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8 Best Headphone for Classical Music

Classical music is a unique genre with its own characteristics. If you are a fan of that style, you know that headphones must have an excellent sound quality and give you the most neutral response possible.

Not only that, but a pair must be able to reproduce realistic sound in order to show all of the nuances and details you would hear in a concert hall. There are a few parameters we can use to determine if a pair of headphones is good for classical music, such as the frequency response/range and the overall design of the product.

In this article, our mission is to find the best headphone for classical music. We compiled options of all types for any kind of budget: there are wired and wireless pairs, closed-back and open-back design, etc. We will also give you some tips regarding the most important points you should consider when buying a headphone for that particular genre. Keep reading to learn more.

Related: Best Studio Headphones Article. 

beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

We Tested 8 Products and Found the beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro to be The Best Headphones for Classical Music

The Sony WH-1000XM4 and the AKG K240 MKII were our Best Bluetooth and Budget Picks, Respectively

Best Headphones for Classical Music in our Tests

Table of Contents

  1. AKG K240 MKII
  2. Sennheiser HD600
  3. AKG K712 PRO
  4. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (80 Ohms)
  5. HIFIMAN Deva
  6. Bose 700
  7. Sony WH-1000XM4
  8. DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX

1. AKG K240 MKII

AKG K240 MKII

The AKG K240 MKII is one of the most affordable semi-open-back headphones you can buy. They offer a great value for the price and have a fairly neutral frequency response with emphasis on the mid-range. I have one of those that I frequently use for music production purposes and I can say that their sound quality is awesome.

Product Specifications

  • Over-Ear Headphones
  • Wired
  • Semi-Open-Back

Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • These have a great price and are very affordable compared to what they offer.
  • Fairly neutral sound signature. Not the most neutral, but better than most consumer-grade headphones.
  • Very comfortable to use for extended periods of time. The clamping force is not that strong and the pair is very lightweight.
  • Comes with two sets of ear pads: leather and velour.
  • This pair can automatically adjust to your head so it will work for most people.
  • Great mid-range response, not only great for classical music but also for music genres with a lot of focus on the vocals.

Cons

  • The bass response is not very strong.

Conclusion

The AKG K240 MKII is one of the best budget semi-open-back headphones. The audio quality is pretty great, and even though it lacks a bit on the bass response, it has a very clear mid-range. This is a good entry-level option if you’re thinking about buying your first pair. As these are semi-open-back, they will probably not sound as natural as a 100% open model, but you will definitely feel a difference compared to closed-back pairs.

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2. Sennheiser HD600

Sennheiser HD600

The Sennheiser HD600 is one of the preferred headphones in the professional music industry for critical listening and mixing and mastering. The particular feature that makes those good for classical music is the large ear cups and their open-back design. Once you try them on, you will definitely perceive the sound waves move more freely.

Product Specifications

  • Over-Ear Headphones
  • Wired
  • Open-Back

Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • As we mentioned before, the ear cups on these headphones are particularly large and open-back. This means that the sound waves escape freely to give you a more natural sound.
  • Although large in size, these are very lightweight and don’t feel heavy on the head at all.
  • The velour ear pads feel pretty comfortable.
  • Similarly, the headband is extra-cushioned for optimal comfort.
  • Lightweight aluminum voice coils.

Cons

  • Due to their open-back design, these are better used in quiet environments.

Conclusion

The Sennheiser HD600 is a staple, that’s for sure. We like the large design of the open ear cups, which will give a very natural response to your classical music listening sessions. However, these are made to be used in an environment with the least amount of ambient noise possible. You don’t need to have a professional studio though, a quiet room in your house will do.

Keep in mind that these headphones have low impedance and you may need to use a headphone preamp.

Related: HD600 vs HD650 article.

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3. AKG K712 PRO

AKG K712 PRO

The AKG K712 was a pleasant surprise for us. Upon a first glance, it looks pretty good: the orange wire design along with the leather headband does give this pair of headphones a very premium aesthetic. Let’s see how they perform regarding sound quality.

