Best Headphones Under $1000 in 2022

by Alex.   Last Updated On October 3rd, 2022.
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Whether you are a studio professional or an audiophile, finding a high quality premium pair of noise cancelling headphones can be important for hearing every note of the music you play. Not all premium audiophile headphones are created equally. In fact, it can be difficult to find an excellent pair of audiophile headphones that can meet or exceed your needs and expectations for excellent sound quality.

In this article, we have taken a closer look at five outstanding premium level headphones under $1000. These headphones have all passed their competitors when it comes to quality of construction, sound quality, overall design, and price for the features you get. If you are looking for the best noise cancelling headphones or want impressive sound quality, we have you covered!

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Comparison of the Best Headphones Under $1000

Best Bass Headphones Under $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Audeze LCD-2 Isolating HeadphonesAudeze
LCD-2 Isolating Headphones
Most Comfortable Headphones Under $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Beyerdynamic AmironBeyerdynamic
Amiron
Best ANC Headphones Under $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Sony WH-1000XM3 WirelessSony
WH-1000XM3 Wireless
Most Durable Headphones Under $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Bowers & Wilkins PX ActiveBowers & Wilkins
PX Active
Best for Daily Use Headphones Under $1000See On Amazon
photo of the Beyerdynamic XelentoBeyerdynamic
Xelento

Reviews of the Best Headphones Under $1000

Outstanding headphones for anyone that loves a lot of bass coming from large and extremely soft ear coverings.

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These noise cancelling headphones have been running at the front of the pack for quite a while, and it is mostly due to the high quality sound they can produce. Overall, the audio is warm and vast with a massive sound stage. If you love bass, you will get an abundance of bass from these audiophile headphones. Not only does the bass provide a deep and booming sound from the planar magnetic drivers, it also rumbles and vibrates the headset at higher volumes similar to some tactile headphones.

Build construction is extremely durable, and the use of premium materials is outstanding. The metal frame is solid and is made to last for years. The headband is very well padded and can be great for several hours of continuous use. Whether you are a studio professional or an audiophile, you can wear these noise cancelling headphones all day and not suffer from fatigue or pain on your head or ears.

These studio or audiophile headphones offer 70 ohms of impedance with a low sensitivity of just 97 decibels. It includes a 3.5mm jack with 6.3mm adapter and is great for connecting to a stereo system, record player, PC, or other audio device. They can be the perfect headset for casual users looking for a premium headset, but can also work for some audiophiles and studio professionals too.

What We Like

Bass is extremely deep and booming

Extremely comfortable design for long term use

Perfect for casual listeners as well as audiophiles

Know Before Buying

Higher volumes can distort heavy bass

Cannot be USB connected

Midranges are very well balanced

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Highly comfortable and well made headset providing clear bass and crystal clear vocals at a reasonable price.

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Often called the crown jewel of the Beyerdynamic line, the Amiron is a superb pair of headphones for anyone looking to step into the world of premium gear. The first thing you will notice with these headphones is how comfortable they are. The headband and ear pads are both covered in Alcantara microfiber along with microvelour to give every user a boost of comfort for both short and long term use.

These premium build quality headphones include large 45 mm drivers in each ear which helps to provide a massive soundstage for any audio you choose to play. The bass is extremely clear and doesn’t distort at high volumes, while the highs are well balanced and pristine. Vocals too can be a great listening experience on these noise cancelling headphones with no harshness or abrupt raspy sounds while they isolate noise around you.

Being open backed headphones, the sound can leak out of the headset a bit. But this does not seem to affect the overall audio quality. You will still notice a vast and expansive soundstage as well as a balanced and refined overall sound from these studio or audiophile headphones. With the included 3.5 mm jack and 6.4 mm adapter, you’ll be able to connect these headphones to a variety of audio devices.

What We Like

Built for comfort and long lasting durability

Well balanced and clear audio quality

Included 6.3 mm adapter for stereo systems

Know Before Buying

Open back design can leak some audio

Large 45 mm drivers in the ear cups

Warm microvelour fabric over padding

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Extremely versatile headphones with some of the best noise cancelling technology on the market today.

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Sony put their focus not just on great sounding audio, but on excellent sound isolation as well. Some of the top YouTubers and studio professionals have used and recommended these audiophile headphones simply due to the amazing noise cancellation and sound isolation they offer. If you’re doing your audio sampling in a busy or noisy room, you’ll still be able to get immersed in your music without sound leakage.

