The 5 Best Soundstage Headphones in 2022 Ranked

I am not snobbish about electronics. I will not enter the Android vs iOS fights, nor will I wax poetic about my favorite gaming consoles. However, if you ask me what type of headphones I must have, it’s the soundstage.

If audio experience is important to you, for whatever reason, try these headphones. Soundstage is simply one of the best ways to experience movies, games, and music.

As you may see, I’m a fan. I play a lot of immersive sims and watch horror movies. The only way I would get better audio would be to jump into these things somehow. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), this is not possible.

The next best thing is to pop a pair of soundstage headphones onto my head and scare the life out of me with ominous footsteps coming from behind. And they come from behind. It’s not just noise coming from the tiny speaker next to your ears, it’s the actual dreadful sound of some stalking you.

Or if that’s too scary for you, it can be a sound of a string quartet surrounding your favorite chair or the full immersion into a tropical forest soundscape on your morning commute.

So, are you ready to talk about the best soundstage headphones? I know you are. Let’s get to it and check out some ways you can make them better below.

Photo
Author's Pick
AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Flat-Wire, Reference Studio Headphones
Premium Pick
Sennheiser HD 800 S Over-the-Ear Audiophile Reference Headphones - Ring Radiator Drivers With Open-Back Earcups, Includes Balanced Cable, 2-Year Warranty (Black)
Best Professional
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi Stereo Wired Headphones for Studio&Audiophiles (Black)
Best Overall
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones Black
Best Budget
Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones (Black)
Product
AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Studio Headphones
Sennheiser HD 800 S Over-the-Ear Headphones
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Headphones
Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 Headphones
Pros

Suitable for all-day wear

Outstanding performance

Great impulse and treble response

Adjustable and replaceable parts

Superb craftsmanship

Exquisite details

One of the widest soundstages available

Reduced resonance

Industry pro approved

Wider and faster frequency response

Detailed, real world sound

Corresponding MP3 player

One size fits all headband

Comfortable to wear even in high heat

Amazing sound quality

Ideal for gaming

Full sound spectrum

Impressive build quality

Breathable pads

Great bass

Rating
Prime Status
Author's Pick
Photo
AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Over-Ear, Open-Back, Flat-Wire, Reference Studio Headphones
Product
AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Studio Headphones
Pros

Suitable for all-day wear

Outstanding performance

Great impulse and treble response

Adjustable and replaceable parts

Rating
Prime Status
Premium Pick
Photo
Sennheiser HD 800 S Over-the-Ear Audiophile Reference Headphones - Ring Radiator Drivers With Open-Back Earcups, Includes Balanced Cable, 2-Year Warranty (Black)
Product
Sennheiser HD 800 S Over-the-Ear Headphones
Pros

Superb craftsmanship

Exquisite details

One of the widest soundstages available

Reduced resonance

Rating
Prime Status
Best Professional
Photo
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic HiFi Stereo Wired Headphones for Studio&Audiophiles (Black)
Product
HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Headphones
Pros

Industry pro approved

Wider and faster frequency response

Detailed, real world sound

Corresponding MP3 player

Rating
Prime Status
Best Overall
Photo
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones Black
Product
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Headphones
Pros

One size fits all headband

Comfortable to wear even in high heat

Amazing sound quality

Ideal for gaming

Rating
Prime Status
Best Budget
Photo
Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones (Black)
Product
Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 Headphones
Pros

Full sound spectrum

Impressive build quality

Breathable pads

Great bass

Rating
Prime Status

 

 

The Five Best Soundstage Headphones

As usual, we begin with my top pick. The rest of the list are other models pros and regular customers recommend.

 

AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Studio Headphones

AKG Pro Audio K712 PRO Studio Headphones

My rating: 4.7 stars

Love the look, love the sound, love everything.

I’ll be honest, I’m holding out for one of those ridiculously expensive pairs. Are they the best soundstage headphones? I don’t know, I just covet them. In the meantime, I went with the best I could fit into my “toys” budget. It’s these from AKG.

Let’s start shallow. I find this pair very easy on the eyes. I love this steampunk feel with a strong hint of the 60s and 70s futurism. They complete my outfits when I’m wearing wool sweaters or faded T-shirts.

But that’s not something you care about, right? Let’s talk about the performance.

If you’re new here, it’s my duty to inform you I probably listen to better music than you. Joking aside, things that work on a night out, don’t work for me at home or during commutes. I need headphones that deliver when listening to Bobby Darin, Melody Gardot, Anneke van Giersbergen, etc. These AKG headphones deliver. They also deliver when I’m playing horror sims like Pathologic and Martha Is Dead.

The sound is… real. I don’t have a better word to describe it. All those creepy crawlies from my games and movies feel like they are in the room with me.

They are also lightweight and comfortable. I love how they don’t feel like they are squeezing my head. My ears also get hot easily, but I don’t have problems with this pair.

