Headphones can be a completely bewildering topic. Do you go on-ear or over-ear? Wired or wireless? And which of the thousands of headphones do you choose from? To help, we've rounded up the best ones right here. We've also included a breakdown of the best headphone amps, so that you can supercharge your sound.

Best High-End Headphones of 2018

Sometimes, you need to take a step back, look at how you’re listening to music, and improve it. Sometimes, you just need to break the bank, go deep, and invest in something that will last you that years and deliver the best sound you’ve ever heard.

Best Wireless Headphones of 2018

Wireless headphones rock. It's been a long time since the days where wired headphones could claim superiority - the sound quality, useability and style of wireless cans have more than caught up...

Best Gaming Headsets of 2018

Can you hear that? No? Can’t say we’re surprised. Gaming headsets have come on leaps and bounds lately and are sounding crisper than ever. Of course, unless you’ve experienced one first hand, you won’t even realize what you’re missing out on.

Best Headphone Amps of 2018

You wouldn't expect headphones to need any special equipment to work. They are just about as simple as audio equipment gets. You plug them in, turn your device on, and music comes through. But what if you don’t just want to listen to your music?

Best DACs of 2018

A simple DAC upgrade can do wonders for your audio playback, as for example, a 4K-capable TV might change your movie viewing experience. So why not take the jump?  We’ve gathered some of the most exciting converters currently on the market.

Best Digital Audio Players of 2018

Remember the very first chrome-dipped iPod from fifteen years ago? No? Damn, we’re old. Anyway, it sold like three hundred and sixty million units. It changed the way we listen to music forever - and today, Apple is no longer the market leader.

Headphone Specs Explained

Everything you need to know about headphone specs. if it doesn’t involve any of the following, you probably don’t need to worry about it. Consider this the ultimate explainer.

4 Ways To Improve Your Headphone Sound

At The Master Switch, we spend an awful lot of time thinking about audio. More importantly, we spend an awful lot of time thinking about how to improve it. Everything we do is geared towards creating bigger, better sound.

Audio Formats Explained

FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSD… There’s no denying that picking the right type of audio to listen to can be crazy confusing. Fortunately, we're here to help, with our full guide to this audio topic.

How To Tube Roll

There are three types of audiophiles: those that find tube amplifiers to be the bee’s knees; those that swear only solid-state amps can produce true-to-life audio; and those that haven’t tried tube amps and are simply missing out.

Review: 1More Triple Driver Over-Ear

With very few flaws, and an almost endless number of positives, the TDOEs are among the best headphones you can buy for this price. If you're looking for something a little different, look no further.

Review: ADVANCED Alpha

We had never heard of ADVANCED. Before this year’s CANJAM New York event, they had flown completely under our radar. We have no idea why - normally, we’re pretty good with this kind of thing. Then we heard their Alphas.

Review: Apple AirPods

The Apple AirPods created a wave of truly wireless earbuds, but they never quite made our review list. Until today. They managed to snag a spot in our most recent wireless headphones roundup, and we’d like to go further into why we chose them.

Review: AUDEZE EL-8 Titanium

There were plenty of manufacturers ready to capitalise on the new Lightning standard, and Audeze, predictably, were one of them. The EL-8 Titanium is their attempt to create a pair of planar magnetic cans that can operate off an iPhone 7.

Review: AUDEZE LCD2C

If you’re an audio company, thinking of sending us (or anybody else) product for review, here’s a super handy pro tip for how to catch our attention, and make whatever you’re sending stand out from the massive pile of gadgets we have...

Review: AUDEZE Mobius

When AUDEZE told us they had a secret project in the works, our first thought was not ‘gaming headset’. Why would it be? AUDEZE are known for stellar headphones, but not for gaming. Then they sent us the Mobius.

Review: Audiofly AF1120

If it weren’t for the fact that the Audiofly AF1120 in-ear monitors are in the conversation for the best we’ve ever listened to, we would have chucked it in long ago. Because there are so. Many. Tangles.

Review: AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon

It’s always a bit of a gamble, calling something cool. Cool is such an ephemeral term. After all, Limp Bizkit were once cool. So were Capri pants, ironic T-shirts, Blackberries. The Audioquest NightHawk Carbons are cool, and always will be.

Review: Beats by Dre urBeats3

The urBeats3 in-ear headphones are among the company's top-sellers, and we recently spent a month with a pair to find out why. It is a month we will regret until the end of time.

Review: Beyerdynamic Amiron Home

With headphones, it’s not just about the sound quality. There is so much more that makes a good pair, and it starts the moment you open the box. To be truly excellent, a pair of headphones has to impress from the very start.

