Sealed on-ear headphones, just like full size cans are extremely popular among headphone enthusiasts, professionals and consumers alike. Aside from being lightweight, it also isolates outside noise well because its closed back. And unlike full size cans, its more portable and something that can be carried around easily.
These types of headphones are also often used audio professionals, news team and even commentators in sports or other types of shows. I have some kind of ‘favoritism’ with headphones of this type but here are some of the best in this category:
Sennheiser Amperior / HD 25-1 II
Although not really exactly the same headphones (with Amperior being the superior one), I decided to put them as one since they’re essentially just the ‘old and new’ model for this type.
Both these headphones do well for almost all aspect. Sound quality is superb, isolation is exceptional (partly because clamping is a bit hard since this is a DJ headphone), but the overall clarity is just unmatched. And as I mentioned, its a DJ headphone it has all those fancy features for DJ like swivelling cups, etc.
The difference between the Amperior and the HD 25-1 II is that the newer model has a sturdier build (aluminum parts) and they have also tamed the treble a bit which is one of very few concerns about the latter in w/c the treble is a bit harsh. But nevertheless, this is the best supra-aural (on-ear) headphones on the planet for the moment. Sennheiser HD 25-1 II | Sennheiser Amperior
Cons: Treble is a bit peaky. Can be a tad bright for some.
Beyerdynamic DT 1350 – Headphone enthusiasts refer to this as the Sennheiser HD-25 killer and for all the right reasons. Not surprisingly the DT 1350 looks almost like the HD-25 and they also share the same set of features. The Beyerdynamic has a warmer sound though, and others prefer the liveliness of this cans as oppose to the more coherent sound of the HD-25.
The treble of these cans are more relaxed too and unlike the HD25, there’s not much emphasis on the highs part and while its not strident, its still clear. Beyer DT1350 on Amazon
Cons: Can be hard to get a good seal with.
V-Moda XS/M80 – V-Moda is another good name in the headphone industry and both the new XS and old M80 are very good in this category. They don’t quite have the same sonic finesse as the two above but overall they are a very competent headphones for its price range. Sound is a bit more forward in the mids part but is not excessively bright going towards the highs. Its also pretty durable too.
Cons: Recessed treble, mediocre noise isolation.
Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 – The ESW9 is one of my favorite headphones due to its warmish musical signature. While it’s balanced overall, the ever so slightly darkish tonality is very appealing especially for slow musical tracks. It’s sweet sound is matched well by the beautiful-looking wood cups and lambskin earpads. Audio Technica ATH-ESW9 on Amazon.
Cons: Not a transparent-sounding headphone. Not rugged and feels a bit flimsy.
AKG K518LE – These closed-back headphone is a good entry level can for those who like lots of bass. The bass hits hard and has very good overall quality. The mids and treble are not bad too especially for the price point.
This headphone might be uncomfortable for some as it has tight clamping force but it’s rewarded with superb passive noise isolation. AKG K518LE on Amazon.
Cons: Comfort issues. Very tight clamping force