Best Headphones Over $1000

by Alex.   Last Updated On November 7th, 2022.
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Headphones, whether for casual use or for audiophiles, don’t need to be so expensive. However, high-end headphones, particularly ones that range in the thousands of dollars: offer a newfound experience where you won’t be able to go back to regular closed-backs or earbuds for all your audio listening needs.

So for those looking to equip themselves with high-end audio equipment, especially audiophile headphones, which are either open or closed-back, I recommend checking out this list.

Here, I’ve picked out a dozen of the best headphones, talked about their specs, pros, and cons, and given you a little sneak peek at my first impressions.

I hope you’ve already decided on a good headphone amp because now, we’ll be looking at some of the best audiophile headphones for over $1000.

Table of Contents

Comparison of the Best Headphones Over $1000

Best Sound Quality Headphones Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Audeze LCD-4zAudeze
Most Comfortable Headphones Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Audeze LCD-XAudeze
Best Value for Money Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Focal ClearFocal
Best Build Quality Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Focal UtopiaFocal
Best Looking Headphones Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Fostex TH900 DynamicFostex
TH900 Dynamic
Best Budget-Friendly Option Headphones Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the HIFIMAN AryaHIFIMAN
Best Premium Headphones Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the HIFIMAN SusvaraHIFIMAN
Best Premium IEMs See On Amazon
photo of the Sennheiser IE900Sennheiser
Best Closed-Back Headphones Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Sony MDR-Z1RSony
Best Electrostatic Headphones Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Star SR-009Star
Best Overall Headphones Over $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Sennheiser HD800SSennheiser

Reviews of the Best Headphones Over $1000

For audiophiles looking for high-end sound from a pair of headphones, the Audeze LCD-4z will not disappoint. These over-ear headphones with planar magnetic drivers deliver excellent sound with top-notch imaging and soundstage capabilities.

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  • Type: Over-Ear Open-Back
  • Impedance: 15Ω
  • Sensitivity: 98dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 10-50,000Hz
  • Drivers: 106mm Planar Magnetic

Featured in our list of the best planar magnetic headphones, the Audeze LDC-4z is an absolute unit (both literally and figuratively). The oversized ear cups stand out and do not make it easy for listeners to carry them around or wear these around their necks. Also, the ear cups do not swivel easily, and the entire assembly does not fold, rotate, or lie flat.

The yoke and headband are not as “high-profile” and tend to be lighter than the earcups. However, they have metal reinforcements (especially the adjustable headband ratchet mechanism) which keep everything solid and durable.

Thankfully the metal headband extender has enough notches to expand or contract to fit most adult head sizes.

These open-back studio headphones are very comfortable; most professionals swear by them. Despite weighing over 1.32lbs, the headband spreads its weight around more evenly, reducing strain on your ears and your head.

The headphones are very easy to drive, and although they don’t present the most natural frequency response, the overall sound quality is admirable, as everything sounds accurate.

The bass and the mids can feel underpowered and lacking detail (especially at the lower ranges), but it’s nothing too major. The treble is good but seems to follow the same pattern of coming off a bit insufficient.

What We Like

Comfortable design.

Durable and premium materials.

Low-impedance drivers, making it easier to drive without relying on a dedicated amplifier.

Know Before Buying

Extreme price tag; not the best value for money.

Bulky and heavy headphones.

The overall sound profile could be better (although an EQ change can fix that).

Glass wearers will have issues with sound leakage (along with finding a comfortable fit).

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The Audeze LCD-X might not be the shiniest; looking like bulky cans with a weird-looking grill and adjustable headband, but thankfully, these are one of the most comfortable audiophile headphones on the market where you’ll have no problem wearing these for hours on end.

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  • Type: Over-Ear Open-Back
  • Impedance: 20Ω
  • Sensitivity: 103dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 12-50,000Hz
  • Drivers: 105mm Neodymium N50

If you’re looking for better sound quality and an all-day comfortable fit, the Audeze LCD-X is what you need. Despite being a little bulky (and heavy), anybody can wear these audiophile headphones for long hours in the studio without causing earwax buildup or aggravating your ears.

Like other headphones in the Audeze LCD lineup, these feature a semi-elastic headband with an adjustable metallic headband stem. The headband looks a little thin and flimsy, but it’s made of high-quality leather and doesn’t seem to be all that affected by dust and sweat.

Also, the earcups are sufficiently padded and include a semi-breathable leather lining. Thankfully, due to the open-back nature of these expensive headphones, you won’t have any issues with your ears sweating.

