2014 Top Picks Of the Year Headphones and Headphone Amps

Headphones and Headphone Amps

NAD Viso HP50
(June) Designed by PSB’s Paul Barton, these closed-back $299 ’phones “sound smooth as silk, with excellent detail retrieval, a big soundstage, and bass with the perfect balance of speed and low-end oomph,” wrote S&V’s headphone maven Steve Guttenberg. $299, nadelectronics.com

Oppo PM-1
(soundandvision.com, October) Said audio editor Mark Fleischmann of this open-back, planar-magnetic design, “If you want headphone listening at an epic scale, hearing the PM-1 is like dying and going to headphone heaven.” $1,099, oppodigital.com

Audeze LCD-XC
(July/August) Audeze has become a niche leader for ultra-expensive, planar-magnetic ’phones, and the closed-back LCD-XC was much loved by Steve Guttenberg for its “bass to die for” and “rock-solid build quality.” $1,799, audeze.com

Essence HDACC DAC/Headphone Amp
(July/August) The best-sounding of the DAC/headphone amps we rounded up in July/August for budding high-res audiophiles, the Essence is also remarkably versatile with its HDMI ports and preamp functionality. $699, essenceelectrostatic.com

Audioengine D3 DAC/Headphone Amp
(July/August) A great-sounding, entry-level DAC/headphone amp combo in a USB stick form factor. $189, audioengineusa.com

javanp's picture

Gets 4/5 rating on 'value'. Is one of the top picks of the year for Value.