Product Specifications

  • Over-Ear Headphones
  • Wired
  • Open-Back

Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • In our opinion, it is the headphone with the best design on the list. It looks so unique.
  • Just like the AKG K240 MKII, these are very comfortable to wear. They follow the same principle, with a self-adjusting headband that lets the ear cups move freely, higher or lower depending on your head’s size.
  • Although these are high-performance headphones, they have an impedance of only 62 ohms, meaning you probably won’t need a headphone preamp in order to use those.
  • Very lightweight. You will forget that you’re wearing headphones.
  • Velour ear pads.
  • Improved, deep bass performance.
  • Comes with detachable cables.
  • Spacious sound due to the open-back design, perfect for classical music.

Cons

  • High price.

Conclusion

The AKG K712 PRO is kinda expensive, but we love the way these headphones look. This model in particular has a quite decent bass response with 3dB improvement, according to the manufacturer. Depending on your favorite classical music composers and their practices, this may be quite an advantage.

Nonetheless, it has a fairly neutral frequency response and wide frequency range. Another thing we like about this pair is that they probably won’t need a preamp in most cases, as their impedance is only 62 ohms.

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4. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (80 Ohms)

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Beyerdynamic. What else to say? This is one of the favorite brands among audio engineers for mixing and mastering and referencing mixes. The DT line offers several professional options. This one, in particular, the DT 990 Pro, has an open-back design that will emphasize the details of classical music.

Product Specifications

  • Over-Ear Headphones
  • Wired
  • Open-Back

Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • Like we mentioned before, you can trust beyerdynamic with your eyes closed. The brand is very well-renowned in the music industry.
  • The velour ear pads feel great and the inside is cushioned at just the right amount for optimal comfort.
  • Talking about comfort, the headband is extra-cushioned and the clamping force isn’t too strong so it won’t hurt your ears when used for prolonged classical music listening sessions.
  • The 80 ohms version can be used without the need for a preamp in most devices.
  • Incredibly wide frequency response and range: 5Hz to 35kHz, according to the manufacturer.

Cons

  • May feel bulky if you have a smaller head.

Conclusion

These are some of the best headphones for classical music, in our opinion. Considering its sound quality and that it is priced fairly lower than its competitors ($179 by the time this article was written), the beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is a superb choice. Sure, it is not the most affordable pair ever, but you get what you pay for and it is definitely worth the investment.

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5. HIFIMAN Deva

HIFIMAN Deva

The HIFIMAN Deva has a unique look. We like the leather color that was chosen to pair with the silver components. One of the flagship features in this model, however, is that it can be used either via USB, Bluetooth or cable, making it extremely versatile. The sound signature is pretty neutral and natural too. Let’s learn more about this pair.

Product Specifications

  • Over-Ear Headphones
  • USB, Bluetooth, and Wired
  • Open-Back

Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • Like we discussed earlier, it can be used either via USB, Bluetooth or cable.
  • The design is certainly one of the best among the headphones in this article.
  • The Planar Magnetic technology can give you a more natural frequency response and amazing sound quality.
  • The USB receiver is also a DAC and preamp.
  • The ear cups are pretty big and their open-back design will create a realistic sound with a natural feel.
  • The USB receiver can be attached under the left earcup.

Cons

  • High price.

Conclusion

These classical music headphones are excellent. The HIFIMAN Deva was engineered and tailored specifically to give you the most natural and neutral sound experience. The accuracy of this pair is pretty impressive and classical music lovers will love it. We also like the fact that the USB adapter is also a DAC and preamp, everything built-in to one piece.

However, these headphones have a quite expensive price tag. That’s the only drawback though.

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6. Bose 700

Bose 700

We like the Bose 700 very much, particularly for its versatility and the superb-looking design. These are the first closed-back headphones on this list. While open-back pairs may sound more natural, a closed-back pair has the advantage of being more convenient to be used in public places and noisy environments, since it also has active noise cancellation technology.