Regarding the sound quality, the Audeze LCD-X (especially the 2021 version) has a slightly underemphasized sub-bass and sub-treble response. (Compared to the Harman Target). Regardless, the mids are crisp and manage to remain flat and stable.

What We Like

Comfortable exterior with leather headband and earcups.

Low impedance drivers.

A reasonable price tag that’s slightly above $1000.

Know Before Buying

Early treble and bass responses can seem a bit off.

Earcups cannot fold, swivel, or rotate.

The headphones can feel a little heavy.

Noticeable sound leakage and issues with finding a good seal around your ears.

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The Focal Clear audiophile headphones are a well-balanced pair that excels in spitting out high-end audio while remaining comfortable and ergonomic. On top of all its pros, these are still not the most expensive headphones.

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  • Type: Over-Ear Open-Back
  • Impedance: 55Ω
  • Sensitivity: 104dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 5-28,000Hz
  • Drivers: 40mm Aluminum/Magnesium M-Shaped (Dynamic)

The Focal Clear audiophile headphones offer great value for money. They look stylish, sound great, and are a dream to wear.

At a glance, you can tell these are premium headphones. They have thick padding on the headband and earcups, with a shiny metallic frame holding them together. The headband and earcups are well-padded with a velour-like material, and the earcups can slightly rotate and swivel, making it easier to find a good seal around your ears.

Also, the yoke has a spring-loaded mechanism, which creates the perfect middle ground for latching onto the sides of your head without hurting your ears or ever loosening its grip.

As I said, these are some of the best-sounding headphones out there. They have a very neutral sound profile with clean bass and mids. It’s got some issues in the treble range and might affect your experience of listening to an original recording or working with other audio equipment (recording music, mixing, or mastering).

Nonetheless, the imaging capabilities of these audiophile headphones are off the charts, along with their passive soundstage. It is a worthwhile option for anybody looking for open-backed over-ears just above the $1000 price mark.

What We Like

Good value for money.

Great sound, especially in the bass and mids.

Comfortable fit with breathable ear cushions.

Includes 1/8″ TRS for the balanced input ports.

Know Before Buying

They leak sound to the outside and do a horrible job of isolating background noise.

The ear cups can swivel, but they can’t fold inwards or lie flat.

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The Focal Utopia audiophile headphones are not cheap, even by $1000 standards. Nonetheless, they create sound just as good as any other high-end pair of headphones with surprisingly excellent build quality and design. If you want durable headphones with premium materials, Utopia is the way to go.

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  • Type: Open-back headphones
  • Impedance: 80Ω
  • Sensitivity: 104dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 5-50,000Hz
  • Drivers: 40mm Pure Beryllium M-Shaped

Let me start by saying this: this pair of headphones look modern with a surprisingly durable yet premium look and feel. The frame is mostly metal, and despite having a plastic enclosure for the ear cups, the carbon fiber yoke and original leather liners put them one step above the competition.

Although there’s not a lot I want to complain about (such as the bulky ear cups and polka dot pattern on the cushions), the LEMO connectors grind my gears. LEMO connectors are robust, but finding an extra cable for when I lose the originals, can be a disaster.

Nonetheless, these high-end headphones are viable for studio work, as the “unique” M-shaped beryllium drivers manage to create sound with a higher degree of accuracy.

These headphones spit incredible sound, which is ideal for studio work, but not so great for enjoying specific “low-frequency” genres. Therefore, the bass response is noticeably weaker and doesn’t produce that booming bass effect desired in many EDM, rock, and pop songs. Thankfully, the mids and highs are neutral and well-detailed.

Also, the passive soundstage is not very open.

What We Like

The external housing comes with premium materials (carbon fiber, lambskin leather).

Comfortable fit for long listening sessions.

Not the most bass-friendly pair of headphones.

Know Before Buying

It doesn’t offer the best value for money.

The headphones require LEMO connectors.

Bulky earcups which doesn’t rotate or swivel much.

The pair almost weighs a pound (despite being comfortable to wear).

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As you can tell, the Fostex TH900 has a pair of cool-looking ear cups, which puts them one step above the competition. However, looks aren’t everything, as this is also a great pair of dynamic driver headphones with a rich and dense sound profile; comparable to most planars.

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  • Type: Over-ear semi-closed backs
  • Impedance: 25Ω
  • Sensitivity: 100dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 5-45,000Hz
  • Drivers: Dynamic

Apart from the red-colored ear cups, the Fostex TH900s look like a regular pair of closed-back headphones. It’s got a plastic frame, with a thin yoke and ratcheted headband.

