Bass just keeps on booming and fortunately, there are headphones for that. Our obsession with the low end of the musical spectrum has evolved from the trunk-rattling subwoofers of the CD era to more personalized experiences in the age of streaming music. Audio companies have successfully engineered the sound — and impressively, the feel — you get when the bass drops into over-ear headphones like those popularized by Beats, and now even tiny in-ear systems.
There is no shortage of headphones that emphasize bass on the market today. But just when you think you’ve heard it all, a new set of ‘phones lowers the bar by aiming for the bottom of frequencies audible to humans. And with each year, the mark seems to slide lower and lower. But you’re in luck: we have scanned the entire spectrum of best bass headphones to bring you the lowest of the low. Here’s what we found.
Why We Picked These Bass Headphones
The field of headphones is vast, and wading through all the options can be a daunting task. By specializing in headphones that emphasize bass, however, we were able to narrow our focus considerably.
After scrutinizing the best offerings from a dozen manufacturers, we zeroed in on frequency response, which tells us the range of sounds the model can reproduce accurately; the default bass profile and the ability to choose EQ (equalization) presets that favor low-end or customize your own; as well as battery life, recharging time, and noise cancellation algorithms
Best Bass Headphones: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Sony WH-1000MX4
Why They Made The Cut: Booming bass plus AI noise cancellation? We’re sold.
— Frequency Response: 4 Hz (hertz) to 40,000 Hz
— Sound Pressure Level: 108 dB (decibels)
— Operating/Charging Time: 30 hours /NA
— Bass-leaning profile plus boost
— Next-gen AI noise cancellation
— Multi-device Bluetooth pairing
— Non-water resistant
Headphones are essential equipment for traveling, allowing you to slip into musical bliss or an engrossing podcast while the world bustles around you. Except when announcements about your flight change come over the P.A. system, and you scramble to pause your device but only catch the tail end. Maybe Sony’s product teams have had the same issue, because the latest iteration of its noise-cancelling system, included on the WH-1000XM4 headphones, lets loudspeaker announcements through while blocking the rest of the noise floor. And a lot more.
The Sony WH-1000XM wireless headphones series is practically a dynasty at this point, thanks in large part to its ability to block noise and drop the bass. In the series’ fourth generation, the WH-1000XM4 benefits from the achievements of its predecessors, while adding some tricks of its own to that legacy. The frequency profile, for example, heavily favors bass pre-EQ, all the way down to 4 Hz (20 Hz is the lowest the average human can hear). If you still need more thump, the Clear Bass slider will take you even lower.
Notably, Sony took its adaptive sound control feature and injected AI. Now it not only senses your environment, it also recognizes places you visit often and adjusts the sound. If you need to have a short conversation — say, with the airline staff after missing your boarding call — it pauses your music when you speak and allows you to have a conversation without removing your headphones.
Best Bass and Sound: Skullcandy Crusher EVO
Why They Made The Cut: We couldn’t resist the extra-bass slider and 40-hour battery life.
— Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz
— Sound Pressure Level: 95 to 100 dB
— Operating/Charging Time: 40 hours/NA
— Bass response slider on headphones
— Long battery life with quick charge
— EQ options in the Skullcandy app
— No multi-device Bluetooth pairing
— Lacks noise reduction
The Skullcandy Crusher Evo isn’t built for bass enthusiasts — it’s made for absolute low-frequency freaks who can’t get enough bottom end in their music. On top of an EQ profile that already favors low end, the crafty designers included a slider that emphasizes bass even more while preserving the mid-highs for vocals and highs for cymbal crashes.
There is no shortage of cool features here, like a personalized-sound function that performs a quick auditory test on the user to determine their hearing profile, and then optimizes the experience. You can find more EQ options in the Skullcandy app.
In use, these over-ear headphones are fairly intuitive. You’ll find controls for playback and volume control on the right ear cup, while the USB-C port, aux port, power button and bass slider on the left ear cup. The rechargeable battery delivers a whopping 40 hours of use time, and a simple 10-minute charge returns four hours of life to the battery. On the flip side, the Crusher Evo lacks noise canceling to block ambient sounds, and can only connect to one Bluetooth-enabled device at a time.
Best Budget: Sennheiser Momentum 3
Why They Made The Cut: The Momentum 3 hit the elusive sweet spot between big bass and noise cancellation.
— Frequency Response: 5 Hz to 21,000 Hz
— Sound Pressure Level: 107 dB
— Operating/Charging Time: 7hrs/1.5hrs
— Enhanced bass response
— Fast multipoint Bluetooth connection
— Three-position active noise cancelling
— Not great for high-impact exercise
Headphones designed for on-the-go, active lifestyles certainly have their place, but not every pair of headphones needs that particular specialization. Instead, the Sennheiser Momentum 3 over-ear headphones are built to deliver an audiophile listening experience and look good while doing it.
Let’s cut straight to the chase: These headphones thump. Boosts in the low frequency range — covering low, mid and high bass in varying amounts — mean bass-heavy mixes flourish. Fans of EDM, bass-heavy hip-hop, and the assaultive kick drum of Rage Against the Machine will appreciate the Momentum 3’s deep bass extension, artfully engineered without compromising on the mids and treble that create a full-range listening experience.
Half the battle, of course, is blocking out noise to allow the EQ (configurable via Sennheiser Smart Control app) to shine. Sennheiser’s three-position Active Noise Cancellation is a big improvement over the Momentum 2 model, which only had one setting, combatting wind noise, pressure, and loud environments like airplanes and trains. In Transparent Hearing mode, external mics pipe in ambient sound to keep you aware of your surroundings.
