Best Headphones for Vinyl: Your 7 Top Choices for Listening to Records

best headphones for vinyl

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The question of what are the best headphones for vinyl records seems so natural, because in fact we’re looking at two of the biggest and fastest growing markets in the world of personal entertainment today.

The sales of records is still unbelievably strong, and shows no signs of slowing, and the sales of headphones also continues to grow and grow, so yeah, we are likely to wonder how they work together – that is, what headphones are particularly well suited for listening to vinyl?

So let’s look at this fun and fascinating subject in more detail, in this buyer’s guide to the best headphones for turntables and records.

If you don’t want to read the whole thing, and would like to just see the picks, here are my top recommendations:

What Headphones are Good for Records?

To me this is an easy question to answer – the best headphones for vinyl records are the most neutral and revealing headphones overall, because records themselves just sound so glorious, and certain open and honest headphones will let that glory shine through particularly well.

That said, there is neutral, and then there is neutral.

What I mean is that there are very honest and revealing headphones that still have a bit of their own character – a touch of bass boost, detailed and shimmering highs, strongly emphasized dynamic energy and stereo imaging. These are great headphones for all kinds of popular genres, but are still neutral enough to sound superb with classical, jazz and Acoustic musics.

Then there are the truly neutral headphones – some very expensive, and some surprisingly affordable – which really, truly let everything on those wonderfully warm and musical vinyl discs shine through. These headphones are amazing for classical records and other more acoustic music, but will sound beautiful with all kinds of music as well – just without the various forms of emphasis that make electric / electronic music sound a bit more big and bouncy.

So this buyer’s guide to the best headphones for records is going to feature three clear winners – the best headphones overall for vinyl at budget, midrange and premium price categories, and then I will also throw in two great choices for pop music – one budget and one more premium – and two particularly good for all that long-hair classical and jazz stuff – again, a cheaper one and a more pricey one, both known for their audiophile-level neutrality.

To be clear, I am also considering a few other factors that make headphones good for vinyl record listening – or that simply make headphones good in general – like build quality, comfort, value and a sense of style.

Ok, all of that squared away, let’s jump right in, shall we? 

The 7 Best Headphones for Vinyl Records in 2024

Best Headphones for Records – Budget

Edifier W800BT Plus Wireless Headphones with aptX Bluetooth

What I Love:

  • Supreme Value
  • Surprisingly Accurate and Neutral
  • Great Bluetooth Wireless
  • Long Battery Life
  • Nice and Comfortable Design

Possible Downsides?

  • At this price, not really

While other popular headphone companies are pouring out model after model of headphones that have a particular sound – typically big and boomy, bright and bassy and especially tuned for popular music – Edifier has, almost quietly, been refining their product lineup and making more and more headphones that are notable for their beautifully accurate sound.

The funny thing is, the best Edifier headphones – like these super-affordable W800BT – are, with the right music, bit, bright and bassy, and incredibly fun to listen to. And yet somehow with more ‘refined’ music, like classical, solo piano, jazz and other genres, these 800s also sound just right.

This versatile quality is also why the Edifier W800BT are so great with vinyl records, because they really do seem to let the music through, with little coloration, distortion, sound shaping or other commentary of their own – and so all of the warm, rich and magically musical sound of vinyl records is presented with wonderful fidelity, and you can really hear why people love records and turntables so dearly.

The W800BT are nice headphones in all other ways too, with full audiophile grade aptX Bluetooth wireless circuitry, super-long battery life, a very comfortable design and an intelligent user layout, and very high levels of material and build quality.

In fact, the Edifier W800BT wireless over-ear headphones are pretty amazing for the very low price, and even if they weren’t particularly well suited for listening to records, I would still happily recommend them to a wide range of people, And for our purposes here – best headphones for vinyl – they are an easy pick.

Best Headphones for Popular Music Records – Budget

Pioneer HDJ-X5 Professional DJ Headphones – Black

What I Love:

  • Beautifully Neutral and Accurate
  • Awesome Bass
  • Great Material and Build Quality
  • Nice for classical and jazz Too
  • Very Comfortable

Possible Downsides?

  • Maybe not the most stylish…

It seems like we used to see the Pioneer brand a lot more than we do today, and their headphones are not considered or recommended nearly as often as similar models by Sony, Bose, JBL and others.

But in fact Pioneer is still one of the reigning giants in the market, and they are more popular than ever, and more respected than ever, among DJs, studio engineers and musicians – and the Pioneer HDJ-X5 is an especially good example of this.

With enormous bass, that nonetheless still remains well balanced and never overwhelms the rest of the sonic picture, the X5 are a super-fun listen, and hugely satisfying with any kind of popular music. The mids and highs are so open and natural, and the whole audio spectrum is natural sounding, warm and musical, with exceptional speed, accuracy and detail and very low distortion.

