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Best Bass Headphones (Apr.) 2017 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

By Walter J. Farrell | TECH

After a rigorous process of research, testing, and deliberation, I highly recommend the V-Moda Crossfade 100 of the headphones that are currently in the market. It’s the best deal, given its top-notch combination of a strong build, excellent sound quality, and a generous roster of features. It’s a bit pricey, but given the huge range of excellent sound quality it has, which bass lovers and audiophiles will love, it’s surely worth every penny you spend on it. It’s also chic and very durable.

Bass headphones, the large over-ear devices that make you look like a legitimate DJ, have become a trend over the past few years. With the enormous popularity of headphones like Beats, thanks to celebrity endorsements from Dr. Dre, Lady Gaga, etc., numerous headphone brands have also mushroomed in the tech market.

They come in different colors, features and specs and, given their number, it can be overwhelming and puzzling which one to pick.

Worry no more, since I have carefully searched the tech world and analyzed the best among the best of headphones. This article serves as a buyer’s guide that sheds an enormous amount of light on buying a pair of headphones.

Also, I’m generous enough to include a table which summarizes the important specs of the hottest deals and my top headphone picks. At the end of this article, you can also read my final verdict of the best deals on headphones that you can find.

"What Should I Consider Before Buying Bass Headphones"

If you’re planning to spend your big bucks on a pair of headphones and you’re in the process of choosing the right pair for you, you will be absolutely overwhelmed by the deluge of information that you might be getting. Buzz words such as frequency response, impedance, and neutral sound are common catchphrases and words that are used to describe the specs of a pair of headphones. This buyer's guide lists and explains the most important things you should consider before buying a pair of headphones in a language that's completely understandable.

1. Sound Quality

The sound quality is definitely the most important thing that you should consider. However, different buyers happen to have different needs depending on the type of music one listens to. Moreover, the metric of a good headphone depends on how suitable the sound a headphone produces to the needs of a buyer. Customers who love listening to hip-hop and EDM music will need a pair of headphones that's bass-centric. If you're a fan of classical music, you will need a pair of headphones that has enough emphasis on mid and high frequencies. On the other hand, if you are an all-around music listener, you might need something that perfectly balances the bass, mid, and high frequencies. By and large, you have to find out what a particular pair of headphones is specifically good at.

On a different note, frequency response, the numbers with Hz at the end that nobody else can understand what they exactly indicate, is simply the spectrum sounds a headphone can produce. It may or may not indicate the sound quality a headphone produces. A wide range does not exactly mean it sounds great, so don’t be fooled.

2. Impedance

It’s simply the amount of power it requires to run. If a headphone has 8-32 ohms of impedance, it’s classified under the low impedance category. This means that it can work with your phone or your laptop without the need of an amplifier. Headphones that have an impedance above 100 simply means that you will definitely need an amplifier for it to work. For headphones with an impedance between 32 and 100, they can function without the need of an amp, but this usually depends upon whether the device you’re using the headphones with has enough power to make it work. For example, iPhones usually can’t sustain headphones with an impedance level above 100.

3. Design

A few things you should consider in a headphone's design:

Comfortability - You surely want to wear something that's comfortable. You might consider weight or whether it has a sufficiently cushioned earpad.

Closed/Open Back Design - The two differ in terms of two things: noise isolation and sound leaks. Closed back designs are usually better at blocking external noises and don’t leak the sound you’re listening to. Open back designs, on the other hand, allow you to hear some noise around you and are usually bad at keeping the fact that you’re a Bieber fan quiet since the person next to you can actually hear “Baby,” the track you’re tuned into.

Portability

Most headphones are collapsible, which basically means you can fold them inwards so that they take up the least possible space. Some headphones come with a hard case to store them in.

Aesthetic Design

This depends upon your taste in design. Some are big fans of the hip and youthful design of Beats headphones, while others want the chic and laid-back headphone design that doesn't scream of coolness. Other headphones are not so attractive but sound great. It's up to you to decide what matters: looks or sound quality?