The design quality on the Sony WH1000XM3’s is very well done on these audiophile headphones. Sony made sure they were not just built to last, but highly comfortable as well. The frame is plastic, but is extremely durable and coated in a matte finish. The vinyl ear covers have a lot of padding and are very soft, perfect for long hours of daily use.

The soundstage on these noise cancelling headphones is extremely well done and vast with superb audio quality throughout. These are a closed-back style headphone, so the soundstage would be a bit better in open-back headphones, but for their style it is excellent quality. The highs and lows are very well mixed with heavy bass and very clear vocals. Even at higher volumes, the highs and deep thundering lows won’t distort or strain your hearing.

What We Like

Outstanding noise cancellation and isolation

Extremely comfortable vinyl ear pads

Vast soundstage for being a closed-back style

Know Before Buying

Most of the focus was put on sound isolation

Plastic frame is not as durable as metal framing

Excellent choice for streamers and studio professionals

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Headphones that are built to take a beating, these headphones are highly durable and great for taking with you on your travels.

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If you are looking for a durable headphone that can take a bit of abuse during commuting, traveling, and general rough handling, here they are. These headphones are made from a mix of materials including chrome accents, leather padding, and vinyl. While these headphones lack a strong noise cancelling technology, they make up for it in portability and durability.

The great sound waves are expansive and plays well at lower volumes. You’ll get immersive audio from a wide range of media including games, movies, and music of all types. This is due to angled drivers in each of the ears which are made to create a unique and directional 3D audio balance for your ears.

The mid range in these headphones has been heavily boosted, so can lose clarity at higher volumes. Higher pitches and female vocals are very well balanced, as are a lot of bass tones, especially those coming from action movies or gaming. Synthesizer audio can be distorted a bit, but the headphones make up for it with a balanced mid frequency.

What We Like

Very stylish and durable headset

Large ear cups with leather padding

Eye-catching chrome accents for style

Know Before Buying

Decently powerful midrange audio

Excellent option for female vocals and treble

Mid-range can lack clarity at higher volumes

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Outstanding option in headphones for audiophiles that want a headset for commuting, travel, or general daily use.

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When it comes to durability, it’s hard to beat the stainless steel frame construction of these Xelento in-ear monitors. Not only does the steel add a beautiful aesthetic, it also increases the overall durability and toughness of these earbuds. If you do a lot of commuting or travel with your audiophile headphones often, Xelento can stand up to the abuse you throw at them without breaking or warping.

Beyerdynamic added some premium touches to these earbuds including offering more than a half-dozen different ear tips so you can find the best fit for long term comfort. If you have struggled in the past with finding the right foam or silicone ear tips, don’t worry. You will definitely be able to find the right one here.

While these are an earbud or in-ear monitor and not a standard headphone, you might think the audio will be lacking. However, the Xelento offers some of the highest and most clear audio quality you can find with in-ear monitors with a range from 8 Hz to 48 kHz. The highs, mids, and lows are all extremely well balanced with clarity that is only rivaled by premium priced full sized headsets.

What We Like

Small, durable and portable IEMs

Some of the best quality of sound from IEMs

Stylish premium aesthetics and extra additions

Know Before Buying

IEMs are not suitable for every use

Can be a great addition to your studio gear kit

Powerful sound isolation and high clarity

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How to Choose the Best Headphones Under $1000

Sound Quality

If you are in the market for new noise cancelling cans, especially around this higher-end price range, the best sound quality is most likely your most important concern. Premium headphones come with a high price, but also offer extremely high levels of quality for overall great sound, balance, and more.

Audio quality and range of frequency can span from 5 Hz to 120 kHz depending on the designated use of the headphones. Studio headphones or those made for professional sound mixers and samplers will have a much wider frequency span and overall audio quality guarantee. This is because these headphones are often used together with a variety of media mixing and audio balancing equipment that can hear those unique highs and lows your ears may not be able to.

While the highest priced headphones may not always have the most detailed sound quality, it’s almost guaranteed that the best headphones under $1000 will have a audio quality that is miles above their much cheaper entry-level comparisons. Before making your purchase, always consider the audio quality guarantee, the frequency span, and your needs in a headphone.

