The best over-ear headphones for 2017

It can be hard picking out the best pair of over-ear headphones from a line-up. There are simply so many options out there – each of which offer a different combination of performance, features and value. 

But instead of testing all of them by your lonesome, we've done the heavy lifting for you by compiling a guide to the best over-ear headphones for 2017.

Why buy a pair of over-ear headphones in the first place?

In-Ear headphones are better suited for trips to the gym, and for travelling on-ears provide a good balance of sound quality and portability. But when you're in the comfort of your own home and want to listen to music with absolutely no compromises on sound quality, then over-ear headphones are the way to go. 

They can be bulky, but the benefit is that by sitting over, rather than on, your ears, they're much more comfortable when worn for long periods of time. 

We've got picks from right across the price spectrum, so whatever you want to spend you should be able to find a pair of cans that are right for you. 

  1. Oppo PM-3
  2. Philips Fidelio X2
  3. Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro
  4. Focal Listen
  5. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
  6. Bose QuietComfort 35
  7. Sony MDR-1000X
  8. Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7
  9. Focal Listen Wireless

Oppo PM-3

The Oppo PM-3's are a truly stunning pair of headphones. Make no mistake, we've reviewed a lot of headphones in the last 10 years but none have we become more fond of than the PM-3.

They're equally comfortable being plugged into a headphone amp at home as they are commuting through the hustle and bustle of a big city, and they stand head and shoulders above rival products from bigger brands. We really can't recommend them highly enough, they're just amazing.

Read the full review: Oppo PM-3

Philips Fidelio X2

The Philips Fidelio X2's are a superb pair of headphones offering premium comfort and build quality with a sound that rivals even the most vaunted audiophile cans.

Read the full review: Philips Fidelio X2

Best over-ear headphones

The Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pros are a stunning pair of headphones. Are they expensive? To some no, to most yes; but for the sheer listening experience they deliver you'd be hard pressed to take them off after putting them on, even using them with portable HRA players and mobile phones.

That said, they really do push the boundaries of what you can do with a dynamic driver. All praise to Beyerdynamic for putting together such a wonderful product.

Read the full review: Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro

The Focal Listen offer wonderfully balanced sound and great noise isolation. Overall, the Focal Listen offer a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. They offer stellar balance, build quality and understated design – and while they may not be as high resolution as the Pioneer SE-MHR5 and other headphones capable of High-Res Audio playback, their sound-to-dollar ratio is impressive.

At $ 250 (£150, AU$ 329), however, they're not cheap but you actually get a lot for your money (see: sound and build quality). Should Focal continue to pump out cans that provide balanced sound and top-notch build quality at an affordable price, audiophiles might look more and more in the French company's direction.

Read the full review: Focal Listen

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

These no-holds-barred wireless headphones are oozing with positive qualities, but for many, they're almost prohibitively expensive. However, if you're an audio lover that can spare the expense, do not hesitate on this comfortable, hard-working set of headphones that will likely last for years.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

Best Over-Ear Headphones

Bose has finally brought its fantastic noise-cancelling technology to a pair of wireless headphones and it's done so without any of the traditional drawbacks of wireless headphones. They sound great, and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.

At $ 349, the QC35s sit firmly at the premium end of the spectrum, but if you want the best noise-cancelling headphones available right now then you can't get any better.

Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35

Best Over-Ear Headphones

The MDR-1000X are definitely the closest competitor to Bose's QuietComfort series I've ever had the pleasure of testing. Some high-end codecs (LDAC, AAC and aptX) help the 1000X sound even better than the QC35s, but ultimately the noise canceling is a bit less effective in Sony's pair of cans.

What should drive your decision on whether to buy the MDR-1000X is your music player – if you're a Sony Xperia owner, you'd be hard-pressed to find a pair of headphones that sound as good as these with noise canceling tech built-in. Even if you're not, Sony's wares are still worth a listen – and maybe a purchase – if you aren't too put out by its $ 349 price tag.

Read the full review: Sony MDR-1000X

Audio Technica ATH MSR7

It can be an expensive journey if you're looking for a set of headphones that sound as good as they look. That's why Audio-Technica's MSR7 are a sight (and sound) to behold if good sound and sharp build quality are priorities.

These wired headphones retail for $ 199, which isn't cheap, but we think you'll love these. Why? First off, the sound is incredibly well-balanced, pushing out crisp highs and deep lows without distortion. Second, the build materials and included goodies help to offset the cost.

Read the full review: Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7

If you like the sound quality of Focal's Listen line of headphones but wished they were slightly more wireless, then the Focal Listen Wireless might be a better choice. 

They're slightly more expensive at $ 299 (£220, about AU$ 374), but for that money you get the same great audio resolution, and warm lush mids, which surprisingly see very little compromise in spite of the wireless operation. 

While sound quality is good, we've included the headphones slightly lower down our list because their high price isn't matched by the same amount of features as the competition. There's no noise-cancellation for one, and nor is there any NFC pairing. 

Nevertheless, if you want premium sound from a wireless pair of headphones, then the Focal Listen Wireless are a great choice. 

Read the full review: Focal Listen Wireless

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