Review: Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless

Beyerdynamic make some of the best headphones on the planet. They’ve been doing it for quite a long time, so they know a thing or two about sound. But they have surprisingly few Bluetooth models...

Review: Bose QuietComfort 35 II

The Bose QuietComfort 35 IIs are the best wireless travel headphones available. We have absolutely no doubt about this. After spending a month with them, including two international trips, we concluded that, in this regard, they are simply unbeatable.

Review: Bose SoundLink II

Bose made their name with noise-canceling tech. They’ve earned their reputation for it - it’s among the best in the world - but how do they fare when they create a pair of headphones that don’t have any noise-canceling capabilities?

Review: Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless

The wireless headphones market is getting pretty crowded these days. Ever since Apple dropped the stink bomb about removing the headphone jack from the new iPhone models, manufacturers have been falling over themselves to issue Bluetooth headsets.

Review: Brainwavz B200

Meet Brainwavz: a company with a slightly strange name, based out of Vancouver, Canada, who make some fun stuff. Most of it is of the portable audio variety, and their B200s are a good example.

Review: Brainwavz B400

Every so often, companies will send us multiple bits of gear to review. We love this – it plays merry hell with our review schedule, but it gives us a chance to compare and contrast, and really get an insight into their strengths and weaknesses...

Review: Focal Clear

To more established headphone companies like Sennheiser and AUDEZE, it must have felt like getting hit with a freight train. When French speaker manufacturer Focal made the decision to push deep into the market, few would have predicted their success.

Review: Focal Listen Wireless

The French company Focal are primarily known as speaker makers – but at the moment, they are enormously keen to get the word out about their headphones. Their Listen Wireless is an interesting attempt to hit the budget wireless market...

Review: Focal Utopia

The Focal Utopia are the best headphones on the planet. That’s not hyperbole. It’s not shilling. It’s just the truth. Of all the hundreds of headphone models available today, these are the best. End of discussion.

Review: Focal Spark

Earbuds and in-ear monitors can be a really weird market. Its devotees are legion, and they’re often prepared to give these often very affordable and seemingly inconsequential devices a huge amount of love and attention and analysis.

Review: Focal Spark Wireless

Last year, we reviewed the Focal Spark, an excellent pair of buds that retail for a little under $70. When they were shipped to us, they also included the wireless version, unsurprisingly called the Focal Spark Wireless.

Review: Fostex TH610

If you love headphones like we do, one of the most annoying things is trying to convince others that they can be objects of beauty. Where we see smooth curves, perfect headband design, and clever use of materials, others only see bulky plastic...

Review: Grado SR325e

Grado's SR325e headphones might not be the newest model, but the company recently shared a little bit of their cachet with us at The Master Switch, and since these headphones are still very much available, we decided we’d give them a full review.

Review: HiFiMan Edition S

The HiFiMan Edition S. You might call them Schrodinger’s Headphones: they’re both closed and open back until you decide which one you want. They are also, just in case you were wondering, bloody brilliant.

Review: Jaybird Freedom Wireless

Although they can initially be bewildering, they’re a real gem, and it’s clear that Jaybird put a lot of thought into the way they work. 

Review: Master & Dynamic MH40

New York’s Master & Dynamic remain one of the most underrated headphone companies around. They produce some absolutely phenomenal gear – such as the wireless MW50s – and it all started with the MH40s.

Review: Master & Dynamic MW50

The world of on-ear Bluetooth headphones isn’t exactly known being a luxury market. One manufacturer looking to buck that particular trend is New York's Master & Dynamic.

Review: MEE audio Pinnacle P1

Reviewing the MEE audio Pinnacle P1 earbuds is quite a challenge. They are both an almost reference-grade high-end set of monitors...

Review: MEZE 99 Classics

Exquisite. That’s the word that came to mind when we first pulled the Romanian-made MEZE 99 Classics out of their carrier case. It’s not a reaction that most audio equipment inspires, and definitely not a reaction inspired by most headphones.

Review: MEZE 11 Neo

We make no bones about being huge fans of MEZE Headphones here at The Master Switch. Why wouldn’t we be? The Romanian company blew our minds with the gorgeous 99 Classics over-ear model, which is probably our favorite pair of this year.

Review: Monoprice Monolith M1060

How would you like to read a review of the most hyped headphones on the planet? That’s no exaggeration. In the past year, no other pair of headphones has caused as much intrigue...

Review: Nuraphone

Despite what headphone makers would have you believe, major leaps forward have been few and far between. We’re talking tweaks, new materials, advanced tuning. Actual innovations don’t come along all that often. Until Nuraphone.