Truth is, though I call the Pioneer HDJ-X5 my top choice for affordable headphones for listening to pop music records, their accuracy and their beautiful sound make them pretty much equally compelling with classical and jazz, and in fact their heft at the bottom end makes them pretty awesome with symphonic recordings or pipe organs.

DJs, musicians and audio technicians especially value a headphone that is neutral and revealing, and this is why they love, and so often recommend, the HDJ-X5, which do as little as any headphones I know at this price level to stand between you and the music.

This is, of course, especially important with vinyl, and makes the Pioneer HDJ-X5 professional DJ headphones an amazing choice for hearing what records are really capable of.  The X5 are also exceptionally well made, comfortable and cool looking, and on all levels deserve a strong recommendation.

Best Headphones for classical Music Records – Budget

Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones

What I Love:

  • Accuracy, Detail, Speed and Tonal Beauty
  • Enormous Soundstage
  • Impressive and Well Balanced Bass
  • Very Well Made

Possible Downsides?

  • Not as comfortable for long listening sessions

There’s no doubt that open-back headphones are amazing for well-recorded classical, jazz and Acoustic music records, and can offer a whole new level of open, natural and effortless sound.

The only problem is that good audiophile-level open headphones are quite expensive – sometimes, in fact, obscenely so. 

The Philips SHP9500 over-ear headphones, however, offer not just a peek into that rarified realm of high fidelity listening, but are in fact superb audiophile headphones, with sound quality (not to mention build quality) that is even better than some of the far more expensive choices out there.

For well under a hundred dollars, the 9500 have frankly awesome sound, with fast, detailed deep bass, warm and palpable mids and shimmering, beautifully detailed high frequencies. They are very open, and cast an enormous and highly accurate soundstage, and they have that ease and speed you expect from the very best open-back headphones.

And their exceptionally revealing, transparent and accurate quality make the SHP9500 especially good for vinyl, because they let the warm,magical sound of records really shine through – possibly more than any other headphones I can think of at this affordable level.

For classical, jazz, Singer-Songwriter and other genres, the Philips SHP9500 over-ear headphones are absolutely incredible, especially for their low price, and for all kinds of music they are pretty amazing. They are also, perhaps above all else, an astounding value, and some of the best headphones you can get at any price.

Best Headphones for Records – Mid-Priced

Sennheiser Professional HD 25 On-Ear DJ Headphones

What I Love:

  • Incredibly Fun and Engaging Sound
  • Very Revealing and Accurate
  • Fantastic Style
  • Tough, Durable and Very Long Lasting
  • Perfect for All Kinds of Music

Possible Downsides?

  • None

Maybe the very best studio and DJ headphones made at this highly competitive mid-price level, and almost certainly the most beloved, positively reviewed and warmly recommended, the Sennheiser HD 25 are truly legend.

And every bit of it is absolutely deserved and justified, because these are simply amazing headphones to listen to. The HD 25 have such a fun sound – really punchy and alive, with perfectly emphasized bass, warm and open mids and fast, detailed and lovely high frequencies, an amazingly open sound overall and a huge soundstage, ease, low distortion and enormous musical energy.

When you listen to a good digital download or stream, you will be stunned by the inexplicably perfect combination of neutrality and tonal beauty you hear through the Senn 25s, but more than anything else you will be taken away by the music. And listening to vinyl records, with all their own energy, tonal beauty and realism, this transportation happens at an even higher, and more thrilling, level.

Really, I can’t say enough about the Sennheiser HD 25 headphones – and, full disclosure, I happen to own two different pairs of them, and use them more than almost any of my gazillions of other ‘phones. I have the standard HD 25, and the Sennheiser HD250BT (which is a very inexpensive variant of the original 25s, and easily my choice for best value in Bluetooth headphones today), and really it’s amazing how often I turn to both of them.

Super tough and well made, and with such a nice and original style that their looks have been enormously influential, the Sennheiser HD 25 DJ headphones are as desirable as it gets, and I would recommend them to anybody and for any kind of music. With records in particular, though, the 25 are simply awesome, and will provide the most engaging and fun listen imaginable.

Best Headphones for Popular Music Records – Premium

Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

What I Love:

  • Big, Exciting Sound
  • Great Battery Life
  • Audiophile Quality Bluetooth
  • Well Made and Very Tough
  • Adjustable Sound Signature

Possible Downsides?

  • No active noise cancelling

With a name like Crusher, these headphones might be assumed to have an almost overwhelmingly big, bassy and dynamic “pop” sound, but in fact the Skullcandy Crusher Evo Bluetooth wireless headphones are surprisingly refined and accurate, and have that revealing quality that is so well suited for listening to a turntable.

Sure, there is definitely a bit of bass boost, and the highs are beautifully accented and very detailed, but it is all still quite nicely balanced. The bass is easily adjustable on the headphones, and the highs are especially smooth and low distortion, which with the occasional pop or click coming from a vinyl record’s surface is quite welcome.

