With so many different headphones, it can get hard to keep track of what’s the latest and how it’s better than the rest. One such type of headphones that are probably least understood by many is electrostatic headphones. These are the high-end models loved and admired by audiophiles.
In simple terms, electrostatic headphones convert audio signals to sound waves, i.e., the electrical energy is converted into mechanical wave energy. Of course, the actual working inside the electrostatic headphones is much more complex. But our concern here is the headphones themselves.
With as many variants available on the market, how do we choose the best electrostatic headphones? That’s why our team of headphones experts pent hours researching and testing various models to compile a list of the 10 best electrostatic headphones on the market. We’ve also put forth a buying guide to help you make an informed purchase.
Roundup of the Best Electrostatic Headphones
|Most Electrostatic Headphones||Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System|
|Most Premium-Quality Electrostatic Headphones||Shure KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System|
|Best Electrostatic Headphones for Professional Use||HIFIMAN Jade II Electrostatic Headphones|
|Best Electrostatic Planar Magnetic Headphones||HIFIMAN HE1000 V2 Headphones|
|Most Comfortable Electrostatic Headphones||Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Hi-Res Bluetooth Headphones|
|Electrostatic Headphones With Best Sound Quality||Focal Stellia Closed-Back Headphones|
|Best Electrostatic Open-Back Headphones||Monoprice Monolith M1070 Over-the-Ear Open Back Planar Headphones|
|Best Electrostatic Audiophile Headphones||HIFIMAN Arya Full-Size Over-the-Ear Planar Magnetic Audiophile Adjustable Headphones|
|Most Durable Electrostatic Headphones||Audeze LCD-X Over-the-Ear Open Back Headphones|
|Most Affordable Electrostatic Headphones||HIFIMAN HE400SE Open Back Headphones|
How Electrostatic Headphones Are Different from Regular Headphones
As we mentioned above, the basic working of electrostatic headphones is different from that of the regular models. The drivers of these headphones have a super-thin diaphragm that is located between two perforated metal plates. The diaphragm is coated with a conductive metal to make it electrically charged. If you are a science student, you might have already guessed that the metal plates on the sides are charged in a way that one plate has the same charge as the diaphragm, and the other has the opposite charge.
When the audio signal reaches this setup, the diaphragm oscillates rapidly between the two plates to produce sound waves. This gives a higher level of sound accuracy. And that means there will be lesser distortion or loss of sound when you listen to music through electrostatic headphones.
Since the entire setup is very thin and lightweight, the drivers become sensitive. This results in sound with greater clarity. Especially the bass and the low sounds will be played with more control. Cool, right!
Factors to Consider when Buying Electrostatic Headphones
What’s the most vital factor to consider when buying electrostatic headphones? The sound quality, of course! But that’s not the only thing. Moreover, these headphones are anyway known for being an audiophile’s delight.
Electrostatic headphones are available in different designs and shapes. Some have an odd rectangular shape, while others have an open-back design that is mostly intended for indoor use. Therefore, pick the best design that suits your requirements.
Most electrostatic headphones are lightweight and weigh less than planar magnetic and other regular headphones . They comprise soft leather pads that cushion your ears and provide the best listening experience. The open-back design allows for ventilation and reduces sweating. You won’t feel uncomfortable even when you wear these headphones for a long time.
Naturally, you would want your electrostatic headphones to be durable and sturdy when you are willing to spend almost a thousand dollars. Don’t worry; all the high-end models on our list are built using quality materials. They are reliable and sturdy. What if you want to buy the cheaper ones? Well, that’s where you need to be extra careful. The inexpensive models are made with plastic and are not durable as the expensive ones.
It’s important to understand that electrostatic headphones are not like Bluetooth or wireless models. You cannot carry them everywhere and anywhere. Firstly, most electrostatic headphones need high voltage amps to play. The large amplifiers need to be plugged in. It is rather hard to carry these headphones around.
We already mentioned that electrostatic headphones are not cheap. Even the inexpensive models cost around $400 to $600 (including the headset, amp, and cable). The best ones are priced around $6000 and go on up to $10,000 if not more. You will have to decide on how much you can invest on a pair of good-quality electrostatic headphones.
Top 10 Electrostatic Headphones for Audiophiles and Music Professionals
Now, let’s deep-dive into the detailed reviews of the 10 best electrostatic headphones on the market right now.
1. Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System
Most Electrostatic Headphones
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Accurate and clear audio output
- Excellent soundstage
- Great tonal quality
- Perfect bass quality
- Great audio detailing
- Refined and balanced audio
- Look stylish
- We did not experience any issues with these headphones
It wasn’t hard to decide that the Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System comprises the best pair of electrostatic headphones in the market. They sure are priced on the higher side, but we bet it’s almost impossible to find headphones with such excellent sound quality.
