Posted on January 18, 2019
Your ears are hissing. Not that someone is talking about you right now, but rather because the headset you are using is old and of poor quality and it is really time to move on to something a little more reliable (to put in metadata, in addition condensed)
And that's good, because after several hours of research, I have selected for you 6 of the best wired audio headphones among thirty currently available. I have a clear preference for the Sennheiser HD 630VB, which is certainly more expensive, but of unequaled quality for me, even if the other products of the same brand are just as good.
You will also find a shopping guide at the end of this article to help you see (or rather hear) more clearly in order to make the best choice.
The best cheap wired headphones
For a relatively affordable price, the two products presented here are of excellent quality designed by recognized brands. Perfect if your budget is a little tight.
Sennheiser HD 569: the best cheap
Equipped with E.A.R. technology
1 button on the remote
No protective cover
I think it is probably not really necessary to present the German brand, present for more than 70 years in the field of audio and probably one of the most recognized brands at the moment.
The company is divided into two prestigious entities that are Sennheiser, best known for its microphones and headsets and Neumann, which equips a number of professional studios.
Sennheiser regales us here with the HD 569, which succeeds the popular HD 500.
A closed circum-aural helmet with a rather modern design with very large pads and made of quality materials for excellent robustness in a daily environment, despite the plastic feeling and of course a weight of around 750 g.
What I like in what comes with this headset is the interchangeable headset, with a 3 m straight cable of 6.35 mm and another 1.2 m, equipped with the usual remote control ( which unfortunately has only one button, we appreciate having a little more control) for use with a smartphone for example.
This is the strength of the brand, which usually offers long cables very useful for listening at home.
Unfortunately, there is no protective cover to store the HD569 after use and it is a pity, a helmet of this quality deserves to be preserved in the best conditions! But this is probably not a detail that penalizes the model too much.
In terms of comfort, the pads are the standard that can be expected from Sennheiser with a memory foam at the top that provides a listening that can last for hours hardly noticing the presence of the helmet, which is for me a criteria acquisition of one of these products.
Finally, in terms of sound quality, Sennheiser uses E.A.R. (which means "ear" in English, we see where the manufacturer is coming with his word game) or
"Ergonomic acoustic refinement", which consists of an optimal and efficient sending of the audio signal directly in the ear in order to obtain the best possible listening experience. It does not work as agreed and even listening on smartphones is excellent (it is evident that an MP3 listening is always less ideal than other uncompressed formats).
The only big complaint we can make the HD569 is its lack of presence in the bass, where even less prestigious brands do a better job at this level.
But it seems that this model meets all expectations that we can have Sennheiser, even if a few minor defects come to taint their excellent reputation … defects that can be easily forgiven, especially as the headset is available for less 120 euros at the time I write these lines, which is a great deal, not to be missed!
AKG Y50: comfort at a low price
Good finish of the whole
Depth a little below brand standards
Fragile finish of the paint
AKG is an Austrian manufacturer first, which started its activities in 1947 and developed its first audio headsets in the early 50s, at the same time as the creation of microphones for recording studios.
The brand was acquired by the Harman group which itself now belongs to Samsung, which ceased production activity in Vienna only in 2017.
With this little history, we can see that the brand is rather popular and a priori trustworthy. But is this the case in practice, especially when AKG offers a helmet for less than 100 euros?
The answer is certainly positive.
Yes, AKG offers here a headset with a quality / price ratio that can hardly be beat, even by another big brand like Sennheiser.
For just 85 euros, the AKG Y50 is a lightweight headphones (just 190 grams) on-ear dynamic range net design where everything is meticulously thought.
Its shape is designed so that the helmet is easily used in movement and can be stored without difficulty in the cover provided for this purpose.
It is sturdy and resists daily shocks fairly effectively, provided you take care of it by storing it after any use if possible (because the finishing of the logos and the paint seem to wear rather quickly).
It is equipped with a 3.5 mm gold-plated jack, to provide the best sound possible via the connector without false contact. The included cable (1.2m) also has a remote control control stop / pause with a microphone for phone calls, similar to what can be found on most smartphone headphones.
Comfort level, the AKG Y50 is at the top for an entry-level product, with memory foam pads that isolate the sound very well while not making themselves uncomfortably noticeable. It is noted however that a poor positioning on the ear can cause a fairly consistent loss in the bass.
In terms of frequencies and sound broadcast, precisely, the headset is quite correct, treble and midrange being quite well balanced, with apparently a little lack of depth in some cases.
