In recent years it’s become harder and harder to find headphones that allow you to listen to music the way it’s meant to be heard, as more and more audio gear is made with heavy bias. The iPod explosion contributed to a saturated market for headphones, and so many companies felt the need to differentiate their products based on creating a unique sound. Unfortunately, this trend has made it much more difficult for purists to enjoy music in the best way possible - the way the artist originally intended for it to be heard.
Headphones that are unbiased may not sound very impressive when you first try them on in a shop. However, just like a good wine, you will notice that they provide more subtle details to every single track in your library in time, and that they aren’t horrible for listening to certain genres or more complex tracks, as biased equipment can often be. If there is bass or treble in the actual track, you will hear it in all its genuine texture and crispness, and if there is NOT, then you won’t have it added to the music in a bombastic, bloated manner, distracting you from the essence of the music. If you’re coming from sub-par headphones, it can be an unusual experience, but it will grow on you.
There are still headphones in every price range that were made with the goal of achieving this transparency, and we have reviewed and sorted them below by price range and in-ear v. over-the-head categories.