Durable and Stylish
Firstly, these over-ear electrostatic headphones look rather chic and stylish, despite their bulky avatar. They are lightweight and made of high-quality plastic. One look at the headphones and you’ll know that you’ve got the best in your hands.
Comfortable for Continuous Use
Secondly, these electrostatic headphones are very comfortable. They don’t exert much pressure on your head and the ear pads are pretty soft and plush. The headband is also well padded and adjustable.
Massive Soundstage; Smooth Audio Output
Thirdly, the sound quality is amazing. The soundstage is pretty broad, deep and detailed; thanks to the open-back design. In fact, the soundstage of these headphones is one of the largest we’ve ever come across. The audio is realistic and clear. The precision is just perfect, and so is the bass. Techno-electronica sounds perfect on these headphones. Percussions also sound wonderful on these headphones.
The mids are good too, even though the treble tends to get a little sharp. The lows are huge and firm. They play more of a supporting role to everything else. Overall, the sound delivered by these headphones is silky smooth. In fact, the most fantastic things about these headphones is their smoothness over the entire sonic spectrum.
While listening to tracks such as “The Rolling Stones,” we could hear details that we’ve never heard before.
Convenient Connectivity Options
Lastly, these headphones come with a 6.3 mm connector and a 4.4 mm Pentacon balanced cable to offer excellent sound quality from sources comprising balanced outputs such as the SENNHEISER HDV 820 headphones amplifier. The spiral headphone cable is high-quality, long, and made to last.
To conclude, Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System comprises one of those electrostatic headphones you can trust, to deliver exceptional music both with and without an equally superior amplifier (preferably tube amplifier). These headphones are perfect for audiophiles and music professionals. Therefore, if you’re looking for premium-grade headphones for mixing and music production, we highly recommend these headphones for your studio. From classical music and jazz to rock; everything sounds perfect on these headphones.
View on Amazon: Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System
2. Shure KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System
Most Premium-Quality Electrostatic Headphones
- Comfortable, ergonomic design
- Smooth sonic performance
- Transient response and accuracy are great
- Compatible with Windows, Android, and iOS devices
- AC/amp also works as a battery
- Sleek and stylish design
- Bass feels a little loud on boosting it
The Shure KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System is suitable for those who prefer earbuds to headphones. They are one of the finest earbuds in the world of electrostatic headphones and earbuds. When paired with the right source, they scale tremendously.
Firstly, Shure is a reputed brand that has successfully aced the electrostatic headphones category by designing something as good as the KSE1500. Yeah, these earbuds cost a bomb, but they sure are worth it because of the solid build quality and the sonic performance.
Excellent Sound and Balanced Bass
To be honest, these electrostatic earbuds sound as great as electrostatic headphones. The amount of clarity and depth in the sound and tonal balance are unbelievable. The bass is powerful and balanced. If you close your eyes while listening to music on these earbuds, you’ll feel like you’re in the same room as the artist.
The sonic response neutral, rich, and perfectly reproduces instruments. The amplifier has the volume and other controls with a micro USB port for charging and playing music. It is in tune with Android, Windows, and iOS devices and has a playtime of 7-10 hours.
Great Battery Life
The battery life of the amplifier is much better than we expected for an amplifier put on 200 V. We had several 2-3 continuous listening sessions on a single charge.
To conclude, Shure KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System delivers accurate music with textures, bass, detailed mids, and clear highs, to give you a lovely musical experience. They sound great with both head-banging rock and classical music. In fact, they sound so clean and distortion-free, that it’s sometimes difficult to assess their volume level. Also, these earbuds come with ear tips of different sizes to provide you with the utmost comfort and best possible fit.
View on Amazon: Shure KSE1500 Electrostatic Earphone System
3. HIFIMAN Jade II Electrostatic Headphones
Best Electrostatic Headphones for Professional Use
- Amp can work with two electrostatic headphones simultaneously
- Great build quality using a mix of metal and plastic
- Light and comfortable to use
- Good weight distribution and clamping force
- Imaging and instrument separation is precise and accurate
- Clean and clear vocals
- Excellent audio quality
- Bass is not heavy enough
HIFIMAN might be more popular for manufacturing planar magnetic headphones. But their first production was the electrostatic one, the original Jade model. Jade II is comparatively an affordable model when you talk of Shangri-La by the same brand. The amp-headphones combination is preferred by many music professionals.