The Top 10 List: How we assess the products?

High-end bass headphones can cost hundreds of dollars, so deciding on the right headphones to purchase is no laughing matter. As a tech savvy person, it has been a common practice for many people, some of which are my friends, to send me an e-mail asking the best deals when it comes to tech products, including bass headphones. Hence, I decided to write this article to shed some light for potential buyers who are willing to spend some cash on a quality headphone.

So, how do I exactly come up with my top ten picks? It definitely wasn’t easy. The first step was to define my criteria for judging headphones. In this list, four important qualities in evaluating a headphone’s worthiness was used: sound quality, design, extras, and the price. The criteria were derived from thorough research on what makes a good pair of headphones, according to tech experts. After defining the criteria, I personally listed the products available in online stores and then began the tedious task of trimming down the list by again researching its specs and reading reviews from previous customers. After a sizeable list was created, I personally tested the products for a first-hand experience of each headphone’s comfort, build, and sound. The final ten products were then selected based on my careful deliberation of each product’s sound quality, design, extras, and price. A diagram below showcases the thorough selection process of the top picks.

 Frequency Range Impedance (in Ω) Closed/Open back Design Weight (in grams)
V- Moda Crossfade 100 (Editor’s Choice)5 -30,000 Hz32closed 280
JVC HA- SZ2000 (runners-up)4 -29,000 Hz16closed 485
Audio Technica ATH M50X (runners-up)15 - 28,000 Hz38closed 285
Sennheiser Momentum 20- 20,000 Hz18closed 190
Beats Solo 2 WirelessNA*33closed 215
Bose Quiet Comfort 25NA*32closed 196
Sony MDR-1R4-80,000 Hz24closed 240
Philips Rich Bass 12 - 24 000 Hz24open 52
Sennheiser 20121-18,000 Hz24closed165
Koss Portapro Headphone15-20,000 Hz60open 180

1. V- Moda Crossfade 100

A favorite among tech experts, the V-Moda Crossfade 100 is considered one of the best headphones on the market. Traditionally, V-Moda’s headphones appeal mostly to bass lovers looking for a club-banging experience because of the sharp bass drops its headphones consistently deliver. Notably, the V- Moda Crossfade 100, the company’s new flagship product, had also won the approval of audiophiles who prefer a richer and a more detailed sonic experience.

Here’s a brief round-up of the cool things that make V-Moda Crossfade awesome:

  •  It’s basically built to endure physical abuse from its owners. The Crossfade 100 has a pair of CliqFold metal hinges on its side which allows its earcups to automatically fold when it’s dropped. Reports say that this headphone can be dropped up to 70+ times and still function fully.
  • It’s comfortable. It weighs 280 grams and its faux leather earcups are sufficiently cushioned to provide maximum comfort.
  • It can block external noise.
  • Its 36” and 72” wires with a 3.55 mm. tip can be attached to either of the two earcup connectors. The other unused earcup connector can be sealed using a V-cork plug to protect it from dust.
  • Very portable. Just a quick fold and you’ll be able to place it in its protective case.
  • It has a Shareplay feature which allows you to share your music with your friends through secondary 3.5 mm. input, which allows them to connect their own headphones.

Honestly, though it’s a little bit pricey, these headphones are not as luxuriously priced as your Beats premium headphones. Overall, it has a strong build that can last for a long time, an attractive design, and a powerful performance. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship with a pair of high-quality headphones, then perhaps spending a little bit more will not hurt.

What We Liked

  • Strong build
  • Looks great
  • Punchy bass and highly detailed sounds

What We Didn't Like

  • Moderately Expensive

2. JVC HA- SZ2000

You may not have heard of JCV for quite some time, but this Japanese technology company is making a comeback with its latest flagship headphone, the JVC HA-SZ2000. The JVC HA-SZ2000 is mostly describe as a bass monster primarily because it’s specifically designed to produce hard, heart-pounding bass. A summary of its bass capacity is listed below:

  •  It has a wide frequency range of 4 hZ – 29 kHZ. It produces clean, hard-hitting bass which is JVC HA-SZ2000’s main feature.
  •  This headphone really works like a subwoofer that produces insane, punchy bass and beats. If you’re listening to The Chainsmokers, these headphones might give you a whole new bass-full listening experience.

