Audio quality is becoming increasingly important as people use their headphones for work, studying, and entertainment. With that in mind, many people turning to audiophile-quality headphones wonder if the headphones will provide a better bass response than regular headphones.
This article will give you some insight into whether audiophile-grade headphones provide a better and more exciting bass response than regular headphones and what to expect.
- Introduction to bass audiophile headphones
- Do audiophile headphones have a good bass response?
- Recommendations for high-fidelity headphones with good bass performance
- Audiophile headphones vs. mainstream headphones – Which has better bass
Introduction to bass audiophile headphones
Many people want to know if they can still enjoy their favorite songs with audiophile quality headphones. The truth is that every headphone has a different sound signature and timbre, which means there are many variables to consider when purchasing bass-heavy closed audiophile headphones.
What are audiophile headphones?
Audiophile headphones are headphones that deliver a high-fidelity listening experience that have plenty of benefits. These include clearer sound, deeper bass, more balanced sound, and more airy mid and high frequencies. The common sense behind these qualities is that the better the headphones, the better the quality of sound they produce. LINK HERE
Audiophiles are consumers who have a more refined approach to the world of sound. They seek the highest quality and generally dislike headphones that overly color the sound unnaturally and unpleasantly, such as Raycon or Beats headphones.
Audiophile headphones, unlike studio headphones, aren’t all about a neutral sound signature. In other words, audiophile-grade headphones provide a more colorful listening experience than studio headphones that’s less reliant on linearity and have a more compelling and richer character.
Types of bass headphones
To answer what defines a good bass response and whether audiophile headphones have good bass, it’s important to understand the different types of bass headphones: bass cannons, hi-fi bass headphones, and bassy headphones.
Bass cannon headphones
Bass cannons, or basshead headphones as they are sometimes called, are headphones that produce thunderous bass. Because of their ridiculously powerful bass, they are often referred to as “bass cannons” by audiophiles and music lovers. The bass here is incredibly physical, vibrant, dark, and percussive. It’s the kind of bass you can feel on your neck, making your toes curl.
Many bass cannons are really bulky headphones, so they’re not really the most practical for everyday use. However, for a fun listening experience, these headphones offer a really visceral bass punch. For classical music, jazz, or other complex and layered genres, even orchestral music and symphonies, these headphones ruin the experience.
Bass cannons are more of a niche product, and fans of Basshead headphones say that, even though they don’t really offer a natural listening experience, they deliver on their promise: heavy bass.
Example of bass cannon headphones:
- Fostex TH-900
- Fostex TH-600
- SONY MDR-XB1000
- JVC HA-SZ2000
- Linsoul Focus EDM
HiFi bassy headphones
HiFi bass headphones offer a bit of the best of both worlds: they are bassy and offer a powerful, fun listening experience, but at the same time provide a more refined, clear bass response that is less muddy than the bass cannons. Generally, this is the type of bass preferred by audiophiles, critical listeners, and jazz fans.
HiFi bass headphones tend to have a slightly deeper bass than the bassy headphones. As such, its great extension provides a rich and full sound. On the other hand, the bass isn’t as powerful as the bass cannons, and it doesn’t have that visceral punch that bass cannons are known for. Overall, HiFi bass headphones offer a more well-rounded and refined listening experience than any other type of bass headphone.
Example of HiFi bass headphones:
- Audeze LCD-X
- Denon AH-D5200
- Audeze LCD-2 Classic
- iBasso SR2
- Hifiman HE-6
- 1MORE’s Quad Driver
Bassy headphones don’t have any of the characteristics of cannon headphones or hi-fi bass headphones. They don’t have a deep bass extension or a vibrant, punchy feel. As such, bassy headphones are just ordinary headphones with average bass and generally have a warm sound signature.
Compared to open-back headphones and most other closed-back headphones with a balanced sound response, bass headphones tend to be more fun and exciting. Still, they ultimately lack the refinement and detail that Hi-Fi audiophile headphones possess and the punch and energy of bass cannon headphones.
Example of bassy headphones:
- Sony WH-1000XM3
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
- Sennheiser Urbanite XL
- V-Moda Crossfade M-100
- Beats Solo Pro
- Monoprice Modern Retro
What is a good bass response?
A good bass response should always be pleasing and should not distort the rest of the sound. Some people prefer a tighter or more punchy response, while others prefer a softer, more relaxed presentation.
A good bass response should be tight but not too tight. The distinct bass response of planar headphones meets this criterion, although some find it less exciting and lacking in depth. People used to mainstream bass headphones won’t enjoy the bass of planar headphones and will be more attracted to cannon headphones.
Fast, tight bass response is a characteristic found in the bass reproduction of some, but not all, audiophile headphones. Many of these headphones offer excellent bass that doesn’t sound loose, muddy, or overly emphasized. This is what audiophiles consider a good bass response.
Do audiophile headphones have a good bass response?