It’s worth mentioning that the Skullcandy Crusher Evo are also an awesome pair of headphones in regards to technology, with exceptionally  long battery life, a very stable audiophile-level Bluetooth wireless circuitry, a wonderfully designed and useful app and a lot more. They are not noise-cancelling, but the Evo’s design and the way they fit makes them super-effective at keeping outside noise out.

All in all, the Skullcandy Crusher Evo are a very fine pair of headphones, with a sound signature that can be adjusted from nicely neutral to, well, crushing, and a marvelously revealing nature no matter how you tune them. With excellent material and build quality, superb tech and such a brilliantly musical sound, the Evo are a fantastic choice for vinyl records of all types, and particularly well suited to pop and rock, electronica, hip hop and rap and all forms of popular music – and to vinyl records!

Best Headphones for classical Music Records – Premium

Sennheiser HD 560 S Over-The-Ear Audiophile Headphones

What I Love:

  • Gorgeous, effortless and accurate sound
  • The Best Imaging and Soundstage
  • Excellent and Perfectly Balanced Bass
  • Comfortable
  • Beautifully Made, Strong and Durable

Possible Downsides?

  • Open back design not ideal in all environments

If you’re an audiophile, or if you are really focused on classical or jazz, you almost certainly already know and love Sennheiser. Their HD 660 headphones are truly legendary and, while not stratospherically expensive, widely considered to be among the finest, most neutral and accurate headphones made today.

But the 660 are definitely a bit expensive – well worth it, but yeah – and you can get almost all of their superb attributes – the wholly immersive, huge and wide open stereo imaging, the incredibly effortless and natural sound, the amazing detail, the extended deep bass and highs, the unmatched realism in the mid and so much more – in a much more affordable pair of headphones.

The Sennheiser HD 560 are also an open-back headphone, which allows them the same kind of ease and speed in musical reproduction, as well as similarly big and open soundstage, with stunningly accurate imaging placement. Ultimately they won’t have quite the resolving power of the superlative 660s, but their reproduction of detail, inner detail and micro-detail is simply unmatched at their price point.

They are also known for their sub-bass extension, their liquidly sweet high frequencies, their near-absolute neutrality all the way up and down the spectrum, their exceptionally accurate phase coherence, their remarkable dynamic expressiveness and their drop-dead gorgeous sound.

The Sennheiser HD 560 are, in fact, so close to the 660 that for some people they seem even more attractive, and are arguably an even better value. They are also easier to drive, and don’t need a separate headphone amplifier (though with even something as affordable as the lovely iFi Zen DAC V2 they open up even more) and they are lighter and a bit more comfortable than their big brothers.

I call the Sennheiser HD 560 the best headphones for classical and jazz at the premium price level, but there are two things wrong with this claim. For one, they aren’t really that expensive, and are in fact much, much better than a lot of much more expensive headphones. And for another, with their honesty, accuracy and overall quality, the 560 will sound stunningly good with all kinds of music.

However you look at it, the Sennheiser HD 560 open back audiophile headphones are perfect for vinyl, and one of the best values – and best headphones period – on the market today.

Best Headphones for Records – Premium

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

What I Love:

  • Such Smooth and Musical Sound!
  • The Best Noise Cancelling
  • Superb Tech Overall
  • Premium Fit and Finish
  • Incredibly Comfortable

Possible Downsides?

  • Pricey

The Bose 35s, which may be the most technologically advanced headphones on the planet today, may seem an odd choice for something as old-school as vinyl records.

But even if we look beyond the best noise-cancelling technology on the market, the voice controls and assistant compatibility, the fun and fascinating augmented reality circuitry, the wonderful app, the perfect microphone array, the great Bluetooth and the excellent battery life – and so much more – we still have a simply awesome pair of headphones, that are well worth their admittedly pretty spendy price tag.

We also have a pair of headphones particularly well suited to listening to records, because perhaps even more than their features and advancements, the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II headphones are known for their clear, neutral and revealing sound.

Deep bass is beautifully boosted at just the right level to sound good for any kind of music, the high notes are detailed and shimmeringly sweet, imaging and soundstage are absolutely amazing in their openness and precise placement, and dynamic energy is quite stunning with the right recordings.

But even with the slightly boosted bass, or any of the sonic qualities of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones, they are more than anything else a neutral and revealing listen, and more than almost any other pair on the market today will let the beautiful sound of records come through. We could almost say that the beautiful fit and finish, the build quality, the perfect noise cancelling and all the other tech are just icing on the vinyl cake.

For all of these reasons, and so many more, these are by so many people’s estimation the finest headphones at this level. Again, they are not cheap, but the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are premium in every way, and a nearly perfect pair of headphones – and they are a clear choice for the very best headphones for vinyl records.