Now, for the issues. You may dislike the ling chord. This is not an issue for me because I have a chord case and I don’t mind the fact that it allows me more freedom of movement.

Another problem will arise if you like lots of bass. They are not slouching here, but you’ll find headphones that perform better in this aspect.

Pros
  • Suitable for all-day wear.
  • Outstanding performance.
  • Great impulse and treble response.
  • Adjustable and replaceable parts.
Cons
  • Soundstage too wide for some music.
  • Long cord.

 


 

Sennheiser HD 800 S Over-the-Ear Audiophile Headphones

Sennheiser HD 800 S Over-the-Ear Audiophile Headphones

My rating: 4.8 stars

Luxury, thy name is Sennheiser.

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. You can buy a car for the same amount of money. It would not be a splendid car, but it would still be a car and not a pair of headphones.

However, this is the only expensive pair I feel comfortable recommending to a regular person. Trust me, the price can skyrocket from this point. Aspiration material.

But, are the Sennheiser headphones worth it? They are, especially if you love classical music and jazz. You can get great soundstage headphones at a reasonable cost, but you should consider this investment if you are seeking an ultimate music listening experience.

Sennheiser took a lot of effort to attain all benefits of a wide soundstage and minimize the issues. They also claim that they tested each pair so you can enjoy them straight out of the box.

The brand received a lot of praise for its more budget-friendly models, and this one is the crowning glory of their achievement. If you’ve tried their affordable offerings and liked them, this pair is all they are but dialed up to eleven.

Pros
  • Superb craftsmanship.
  • Exquisite details.
  • One of the widest soundstages available.
  • Reduced resonance.
Cons
  • Pricey.
  • Don’t deliver on bass.

 


 

HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Wired Headphones

HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Wired Headphones

My rating: 4.8 stars.

Beauty of sound.

Sundara means beautiful and, well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My eyes see little of that beauty, but it doesn’t matter. What matter is the beauty of sound.

Now, this is where this pair shines. Folks from HiFiMan made these headphones for audiophiles who won’t accept anything sup-bar for their audio experience.

To get the full benefits, the manufacturer recommends pairing it with their slimline SuperMini player. I tried the combo, and it definitely makes a difference, but it’s not that noticeable with the genres and artists I prefer. However, I saw a vast improvement when playing rap, R&B, etc.

They were also pretty awesome when gaming, as well as listening to audiobooks.

So, what’s my reason not to consider them the best soundstage headphones? They make my ears hot. I also feel like they are too fragile for me. I often bump into things and drop stuff, and I’m not confident that these headphones could keep up with my “lifestyle”.

Pros
  • Industry pro approved.
  • Wider and faster frequency response.
  • Detailed, real world sound.
  • Corresponding MP3 player.
Cons
  • Not suitable for clumsy people.
  • Not suitable for some genres.

 


 

Audio-Technica ATH-AD 700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-AD 700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones

My rating: 4.7 stars

For those who can never make headphones fit.

How to innovate in a field that is already innovative? Do something about the headband! Finally.

It’s unfortunate how many of us need to write off amazing headphones just because they don’t fit our heads well. Audio-Technica came up with an interesting solution. They created this weird paddle and spring system that sits on your head.

No need to adjust the band or buy a better-fitting pair of headphones. It takes a while to get used to, but this is definitely something to check out if you can never find headphones that fit.

What makes them interesting could also be their weakness. Your hair can get caught in the paddles or the way they sit will distract you from your music or game.

Speaking of gaming, these headphones are amazing for it. Especially if you play Counter-Strike/Warzone. You’ll hear every step or loading of the gun without having to make additional adjustments.

As for the music, I found that these perform better than some premium models. However, if you don’t get used to the headband (or the lack of it), these headphones will not be very portable.

Pros
  • One size fits all headband.
  • Comfortable to wear even in high heat.
  • Amazing sound quality.
  • Ideal for gaming.
Cons
  • You may not like the headband solution.
  • Fixed cord.

 


 

Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones

Philips Audio Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones

My rating: 4.8

An awesome budget buy.

Philips offers multiple headphone models in this line, this one being the cheapest. But don’t write them off just because of this word. You’ll struggle to find the same quality at this price point.

While other headphones on this list are good for several things at once, there is a true audiophile pair. Every genre of music sounds amazing. As long as the quality of the file itself is decent, you will have a great experience.

This doesn’t mean they are useless for gaming and other media. I would just recommend something else if that’s your priority. The best thing about this model is that it does one thing very well and doesn’t compromise the results with stupid bells and whistles.

You may struggle with their size. They are big and rigid. Not uncomfortable, but it’s not the style that will fit everyone.

The only serious issue I have with them is the sound bleed. There’s more of it than expected with soundstage earphones. If you take these guys on the road, everyone and their deaf grandmother will know you listen to Baby Shark on repeat.