The set is really honest for the price offered, although it is certainly well below the more upscale models and will suit most users who do not have absolute pitch.
The best mid-range wired audio headsets
Quality and reliability have a price, it's true. But it is not so high when you discover these mid-range products, of excellent quality and sold at a decent price.
Bose QuietComfort 25: the best mid-range
Super Active Noise Reduction
Perfect in the treble
Limited remote control functions for non-Apple products
For about 150 euros, you can afford the Bose QuietComfort 25, circum-aural helmet made specifically for urban environments, with a foldable design that skillfully mixes high-quality plastic with a durable aluminum.
The result is a solid product, but ultra light (barely 200 g) that resists, as we expect from it, most of the small shocks that can be endured in everyday use when we walk with the helmet in the street, for example.
The QuietComfort has the heavy responsibility to come and take the place of its little brother, the QC 15, which has a solid place in the urban audio devices, but does so generally quite effectively.
By its maneuverability and comfort, first. The Bose QC 25 has indeed a storage case (rigid) and a metal folding system to lay it flat, which was not the case of its predecessor. No problem of transport and storage in sight, therefore!
It has memory foam pads, for ears warm and comfortably sitting in the middle of them, even if the hoop is not, meanwhile, the most high-end ever observed.
By its compatibility with Apple devices then, thanks to the wire that accesses them with a more advanced remote control for owners of the mark at the apple, where only the on / off keys and the microphone work on other smartphones.
In terms of sound, finally, Bose offers a listening based on frequencies where the voices and the bass are the priority on more discreet, but very present highs.
And to make listening even more enjoyable, the QC 25 also has ANC mode, or active noise reduction, which, at the touch of a button, ensures your ears are not disturbed by noise ambient or the next neighbor who plays the drums after midnight (and I know what I'm talking about at this level).
This last point is really a big plus of this model, because the helmet design already seems to do a great job in passive noise reduction.
Be careful when you cross the street because you may not even hear the cars because of this excellent insulation that does not even need to increase the volume in the street so that your ears enjoy your favorite music!
In summary, the Bose QuietComfort 25 is an excellent urban headphone with a sound certainly a little perfectible on some points, but certainly not on its immersion and comfort.
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0: the right headphones, at the right time
Mandatory choice between iOS and Android versions
High price compared to certain helmets of the same range
It is still Sennheiser that comes to the fore in this mid-range, with once again a model that replaces another having had its day and has carved a large place in contact with our eardrums.
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 comes to retire the first of the name, now more than 5 years old, with the ambition to make it more efficient, comfortable and generally better in all areas.
This is indeed the case on most points, but it is also a little perfectible if one is interested immediately in the price which is initially set around 200 euros, even if looking a little, we can get it for about 180 euros.
This is a regret for me because, for a difference of almost 50 euros, you can get helmets of almost equal quality, without the prestige of the brand, but which do not impose either the choice of a different model depending on the OS used on his smartphone.
Yes, that's the big negative point of this helmet in my eyes.
To enjoy it with the phone you own, you must make the choice iOS or Android and the price of the headset can vary significantly depending on one or the other, the iOS generally seem cheaper.
Once this inconvenience is set aside, let's remember that this is still a Sennheiser headset. Therefore, we can expect reliability and a sound equal to the best in this renowned brand.
At this level and comfort level, you can not be disappointed. The metal finish, high quality plastic and leather (on the pads and on the hoop, which I particularly appreciate) promise a listening time without clutter or pain, with a class specific to Sennheiser.
In transport and storage, the helmet comes with a superb hard cover and can be flattened, perfect for use in motion, even with its 770 g.
One can add to that a detachable cable measuring 1.4 m, with remote control and built-in microphone, 3 buttons that work perfectly as required for a hands-free kit.
After spending a lot of time on his style, let's see what happens on the sound side.
And the Momentum 2.0 does not disappoint on this point.
We know how to do at Sennheiser with well defined bass, balanced midrange and a performance that is close to perfection in general and has been clearly improved since the first generation of the model.
No reduction of active ambient noise, but the passive protection resulting from the design of the helmet is amply enough not to notice its absence.
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 is one of the best mid-range headphones that can be purchased without any regrets.
The best high quality wired headphones
Your ears deserve the best, even if your wallet is perhaps less in agreement with you on this point. But if the budget is not a problem, here you will find the top of the top, which also includes my personal selection.