Review: OPPO PM-2

It’s not often that a company known for making Blu-ray players creates waves in the audio world. And it’s a little sad that no matter how big OPPO gets, they will always inevitably be introduced with those words.

Review: Optoma NuForce BE2

We were curious to try out Optoma NuForce's Be2 earbuds - while the company may be boring, in terms of corporate identity, their equipment has impressed us before.

Review: Optoma Nuforce BE Sport3

We’ll admit: it was a little bit surprising when we got a pair of sports earbuds from Optoma. It may have even been a bit of a “Wait, what?” moment. Optoma? The really good but slightly square company who make projectors, DACs, professional-grade...

Review: Parrot Zik 3 Wireless

Never before has one pair of cans offered so much. It’s as if the designers of Parrot’s new Zik 3 headphones decided to see just how many things they could pack into its slender frame.

Review: Periodic Audio Titanium

We weren’t too familiar with Periodic Audio before. Yes, we know, perhaps we should be, but there are a lot of audio companies out there and we aren’t omniscient. We should have been paying closer attention...

Review: Phiaton BT 460

When you test as much all your equipment as we do, it’s actually quite amazing how impatient you can get. Time and again, we find ourselves getting frustrated...

Review: PSB M4U 8 Wireless

PSB Speakers is a household name. The head honcho, Paul Barton, really wanted to recreate the same PSB sound that we all know and love, and put that tech into something a little more portable.

Review: Puro Sound Labs BT5200

One of the things that we, and just about everybody who loves music, are not very good at is looking after our hearing. When there are so many fantastic headphones and speakers to listen to, who cares about resting your ears?

Review: RHA T20i

Through its precision engineering and already acclaimed audio performance, RHA - a Glasgow-based company specialising in in-ear tech - has already managed to attract plenty of attention...

Review: Rock Jaw Alfa Genus V2

Rock Jaw Audio is an independent headphone manufacturer that was founded in June 2012 from a humble bedroom in leafy Leicestershire, England. Focusing exclusively on the earbud headphone market...

Review: Sennheiser HD630VB

Whether you’re just getting into the world of audiophile headphones, or you’re an established geek looking for something new, you need to hear these.

Review: Sennheiser HD1 Wireless

Some things in this world just work. Bacon sandwiches. Very cold beer. Dre and Pac on California Love. The relationship between Supergirl and The Flash. And the Sennheiser HD1s.

Review: Sennheiser PXC 550

The Sennheiser PXC 550s are simultaneously one of the most convenient, enjoyable pairs of headphones we’ve ever used, and also the most infuriating.

Review: Sol Republic Master Tracks

Most headphone companies probably wouldn’t dare attempt what Sol Republic does with their Master Tracks. Put a pair of Sony headphones out the box, and all you have to do is plug them in and put them on. Not these.

Review: Thinksound On2

Very few audio designers are as accomplished as Aaron Fournier. After stints at Tivoli Audio and V-Moda, the Boston-based engineer started his own company, Thinksound, with the goal of making environmentally-friendly headphones that sounded fantastic.

Review: V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless

You’re not going to believe us when we tell you this, but you can get everything you need to know about V-MODA by taking one look at their warranty program. See, they don’t call it a warranty. They call it the Immortal Life Guarantee.

Review: Bluewave GET

On a recent trip to Toronto for the TAVES audio show, we got chatting to two guys from Montreal, Pierre and Stéphane, who owned a company called Bluewave. What they were showing was a single product: a tiny little portable headphone amp called the GET.

Review: Burson Audio PLAY

Headphone amps, for the most part, break down into two categories: ones that you plug in and forget about, and ones that invite you to tinker - messing with the settings, switching out various bits, and generally getting your hands dirty.

Review: Feliks Elise MkII

Feliks Audio is a Polish boutique headphone amplifier manufacturer that specializes in tube circuit designs. Their Elise MkII model has been making waves on tube amp forums and trade shows

Review: FiiO A5

Portable amps are tricky little things. While they unquestionably make your sound better, they don’t have the luxuries that desktop models do. They can’t be heavy, or feature cool-looking tubes, or have loads of connections.

Review: FiiO Q5

Convincing people to carry around a portable amplifier in addition to a phone is a bit like asking Usain Bolt to strap rockets to his feet. Yes, it will technically make him faster, but it’s also cumbersome and annoying, and will probably explode.

Review: Goldmund Telos 2

We’ll be honest: we never expected to review a product from Goldmund on this site. They’re not just a high-end audio brand; they’re floating somewhere above the very concept of high end. And yet: here we are.

Review: H2 Designs MIYO

We flatter ourselves that we know most, if not all, of the audio industry players, and what they do. But we hadn’t heard of H2 Designs. They recently got in touch to ask if we’d like to try out their new MIYO audio interface.