Product Specifications

  • Over-Ear Headphones
  • Bluetooth
  • Closed-Back

Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • These are some of the best Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones in the market.
  • Like mentioned earlier, the closed-back design is best if you plan to use these headphones in noisy environments and places such as the subway.
  • The design looks pretty good, we gotta say. These pairs are also highly adjustable, the ear cups can move vertically to fit your head’s size.
  • There are 11 levels of active noise cancelling for you to choose from.
  • There are 8 built-in microphones: 6 for the active noise canceling feature and 2 for voice.
  • These have a fairly neutral frequency response and will work well for classical music.
  • Up to 20 hours of battery life.

Cons

  • The closed-back design is not as natural as the open-back ones.

Conclusion

For classical music lovers on the go, this is an excellent choice. While the closed-back design may not sound as natural as its open-back counterparts, this particular pair of quality headphones shine when it comes to versatility: the Bose 700 Bluetooth is compact enough to be taken with you anywhere.

And, we of course got to talk about the active noise canceling feature. There are 11 levels for this functionality that can be chosen independently.

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7. Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is similar to the recently reviewed Bose 700. These are Bluetooth closed-back headphones tailored for those on the go. There are several features for the convenience of the listener such as an impressive 30-hour battery life.

Product Specifications

  • Over-Ear Headphones
  • Bluetooth
  • Closed-Back

Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • Dual noise sensor technology for optimal active noise cancelling.
  • With the Sony | Headphones Connect App for Android and iOS, you can change several parameters in these headphones to adjust them to your liking, such as ambient sound settings and equalizer.
  • The built-in touch control on the side of the ear cups is easy to use and very convenient.
  • It can also be used with a cable.
  • Includes a hard carrying case.
  • With the Adaptive Sound Control technology, these closed-back headphones will automatically adjust to your location and behavior.
  • Smart Listening by SENSE ENGINE can automatically detect what you’re doing while using the headphones and adjust the noise canceling levels accordingly. For example, if it detects that you’re having a conversation, the pair will have less isolation so you can hear what the other person is saying.
  • Wearing Detection: the playback is automatically paused when the WH-1000XM4 is removed. You can also place your hand over the right ear cup to activate the Quick Attention Mode.

Cons

  • High price.
  • Closed-back. May not sound as natural as open ones.

Conclusion

With so many technological features, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are good headphones for classical music fans who are also tech-heads. Let’s be honest, there are very few models that can get close to the number of technologies employed in this pair.

Unlike more professional options on the list, these are closed-back headphones, so they have a less natural frequency range response and stereo image than open-back models. But they still will offer you a great performance on the go. Pick these if versatility and convenience are your priority.

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8. DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX

DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX

The HE5XX is a collaboration between Drop and HIFIMAN. Drop is a company specialized in creating exclusive products designed according to insights from real users, and HIFIMAN is a manufacturer of high-end consumer-grade audio products. Let’s see what this particular model has to offer when it comes to sound quality.

Product Specifications

  • Over-Ear Headphones
  • Wired
  • Open-Back

Advantages & Disadvantages

Pros

  • We like the philosophy behind the Drop company. They are specialized in taking insights from real users and that was something that really inclined us to review these headphones.
  • Just like the HIFIMAN Deva, these headphones feature the Planar Magnetic technology for crystal clear audio and an optimal listening experience.
  • The headband, made out of leather, gives this pair a great look and feels pretty durable.
  • Similarly, the ear cups’ material looks and feels pretty nice.
  • Great overall build quality.
  • Ultra-lightweight components and design.
  • This model uses thinner double magnets and nano diaphragm membranes for a brighter sound and a more neutral frequency response, according to the manufacturer.
  • Fairly wide frequency range.
  • Detachable cable.

Cons

  • We found none.

