Best Wired Headphones 2022: Best Budget Wired Headphones, Best Wired Gaming Headphones

The Best Wired Headphones outperform the finest wireless headphones every time. This is due to the fact that, no matter how great Bluetooth technology is,

Best Wired Headphones 2022: Best Budget Wired Headphones, Best Wired Gaming Headphones
Best Wired Headphones 2022

The best wired headphones are superior to the best wireless headphones in terms of sound quality. This is because, no matter how advanced Bluetooth technology is, it is only capable of streaming compressed audio. Although the audio quality is comparable to that of a CD, dedicated music aficionados usually have sound sources capable of far more, such as vinyl, hi-res audio, and hi-res streaming. Audiophiles aren't in a hurry to sever the wires between their hi-fi and their headphones because they want to hear everything.

The best wireless headphones produce a sound that is genuinely amazing. Wired headphones will make you feel like you're right there in the studio or at the performance, experiencing details you've never heard before if you use one of the top record players and a high-end hi-fi system. It's the same with hi-res streaming services delivered by the greatest streaming DACs: if you're not listening through wired headphones, you're missing out. Best Wired Headphones 2022

The best wired headphones are open-backed over-ear models with absolutely amazing sound stages, but they aren't your only option: Closed-back headphones leak far less noise into the environment around you, making them a superior choice for listening in a shared room or train compartment. In addition, because they don't have batteries, wired in-ears are a wonderful choice for travel or strolling. What is Wordle

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While the best wireless headphones have virtually taken over the mainstream headphone market, wired headphones can be found at both the top and bottom of the market - there are models for audiophiles and models for people who want to spend as little as possible. As we'll see, there are several outstanding pairs in the middle of the market. Best Wired Headphones



The best wired headphones with open backs

Type: Open back
Driver: 40mm M-shaped magnesium dome
Impedance: 55 Ohms
Sensitivity: 104dB
Frequency response: 5Hz-28kHz
Weight: 450g
+Fantastic audio quality
+Luxurious and comfortable
+Can be driven by portable devices
-Open leaks sound

Focal is well-versed in both sound and luxury. As a result, these premium wired headphones have firmly established themselves as the top of the wired headphone world: they're truly superb in every way. Microfibre earpads and a smooth, welcoming headband make them incredibly comfortable. They have a deep, sensuous sound that envelops you. While these aren't the most expensive Focal headphones, there's no doubt that they have the hardware to match their price.

Focal's M-shaped magnesium speakers are very unique, the headphones' outside finish is stunning, and there are two cables included in the box: one for 3.5mm and 6.5mm jacks, and one for four-pin XLR. And what about the open-back sound? It's meticulously detailed.

Of course, sound is the most important aspect of this, and they do a terrific job with it. We commented in our entire Focal Clear MG review: "You are undoubtedly getting the full picture of the music, from the singer's inhalation to every vibration of a bass string. When called upon, the Clear MG can draw from a deep and guttural source of bass power, but it's always precise and never excessive... unless the song demands it."

Because it's open-backed, sound leaks in and out, so it's best enjoyed in a controlled setting, but the effort is well worth it is given how dynamic, precise, and lifelike the ultimate effect is. Best Wired Headphones in 2021. Best Wired Headphones

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Best wired in-ear headphones for the price

Type: In-ear
Driver: 9.2mm UPM dynamic driver
Impedance: 16 Ohms
Sensitivity: 105dB
Frequency response: 18Hz-22kHz
Weight: 20g
+Lively, clear audio quality
+Comfortable fit and lots of tip options
-Loop fit won't be for everyone

When there's a lot of noise around you or sensitive ears who don't want to hear your leaks, open-backed headphones are great, but not so much when there's a lot of noise around you. That's where a good pair of in-ear wired headphones will come in handy, an area in which Meze's Rai Solo excels.

They're reasonably priced, aren't overly sophisticated, and sound fantastic thanks to their single-driver construction. They've been fine-tuned for dynamic range and soundstage balance, with meaty bass, airy treble, and a mid-range that isn't squeezed by either extreme.

The Rai Solo comes with a comfy set of buds that have lots of fittings to let them fit snugly in any ear canal, and the over-the-ear cable design prevents them from being yanked out while you're on the go. It's not ideal, and those who wear glasses or have unique lugs might want something else, but if it works for you, you'll be happy.