The underside of the headband and ear cups have enough padding, and the headphones are comfortable enough for long-term listening sessions. Thankfully, these are not complete closed-backs since there’s a small gap where the wooden exterior meets the rest of the ear cup. These allow for air to get through and help create an expansive soundstage.

The bass response is surprisingly impressive. The bass is clean and powerful; hence, it doesn’t feel bloated.

The mids can be its weak point, where the sound is a bit drawback, but it’s not very noticeable during listening. The treble response, from the curve, can seem like it’s all over the place but in reality, sounds clear and natural.

Imaging and soundstage are also top-notch, and these are comparable to many of the other premium planars on the market.

What We Like

Impressive bass response.

Good soundstage and imaging capabilities.

Know Before Buying

Bulky ear cups.

Some users will have issues with breathability and finding a comfortable fit.

See On Amazon

Although a $1000 is by no means a “budget-friendly” price tag, the HIFIMAN Arya is the closest you’ll get with audiophile cans which are as close as possible to this lower price tag. Luckily, you won’t feel like this is a wasted opportunity because they have a unique sound signature that emphasizes clarity and soundstage — something that other headphones rarely attain, even with the help of EQs.

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  • Type: Over-Ear Open Backs
  • Impedance: 35Ω
  • Sensitivity: 91dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 8-65,000Hz
  • Drivers: Planar Magnetic

The HIFIMAN Arya planar magnetic headphones are well-designed and well-equipped to deal with long-term listening sessions for music and entertainment of any genre.

So despite the plasticky build, with thin yokes, headband, and ear cup chassis, the headphones are relatively sturdy and provide premium materials with ample padding (on the ear cups and headband strap).

The ear cups can look a bit out of place, especially with the egg-shaped cups and overextended design (which reaches onto the sides of your jaw). Thankfully, they accomplish what they set out to do: envelop your ears and build the proper atmosphere for a wider soundstage.

These headphones create an immersive and expansive soundstage that, despite its semi-forward presentation, allows you to enjoy the music and pick apart the different “nuances” of the content.

The sound profile is relatively neutral, with decent mids and good treble. Unfortunately, the bass range, although crisp and clear, is not demanding, especially for bass lovers like myself. On top of that, the dynamics of these headphones are not up to par compared to the competition.

That said, the HIFIMAN Arya can replace many other entry-level headphones out there thanks to its lower impedance and 3.5mm connectors, making these audiophile headphones a viable solution for gaming, casual music listening on mobile devices, etc.

What We Like

Wide and Open soundstage with good details for the imaging.

Lightweight design.

The ear cups use 3.5mm connectors.

Easier to drive (35Ω).

Know Before Buying

Ear cups can be a bit too “tall” and bulky.

Headphones lack bass, and the dynamics are all over the place.

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The HIFIMAN Susvara is a flagship planar magnetic designed to be the best that HIFIMAN can muster up. It’s supremely comfortable, produces sound at exceptional detail, and looks very stylish and premium. The only catch: its price can only go upwards of $6,000.

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  • Type: Over-Ear Open-Backs
  • Impedance:60Ω
  • Sensitivity: 83dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 20-20,000Hz
  • Drivers: Planar Magnetics

At a glance, you can tell that these headphones came from a high-quality source. The frame and yoke are mostly brushed metal, while the ear cups are fitted with wood and lined with leather cushions.

Similar to other planar magnetics, these feature a thin headband with a ratchet mechanism and a fabric headband. Although the yoke and the rest of the frame lack thickness, the entire assembly is sturdy.

The earcups can tilt, swivel, tilt and rotate, but there’s not a lot of freedom of movement, and you can’t let the earcups lie flat on a table. Unfortunately, these lack the internal spring mechanism (existing in many other premium headphones) that keeps the ear cups firmly in place; hence they tend to flop around a lot.

Regardless, these headphones are durable, and the ear cups are very comfortable for long-term wear.

These are some of the better-sounding headphones on this list, and I don’t have a lot of complaints in the sound department. The frequency response is surprisingly flat in the bass-mid range, which gives these planar headphones, the perfect opportunity to spit out clear audio with lots of detail.

The treble is also well-refined, although some users will notice some sibilants where the peaks are.

Dynamics, soundstage, and imaging capabilities are top-notch, and you’ll rarely find planars that do such an exceptional job.

What We Like

Very comfortable design and materials.

Clear and detailed sound.

Excellent dynamics, soundstage, and imaging capabilities.

Know Before Buying

Difficult to drive with most low-end headphone amplifiers.

Ridiculously Expensive.

The ear cups need 2.5mm headphone jacks.