Adult man listening the music

Comfort Level

For long term wearing, comfort is very important. If you spend a lot of time in the studio or stage, or are a streamer or other content creator, you may find yourself wearing your headphones for several hours on a daily basis. For headphones with a low level of comfort, this can be extremely painful for your ears and scalp.

Over time, pressure can build up on your head from wearing the headphones. If they are heavier headphones, the pain can start on the scalp where the headband is. If they are tight on your head, your ears will start to fatigue and become painful in the cartilage.

Comfort levels can be defined by how much and what type of padding is used, as well as the covering on that padding. Foam padding is the default, though it could be a variety of densities, memory foam, or even gel foam. Coverings can be anything from vinyl which can get hot, to leather, and even microfiber or velour.

For IEMs or earbuds, comfort will depend on the type of tips and how the earbud is placed on your ears. Silicone earbud tips are usually more comfortable than foam, but foam can offer better sound isolation. Hook style IEMs are similar to glasses and won’t put pressure on your inner ear, so they can be much more comfortable over several hours of continuous use.

Design Quality

Every manufacturer will have their own little flair when it comes to design. Some might use a specific accent aesthetic while others will focus on a certain shape of the ear covers or headband. The design quality when it comes to the exterior will not have any effect on the audio quality, but can alter the comfort levels as well as the weight of the headphones.

Many of the most common design elements you will notice are in the ear covers since these are normally the most noticeable area of the headset. Ear coverings can be large, bold, and bulky, or thin and sleek depending on the manufacturer’s vision. If they have various models in the same line, the chances are good they will all share the same general look and aesthetic so you can easily notice them from a distance.

Smaller accents can include chrome or aluminum strips adding a flash of reflective color, RGB lighting, or stylized logos. Ear coverings themselves can be round, oval, or squared as well. Retro style headsets will normally be large and bulky with round ear covers to make a very visible statement to anyone in the area.

Connection Options

The most common connection option you can find for larger over-ear headphones is a 3.5 mm or 6.3 mm headphone jack. These jacks are the original connection type and are perfectly suited for a wide range of modern devices including stereo systems, record players, DJ stages, PCs, and more.

Additionally, you can find a range of different adapters for each of those standard headphone jack types. The 3.5 mm jacks can be adapted for 6.3 mm or USB, while the 6.3 mm headphone jack can be downsized to 3.5 mm or USB for better connectivity to a wide range of common devices.

For IEMs and earbuds, connections are usually 3.5 mm jack or Bluetooth wireless. Either option offers a great versatility for listening, and as with the normal headphones, the 3.5 mm headphone jack for an IEM can be adapted to fit other connection sockets. Bluetooth wireless connections are usually Bluetooth 5.0 but 7.0 and 4.0 are also common.

Extra Features

Depending on the brand, headphones can have a wide range of extra features, or may have just a few. These extra features can alter the overall quality of sound and comfort, or can just be for aesthetics. Some of the common aesthetic choices are interchangeable ear cups to make them a different color, or decorative accents that can be placed onto the headband.

For extra features that actually change the already great sound quality, there can be different levels of sound isolation and noise cancellation. For example, some headphones have different versions of the same model. Version 1 might be the base model with no bells and whistles, while V2 and V3 could have extra features such as high quality noise cancellation, dynamic sound isolation, and more. It’s the same headphone as the base, but has the extra features you can purchase if they meet your needs.

Extra features can also include things like different ear tips for IEMs and earbuds, or different pads for your ear cups on over-ear headphones. Some headphone brands will have fabric and leather ear cup covering options which not only change the style and look of the headset, but the general comfort as well. Additionally, some thicker pads or leather covers can help isolate sound better within the headphone increasing the balance of tones you hear.

Battery Life

Since most studio quality headphones are corded, there is very little need to worry about battery lifespan. Any power needs you have will be supplied through the cable by the device you are connected to.

For in-ear monitors or earbuds, Bluetooth wireless connections are common. In this case, battery life will be a very important consideration. Some earbuds, IEMs, and wireless headphones may have a range of extra features which draw heavily from the battery life, so they may only last 8-10 hours on a single charge.

Other headsets and IEMs may have less draining features and could have a battery life of 24 hours or longer. Some of the best battery lifespans can range up to 50 hours of continuous high volume use. These same batteries can be fully charged within 5 hours as well, while others may need to be recharged overnight or at different intervals throughout the day.

