There’s a special, unique feeling you experience the first time you try the best headphones for classical music. It’s as if you’re really hearing your music for the first time. People who love driving motorbikes will invest thousands in the best motorcycle; guitarists will stop at nothing to get the best quality amp and axe. So why do so many classical music enthusiasts abuse their ears with cheap, muddy-sounding headphones?
Classical music is a complex and nuanced art form that can be enjoyed on many levels, but the best headphones for classical music are the only tools that can provide a shortcut to the levels of listening and appreciation usually locked behind the (astronomical) price tags of home HiFi equipment. In fact, because they’re not subject to factors like room size and acoustics, the best headphones for classical music can get you a sound even closer to the holy grail: hearing it live. Are you asking why you haven’t invested in the best headphones for classical music yet? Worry not – they’re right here.
Product Comparison Table: Best Headphones for Classical Music
|Best in class
|Audio-Technica ATH-AP2000TI Closed-Back Headphones
|Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) Over-Ear Headphones
|Best Noise Cancelling
|Sony IER-Z1R Signature Series in-Ear Headphones
|Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Over Ear Isolating Headphones with New Suspension Headband
|Focal Utopia High-Fidelity Over-Ear Open-Back Headphones
Audio-Technica are known for quality and sound fidelity, so it’s no surprise that they make the best headphones for classical music in perhaps the trickiest category: good bass. On an immediate level, this comes from their high magnetic flux density, and large, 53mm drivers that are capable of producing deep, powerful sound through DLC-coated bio-cellulose diaphragms, which are known for their natural bass response.
On a deeper (bass) level, the Audio-Technica ATH-AP2000TI Closed-Back Headphones are the best headphones for classical music here because they’re precision-tooled for the lower ranges. Audio-Technica have pioneered their own Double Air Damping System (D.A.D.S.), manipulating airflow to keep the bass crisp
- A name known for quality
- Unique bass technology
- True reproducer of Hi-Res Audio
- Not wireless
Do the bassoon justice with the Audio-Technica ATH-AP2000TI Closed-Back Headphones. Unique technology and 70 years of pedigree pay off in these top-grade audio tools, making them the best headphones for classical music listening if you’re planning on a bit of Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights.
What sets our best headphones for classical music in the noise cancelling category apart from other noise-cancelling headphones? With beautiful acoustic architecture and adjustable volume-optimised EQ to fine-tune your sound, Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Headphones match the industry standard for a good noise-cancelling model.
However, what makes the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Headphones the very best is that the H95s, incredibly, use eight tiny mics within the luxury lambskin ear cup to cancel outside ambient sounds reactively. This is called Adaptive Noise Cancelling (ANC). Because you won’t hear a thing outside while you’re listening to your classical, the H95s let you choose to toggle ANC at will – so you’ll know if your house is getting ripped apart by Godzilla. Available in four colours.
- Wireless connectivity
- Active Noise Cancelling tech
- Customisable EQ with BeoSonic Tuning
- Three-hour charging time
- BeoSonic Tuning requires app
Make sure you don’t leave the oven on and start to listen to Mahler’s Symphony No.3 in full, because the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) Over-Ear Headphones are our best headphones for classical music for their superb noise cancellation. Yes, they have a long charging time, but they play for up to 38 hours.
Many people listen to classical music while working, commuting or travelling – or just prefer earbud-style headphones. In our opinion, the Sony IER-Z1R Signature Series in-Ear Headphones are the best headphones for classical music in the in-ear style. These are premium in-ear earbud-style headphones made with beautiful materials, and we found them extremely comfortable for long playing times thanks to the ergonomic shape and
In terms of sound, IER-Z1R model utilises an HD Balanced Armature Driver system, Refined-phase structure and a (unusual in earbuds) short-path audio-grade capacitor, facilitating brilliant dynamics, solid performance, and extremely low levels of distortion. Sound Space Control gives an impressively wide soundstage. Lastly, multiple connectivity options mean that these headphones may not be wireless, but they’re certainly versatile.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- A big sound in a small package
- HI-Res Audio true reproduction
- Not wireless
Delivering big performance in a small package, the Sony IER-Z1R Signature Series in-Ear Headphones came out on top as the best headphones for classical music in the in-ear style. These may be small in-ear buds, but they perform every bit as well as full over-ear models. A lot of earbuds out there sacrifice audio quality for size, but these don’t; if you’re already making do with inferior equipment, why not treat yourself to a pair of the very best?
Hand-crafted in California, Audeze (say it “odyssey”) are a small business with passion, and that passion shows through in the Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Over Ear Isolating Headphones with New Suspension Headband. Not only do massive thinner-than-a-human-hair diaphragms, planar magnetic technology first developed for NASA and exclusive glass-infused nylon rings mean that you’ll “not just hear but feel your tunes”, but you’ll do so in extreme comfort.
Our best headphones for classical music in comfort have a new-gen steel suspension headband and memory foam earpads, contoured for perfect fit on the ear. But comfort isn’t just about lightweight materials and fit – it’s about a mellow, measured sound. And mellow these headphones are, smooth and warm to the ear.
- Handmade with passion in California
- Smooth, mellow sound
- Not wireless
Audeze’s rags-to-riches brand story is enough to get their headphones on this list, but the fact that they prove this passion with incredible audiophile equipment is the icing on the cake. That’s why the Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Over Ear Isolating Headphones with New Suspension Headband are our best headphones for classical music listening in comfort for not just ear-feel and mellow sound, but also feel-good factor. Supporting a small business that makes sublime audiophile products is what being a music lover is all about.
This is the closest you’re going to get to an orchestra in your living room. The Focal Utopia Closed-Back Circum-Aural Over-Ear Beryllium Headphones are our best headphones for classical music if you value fidelity; we think they’re not just our best headphones for classical music in terms of sound, but probably overall!
The innovative M-shaped pure beryllium dome of the Utopia’s full-range speaker drivers is exclusive to Focal, never before used in headphones. The result of using this rare material with a perfect strength-to-weight ratio is uncompromising tonal balance and dynamics: both high and low frequencies are reproduced with insane fidelity through a specially designed noise-cancelling real leather and memory-foam ear cup. “Close your eyes”, Focal promises, “and feel the musicians beside you.”
- Unmatched sound dynamics and fidelity
- Finest quality components
- Innovative and unique technology
- Weighty (but justified) price tag
- Not wireless
The Tonal Stellia headphones are the best headphones for classical music if you really consider classical music an act of artistry. They’re made for audiophiles who know that artisan music deserves artisan craftsmanship. We found that thanks to the unique beryllium technology, no other pair of headphones functions with quite the level of fine-tuned beauty and fidelity as the Tonal Utopia. You could almost call them… ‘berylliant’.