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Sennheiser is one of the most iconic audio brands globally, and they got there without compromising. The brand was founded in 1945, and to this day, is led by members of the Sennheiser family. Today, Sennheiser makes more than just headphones; you can also buy soundbars and audio equipment for professional events and concerts. But headphones are what Sennheiser is best known for, which is why we’ve rounded up some of their best headphones on the market.
The company has generally been content to quietly plug along, consistently innovating and racking up awards along the way. But Sennheiser isn’t above stealing the spotlight from time to time. The Sennheiser HE 1s, formerly known as Orpheus, made headlines in 2015 among non-tech publications for one simple reason: the cost.
The HE1 was a revamp of a design first produced in 1991, and they cost $55,000 in 2015. But if that wasn’t enough of a sticker shock, they’ve actually gone up in price since then; currently, you can buy the Sennheiser HE 1s for $59,000 (pre-tax, naturally). That’s a modest ~7% increase compared with the 2015 total, but just to give you an idea of how expensive these headphones are, the difference alone is enough to cover the cost of seven pairs of Apple’s Airpods Max headphones or 10 pairs of Bose’s 700 headphones.
Fortunately, you don’t need to drop the cost of a Tesla to get one of Sennheiser’s best headphones. You don’t even need to spend as much as a single pair of Bose or Apple headphones, for that matter. Sennheiser makes excellent headphones at a great price, backed by over 75 years of experience, from wireless earbuds to open-back headphones to classic Bluetooth headphones. Read on for some of the best Sennheiser headphones to buy right now.
Best Bluetooth Headphones
Wireless Bluetooth headphones are pretty much a modern essential, allowing you to stay focused in your open-concept office or catch up on The Daily while on a noisy train commute. Sennheiser’s Bluetooth headphones offer active noise cancelation, smart assistant compatibility and strikingly stylish designs.
1. Momentum 3
The Sennheiser Momentum 3’s are premium headphones, and they look and feel the part. Where brands like Apple and Sony have opted for a modern look, the Momentum 3’s lean into Sennheiser’s storied audio history, creating a pair of headphones that are retro-inspired yet sleek at the same time. The genuine leather earcups and steel arms give them a high-end feel. They’re wireless and have active noise cancelation with transparent mode, so they’re built for life on the go. You can also fine-tune your preferred EQ and noise cancellation settings from the Sennheiser app.
2. HD 450BT Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Headphone
The HD450BT headphones don’t have the high-end look and feel of the Momentum 3 headphones, but they also don’t have a high price tag. These affordable headphones pack plenty of features, though. They connect quickly using Bluetooth 5.0 and block out external audio through ANC (active noise cancelation). They recharge quickly using USB-C and can have up to 30 hours of battery life. You can also connect using Siri and Google Assistant.
Best Wireless Earbuds
Apple’s one-size-fits-all approach has its limitations, especially regarding earbuds, a space in which one size really doesn’t fit all. Fortunately, AirPods aren’t the only option on the market for true wireless earbuds. Sennheiser makes premium and budget-friendly wireless earbuds, which boast features including over a day of playtime and active noise cancelation.
1. Momentum True Wireless
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds are one of the most stylishly designed options on the market. They have active noise-cancellation with transparent mode, plus 28 hours of playtime when using the charging case.
2. CX True Wireless
Active noise canceling might not be a priority for you. In which case, opt for the CX True Wireless, which is a great value compared to the more premium Momentum wireless earbuds. They boast up to 27 hours of battery life with the included charging case, and IPX4 water resistance makes them great for sweaty workouts. Like other Sennheiser headphones, you can use the app to control your sound settings.
Best Open-Back Headphones
Open-back headphones are a proper audiophile investment — because they allow air to pass through the back, they let it more ambient noise and will allow others to hear more clearly what you’re listening to. That makes them all but prohibitive for use in public or noisy places. But for an at-home experience, open-back headphones are pretty much unbeatable. The airflow helps prevent ear fatigue and create a more natural-sounding audio experience that will make you feel like you’re in the middle of the studio.
1. HD 660 S
The HD 660s are audiophile-level open-back headphones with an impressive looking design and comfortable cushioning throughout. If you need headphones for the studio or you want a premium at-home listening experience, these are the headphones to get.
2. HD 559 Open Back Headphone
If you’re curious about open-back headphones but aren’t sure it’s right for you, or you simply don’t want to spend too much on a pair of headphones that you can basically only use at home, then consider getting the HD 559s. They have a cushioned earcup and headband for comfortable hours-long listening, and they provide the airy soundstage that only open-back headphones can deliver. Plus, the cable is detachable, meaning if it ever wears out, you can easily replace it. Just not that these headphones use a 6.3mm jack, rather than 3.5mm.
Bonus: Sennheiser HE1
For some reason, the 60 grand HE1s aren’t sold at Best Buy or Amazon. Go figure. If you want to buy them, you’ll need to make a $10,000 down payment through Sennheiser’s website, at which point a Sennheiser representative will get in touch with you to complete your order, and your custom HE1s will be manufactured. Of course, they’re not the kind of headphones you’d take with you on the bus; you couldn’t even if you were insane enough to try. That’s because the headphones sit on a solid slab of Italian marble, which, while looking cool, also serves to eliminate unwanted noise. The attached amplifier includes eight vacuum tubes, and the electrostatic headphones themselves have an innovative design with a built-in amplifier that all but eliminates distortion. Are they outrageous? Absolutely. But you can’t help but commend Sennheiser for imagining what the platonic ideal of a pair of headphones would look like, then actually building the damn things.