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For audiophiles looking for high-end in-ears, the Sennheiser IE900 is the way to go. These IEMs are one of the best devices made by Sennheiser, and it also manages to outclass many headphones (over-ears and on-ears) in terms of sound quality, comfort, and value for money.

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  • Type: IEMs
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Sensitivity: 94dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 5-48,000Hz
  • Drivers: 7mm

Compared to the lower-end Sennheiser IEM300, these In-ear monitors have come a long way. So instead of the plasticky composite enclosure for the drivers, we now have a perfectly machined metal chassis that makes everything look premium and stylish.

With the metal enclosure, it is easy to assume that the IE900s sacrifice comfort over aesthetics. Although there is a noticeable difference in comfort, it’s nothing too major, and compared to over-ears and on-ears, you’ll have a much better time enduring those long listening periods.

I have a lot of great things to say about the sound quality, and I wasn’t lying when I said that these IEMs manage to do a better job than other audiophile headphones. For starters, the bass response on these in-ears is off the charts: the bass is strong, heavy, and dense but is also clean and precise; hence, you’ll have no problem enjoying EDM, pop, and rock songs.

The mids and highs are also well-defined, but they aren’t as superior as the bass, and you’ll always notice the mid-high frequency ranges underperforming.

Overall, these in-ear monitors are not ideal for studio work. You’ll often find yourself resorting to “studio headphones” when it comes to professional work such as recording, mixing, and mastering.

Nonetheless, these are top-notch when it comes to music.

What We Like

Relatively affordable price tag.

Surprisingly impressive bass response.

Good soundstage and imaging capabilities.

Decent passive noise canceling.

Know Before Buying

Difficult to find replacement cables (for the MMCX connectors).

The “Over the ear” design might be challenging for glass wearers.

The metal enclosure can cause a little discomfort for some users.

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The Sony MDR-Z1R high-end headphones aren’t a breath of fresh air to your ears –because they are open backs. However, these are, without a doubt, a most welcome change for users who prefer a more isolating experience with thunderous bass, steady mids, and detailed highs.

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  • Type: Over-Ear Closed Backs
  • Impedance: 64Ω
  • Sensitivity: 100dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 4-120,000Hz
  • Drivers: 70mm Dynamic

These dynamic driver headphones may look a bit bulky and rigid but they are surprisingly lightweight (0.84lbs) and very comfortable to wear — especially if you can overlook the fact that your ears might get hot because of the closed earcups.

The build is mostly plastic with unique-looking and sufficiently-padded ear cups and a plastic yoke. The ratcheted headband might not make this look more “premium” compared to the other alternatives on this list, but the headband is durable and sturdy.

Considering the sound quality: these headphones rock it when it comes to the bass response. Bass is tight and powerful and stays clean even at higher volumes; bass lovers will enjoy these.

On the other hand, the mids and highs are clean but not as forward or “present” as the bass. Still, these are neutral enough for studio work and enjoyable for gaming and listening to music.

What We Like

Satisfying passive noise canceling.

Premium build quality and a comfortable fit.

The bass response is dense, detailed, and determined.

Know Before Buying

The soundstage is not very wide or open.

The closed-back earcups are not very breathable.

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For audiophiles who want to experience natural distortion-free audio, the Stax SR-009 electrostatic headphones could be worth your time. Sure, they are not as “affordable” as the dynamic driver headphones or planar magnetics, but they are a worthy investment, granted you can afford them.

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  • Type: Over-Ear Open Backs
  • Impedance: 145kΩ
  • Sensitivity:101dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 5-42,000Hz
  • Drivers: Electrostatic

From an aesthetic standpoint, the headphones are average-looking. The ear cups are encased in a circular metal enclosure and held together by a metal yoke, which feels sturdy but allows a small amount of freedom of movement.

Therefore, the ear cups can swivel and tilt, allowing users to find a more stable fit that accommodates their ears.

The headband includes an outer ring made of plastic and consists of a ratchet mechanism for adjusting the size. Under it, we’ve got a leather headband that moves with the headband size adjustment mechanism.

Something that feels a bit weird is the ratchet mechanism which is set up on the inside of the headband. It’s a novel feature, but unfortunately, with this setup, you won’t be able to adjust your headband while wearing it.

Another design feature that I found absurd was the fixed cables. These headphones have a flat ribbon cable permanently attached to the earcups. Thankfully, this cable is almost 6-7ft long, and you’ll only have a problem with it being too long and not too short, especially in desktop setups.

Now, regarding the sound signature: it’s mostly flat, with the upper range of the treble having more emphasis. Also, the headphones have impressive imaging capabilities where you can listen to extra details more organically.

