireless headphones bring high-quality personal classical music to your bedroom as well as the living room.

One of the most popular wireless headset technology is Bluetooth. But, there are other technologies, such as RF and IR headphones. 

#4 – Comfort

Most people pay more attention to sound quality and little to comfort features. Like sound quality, comfort is a paramount factor.

Classical music tracks usually last long durations. Therefore, you would need headphones or earbuds that will not cause any discomfort. Features that determine superior comfort are:

  • Good Cushioning: You need headsets that come with good cushioning materials, such as foam and rubber.
  • Design: You need to decide which design is more comfortable for your ears during extended listening. We would recommend on-ear design for its portability and comfort.
  • Headband Clamping Force: Always choose on-ear or over-ear headphones that do not exert too much clamping force on your head. They should fit snuggly and comfortably. 


Classical music is hard to define in specific terms, but it is beautiful to hear, especially if you are using the best headphones for classical music.

You need headphones that can deliver the wider dynamic range of classical music. They should be able to reproduce the continuous changeovers from deep bass to vibrant highs.

Not all the headsets on the market are capable of regenerating the nuanced audio of classical tracks. You need to consider soundstage, frequency response, impedance, and neutrality.

Better positioning of sound effects and instruments in the stereo image is key. By design, the most suitable headphones that can deliver the needed performance are usually open back.

However, you also need to consider comfort and portability. But most importantly, do not settle for an overly priced model that may end up being a disappointment.

Check out our other reviews of the Best Translation Earbuds available on the market today.

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