We like these for the price; they're a good match for a portable player or a little portable DAC. Best Wired Headphones

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For audio quality and price balance, the best open-backed wired headphones

Type: Open back
Driver: 44mm
Impedance: 38 Ohms
Sensitivity: 99.8dB
Frequency response: 18Hz-24kHz
Weight: 340g
+Stunning sound
+Excellent price for this level of quality
+Can be driven by phones
-Basic fitting
-Open = indoor use only

Although these headphones are more expensive than many people would consider spending on headphones, their cost is a drop in the bucket when compared to true audiophile excellence. And when you consider how fantastic they sound, they suddenly become a steal.

They're open-backed headphones, and they're among the leakiest we've tried, so they're not suitable for use in public or when traveling. In a quiet environment, though, they sound just as excellent as headphones costing five times as much. Their sound is genuine but not flat, big but not bloated, forceful but never obnoxious... It's amazing how much depth they allow tracks to give.

The basic leather headband and machined aluminum earcups actually look fairly great (and feel high quality) in their simplicity, and the basic-looking foam earpads are supposedly chosen for their modest impact on sound quality.

When you're wearing them, it doesn't matter if the design is Spartan; you'll be completely immersed in tracks from the first chords. These can be powered by phone or hi-fi (and the sturdy, high-quality cable includes 3.5mm and 6.35mm plugs), so you may listen to music while lying in bed or sitting next to your amp. These may not be for everyone due to the basic comforts and open-back design, but we've never heard this degree of sonic luxury at such a low price. Best Wired Headphones

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Just an incredible value pair of in-ears

Type: In-ear
Driver: 10mm
Impedance: Not listed
Sensitivity: 93dB
Frequency response: 5Hz-20kHz
Weight: 13.5g
+Incredible quality for the price
+Manages to sound sweet with classical 
+…yet also pretty banging with rock, pop, techno, etc
-Offbeat design means careful choosing of eartips is needed

Flares have only been operating for a short time, but they quickly established itself as a leader in the audiophile-but-affordable in-ear headphone market. These are more likely to include endorsements from somebody like the guy who produced ELO's third album, or whatever. They were decent, especially if you enjoy classical and traditional rock music.

However, in recent years, Flare has begun to produce earbuds that place equal emphasis on excitement and fidelity, and their appeal has widened significantly. These are fantastic with everything from choral music to electronic pop to Black Sabbath to dub reggae, and while I wouldn't call them "audiophile" in the sense of being utterly faithful to the source material, the way they subtly colour the sound – without turning it into a synthetic soup – is truly thrilling.

The Jet 3 can sound absolutely amazing when heard through one of the greatest DACs - we really like IFI's xDSD at the moment for convenience and quality – especially considering they only cost £90. The really wonderful news is that they sound fantastic even when hooked directly into my trusty old iPhone 6S from back when iPhones had headphone jacks.

They're also not reliant on the original file being a 90000-bit, 5 billion megahertz file. Spotify is fantastic, and Tidal Hi-Fi can be rather epic.

Flares buds are usually oddly shaped, and the large stems that go into your ears on the Jet 3 mean you have to pick your eartips extremely carefully. I didn't find that any of the options supplied completely secured them — the issue is that the stems serve as a lever, trying to pull the buds down and out of your ears as you walk.

However, not for the first time, a pair of Comply tips came to the rescue, fixing audio and fit difficulties I'd been encountering. Best Wired Headphones

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5. AKG K52

Best over-ear wired headphones under £50 – an incredible bargain

Type: Closed back
Driver: 40mm
Impedance: 32 Ohms
Sensitivity: 110dB
Frequency response: 18Hz-20kHz
Weight: 200g
+Incredible VFM
+Great build quality
-Not the warmest sound

It's not that we're snobs at 91techinfo – well, not all of us – but spending £30 on a pair of indoor-only headphones seems ridiculous, especially with so many other options.

Following that, we listened to the AKG K52.

Even at twice the price, this has no right to sound half as amazing as it does.

Okay, these won't sound as amazing as anything costing more than £150, but for the money, they deliver a massive soundstage, great balance, and a really ridiculous amount of detail.

When pushed hard, they begin to struggle, and your ears will rapidly tire listening to heavier, electronic, and hiphop sounds on the K52, but good ol' guitars and drums sound fantastic.

The build quality is also a pleasant surprise; while the headphones are primarily made of plastic, the metal headband and very soft ear pads keep them from feeling cheap. They're light, and while the adjustment is basic, they won't fall off your feet, especially because you won't be raving or travelling in them anytime soon.