Sennheiser HD 630VB: the best high end
Settings on the headphones
A little bulky outside
I will not go to extremes for the Sennheiser HD630VB which is my favorite, because I have the chance to own it, with his colleague RS120-II wireless that I mainly use (the second) to watch the TV late at night without disturbing the neighbors (because I like the series and movies that make noise).
I use the HD630VB to listen to music with a high enough volume at home and for my travels, whatever they are, which require sitting for several hours.
I also use it on my computer, so when I write this article, to listen to uncompressed music, where I use a different and specifically "gaming" headphones for my fun activities.
The first thing to note is that despite its "nomadic" label, this Sennheiser model is clearly not the most practical when compared to other brands. I think a number of average users who want a headset for the morning bus ride to the office or who are hurrying to join their classes on time will probably prefer a more manageable model.
It weighs about 400 g and almost all of its finish is extremely robust, with a coating almost entirely of aluminum, but its storage is a little bulky, even in the hard case that is intended for it (and that I usually in my backpack and that takes up space, we must admit).
The pads are of course designed in dense memory foam, rather thick, which keep the ears warm at home or out, and they are also removable for storage.
The hoop, also made of aluminum, contains the same foam and is covered with leather that some seem to define as uncomfortable after several hours, but this is not my case at all, even after working days of 8 hours with the helmet on his head.
Of course we note the cable of 1.2 m (with adapter Jack 6.3 mm for the house) which connects to any type of current smartphone and the complete hands-free kit, but which, it should be noted, is not removable, which may seem a little foreign to the golden age of USB.
We also note that the change iOS / Android is very simple here with a button that allows you to switch from one to the other by simple pressure, a good alternative to the change of cable or the choice of a single OS.
But the great strength of the HD630VB lies in its sound quality, unique to Sennheiser, as demonstrated elsewhere in this article.
Deep bass and well controlled (adjustable with a functional wheel, which is rare enough to be underlined), clear and defined midrange, precise treble, for a very, very low distortion.
The passive insulation is more than correct for the range (do not forget that the pads are thick and absorb then very well treble and midrange), but I would have preferred, if I have to quibble a little, see a system of reduction of active noise, which is becoming the norm these days.
Finally, we must not omit the price, which is consistent and can clearly put off some, the helmet being sold about 390 euros.
This price is for me at the height of the quality of the Sennheiser HD630VB, because I am quite a fan of this headphone for my daily use, but I perfectly understand that everyone is not ready to put a sum as high in a headphones and if this is the case, other models of the selection are probably better, especially in the mid-range.
If this cost does not scare you, I really recommend this model for an almost unparalleled sound experience.
Meze 99 Classic: the style pushed to the extreme
Kevlar resistant cables
Free hand kit perfectible
Not suitable for all budgets
You have to like the wood finish
Meze is probably unknown, as it is a manufacturer that has been on the market for less than 10 years and is limited to a few high-end items, but generally of very good quality and especially to a price that remains rather affordable for high-end, precisely.
Antonio Meze is a designer who has worked in a large number of companies to create a large series of products also upscale. It was in 2010 that he decided to create his company of creation of audio equipment (helmets and headphones, mainly) and he designed the 99 Classics in 2015, which quickly became THE reference of the brand (and which is presented in our selection).
The first thing we notice with this headset is its particular design, which does not stick with any other product on the market. The frame of the pads is indeed walnut and polished by hand, which makes it really unique and, do not hide it, beautiful.
No real leather here, for those of us concerned about animal welfare, since it is leatherette that covers memory foam pads of medium density.
Perfect comfort, with a metal hoop also reinforced with leatherette that gives the sensation of wearing something light (just 260 g!) And absolutely stylized, even if sometimes a little tight when you're not used, nothing serious.
Extreme design? maybe, but you have to admit that nobody else does it that way!
The helmet is of course easily transportable (and we will obviously be careful to store it in the box of felt delivered with it).
Connectivity side, there is a mini-jack on each headset, left and right, present on both cables included. A traditional cable with Jack 6.3 adapter 3 m long and another, 1.2 m handsfree with built-in microphone, for your smartphone.
Less classic are the Kevlar OFC coating of these cables and an adapter for air travel, a touch of detail, but which clearly adds to the value of the 99 Classics.
I will not dwell too much on the quality of the sound, which seems to be excellent at all levels, with acute noticeable by their softness compared to low and midrange.
A balance that corresponds perfectly to a high-end product, accompanied by a passive insulation that is the weight, without being the best available on the market and works perfectly and flawlessly on all ears, from the neophyte to the 'expert.