Pros
  • Full sound spectrum.
  • Impressive build quality.
  • Breathable pads.
  • Great bass.
Cons
  • Clunky and rigid.
  • A lot of sound bleed.

 


 

What to Consider When Buying Soundstage Headphones

 

Open-Back vs. Closed-Back Headphones

This is the most important choice you will have to make. Your choice will impact your overall experience.

Open-back headphones are usually recommended more because they offer a greater quality of sound. However, closed-back ones are better at noise isolation and a lot more durable.

I would say to consider closed-back if you plan on using these headphones when you’re out and about but picked closed-back for immersive gaming and home use.

 

Budget

It’s easy for the price of this type of headphones to get into four digits, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the best soundstage headphones.

Of course, it’s still the case of getting what you paid for. Expensive models will perform better than the budget ones. I say, get the best you can afford, but still don’t get too bothered about getting the most expensive available. After all, some less pricey models perform just as well, or even better.

 

Purpose

As mentioned previously, certain types of headphones are better for different purposes.

Think not only about what you’ll use them for but also think about how “important” is the thing you’re doing. For example, you need a distinct quality of headphones to enjoy music compared to making it.

Your lifestyle matters as well. If you’re a homebody, your headphones don’t have to be as durable as ones worn outside.

 

Comfort

Okay, no one likes their head squeezed for hours on end. No one likes their ears cooked or wires getting stuck in their hair.

Mostly, soundstage headphones are not made to be torture devices, but you should still check if they fit properly. These are not high-heeled glass slippers and you don’t have to suffer for fashion. Just try different ones until you find those that fit.

 

Attachments, Fixes, and Upgrades

Soundstage headphones are pretty awesome right from the box. Most of the time. Some need a little fiddling to make better, some need additional equipment and attachments.

This is not always a matter of the budget. You may need to buy accessories to improve the quality of sound of cheaper headphones, or to compliment an expensive pair just because.

I will talk about headphone amps below, but for now, know that it’s important to pick headphones that match your amp, or that you can buy a matching amp for them. The same goes for any other piece of hardware or software you will need at some point.

 

 

FAQs About Soundstage Headphones

 

What does soundstage mean for headphones?

It allows you to immerse yourself in your music, movies, video games, etc. The sound gains more dimension and you experience it as if it is in a 3D space, and not right next to your ears.

 

How do you get the best soundstage?

It’s easy to create more space with speakers, but how do you get the best soundstage with headphones?

The first thing to work on is the signal chain, aka the road sounds taken from the device to your ears. This involves making sure that everything from your device, software, audio files, and headphones themselves is of decent quality.

Then, convert the digital sound to analog by using a DAC (digital to analog converter). Your device probably already has one built-in, but it’s of mediocre quality. Upgrade to a better converter for a better sound.

Another thing you can splurge on is a headphone amp. Splurge is a misleading word there because you can find superb models at reasonable and budget-friendly prices. An amp will boost the volume of the audio, improve the quality on lower volumes, and it will deepen and enrich the sound.

Finally, get better headphones. Of course, the more you spend, the better the quality will be, but there’s no need to get a second mortgage (as seen in my best soundstage headphones list above). If nothing helps, treat yourself to a better pair soon.

Recommended: The 6 Best DAC Under $500

 

Why do open-back headphones have a wider soundstage?

Think of closed-back headphones as a closed door, and open-back is like when you open all doors and windows to air out a room.

With an open earcup, sound waves are free to flow without being blocked. This creates a wider soundstage, richer details, and an overall impression of an open and airy sound.

However, this comes at the price of accuracy, since a wide soundstage is more difficult to achieve on headphones.

 

Does frequency response affect soundstage?

Yes, it largely depends on the treble frequency response. This means that if you play with treble settings in your device’s equalizer, you can change the effect.

Lowering the treble will reduce the perception of the soundstage. What does this mean for you? Well, you’ll get less of this special effect you paid all that money for.

You can crank up the treble to enhance the effect, but there are limitations there as well. They mostly come from the source material and the way original audio was recorded.

 

 

Conclusion

I feel that soundstage headphones will become the new norm at some point. I also think they will change the music industry somehow, just as the microphone (for a hot moment) retired the loud projecting voices and popularized husky and intimate tones.

That leads me to say that, if you plan on using these headphones to listen to contemporary pop music, you’ll not get as much from them. It has to the about the nature of pop music production and getting even the best soundstage headphones will not change that.

They are a lot better for watching movies, gaming, ASMR, and listening to audiobooks. Lots of musical genres, like classical, jazz, and even rap or rock’n’roll are also a great fit.

Whether you get a pair now or later, they will definitely change your listening experience.

 

The 5 Best Soundstage Headphones in 2022 Ranked Pin

 

 

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Music is the lifeblood of my veins. I love to listen, play and write music. Being a music band manager is what I love to do mostly because I love working with artists on their personal branding and brand building while helping them find the next level of success.

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