There is a lack of warmth to the sound, but if you appreciate the AKG's limits before purchasing, you'll feel like you've robbed the store. Best Wired Headphones

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The best wired headphones open-back headphones for an ultra-comfortable fit

Type: Open back
Driver: 38mm
Impedance: 150 Ohms
Sensitivity: 104dB
Frequency response: 9Hz-41.5kHz
Weight: 260g
+Excellent sound quality
+Extremely comfortable
+Can use them with anything
-Open back leaks sound

Sennheiser understands your need for a pair of open-back headphones that will allow you to immerse yourself in your LPs for extended periods of time. The HD 660 S tells you everything you need to know about them in one glance: clear and open earcups for airflow; large plush pads that wrap around your ears for pleasant listening.

Rich mids balance perfectly against the bright and clear treble, and the bass is controlled and soothing, just as you'd expect from a fantastic pair of open cans.

They're completely open, so they're not suitable for use outside or in noisy places, but they're quite fun to listen to - and you can listen to them over and over without getting tired of them. Best Wired Headphones

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Best ultra-premium closed-back wired headphones

Type: Closed-back
Driver: 40mm Beryllium M-shaped dome
Impedance: 35 Ohms
Sensitivity: 100dB
Frequency response: 5Hz-40kHz
Weight: 435g
+Incredible audio quality
+Broad sound despite being closed-back
+Very plush and comfortable
-A touch pricey

Focal is recognized for producing high-quality headphones at low rates, but they've traditionally been open-backed, limiting listening to only perfect conditions. The Stellia is the company's attempt to translate its legendary audio quality to portable headphones, and they're really fantastic.

The audio quality is amazing, carefully built to offer you the kind of large soundscape consumers expect from high-end headphones. The bottom and mid-range are obviously confined, but powerful percussion and synths are smooth rather than booming or overbearing — like receiving a Dwayne Johnson massage.

The high-end detail and expansiveness are really excellent, and they come close to the live sense of a set of great open headphones for making the small breaths and croaks in a singer's voice feel authentic – but with the added benefit of being able to hear what's going on when the TV is on.

With deep soft earpads that produce an efficient seal, the design is ultra-enveloping. Despite their bulk, the headphones were pleasant to wear for extended periods of time. They're also forgiving in terms of sensitivity: driving them from a phone is no problem, so they may be listened to whenever and anywhere.

These are the best-sounding closed-back headphones on the market, if not the entire planet. But they're a lot more expensive than the Focal Clear MG, and the audio quality isn't substantially better — you're paying for the engineering that went into making them sound so natural while being closed back. Best Wired Headphones

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The best in-ear wired buds under £50

Type: In-ear
Driver: 10mm neodymium
Impedance: 42 Ohms
Sensitivity: 112dB
Frequency response: 15Hz-22kHz
Weight: 11g
+Incredible sound for the money
+Construction also well above par for 50 quid
+Great comfort, easy fit
-Audio not as detailed as expensive competitors

The SoundMagic E11C has sound quality that rivals in-ear buds that cost twice as much or more. Even better, the build quality appears to be excellent, with metal buds and a strengthened cord. The metal construction isn't uncomfortable, and the size, shape, and weight of these make them simple to slip into your ears (or at least into mine) and forget about. There's no need to'screw' them in or wrap them over your ears or anything like that.

The E11C punch considerably above their weight whether used with a DAC or straight from a compatible phone's headphone connector. The sound is quite engaging, and while there is a lot of basses, SoundMagic hasn't just cranked up the bottom end to cover up for other flaws.

We consider £50 to be a good price for a pair of headphones, but if that's still too much for you, the E11 (£40) is a similar model without the mic and remote. The E11D, which features a USB-C port, may be of interest to owners of Android phones and laptops, including the latest MacBooks. However, that's £60, which is a lot of money. Best Wired Headphones

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Best closed-back, over-ear, wired headphones under £400

Type: Closed-back
Driver: 53mm
Impedance: 44 Ohms
Sensitivity: 101dB
Frequency response: 5Hz-43kHz
Weight: 265g
+True hi-res performance
+Supreme build quality
-Needs long run in
-Not mega-bassy

Despite being overpriced in headphone terms, the ATH-A1000Z gives the appearance of a demanding pair of high-end cans.

So much so that if you're thinking about listening to MP3s on your iPhone, you might as well forget about it. Before they show their full colours, these guys need a nice warm-up, a competent amplifier or DAC, and something closer to CD quality.

Two 53mm dynamic drivers, hand built in Japan, are hidden behind the huge matte red aluminium cups, held beautifully in place by a simple but efficient magnesium alloy frame and padded wings that hold everything in place. It isn't perfect, but unless you are a true Conehead, you shouldn't have any issues.

Because they have a closed back design, they don't have the same vast soundstage as some others, but they also don't leak as much sound, making them a better choice if you don't live alone or want to leave the house occasionally.