Comfortable and Lightweight
Firstly, the headphones and amp are a package, though they come in two boxes. The company provides a one-year limited warranty on the device. Cool, right? While the headphones don’t have any unique design and appear bulky, they are surprisingly light on the head and very comfortable.
Precise Imaging and Vocals
Secondly, being electrostatic headphones, Jade II delivers wonderfully precise imaging and vocals. Due to the extended frequency response, the sound is a bit light. Treble, mids, and highs are accurate and detailed. The bass is good too, just not as heavy as bass should be.
In conclusion, HIFIMAN Jade II Electrostatic Headphones can easily play complex musical pieces with worthy accuracy. Fans of classical, jazz, and vocals will love these headphones the best. However, if you are a bass lover, we suggest looking at electrostatic headphones with richer bass.
View on Amazon: HIFIMAN Jade II Electrostatic Headphones
4. HIFIMAN HE1000 V2 Over-the-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones
Best Electrostatic Planar Magnetic Headphones
- Highly comfortable
- Look stylish
- Great detail retrieval and imaging
- Good build quality
- Durable and reliable
- Excellent bass
- Beautiful mids
- Great treble
- May need an amplifier for best results
HIFIMAN HE1000 V2 is one of those few electrostatic headphones that are stylish and good-looking. The balance is correct, and the padding is wonderful. They are truly comfortable over-the-ear electrostatic headphones.
Firstly, the headphones boast of being the world’s first model with a nanometer diaphragm that reduces distortion and increases accuracy. The company has researched the planar magnetic circuit for years to create a near-perfect model.
Compared to other planar magnetic headphones on the market, these headphones comprise a highly adjustable headband. You can adjust the clamping pressure per your comfort. To enjoy the maximum adjustability, you can bend the spring steel of the headband around till you get the perfect pressure setting. The earpads are well-padded; they’re comfortable. Also, V2 feels lighter than V1.
Excellent Sound Signature
Secondly, the sound signature is detailed. The imagining and separation are worth mentioning. The staging is much better in these headphones compared to the previous two models on our list. The treble is smooth. The mids are just great.
The mids are neither full nor delicate, they’re just beautiful. Therefore, you can use these headphones to listen to all your favorite tracks on repeat; they won’t hurt your ears. In fact, one of the most crucial improvements in V2 over V1 is the midrange frequency response.
The bass of the HIFIMAN HE1000 V2 Headphones hit harder than the bass of their predecessor. The bass extension is also great. You can clearly hear even the lowest registers of drums. Overall, the bass is clear, powerful and tight, but never thick.
To conclude, the HIFIMAN HE1000 V2 Headphones are expensive but real value for more money. They come with electrostatic planar magnetic drivers and a unique grill design that greatly enhance the sound quality and sonic performance. These headphones allow you to lose yourself to music, especially if you listen to electronic music.
View on Amazon: HIFIMAN HE1000 V2 Headphones
5. Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Hi-Res Bluetooth Headphones with Touchpad
Most Comfortable Electrostatic Headphones
- 30-hour battery life
- Bluetooth design (rare for electrostatic headphones)
- Affordable model
- Worthy sound quality
- Agile sound performance
- Works with Android and iOS
- Ft can be an issue for headphones users with smaller heads
The Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Hi-Res Bluetooth Headphones seem to tick a lot of boxes, don’t they? These electrostatic headphones are a wireless model that can be connected via Bluetooth to Android and iOS devices. They have a 30-hour battery life, with the battery being built into the headphones. To be honest, in the world of Bluetooth headphones, these headphones are the epitome of “perfection.”
Durable and Stylish
Firstly, these electrostatic headphones look stylish even though they are a bit bulky. We’ve noticed that the experience changes from person to person, depending on the size of their head. If your head is small, the headphones tend to slip and move about. Otherwise, these are as comfortable you’d want your headphones to be.
Example of Musical Perfection
Secondly, these headphones come with incredible detail, from the lowermost to the highest extremes of the sonic spectrum. The bass is good; it’s not too powerful. However, upon testing these headphones, we realized that even the bass feels great if you’re able to get an accurate fit with these headphones.
The lows are clear, tight, and well defined. The mids are full and textured. The highs sound natural. The overall sound signature is balanced and great. Instruments such as pianos, guitars, violins, and so forth, sound very realistic. Overall, the comprehensive tuning of these headphones provide the experience of a massive soundstage.
Intuitive Touch Controls
Thirdly, the price of these electrostatic headphones is comparatively affordable and falls closer to the entry-level range. The touchpad on the right ear cup is really good and convenient to use. You don’t have to worry about using it while listening to music. The touch controls work intuitively and reliably. There’s some noise isolation but not complete.