Audiophile headphones reproduce bass with a rich, detailed, and lifelike timbre. They have a deep and fast low end that is unique to them and benefit from a well-defined sound stage in which other sounds or instruments can easily be heard and distinguished between them.
Superior bass quality and a deep, clean punch are things that many audiophiles appreciate. Headphones with good bass can make playing games or watching movies more enjoyable. Still, the inherent qualities of the sound they provide can be even more appealing and exciting when listening to acoustic music.
Audiophile headphones can sometimes be more intimate and captivating than ordinary headphones. The bass is not as uncontrolled, rumbling, or thick, but rather more controlled and crisp. High-fidelity headphones with good bass can have a deep, seismic sub-bass response that is engaging and delicate.
Recommendations for high-fidelity headphones with good bass performance
I have researched the market, tested, and compared many bass-oriented headphones to help you choose the best bass audiophile headphones for your needs. Below is a summary of the best high-fidelity headphones with good bass performance:
The Fostex TH-900 is a bass cannon headphone for bassheads with a taste for heavy music. The bass is punchy, impulsive, extended, and brutal. The sub-bass is impressive and as deep as the Denon AH-D5200 but not as controlled and organized. Nevertheless, the Fostex TH-900 is not for audiophiles but heavy bass lovers. If you ever wondered why some audiophile headphones are so expensive, like the Fostex TH-900, check the article I linked!
Unlike Denon AH-5200 and Fostex TH900, Denon AH-7200 is designed for pure audiophiles and those who care about a natural and organic bass performance. Bass is well controlled, articulated, and impactful, but not overwhelming. Its details are perfectly reproduced as if the bass drums play directly in front of you. Additionally, it makes for exciting listening in almost any genre, which makes the Denon AH-D7200 one of the best closed-back headphones under $1000.
V-Moda Crossfade M-100
The V-Moda Crossfade M-100 is a cross between a consumer headset and an audiophile headphone, with a V-shaped sound signature that offers a good bass response for gamers and music lovers to enjoy. Its bass is fast, boomy, and beautifully reproduced without masking other frequencies. However, it doesn’t compare to the best bass headphones; it’s a more affordable and versatile version of serious bass hi-fi headphones that deliver high-quality bass.
Audiophile headphones vs. mainstream headphones – Which has better bass
Most modern headphones have an ample and powerful bass response if you’ve listened to them. When you switch to audiophile headphones, you realize how muddy, bloated, and unrefined the bass was.
Audiophile-grade headphones provide richer and better bass reproduction than regular headphones, but without as much uncontrolled physicality, so that’s the explanation for this normal phenomenon.
Oftentimes, the bass seems lacking and sub-par, as it doesn’t have enough power or depth to satisfy the listener. Most consumers are used to the overly tuned and colored headphones that purposefully emphasize the low frequencies, regardless of how the actual music sounds. The result is sloppy, bloated, and muddy bass.
Of course, not everyone appreciates a well-reproduced and refined bass response. Some people prefer the uncontrollable, physical bass of some cheaper headphones on the market. That’s why it’s best to listen to your favorite songs with audiophile-grade headphones to better understand what you prefer.
The answer is clear, audiophile headphones that play music with high fidelity provide a more qualitative and rich bass than regular headphones. So do audiophile-grade headphones have better bass response than regular headphones? Yes, they do!
Additionally, bassy hi-fi headphones let you understand in detail the work of the bassist, the deep, resonant voice of the singer, and other instrumental aspects that are usually lost in lower quality headphones with overshadowing bass.
Why do audiophile-quality headphones have a reputation for having great bass response?
The bass response of audiophile headphones is reproduced with fidelity and clarity, giving your music a clearer and distinct character. It outlines the bass lines to make out the different instruments and subtle notes that would have otherwise been lost.
Another great feature of bassy audiophile headphones is that they are often “musical” in their reproduction and are therefore able to add a lot of life and energy to your music. They don’t fill your head with vibrating bass notes that are inarticulate and lost in the mix of your music.
Should I buy bassy audiophile headphones over regular bass headphones?
The bass response of audiophile headphones is more controlled and less energetic. As such, audiophile headphones are certainly not the best option for some people who prefer mainstream headphones’ aggressive, rumbling bass.
Only buy audiophile headphones if you’re not as drawn to the amount of bass as you are to the quality of the sound and the naturalness of the music reproduction.
High-fidelity headphones with good bass performance are not necessarily the best choice for the enthusiastic bass-loving audiophile. However, there are exceptions on the market (see my bass cannon recommendations), headphones with punchy and skull-shaking bass.
As we’ve learned in this guide, bassy audiophile headphones with good bass response are a more refined and nuanced version of bassy headphones. Still, you may want to avoid planar headphones or consider buying dedicated bass headphones if you only enjoy a particular genre of music or if you often listen to bass-heavy songs.
Check out this article on the best closed-back audiophile headphones under 1000 if you want a high-fidelity and engaging sound. Some of them have good bass reproduction that may satisfy your needs, depending on how much bass you love.