Conclusion

We like this collaboration between Drop and HIFIMAN a lot. The HE5XX are premium headphones with superb sound reproduction, but the point we liked the most was probably the design: the build quality looks solid. We also dig the fact that Drop built this model based on insights from real users, according to them.

The company states that, although these can be powered by devices such as laptops and smartphones directly, a headphone preamp will give you better sound quality.

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What to Look for When Choosing Headphones for Classical Music

Before we head on to our top picks, let’s list some of the things that we considered when choosing the best classical music headphones for our list, and that you should also take into account when shopping for this kind of product.

Frequency Response

The frequency response is one of the most important features of any pair of headphones. Generally speaking, it determines the sound accuracy across the frequency spectrum and how good the pair is at reproducing certain frequencies.

For classical music, a pair of headphones with the most neutral response possible is usually preferred. Keep in mind though that it is physically impossible for a headphone to have a 100% flat response, there will always be certain frequencies that are naturally suppressed or emphasized.

Open-Back vs Closed-Back Design

Most headphones are either open-back or closed-back or a middle place between the two, which is called semi-open-back. This refers, as the name implies, to if the ear cups are either open or closed.

For classical music, open-back headphones are usually preferred since their design will allow the sound waves to move freely in and out of the ear cups, therefore, providing you with a more natural tone. However, they have a lot of sound leakage and don’t have sound isolation.

A closed-back pair is the opposite. The back of the ear cups are totally sealed, meaning it won’t let any sound leak out of the headphones and will give you much more noise isolation. This makes them optimal for day-to-day usage and more versatile. Most consumer-grade headphones are, in fact, closed-back.

As you can see, both models have their advantages and disadvantages if compared to one another. The best type will depend on your particular use case. If you prioritize a neutral sound signature, choose open-back; If you need a versatile pair that you can use anywhere without being disturbed by external noise, closed-back is the best option.

Comfort and Adaptability

Of course, the best pair of headphones for a person with a bigger head may not be the optimal choice for those with a smaller head. Choose wisely to have the best comfort possible. We recommend always looking at online product reviews to see what people have to say about how comfortable a pair is.

Most of the headphones in this list are highly adaptable to most people, and we included more information regarding each particular model’s level of comfort in this article.

FAQs

Do I Need a Headphone Preamp?

Only if you’re using a low impedance pair, like the beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, so that it can provide you with high-quality audio and balanced sound and drive your headphones properly. For most consumer-grade headphones though you won’t need one.

Conclusion

On our best headphones for classical music article, we decided to include several options to meet different use cases. Like we mentioned before, we decided to favor professional wired open-back headphones since they offer the most natural response and usually a much wider frequency range.

However, if you’d like to listen to your classical tunes on the go, we recommend closed-back portable options like the Bose 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM4. While they don’t have a more spatial sound like the open-backs, you will still have high-resolution audio with improved versatility.

beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro – Overall Best Headphones for Classical Music

With their renowned sound and an open-back design, the beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is in our opinion the best headphones for classical music listeners. They feel comfortable even on long listening sessions and can reproduce the sound of acoustic instruments in all of their details and subtleties.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4 – Best Bluetooth Headphones for Classical Music

These wireless headphones can provide you with great overall sound quality and several technologies that will make your life easier. Having the ability to block outside noise almost in its entirety, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is for classical music fans on the go.

AKG K240 MKII

AKG K240 MKII – Best Budget Headphones for Classical Music

The AKG K240 MKII is awesome at what it proposes. I use these daily and, in my opinion, it is one of the most comfortable options in this price tag with a fairly natural and accurate sound and a semi-open back design.

How to Buy

If you would like to learn more or buy any of the headphones mentioned in this article, you can find the link to their Amazon product page at their respective titles on the review list.If this article was helpful, consider sharing it. Remember: classical music is all about having a natural sound with neutral frequency response. We hope you find the best headphones for your particular use case. Happy listening!