In conclusion, the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Hi-Res Bluetooth Headphones are comfortable, offer optimal noise isolation, have great touch controls, and steady connectivity to deliver quality music. They are great for home, office and professional use. Even though they are wireless headphones, they come with a cable that allows you to connect to different sockets.
View on Amazon: Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Hi-Res Bluetooth Headphones
6. Focal Stellia Closed-Back Headphones
Electrostatic Headphones With Best Sound Quality
- Precise sound quality
- Comfortably fit on the ears
- Stylish and eye-catchy design
- Neutral tone balance
- Good soundproofing
- Build quality worth the price
- Bulky and not portable
The Focal Stellia Closed-Back Headphones are one of the best closed-back electrostatic headphones in the market. They are super expensive, but boy, these headphones are a dream come true for audiophiles because of their fantastic sound quality.
Luxury Beyond Words; Extremely Comfortable
Firstly, the headband and cups are made of full-grain leather with a foam cushion to provide the utmost comfort to users. The cups mold around the ears to provide effective soundproofing and increase clarity.
Guess what? Even the cable is just as luxurious (which is rather rare in headphones). The overall look and feel of these headphones is luxury beyond words.
Secondly, the attention to detail is so good that audiophiles love these headphones for the open soundstage they offer. The vocals, percussion, lows, mids, and highs were equally precise. That’s a feat to achieve for sure. However, the headphones are bulky and not suitable for listening on the go. Also, the noise isolation delivered by these headphones is good but not great.
To conclude, Focal Stellia Closed-Back Headphones have all that you would want from electrostatic headphones barring portability. These are worth their price and a must-have for audiophiles. The look, comfort, and sound quality are what one would expect at this price. The overall tonal balance is clear and neutral. They’re one of the best closed-back headphones on the market.
7. Monoprice Monolith M1070 Over-the-Ear Open Back Planar Headphones
Best Electrostatic Open-Back Headphones
- Requires low power
- Decent sound quality
- Good bass and highs
- Ultra-deep and soft-angled ear pads
- Neutral tonal balance; no audio distortion
- Bulky and heavy
The Monoprice Monolith M1070 Electrostatic Headphones one of the best open-back headphones on the market. They come with terrific sound quality. In fact, they are purely studio headphones. The price-quality ratio is perfect for electrostatic headphones.
Solid Build and Great Comfort
Firstly, the overall build and construction of these headphones is great. They feel solid. On the comfort front, these headphones come with soft and well-padded earpads. However, they are pretty bulky.
Secondly, these headphones offer clear audio with no distortion and decent neutral tone balance. The bass and highs are good while the mids are more than decent. In fact, the highs are pretty clear and the soundstage is pretty massive.
Eye-Catching Open-Back Design
Thirdly, the open-back design compensates for the bulky and heavy appearance. If looks are significant to you, you’ll love this model. Each ear cup comprises a grille that allows air to easily pass through the planar drivers.
In conclusion, Monoprice Monolith M1070 Over-the-Ear Open Back Planar Headphones offer a good value for their price and deliver more than any other electrostatic headphones in this price range would. Their soundstage is expansive. They are extremely comfortable and the sound output is warm. You can pair them with an amplifier for more power.
8. HIFIMAN Arya Full-Size Over-the-Ear Planar Magnetic Audiophile Adjustable Headphones
Best Electrostatic Audiophile Headphones
- Great sound quality
- Aesthetically appealing
- Open sound stage
- Good sound detailing
- Work wonderfully with the right EQ and amplifier
- Needs tweaking to improve sound quality
Featuring a grilled design on the outside, the HIFIMAN Arya Headphones are perfect for audiophiles. Arya looks similar to Ananda (which has silver grills) but is way more comfortable and comes with a more durable cloth-covered cable. Out of all the audiophile headphones on the market, the texture and soundstage of these headphones is the best we’ve come across, so far.
Comfortable; Feel Soft and Plush
As you can see from the massive size of the headphones, the ear cups feel like soft cushions on your ears. The metal headband is also padded and can be adjusted per your convenience. You can use these headphones for hours together, without any discomfort and sweating issues.
Firstly, the swirled cups provide a greater listening experience. While the bass isn’t perfect, it is clear, and the transition from bass to mids is clean. The soundstage is wide with a very intimate, immersive, and personalized listening experience. These headphones sound great with all genres of music. Drums and cymbals sound accurate, pianos sound mesmerizing, electric guitars sound powerful; basically, all acoustic instruments sound great on these headphones.