I had trouble finding a point that seems negative, but we can still highlight the impossibility of adjusting the volume of the headset from the remote control of the handsfree, which is quite right to expect from a high-end product.
In the end, the Meze 99 Classics is a headphone well above average which, if you want the style pushed to the extreme and if the price is no problem, is undoubtedly a model that stands out in the top helmets wired upscale.
The products of my selection on offer for the moment
We like to listen to loud music at home, without wishing to disturb the whole neighborhood by appreciating the quality of the artists in peace, or we like to have our favorite melodies in the ears without the ambient noise of the street on the street. work commute, a good wired audio headset is most definitely an investment that is worth the price.
And if the quality of listening is important, despite the mass presence of compressed sound formats such as MP3, the ability to walk everywhere enjoying the same quality is a big plus rather recent that comes with a number of choice and high standards, not always obvious to unravel.
We will therefore take a quick tour to identify the essential criteria to take into account in order to acquire the wired headphone that suits you best.
First criterion which for me must be placed at the same height as the others, the comfort is essential in the choice of a helmet.
Indeed, if it is to spend a long time with a headset on the ears, you must ensure that no discomfort comes disrupt your experience.
I spend most of my day with a headset on my ears listening to music while I'm working (with the Sennheiser HD630VB, which you can get my opinion elsewhere in this article) and I have to say that for Having gone through a number of helmets of all bills, I am delighted by what is being offered right now.
The leather or leatherette pads (depending on your preference, you can find both, but the leather is ubiquitous in the middle and the high end) and in each case, with dense or semi-dense memory foam, you can definitely go a whole day wearing the helmet, without even noticing the presence.
The hoop is obviously very important also at this level and should ideally be designed with the same material as the pads, to avoid a headache after minutes, as is sometimes the case with some helmets that do not favor at all this part of the helmet.
So be sure to watch twice during your purchase to avoid almost immediate regrets!
Headsets with an active noise reduction function are being seen more and more today. In practice, this means a button that, once pushed, allows the headset to return the sound signal to the outside of your ears, ensuring that no ambient noise comes cluttering your eardrums of their listening pleasure.
This is obviously an option to consider when buying, but all brands as good as they are, do not always offer on all their models.
And if you have chosen a helmet that does not have this possibility, then passive insulation must be taken into account, largely provided by the pads described above as being also related to comfort.
Our selection contains only circum-aural helmets, which surround the ear fully and I can only recommend these, since the alternative is simply placed on the ear and offers no absorbing barrier to external noise.
The thickness of the bearings and their design materials greatly influence this insulation and I therefore recommend thick leather / imitation leather pads with a dense memory foam.
This is fortunately what is found by default in most models of good quality, but you should not omit this criterion when you search for the dream helmet that will caress your ears smoothly.
This is obviously a basic criterion when one is interested in acquiring a wired headset.
I fully understand that it's quite complicated to objectively notice the sound quality of one headset over another, but a few simple tips often help you make the difference.
Some headphones offer the ability to manually adjust the bass for example, which is already a guarantee of very good quality, since it is then adaptable to your personal preferences!
Then, in general, the USB has made its place in the world of audio, but if you are rather traditional, a good headphone with a connector Jack (or mini-Jack) non-detachable is more bulky, but is often a guarantee of superior quality.
Finally, recognized brands such as Sennheiser or Bose are usually a guarantee of a balanced sound, provided as I said at the beginning of this guide to prefer uncompressed sound formats to MP3 (if you are fussy about the issue) .
Distortion and frequency are obviously important criteria for the quality of sound, but are quite complicated to judge for most of us and the choice of a known brand is often enough to satisfy this aspect.
Handiness and accessories
If a good helmet is noticeable to its comfort, its insulation and sound quality, in 2019 the handling of a helmet and its accessories (including those for storage) are also important.
I recommend checking if the desired helmet has a storage pouch (preferably rigid, to absorb any shocks), so as not to have to pay the same amount twice in a few months, because if most helmets are designed to be used in nomadic mode, they remain sensitive to blows and other telescoping in the morning bus, where the danger often comes from others.
It can also be seen that most nomadic helmets can flatten out during storage and that the length of the cable is ideal (more than one meter) or even detachable with a different length between use for the home or the street ( this is the case of one of them in our selection).
Finally, a cable incorporating a remote and a microphone is very useful because most of us listen to music on their smartphone nowadays. As a bonus, with this type of headset, you can go from music to phone calls without sweating and miss the job interview you've been waiting for for months.
I hope these few tracks now allow you to see more clearly in the musical world of wired headsets.