The bass output for this headphone is insanely good. However, I am personally wary that it’s not exactly for everyone. Audiophiles who are looking for a detailed and accurate sound delivery may consider other options. Furthermore, there are a few more caveats you must consider:

  • It’s bulky and weighs about 500 grams. Nevertheless, its earpads are relatively less hollow when compared to other bass-centric headphones, so it looks like a regular Hi-fi pair of headphones.
  • You might need to secure a stereo amplifier since the JVC HA-SZ2000 requires huge amounts of power to run. Without an amp, your bass-full experience might be not as good.
  • Considering you might need an amp, it’s more apt for home usage. However, its chord that is around 1.5 meters long might be too short for home usage.

By and large, it’s a really great pair of headphones when it comes to bass. Therefore, unless you are into heavy beats and heart-pounding bass, you might start looking elsewhere because with the JVC HA-SZ2000, it’s all about the bass.

3. Audio Technica ATH M50X

The popularity of headphones like the Beats essentially mainstreamed the idea of headphones as fashion accessories. However, for the Audio Technica ATH M50X, functionality is all that matters and nothing else is secondary. If you're not against pretentious-looking headphones, the M50X's specs might interest you:

Design

  • ​It's mostly plastic with just a silver ring and a logo on its earcups. Basically, it looks more like a hardcore gadget rather than a fashion accessory.
  • Earcups are foldable and can rotate 180 degrees.

Sound Quality

​M50X's sound quality is balanced, accurate and textured. Audiophiles who are junky for audio fidelity will love this headphone. The bass is accurate to the point that you can actually hear the bass from the puffs of air from a man’s mouth if you’re listening to a spoken word recital. Sound imaging is okay, but still needs to be improved.

​Extras

  • This headphone comes with three cables: a 1.2 meter cable for casual use and two other longer cables intended for home usage. However, there’s a minor disadvantage with these cables: you just can’t use any generic cable that fits in a 2.5 mm. socket because the M50X has a custom twist-to-lock feature.​
  • It doesn't have a mic so you can’t use it to take phone calls.

In a nutshell, it’s a great headphone for those who are looking for an audio listening device that offers great sound quality minus the flashy design. It does not exactly give a premium $800 listening experience, but it does have an above-average sound quality. It’s a great deal for those who are willing to spend a little bit more but are not looking for a pair of headphones that are excessively expensive.

What We Liked

  •  Strong build
  • Balanced and highly-detailed music

What We Didn't Like

  • Slightly expensive
  • Bass needs more punch

4. Sennheiser Momentum

If you’re an audiophile who is concerned not only about a headphone’s audio fidelity but also its looks, the Sennheirsser Momentum might be an appropriate choice for you. Sennheisser headphones have a great reputation in the headphone market when it comes to sound quality and design, and the original Sennheiser Momentum is no different. As usual, I’ll give you a quick round-up of this headphone’s design, sound quality, and accessories.

Design

  • It’s made from leather and shiny metals on the side, so it looks sharp and attractive.
  • It’s very light (190 grams) and its earcups are sufficiently cushioned with leather.
  • It comes with an attractive case but sadly, it’s not foldable.

Performance

  • The sound quality is all about accuracy. It’s capable of producing detailed, highly textured and dynamic sound quality.
  • Its bass is sufficiently deep and precise but not as heart-thumping as other bass-vomiting headphones. Audio fidelity is indeed the primary feature of this headphone.
  • It has a low impedance, so it works well with any phone or any portable music player.

Extras

  • It has a gold-plated remote/mic on one of its 52-inch cable. A longer 56-inch plain cable also comes with this pair of headphones.​
  • It has a gold-plated remote/mic on one of its 52-inch cable. A longer 56-inch plain cable also comes with this pair of headphones.
  • Similar to the Audio Technica headphone, it has a lock feature which prevents unintentional ejection of the cables.