What We Like

Excellent detail retrieval with good separation and placement.

Mostly neutral high-quality sound.

Know Before Buying

Fixed cables.

Counterintuitive headband size adjustment mechanism.

Extravagant price tag.

Requires an electrostatic headphone amp (drivers/energizers).

See On Amazon

True, the Sennheiser HD800S might not look like much, and it seems a bit excessive compared to its predecessor, the original HD800. Still, despite all this, the 800S is one of the best in the audiophile headphones market, where you get a stable sound signature alongside a secure and comfortable fit.

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  • Type: Over-ear open backs
  • Impedance: 300Ω
  • Sensitivity:103dB/mW
  • Frequency Range: 4-51,000Hz
  • Drivers: 56mm Dynamic

Despite the plasticky exterior, these audiophile headphones are surprisingly sturdy and very comfortable to wear. The all-plastic enclosure may appear brittle, but it’s strong, durable, and lightweight.

The headband and ear cups may not have the best amount of padding or the best material to prevent sound leaks, but the headband has a lot of freedom of movement, and the clamping force is well-balanced — not too tight or too loose. Many adult users will have the chance to enjoy these headphones for long hours as soon as they find a comfortable fit.

These Sennheiser HD800s high-end headphones consist of a pretty stable frequency response which does incredibly well in the mid and treble ranges but fails to balance things out because of the weaker bass response.

Therefore, bass heads will miss that extra thump and separation when listening to bass-heavy genres (such as hip-hop, EDM, and rock).

With all that said, these are still the best headphones for anybody hoping to spend a little extra for their high-end audio needs.

What We Like

Impressive detail in the treble range.

Reasonable price tag.

Super soundstage and imaging capabilities.

Know Before Buying

Slightly weaker bass.

The velour-like ear cushions are not the best for these headphones.

The headphones have a plasticky and cheap-looking housing.

See On Amazon

Best Headphones Over $1000 Buying Guide

Build Quality

Appearances matter, and although most audiophile headphones in the $1000+ range do not always look like a pair of well-designed headphones from Dan Clark Audio, they should always hold themselves to a higher standard of build quality, design, and aesthetics.

Considering most of the items on this list, you’ll find that they are new headphones with the exceptional build quality. All of them are designed with premium materials to offer the best sound quality with the most comfortable fit.

So as you can see, the build quality often comes down to how good the headphones look and feel. You can tell if the headphones have impressive build quality as they don’t scratch or break down.

I recommend audiophile headphones with metal in them. Although metallic surfaces might be prone to scratches and too heavy, they are sturdier than plastic and last just as long, provided you don’t scratch them too much or subject them to water damage.

Apart from the metal frame, I also recommend considering the “moving parts” of your headphones, such as the yoke and headband mechanism, as these can sometimes be too frail for casual use.

Business woman wearing headphones at home office

Sound Quality

Budding audiophiles would think that: with premium headphones running in the thousands of dollars, there’s no way you’ll run into issues with sound quality.

Unfortunately, that is not the case as high-end headphones, despite having immense improvements over their budget-friendly counterparts, are still far from perfect.

So when picking out expensive high-end headphones, it’s always necessary to consider properties such as the frequency response, dynamics, soundstage, imaging, and impedances. On top of that, the sound can also change depending on the type of driver.

I recommend going for open-back planar magnetic headphones, which are comfortable and produce a mostly natural sound profile. They are the best for studio work and music listening. However, you’ll find these lacking in passive noise isolation, and they sometimes have odd requirements in terms of power. (For best results, some headphones require high-end headphone/speaker amplifiers that can transmit a clean and powerful signal.)

Included Accessories

One thing I always check with expensive audiophile headphones is the input interface for the ear cups. Most often, these can be 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and mini-XLR connectors. However, if you run into specialized interfaces such as LEMO connectors, don’t forget to keep an extra set of cables and adapters on hand.

Also, check whether the headphones come with a sturdy carrying case. Because with bulky studio headphones or high-end open-backs, you won’t be able to wear them around your neck or toss them in the back of your car while moving.


Best Sound Quality Headphones Over $1000
Most Comfortable Headphones Over $1000
Best Value for Money Over $1000

Even though you don’t necessarily have to purchase expensive headphones that are upwards of $1000, you won’t get high-end characteristics anywhere else. So if you are a budding audiophile, who’s wondering if these headphones have anything to offer besides looking pretty, I guarantee you’ll find these to be the next step of Hi-Fi music listening.

That said, don’t forget to check your budget and spend wisely.