Price Range

If you are looking for the best of the best, premium prices may not be of much concern to you. Premium headphones can be extremely expensive, with some being in the investment-range category as far as price. Prices from $800 to $1200 are not uncommon for extremely well-made, highly praised professional studio headphones. If the price is too much for you, we also reviewed headphones under $600 here.

However, high price does not always mean high quality and this is very important to remember. Some of the more modest priced headphones can offer an outstanding sound quality which are more than enough for casual listeners and even fine for serious audiophiles. Some of the price may increase due to the brand name or celebrity status of the headphones or earbuds.

If you are looking for a headset in a more modest price range, try to avoid the headphones that have celebrity endorsement. While they may be good headphones or earbuds, you will be paying for the celebrity’s name more than the quality of the drivers or construction. Instead, consider going with lesser known brand names or purchase from a company that has been in the industry for many years without the fly-by-night hype.

Modern Laptop Computer and Large Professional Wireless Headphones. Online Streaming Technologies Concept.

Frequently Asked Questions

How important is frequency range?

The term “frequency range” is a way to refer to the audio range that headphones can reproduce. In general, most average hearing levels can hear tones as low as 15 Hz, and as high as 20 kHz. But many headphones can go as low as 5 Hz or as high as 120 kHz. If the human ear cannot hear these frequencies, you may wonder why headphones can reach them.

The larger the range, the better the sound can be reproduced in samples, mixes, and renditions. This is especially important for DJs, studio professionals, audio mastering professionals, and some audiophiles. While you might not hear the tones directly with your own ear, you will feel a change in the sound pressure which can increase the value of the overall sound quality.

Headphones with larger frequency ranges are better for studio professionals to use, while headphones with smaller frequency ranges that are more in line with normal human hearing can be better for casual listening, movie-watching, or gaming. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t buy headphones with a larger frequency even if you only plan on casual listening. You may still get a perception of the vast audio spectrum even if you can’t hear it directly.

How do I choose a good headset for my needs?

The first and most obvious step would be to thoroughly consider your needs. Are you just a casual listener, or will you be adding extra tasks such as occasional audio sampling or mixing? Are you a serious audiophile or a professional DJ that needs the best of the best when it comes to sound quality and frequency ranges?

Determining your exact needs can help you pinpoint the best headphones under $1000 that will meet or exceed your expectations. For professional DJs, the sound pressure level may be important – while this can be of no concern for casual listeners. Sound pressure levels are great for monitoring low volume audio with closed-back headphones, but can also be vital when pushing audio through a loudspeaker.

Casual listeners can get away with much more modest settings and won’t need audiophile headphones. You will do fine with either open back or closed back headphones, but might have a personal preference to one or the other. You probably won’t need high levels of sound isolation and noise cancelling technology unless you are commonly listening to your music in loud environments. And the frequency ranges can be much smaller while still providing an outstanding audio experience.

Are open-back or closed-back headphones better?

The answer to this question will depend on your needs since each style of headphone can offer stronger or weaker benefits depending on how they are used. For example, if you spend a lot of time commuting on a bus or traveling by plane, compared to sitting in a quiet room listening to smooth jazz, your needs for back style will differ. The best headphones for one user may not meet the needs of another.

Closed back headphones are normally much better for cancelling out background sound. They are also decent at isolating sound directly around your ear so you can hear and feel every change in vibration. Closed back headphones are also preferred if you listen to a lot of music that is heavy in bass tones as the enclosed headphone and ear cup can help vibrate this deep tone much better.

Open back headphones can be lighter and more comfortable, which makes them great for long hours of wear. However, they can leak ambient noise from the room around you which is not good if you are in a noisy environment. Your music can also leak out so others sitting near you may hear it as well. The bass response is still there, but won’t be as deep and immersive as the great sound you could get from closed headphones.

Conclusion

Most Comfortable Headphones Under $1000
Best ANC Headphones Under $1000

After comparing a variety of over-ear headphones and IEMs and taking a much closer look at the five we have featured on this list, we have decided that the Sony Noise Cancelling WH1000XM3 headphones are our top choice. These are outstanding noise cancelling headphones which makes them a powerful piece of gear when you want truly immersive sound in any environment.

We also love the perfect balance of highs and lows in these high end headphones, as well as the massively vast soundstage. If you are looking for truly powerful and also very comfortable headphones, Sony can deliver with these light weight headphones.