To all the audiophiles who think stylish design is equally important as a headphone’s audio fidelity, the Senneheiser Momentum was built for all of you. With its combination of elegant design, audio fidelity, and strong build, it’s a great deal for the money you are paying for it.

What We Liked

  • Elegant style
  • Accurate Sound Quality
  • Has mic/remote

What We Didn't Like

  • Not foldable

5. Beats Solo 2 Wireless

Hate them or love them, the Beats headphones are among the most popular and arguably the ‘coolest’ line of headphones out in the market. The Beats Solo 2 upgraded its coolness level by operating wirelessly. If you’re planning to purchase this one, you might as well consider having a quick run through to its pros and cons.

Design

  • ​Undeniably, it’s undisputed how cool the Beats series look.
  • It operates completely via Bluetooth. It weighs about 215 grams, lighter than most Bluetooth-operated headphones.
  • It’s mostly made up of plastic. Its earpads are sufficiently cushioned by leather. However, its clamping pressure is firm, so you may need to take a break from using it after a few hours.
  • Controls to adjust the volume or skip the next track also come handy on the sides.

Sound Quality

It still has the signature sound of Beats that is great when it comes to heart-thumping bass, but it’s more controlled so it doesn’t overpower the other details. It’s more balanced and can reproduce decent tremble frequencies. However, it’s not exactly the kind of headphone you would like if you’re a classic music fan or a musical detail-Nazi. Considering its price, the sound is competitive but not stellar.

Extras

  • It comes with a charger that can fully charge the device within two hours. Notably, this headphone can last up to 12 hours on Bluetooth mode.
  • It also comes with a compact headphone case.

If you’re wondering why I’m recommending Beats Solo 2 over the latest Solo 3, it’s primarily because the sound quality is the same. The latest version though, comes with an upgraded 40 hour battery life and a w1 Bluetooth technology from Apple. But you can actually get by with the Solo 2 even without these features.

In summary, Beats Solo 2 wireless is as hip as the price you pay for it. Sound quality is fine but if you’re looking for a more detailed sound, there are better headphones out there.

What We Liked

  • Hip and easy on the eyes
  • 12-hour battery life
  • Bass-full and vivacious sound

What We Didn't Like

  • Expensive
  • Sound quality could be balanced more

6. Bose Quiet Comfort 25

Travelers who are constantly bugged by the noise of the aircraft engine will love the Bose QC25. It’s the best noise-cancelling headphones that are currently on the market. As usual, I’ll give you a quick summary of its design, sound quality, and its other features.

Design

  • Its design looks mature but not too old-school. It’s definitely not hip like the Beats headphones, but it still looks appealing enough.
  • It’s also very portable and can fit in a small case about the size of a clutch bag.
  • It’s also very comfortable and I can personally use it without my ears or my head hurting during an eight-hour flight.
  • It’s powered by an AAA battery that is capable of delivering up to 35 hours of listening experience.

Sound Quality

Bose QC25’s sound is good with a forward sound that features a tight bass and a modicum amount of clarity with the treble notes. Holistically, it can deliver great sound, although not as good as other headphones that are specifically built for audiophiles. This is an obvious trade-off considering that its noise cancelling feature does come with a price tag.

Noise Cancelling Feature

It’s reliable and powerful enough to block noises from a noisy city or a roaring aircraft engine.

The Bose QC25 is a headphone designed for those who are in need of a noise-cancelling feature in their headphones. It’s true that there a lot of other headphones that sound better than the Bose QC25. However, the Bose QC25 is all about its excellent noise cancelling feature. It does offer decent sound quality but audiophiles may want something better than what the QC25 can offer.