The ATH-A1000Z is incredibly detailed acoustically, and despite the slightly smaller stage, instruments have a distinct location, and it's a thrill to pick out unheard nuance and bum notes in records.

Acoustic guitars, string sections, and vocals soar, while the bottom is deep and accurate without thumping. This may disappoint EDM aficionados, but classical music fans should rejoice. Best Wired Headphones

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Best home-listening headphones under £200

Type: Open back
Driver: 38mm
Impedance: 50 Ohms
Sensitivity: 106dB
Frequency response: 12Hz-38.5kHz
Weight: 250g
+Great all-round performance
+Silky smooth sound
-Questionable appearance

These open-backed headphones include massive earpads made of super-soft velour – yes, so 70s – they are big, fluffy, and supremely comfortable. With a squishy leather headband that allows for plenty of adjustability, they swallow even the largest lobes.

The HD599 isn't cheap, and we'd expect decent sound quality for the money, but the seamless smoothness of the performance reminds us of far more costly headphones.

It's a delightful listen, with tight, indulgent bass response, a well-positioned mid-range that adores a vocal, and the kind of spaciousness that closed-back cans, especially at this price, are almost hard to accomplish.

The HD599 is marketed by Sennheiser as an all-arounder that can be used for gaming, movies, and viewing something loud and crashy. With a wide sound stage, surround sound effects, and a rumbling subwoofer performance, Fast & Furious 7 provided a highly pleasurable experience.

Now, because the HD599 looks like a DFS sofa on sale — honestly, Sennheiser, who approved the white and brown colour scheme? – We couldn't endorse it if it was designed for public use. We'll overlook basic looks this time because it'll never leave the lounge or man cave and offers a peep into the world of serious audiophile excellence. Best Wired Headphones

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First and foremost, it's important to remember that, aside from fashion, there's no incentive to acquire the most up-to-date, hot-off-the-presses wired headphones. Unlike Bluetooth and noise-canceling headphones, which are always improving, older wired headphones are generally satisfactory. In every way, this is a mature market, and a terrific pair of headphones released five years ago is still wonderful today. Wired headphones and earbuds are the best bets for long-term use.

When it comes to over-ear wired headphones, the most significant factor to consider is whether they're open-backed or closed-backed. Although open-backed headphones sound better, they leak sound (both in and out) like no one's business. As a result, they're probably not suited for taking outside or listening to music while other family members watch TV in the same room.

Open headphones feature a larger soundstage, which allows the music to breathe, making them ideal for live recordings and classical concerts where the scope of the performance can be appreciated.

Closed models feature a more direct and intimate soundstage, as well as significantly less sound leakage. They're better for listening while travelling, and they won't let sound escape to the rest of the world, so they're better for listening next to someone attempting to sleep, for example.

Depending on how you intend to use your headphones, you should also pay attention to the impedance, which is measured in ohms (Ω), and is a helpful indicator of quality, particularly if you intend to use them with a dedicated amplifier. You won't have any problems using a smartphone below 32Ω but the quality will degrade due to electrical vibrations. Higher-quality models – especially for use at home with a headphone amp – have a much higher impedance, but they require more power to fully drive them, which smartphones sometimes lack. Best Wired Headphones

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Buying in-ears is easier than buying over-ears because you don't have to worry about impedance or closed-vs-open, but they come with the added complication of not being able to try them on in stores. People look at you funny when you shove their goods into your ears.

However, thanks to the wonders of distance selling, you may return in-ears to internet sellers (within two weeks) if they sound horrible, don't fit your earholes, or you simply don't like them.

Most in-ears come with a variety of sized and shaped ear tips to accommodate lugholes of various sizes and types. I strongly recommend the earplug-like Comply eartips, which can be purchased separately if your earbuds of choice don't come with them, for superb noise isolation and better audio without losing comfort.

Comply tips work in a similar way to earplugs in that you crush them down to fit in your ear, then gently return them to their normal shape. Complies aren't cheap, but they're worth it, especially for those of us with irregularly shaped aural apertures. They come in a number of sizes ranging from £15 to £20.

You should absolutely order more than one option to audition at home for both in-ear and over-ear headphones, especially if you're investing a lot of money. This way, you may return the ones that don't work as well for you. Best Wired Headphones

It's also worth noting that almost all of the greatest noise-cancelling headphones have a headphone cord for when the batteries die, thus making them wired headphones. These won't offer you true hi-fi audio (and none are open-backed, as the whole aim is to block out outside noise), but they're a lot of fun.

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