Now, for the “look good” part. Aesthetically, the Sennheiser Momentum 3 looks slick and professional, with an exposed, matte-finished metal frame and sheepskin headband and ear pads that cradle your ears in comfort. Just don’t get too cozy and miss your stop.
Best Wireless Bluetooth: Beats Studio3
Why It Made The Cut: Buy them for the bass, but keep them for the versatile multipoint Bluetooth and Apple codec support.
— Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz
— Sound Pressure Level: 114 dB
— Operating/Charging Time: 22 hours/NA
— Meaty low end
— Supports Bluetooth and Apple codecs
— Hardshell carrying case
— Lacks durability
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Beats headphones on this list. In one way or another, we’re all here because of Beats and the over-ear, bass-blasting headphones trend they started. Not to diminish their reputation — if you like your bass deep and round, these are squarely in your wheelhouse — but the overall listening experience is pleasant, and the bass is musical.
Elsewhere, the Beats Studio3 headphones are loaded with extras. With the Audio Sharing feature, Beats has made it where you never have to share your headphones again. Instead of popping out an ear bud or surrendering your over-ears, you can share audio wirelessly with another set of Beats headphones or Apple AirPods. The iconic “b” button on the right ear cup provides access to placing and answering calls, selecting tracks, controlling volume, and activating your device’s voice assistant.
Total listening time is a crucial spec, especially to frequent travelers and those who live hectic lifestyles. A quick 10-minute charge will give you an extra three hours of listening. And like other models in its class, turning off the noise-cancellation feature will net you 40 hours of listening on a single charge (compared to 22 hours with it on).
Best In Ear: Soundcore Liberty 3
Why It Made The Cut: Soundcore loaded its flagship in-ear headphones with several sound-shaping features, and of course, a solid bass profile.
— Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 40,000 Hz
— Sound Pressure Level: 75 dB
— Operating/Charging Time: 8 hours/ hrs
— Active noise cancellation
— Customizable fit and EQ
— Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity
— Bass can overpower vocals in music
Big bass comes in small packages, too. The Soundcore Liberty 3 earbuds perform quite well with low-end frequencies, and the default EQ profile with scooped mids accentuates the bass even more.
Soundcore Liberty 3 earbuds ship with four ear-tip sets and four wing sets, each sized differently, so you can match your ears to the perfect fit. But that’s only where the personalization begins. Download the Soundcore app to select among stock EQ settings, or use the HearID feature to have your ‘buds analyze your hearing and dial in a custom EQ profile. The 3D surround-sound can make audio sources come alive in your ear holes by manipulating spatial orientation.
An onboard AI noise-reduction algorithm uses six microphones to identify and neutralize nuisance sounds, an especially handy feature when a call from the outside world inevitably interrupts your music. When that happens, the headphones do a fine job of accentuating your speaking voice while keeping background noise at bay.
Things to Consider Before Buying Bass Headphones
Many headphones favor bass in their default EQ settings, but even when they don’t, access to deeper sound-shaping tools can result in bigger and boomier bass. Whether you’re looking at EQ presets or a customizable parametric EQ, these tools can emphasize the tones you want.
Part of the battle of the bass is fought on the field of noise reduction. These filters have evolved significantly over the years, and manufacturers are now incorporating external microphones and AI to determine what is noise and what is intentional audio. With less distracting noise, bass frequencies are free to boom.
While connectivity doesn’t directly affect bass response in headphones, it’s an important consideration for any pair. Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, for example, allows users to be connected to two audio sources at once — meaning you won’t have to manually switch between your laptop, where you are streaming music, to a phone when you have to take a call.
Q: How do I find good bass headphones?
If you don’t find what you’re looking for in this article, try searching the websites of reputable headphone makers, or pull up a list of contenders through a search engine. If you have a retail store near you that lets you demo headphones, take them up on the offer.
Q: Are bass headphones important?
Bass is important to the reproduction of music and transmission of voice. Some styles of music, such as EDM and hip-hop, typically need good bass response in order for all the audio information to come across as intended.
Q: What is good sound quality in headphones?
Defining something as subjective as sound quality can be tricky. Our opinions are often shaped by our own hearing ability, but scientifically, a wide frequency response range is important to good sound reproduction.
Q: What are deep bass headphones?
Deep bass headphones are adept at reproducing sounds at the very low end of the frequency spectrum. Remember, most humans can only hear down to 20 Hz. Any sounds below the threshold are felt more than heard.
Q: How do I know which headphones are better?
There are two ways to know which headphones are best for you. First, do your homework (this article is a great start). Compare specs and features. Then, if you’re able, try out different brands and models at a retail store or borrow from friends.
Q: Which brand is best for headphones?
The market for headphones is full of recognizable and lesser-known brands. Some consumers may want to stick with an audio brand they’ve used before to the exclusion of newer, sometimes more innovative brands.
Q: Which earphones are best for ears?
Your ears are sensitive, highly functional sensory appendages. Whether you choose over-ear or in-ear headphones, keeping your ears comfortable — in fit as much as function — should be a high priority when shopping for a new pair.
Q: How much do bass headphones cost?
Headphones that emphasize the low end of the frequency spectrum aren’t cheap. A budget pair could cost anywhere from $200 to $250, with a high-end pair easily costing $450 to $500.
The pace of innovation in headphones is remarkable. The quick adoption of AI technologies and the range of noise-cancellation algorithms available show that the headphone category will continue to advance the state of the art. For now, and to our ears, the Sony WH-1000MX4 rises to the top. If your budget is a little more limited, you won’t be disappointed with the Sennheiser Momentum 3. You still get that booming bass, but get to hold on to a few more dollars.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.