What We Liked

  • Excellent noise-cancelling feature
  • Very comfortable

What We Didn't Like

  • Pricey
  • Not suitable for audiophiles

7. Sony MDR-1R

From the Sony Walkman to Hi-Fi headphones, this list would not be complete without a Sony product in it. Continuing to uphold its impeccable reputation, the Sony MDR-1R is one of the top brands in the headphone market. As usual, let’s take a peek on its specs:

Design

This Sony headphone looks hip and elegant. It weighs about 240 grams, which adheres to the average weight for over-ear headphones. Its earcups can move 90 degrees horizontally and 20 degrees vertically, just enough to adjust it to your head. The inner part of the earcup, though, may touch your ears but it’s pretty much manageable. Overall, it’s comfortable with just enough pressure to hold it on your head. It’s mostly made up of plastic, like most other headphones, and the build looks better than average.

Sound Quality

Demanding and meticulous audiophiles will love the Sony MDR-1R. Sony had really mastered its signature sound which is rich, detailed, and highly textured. You can actually hear vivid sounds of guitar, percussions, drums etc. as separate instruments rather than a convoluted, distorted mixture of sound signals. The ass is also very clear and crisp with enough thumping power. It’s also perfect for movie viewing. The sound effects and the dialogues are in a full HD mode with this headphone.

Extras

  •  Two 47 inches cable with a 3.5 mm. plug. They’re not proprietary so you can use any similar, generic cable with it.
  • 6.3 mm. adapter jack
  • A pouch bag, but a hard case would have been better.

Overall, the Sony MDR-1R is a great fit for audiophiles. It delivers a richly nuanced sound and it’s very chic. It’s a lot cheaper these days (as compared to its price when it was first launched) so it’s a great deal for a pair of hi-fi headphones.

What We Liked

  • Great sound quality
  • Looks great

What We Didn't Like

  • Not foldable
  • Pouch bag can’t fully protect the headphone.

8. Philips Rich Bass Neckband Headphone

If you’re looking for a low-end pair of headphones but still can deliver the big, fat, bass, Philips Rich Bass may be a match for you. A quick thing that’s very noticeable with this headphone is its neckband design.

Design wise, it looks hip enough but not really that cool. If you’re used to wearing large, over-ear headphones, the neckband design can feel very bizarre to you. It can also be uncomfortable, especially for people with bigger heads, since the neckband has a fixed length (approximately 13 inches). However, the degree of comfort continues to be a grey area, regardless of the headphone because there is no such thing as universally comfortable or uncomfortable. Who knows, a neckband headphone may fit you just right.

For under $50, the Philips Rich Bass is capable of delivering decent bass and treble clarity. It’s nothing like your V-Moda 100 or your Sennheiser headphones, but it can deliver a decent sound. Speaking of sounds, an important caveat you should probably take note of is the fact that its sound can leak. With heavy volume levels, other people might discover that you are a closeted Britney Spears fan.

As for the accessories, it comes with a 1.5 meter cable, but our testers reported that it’s susceptible to breaking. It also does not have a mic, so it’s exclusively for listening music.

Overall, it’s a fairly decent pair of headphones with a few hiccups. Nevertheless, you might consider forgiving these hiccups given that it’s almost four times cheaper than your high-end headphones. It’s definitely not Beats or Sony, but if you’re not down for anything too luxurious, these might be perfect fit for you.

What We Liked

  • Decent sound quality
  • Fairly pleasing to the eyes

What We Didn't Like

  • Neckband is not adjustable
  • No mic
  • Cable may not last

9. Sennheiser 201

Headphone users can be categorized into three groups: the audiophile, the bass lover, and the casual listener. If you’re a casual listener who simply wants to have a break from unreliable and cheap headphones, then the Sennheiser 201 might be the answer. An established brand, it is surprising that Senneheiser also has a penchant for offering products to low-end customers.

While it is a product from Sennheiser, you may consider lowering your expectations because this low-end model does not come up to par with the demands of an avid audiophile. However, its sound quality is decently clean and balanced enough to satisfy a regular casual listener. The only issue, though, is with its volume. Our test users wish that the max volume could have been a bit louder to counter external noises. Other than that, it sounds good.

