You ever buy the cheapest headphones you could find, but you end up borrowing your friend’s headphones anytime they come around? It could be for a plethora of reasons ranging from you buying an ill-fitting headphone, to one that doesn’t do enough to cancel out noise.
Thankfully, you have me! In this blog, I will be outlining the best minimalist headphones that you can get right now. I’m talking unique headphones with modern designs that also deliver on performance. I’m sure some of you have had experiences with headphones that look good from far but are actually far from good.
Now, the headphones, in no particular order –
Monolith M1060 Magnetic Headphones
The Monolith is a unique set of headphones in its design and performance quality. It has an open-back design that gives you a holographic listening experience. In simpler terms, it feels like you are in a live performance instead of being shut off from the world like in regular headphones.
It uses a planar magnetic driver so that the sound produced in this headphone is less distorted, has better bass, and a pinpoint accuracy that you don’t find in any other headphone. Now you can be sure that you hear the best quality of sound possible at a very reasonable price.
The M1060 has faux leather earpads and a padded headband to keep you comfortable when you need to use it for long spells. The minimalist design also means that it is not carrying any unnecessary weight so that the headphone is not heavier than it needs to be. It weighs only 4.16 ounces – the right amount of weight, especially when you consider that some others go as high as 10 ounces.
The headphone also comes with a 30-day moneyback guarantee and a five-year replacement warranty. That sounds like a company that is confident in what they’re selling if you ask me.
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay H4 Wireless Headphones
Bang & Olufsen are a well-known brand, synonymous with a quality sound experience. Well, this is a set of headphones does just that. Fitting with the minimalist aesthetic, these aren’t unnecessarily flamboyant structurally. It connects via Bluetooth and has a battery life that extends up to about 19 hours of continuous use. Even though it has a port for an aux cord connection, the Bluetooth 4.2 chip makes it perform better when connected over Bluetooth.
When you see the Beoplay H4, you are looking at layers and layers of features that combine to make it both comfortable and sturdy. Some of these features include the lambskin leather headband, memory foam ear cushions, PVD coated stainless steel sliders, to mention a few. I could go on, but I’m trying to keep it interesting, not bore you with technical lingo. Check Amazon out for the in-depth specs.
It weighs 1.32 lbs., slightly heavier than the M1060. However, when you are reminded that it has stainless steel material embedded in its chassis, the extra weight makes sense. The buttons on the earpiece of the headphone allow you to answer calls and change songs without reaching for your device every time.
What list would this be without the latest Apple Airpods?
You might see people that say there is no difference between the 2nd gen and the 1st, but that could not be farther from the truth. Even though they are not wholesale changes, it is certainly an upgrade on the first-gen. This should just be an indicator of how good the first-gen was and should not detract from the work that went into this newer model.
For one, this newer model uses the H1 onboard chip to accelerate and stabilize connection between your headphone and your device. It also plays music immediately you plug it in your ear and stops when you remove it.
You can also talk to Siri by simply saying, “Hey Siri.” The accelerometer and dual beamforming microphones help to cancel out background noise when you are on a call or talking to Siri.
The Apple Airpods can’t be compared to any other headphone on this list, but it stands out in its own as a unique headphone with a bold modern design.
Double tapping the earpiece lets you skip forward to another song on your playlist. The charging case allows you to charge your Airpods wirelessly whenever you want, with only fifteen minutes charge giving you about three hours of listening time and a full charge lasting up to 24 hours.
Meze 99 Classics Headphones
The 99 Classics is no stranger to accolades, as its appearance on the Top 10 closed-back headphones list on the Head-Fi forum shows. It also has a spot on the Wall of Fame of Innerfidelity. However, let’s go ahead and check out its features.
The 99 Classics is one of the best minimalist headphones on the market, both in design and performance. The wooden earcups are precision carved on a CNC machine, with a manual finishing and polishing process that takes about 45 days to complete. Each headset is unique, as it doesn’t go through the same automated manufacturing process.
This headset was also designed and made without the use of plastics. And instead of glues, it uses bolts and nuts to hold its parts together. Its headband is self-adjusting so that it fits perfectly on any head size. It also has soft PU leather earpads, along with medium density memory foams for comfort over prolonged use and noise cancelation functions.
Astonishingly, the Meze 99 is not a heavy-weight headset. It only weighs about half a pound.
Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones
You really thought I would conclude this list without a Beats by Doctor Dre headset on it? The Beats Solo3 is up there with the best minimalist headphones available on the market.
Other than the top-quality sound delivery synonymous with Beats headphones, the Solo3 also sets itself apart with its battery life. When fully charged, it lasts up to 40 hours of continuous usage. On days when you can’t wait for a full charge, you can be sure that 15 minutes of charging gives you at least 3 hours of listening time.
The Beats Solo3 runs on the Apple W1 chip technology, an older model compared to the one on the latest Apple Airpods. This means that the “Hey Siri” feature is absent on this headphone. However, the buttons on the earpiece allow you to receive calls, control music and engage Siri on the go. It also comes with a carrying case, 3.5mm remote control cable, USB cable to charge and a user’s manual.
Best Minimalist Headphones: Buying Guide
I know you are curious about how we compiled this list. What features made these headphones stand apart from their peers? So, now I will be telling you features that you should look out for when you want to buy the ideal headphone for whatever purpose that you have in mind.
Headphones can either be wired, wireless, or true wireless. Wired headphones are your everyday, common option – the type that comes with your phone.
As for wireless headphones, they have less wire – they don’t connect with your device with a cable. However, the earpieces connect to each other with a cord. For the true wireless, each one is an independent unit, meaning you don’t run the risk of tangling.
As expected, they are progressively expensive with the true wireless as the most costly. So, depending on why you are buying it, you should look to save on features that are not necessary.
Fit and Size
In-ear, On-ear, Over-ear, and Open-ear – headphones fit differently. The main difference in these fits is in size.
In-ear headphones (earbuds) fit snugly about your ear canal. They can also come with foam or rubber appendages for passive noise cancelation.
The next two work as the name implies (forgive me that I can’t get into more detail). The size of the headphone also increases progressively. The exception to this rule is the open-ear headphone that sits on your cheekbone. It uses bone conduction technology which is especially useful for people who want to listen to their music without shutting out the outside world. I’m talking of runners or cyclists who still need to hear traffic.
This is the umbrella term for the “nitty-gritty” each headphone has over the other. No headphone excels all round, but it can tick enough of the necessary boxes. For example, a gamer would be better served with an over-ear headphone while a cyclist would get value for his money with an open-ear headphone.
I’m saying, once you know the reason you are buying the headphone, you can look for one that meets your needs. You might have to buy more than one headphone for different purposes, though.
Good to see that you stuck around until now. I expect that you now know all you need to get the headphone that meets your needs. Also, make sure that you are buying from a verified vendor. If it is absurdly cheap, it most probably isn’t the real thing. Whenever you can find a vendor that offers warranties too, it is a better option. It is good to know that you don’t have to bear the cost of the headphones getting damaged in transit.
I’d also love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comment section.