A lot of things are coming back into fashion but just because we’re getting a little nostalgic for the aesthetic, that doesn’t mean we have to go full-on Lo-Fi, even if those vintage, retro headphones in the thrift shop look tempting.
If you’re an audiophile that prefers to sit next to a record player with a pair of headphones on, you know full well that feeling is unrivaled and music just sounds…different. And we have come pretty far in terms of audio devices, and even more so when we’re talking headphones.
However, a lot of them aim towards a more high-tech style in terms of design. But we’ve compiled a list of some of the best retro headphones for the audiophile that aim to keep the aesthetic of eras gone past, but maintain the sound quality of the present.
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So if you’re leaning more towards a 70’s headphone style or if you’re still a 90’s kid at heart daydreaming about the walkmans of the past, check out the headphones below – who knows what you might find?
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0
It wouldn’t be an audio-oriented list if Sennheiser was not on the list. As one of the most well-known brands in the audio sector, you will often encounter its branding at concerts and even gaming tournaments.
With a look that cannot get more retro, the Momentum 2.0 headphones feature 40mm drivers, weigh just 0.56lb and have a frequency response of 16Hz to 22kHz.
They work wirelessly via Bluetooth but can also be connected with an audio cable, and come with a 22-hour battery life. In addition to that they feature NoiseGard hybrid active noise cancellation.
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These headphones are definitely a head-turner: not only they have a retro look but they are also made with African mahogany wood.
They have 50mm drivers, a frequency response of 15Hz to 35KHz and the diaphragm is made out of polyimide film topped up with copper foil etching.
According to the company, the wooden housing helps the diaphragm deliver a finer, more accurate sound with more depth.
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Skullcandy Cassette Wireless
These retro headphones last master an excellent balance of a cool design and good price. The battery life lasts up to 22 hours and has a rapid charge feature.
With phenomenal sound quality and very comfortable, these retro headphones run on Bluetooth and will easily pair to iPhone and Android devices. These are also built to last, as they are manufactured with strong materials, including metal in the headband and high-quality ear cushions. A 1-year limited warranty picks up the slack.
Aside from Sennheiser, Sony is well-known for its headphones and this model is one of its best. With the same oversized look as every retro headphone worthy of its crown, they have large, soft cushions that ensure there’s no sound leakage even when the volume is pretty high.
They have an impedance level of 63 ohms and a frequency response of 10Hz to 20kHz, all of which band together to produce a clear sound. Unfortunately, the downside of these headphones is their portability as they are wired and the spiral cable that comes attached to them is pretty hefty.
Marshall Major III
Marshall Amplification is a well-known name in the world of premium audio devices and when it comes to retro headphones, the company doesn’t disappoint either.
The Major III headphones have 80+ hours of wireless playtime and a 15-minute charge, according to the company, will give you around 15 hours of listening. They can also be charged wirelessly, if you’re willing to dish out the money for a charging pad.
The headphones connect via Bluetooth aptX and have a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. And what’s more retro than that oh-so-recognizable leather design?
These headphones have a pretty unique look, thanks to their aluminum honeycomb casing and the self-adjusting 3D Wing Support. They stand out and for good reason.
They have 53mm drivers and an impedance of 38 ohms, as well as a frequency response of 5Hz to 30kHz. One of the most common feedback on these headphones is how good the directional audio is, hence why it’s a popular choice among gamers.
When you think of retro headphones, the design of these headphones is most likely what you have in mind.
They provide 24-hours of playback and a 15-minute charge will give you 2.5 hours of listening time. They feature cushioned pads for comfort and dual 40mm neodymium drivers. Thanks to a feature called Acoustic Bass Control, you will listen to enhanced high and low tones with almost no distortion.
The headphones come in four colors with names such as Sangria, Matte Black, Matte Steel or Dijon. Unfortunately, they don’t feature active noise canceling and there is no cable option.
JLab Rewind Wireless Retro Headphones
These Retro Headphones take you back in time to when grunge, big hair, bright colors, and kicking it with your Walkman was the thing to do. With custom EQ³ Sound, you can change the sound to your preferred tune via the headphone so your music sounds just right. You can choose between 3 options: Signature, Balanced, and Bass Boost.
The Rewind Wireless Retro Headphones feature a lightweight design and orange foam earpads and deliver 12 hours of playtime.
One of the more affordable options on the market that doesn’t sacrifice on sound quality. The Koss Pro-4AA have 50mm drivers, 250 ohm impedance and a frequency response of 10Hz to 25kHz.
You have to keep in mind that these headphones are, for lack of better words, built like a tank. They are quite heavy, coming in at 1.5lb, which is more or less double the weight of your average headphone. If that is something you can live with, then you’re in for an audio trip because these headphones don’t disappoint, delivering clear, high-fidelity sounds.
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February 16, 2023 at 2:50 am
I love retro headphones! I’m always on the lookout for new ones to add to my collection. Some of the best ones I’ve found are the Sony MDR-ZX100 and the Sennheiser HD280 Pro. They