As for the design, it is quite innocuous since there’s nothing extraordinary or anything that’s offensive about it. It’s pretty much like your regular over-ear headphones you usually associate with DJs.

By and large, I like to think that I am in good hands with this Sennheisser headphone. Considering its price, it might be a worthy long-term investment for any casual listener looking for a reliably built headphone that sounds good.

What We Liked

  • Affordable
  • Balanced and clean sound quality

What We Didn't Like

  • Volume control needs improvement

10. Koss Portapro Headphone

The last pair of headphones on our list is a peculiar one, in the sense that nothing looks like it. It has a weird design, which you may or may not love, particularly because it was released in 1984. Koss, the manufacturing company, hasn’t changed it since then. But while it does look different, its sound quality can’t easily be dismissed because it is good.

Design

Beats fans may easily label this Koss headphone as hideous. It certainly does look like it came from the ancient civilization, but is oddly comfortable. Koss has a design they call the ‘comfort zone’ which features a mechanical tool that allows you to adjust the clamping pressure of the headphone against your head. The earpads are also sufficiently cushioned. It’s also ultra-portable because of its collapsible headband which you can easily place in the case that comes with it. It looks different, but it’s comfortable.

Sound Quality

I find it weird that the Koss Portapro Headphone is one of the most overlooked headphones on the market today. It offers a balanced and crisp bass and a detailed and highly textured mids and highs. Audiophiles will really appreciate the quality of sound this headphone is capable of producing, notwithstanding that its priced at a very affordable price tag. If you are an audiophile shopping for low-end headphones for mobile use, I highly suggest you to consider this pair of headphones.

*Life-time Warranty

Old school companies happen to be very good when it comes to dealing with customers. Koss offers a “no questions asked” lifetime warranty on all Koss stereo phone products it sells. For sure, this headphone is durable enough for a company to have the audacity to offer this kind of warranty.

If you can ignore the 80’s look of its design, you probably might want to try this great-sounding headphone. At the very least, you would not have to spend hundreds dollars for a pair of headphones.

*Kindly check with the seller to confirm.

What We Liked

  • Great sound quality
  • Very affordable
  • Ultra-portable

What We Didn't Like

  • Looks antique

Our Recommendations

Top Pick: V-Moda Crossfade 100

The V-Moda Crossfade 100 tops this list because of its harmonious combination of a strong built, a chic design and a great sound quality. In terms of design, the CliqFold design allows it to endure countless instances of neglect from the owner and makes it a very durable pair of bass headphones that will last for a long time. It’s comfortable and attractive to look at.

The most important thing about the Crossfade 100 is its versatile sound capacity. It has a powerful and punchy bass, and it’s also capable of emphasizing mid and high frequencies. It’s basically a bass headphone with a unique sensitivity to an audiophile’s sensibility. With this headphone, I can listen to EDM music with all the head-banging involved with every bass drop it exudes and then muse with the works of Mozart an hour later. There’s no question as to how it captured both the hearts of bass lovers and audiophiles alike.

Worthy mentions: Audio Technica ATH- M50X and JVC HA-SZ2000

Audio Technica ATH- M50X also is worthy of recognition because of its sound quality that is arguably equally good, if not better than, that of the V-Moda Crossfade 100. Like the Crossfade 100, its sound also has an emphasis on the bass. It’s also versatile because it can effectively deliver crisp and detailed treble registers. It’s a professional monitoring headphone and audiophiles who like a bit more bass won’t be disappointed with this pair of headphones, in terms of sound. It’s cheaper than the V-Moda 100, but falls behind in terms of its design and additional features.

Lastly, the JVC HA-SZ2000 also needs to be recognized for the unique bassy experience only it can provide. Since it is built and designed to be a subwoofer in the shape of a headphone, bass fanatics can experience powerful, heart-thumping bass drops and rhythms with the JVC HA-SZ2000. People who consider buying this headphone have to be resolute fans of EDM and hip-hop music to enjoy the full extent of its bass services. Other than the big, fat bass it consistently delivers, there’s nothing much to tell.

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