2016 Top Picks Of the Year Headphones & Headphone Amps


Headphones & Headphone Amps

Focal Elear Headphones
(January 2017 print) This over-the-ear design from respected French speaker-maker Focal competes favorably with best state-of-the-art ’phones, some at twice or three times its price. $999, focal.com/headphones

HiFiMan Edition X Headphones
(July/August print) HiFiMan’s open-back magnetic planar ’phones “tell an emotionally fulfilling and balanced version of the truth about your music files,” said audio editor Mark Fleischmann. $1,799, hifiman.com

Etymotic Research ER4SR Studio Reference Earphones
(December print, watch for the full review) Etymotic, the inventor of the in-ear monitor, upped its game with this revision of its classic, improving build quality and adding extra clarity to what was already highly transparent sound. $349, etymotic.com

KEF M400 Headphones
(May print) Smooth, highly detailed sound and svelte good looks at a highly affordable price make these KEFs a great choice among over-ear, closed-back ’phones. $250, kefdirect.com

Moon by Simaudio Neo230HAD Headphone Amp/DAC
(May print) It doubles as a sweet and versatile stereo preamp to drive an amp and speakers, but the best reason to hunker down with the Neo230HAD is the transformative effect it’ll have on your hi-res audio files delivered via its USB input and headphone output. $1,500, simaudio.com

AudioQuest DragonFly Red & Black Headphone Amp/DACs
(See “Value”)

Louis Gombos's picture

Where is GoldenEar among your Top Picks for speakers? This omission casts doubt on your choices in general.