To conclude, the HIFIMAN Arya Full-Size Over-the-Ear Planar Magnetic Audiophile Adjustable Headphones are a lovely model in the electrostatic headphones category. However, if you’re a fan of extremely powerful sound, you can pair them with a good amplifier. If there’s one thing that we did not like about these headphones, it’s the quality of the cable.
9. Audeze LCD-X Over-the-Ear Open Back Headphones
Most Durable Electrostatic Headphones
- Great bass and lows
- Good sound quality
- Conformable to wear
- Comfortable ear pads; unique headband design
- Tangle-free cable
- Treble could have been better
The Audeze LCD-X Over-the-Ear Open-Back Headphones are the sturdiest electrostatic headphones on our list. Even though all the headphones on our list are extremely durable, these headphones feel the most solid. They sure are a bit bulkier. However, they guarantee long-lasting comfort.
Incredible Sound Quality and Huge Soundstage
To begin with, the sound quality produced by these headphones is simply incredible. With superb accuracy, you can hear even the tiniest of data. Dynamic, neutral, nimble, and clear is the sound signature. The mid-range is clear and crisp; the bass is neither too overpowering nor too dull.
The soundstage on these headphones is very big. So, whether you’re an audiophile or a music lover, you’ll enjoy these headphones. On any other headphones, we’ve never heard drums and guitars so clearly.
Extremely Comfortable; Captivating Design
The second feature is the planar, open-back configuration of the Audeze LCD-X Headphones. They seem to be both durable and fashionable. The earpads are made of high-quality leather and memory foam, and they don’t make you sweat. The headband is elastic and does not cling to your head too tightly.
Audeze’s patented Fazer components and dual-sided magnetic arrays are used in the massive 106 mm drivers, which are thinner than human hair.
To conclude, Audeze LCD-X falls into the mid-level price range and is worth the amount you pay, given how beautifully the imaging is separated. The cable of this model is of good quality, which is a definite plus. People who love bass will enjoy the experience delivered by these headphones. These electrostatic headphones are surprisingly easy to drive, and connecting them to an amp will increase the overall sound quality and performance.
View on Amazon: Audeze LCD-X Over-the-Ear Open Back Headphones
10. HIFIMAN HE400SE Open Back Headphones
Most Affordable Electrostatic Headphones
- Neutral sound and tone balance
- Decent build quality
- Comfortable to use
- Works with low power sources
- Highly affordable
- No soundproofing
- Cannot be used when exercising
HIFIMAN HE400SE is the third HIFIMAN electrostatic headphones set on our list, and each of them caters to different users. This is the most affordable model we found that delivers decent sound quality.
Unique Open, Flat-Diaphragm Design
Firstly, the headphones have the open flat-diaphragm design that was available only in the high-end models released by the brand. This makes it possible for users with a limited budget to experience good sound quality and accurate audio without spending more than they can afford.
Extremely Comfortable Ear Pads and Headband
Secondly, the earpads and headband are made of leather and velvet splicing that makes them comfortable to wear. That the headphones can be easily used with smartphones is another bonus.
To conclude, if you are on a shoestring budget, the HIFIMAN HE400SE Open Back Headphones are the one for you. They are comfortable and durable, and their price-quality ratio is surprising. We haven’t seen such durable headphones at such a affordable price.
View on Amazon: HIFIMAN HE400SE Open Back Headphones
Frequently Asked Questions about Electrostatic Headphones
Yes, definitely. The sound quality of electrostatic headphones in better than the sound quality of regular headphones. Since the entire setup is very thin and lightweight, the drivers become sensitive. This results in sound with greater clarity. Especially the bass and the low sounds will be played with more control.
Anything can be dangerous if not used in the right way. Follow the instruction manual to the dot and do not use the electrostatic headphones on wet hair. Don’t listen to music at high volume, as it’s not good for your eardrums (this applies to every headphone). One thing you should never do is to open the amplifier and play with the circuit inside.
The electrostatic headphones have a diaphragm placed between two metal plates to convert the audio signals into sound waves. The setting in the driver is very thin yet powerful and facilitates the controlled delivery of music. We can call it a sophisticated design as opposed to the coils and wires in old-school headphones.
Our reviews are based on the experiences of our headphones experts. We hope our guide was helpful to make a decision. Out of the above-mentioned electrostatic headphones we checked, we would pick Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System for its overall quality and sound, and Focal Stellia for the best sound quality. These electrostatic headphones offer quality, comfort, and durability, along with a wonderful listening experience for audiophiles.