Review: Hafler HA75

There’s no denying that high-end headphones and headphone amps can be amazingly nerdy. Wade into even the shallow end, and you’ll find yourself swamped by a discussion of whether a 12AX7 tube is better than a 6S7L, or an endless debates about...

Review: iFi Audio micro iCAN SE

It can often be a challenge to go for an audio company that prizes rigorous engineering over marketing flair. Judging by their website and their staid, sober presence on social media, you might be forgiven for bypassing iFi Audio. Don't.

Review: JDS Labs The Element

One of the biggest debates in the audio world is whether an amplifier should change the quality of the music, or simply present it as objectively as possible. The JDS Labs The Element can help with that.

Review: JDS Labs Objective2

Quick question. How much color do you like in your music? Do you like your bass to be fat, your mids to be warm, your soundstage to be wide of the hills? Or do you prefer no color at all, with an aggressively analytical sound?

Review: Linear Tube Audio MZ2-S

The MZ2-S is that something. It’s expensive, and specialised, and not for everyone. But if you’re willing to give yourself over to it, you’ll be in for one of the greatest musical experiences a human being can have. 

Review: Mayflower ARC

It’s actually quite rare to find dedicated amplifiers for gaming headphones. If a gamer does spend money on amp – as opposed to splurging on screen, mouse, and headset – it’s not likely to be a specialised one.

Review: Schiit Magni 3

It’s almost a right of passage for anybody looking to get into the world of audio. For many, the first stop in upgrading their headphones sound is a little outfit out of Valencia, California: Schiit Audio, pronounced exactly like you think it is.

Review: Schiit Lyr 3

Rule number one when writing a Schiit review: don’t make jokes about the name. They’ve not only heard them all before, they probably wrote most of them. Rule number two: don’t expect a newer version of a product to even be close to what the old one was.

Review: Sony TA-ZH1ES

Dear Sony marketing department: can we talk? Can we be real for a sec? Thank you. We’re just trying to understand, you see. We want to figure out how your minds work. How do you name something the TA-ZH1ES with a straight face?

Review: AudioQuest Beetle

It’s often easy to forget in the seemingly endless mission for better and better sound, but the role of a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) isn’t just to improve the audio quality. It’s also there to make it easy to send the audio where you need it.

Review: Benchmark DAC3 HGC

If you like to tinker, if you like to go deep into your equipment, and if you like to have your efforts rewarded, then you are going to want to hear this. It’s spectacular.

Review: Chord Electronics Mojo

Chord Electronics, the purveyors of handmade British hi-fi have been - since the eighties, no less - making waves with their innovative DACs and headphone amplifiers. The Mojo is one of them.

Review: iFi Audio micro iDAC2

No piece of audio equipment is more contentious than the humble DAC. It can cause some pretty major arguments. iFi Audio’s Micro iDAC2 isn’t going to help either side work out their differences with the other – but in our opinion, it’s solid.

Review: iFi Audio nano iOne

iFi Audio are nothing if not consistent. That’s the kind of first review sentence that normally has most readers rolling their eyes - don’t lie, we saw you do it - but we use it deliberately. But in the Nano iOne, there is a surprising spark of life

Review: JDS Labs OL DAC

The debate about whether DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters) actually make a difference to your sound is still one that has yet to be resolved. As good as it is, the OL DAC from JDS Labs isn’t going to convince the doubters.

Review: Meridian Audio Explorer2

That shelf at Meridian Audio’s HQs displaying their hifi innovation awards must be a substantial one - they’ve come up with plenty of firsts since their formation back in 1977. With the Explorer2, they're hoping to do it again.

Review: Optoma NuForce uDAC5

It’s not often that you can call a piece of audio equipment cute. You can with the Optoma uDAC5. When we took it out the box, our first thought was that someone was pranking us. This thing costs $200?

Review: Astell & Kern AK380

In the month or so we spent with Astell & Kern’s AK380 player, the most common question from those who saw it – after a few minutes spent marvelling at its stunning good looks – was the price point.

Review: Dodocool DA106

You might not think it while reading about the four- and occasional five-figure monsters on the site, but we absolutely love cheap here. If a piece of audio kit mixes low cost with decent components, we start getting very interested.

Review: FiiO M7

The survival of digital audio players is actually quite extraordinary. Despite the fact that we carry around phones that can do everything, standalone digital audio players continue to sell.

Review: FiiO X1

Here’s a question for you. How much are you willing to put up with for great sound? When you’re buying audio gear, do you go for stuff that is easy to use, that you will never have to think about, and which will become second nature to operate?