Best Wired Headphones iMore 2021
The standard Bluetooth headphones you've been using to listen to Apple Music for years won't let you take advantage of the Lossless Audio. That's right, even Apple's own AirPods Max can't deliver Lossless Audio to you, meaning you're going to need some new headphones. Wired headphones are the way to go when it comes to high-quality streaming, and while that might mean dishing out some money, you can actually get a good pair of wired headphones across multiple price points. So, while you may have a pair of the best noise-canceling headphones, you're likely going to need something a little different for Lossless Audio. Here are the best wired headphones for Apple Music Lossless Audio, and some additional accessories you might need to take full advantage of that beautiful Hi-Fi sound.
- Best for most people: Monolith M565C
- Good budget option: Audio-Technica ATH-M20X
- Super comfortable: beyerdynamic Amiron home
- Affordable open-backed headphones: HiFiMan HE400i
- Great wired or wireless: Sony WH-1000XM4
- When money is no problem: Dan Clark Audio AEON Flow 2
- : Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter
- : Lightning to 3.5mm Audio Cable
- : iFi Hip-dac
Best for most people: Monolith M565CStaff pick
With a gorgeous wood exterior, very large 66mm planar drivers inside the cups, and braided cables that help prevent tangling, the Monolith M565Cs are the perfect headphones for Apple Lossless Audio. They offer detailed sound at a reasonable price and even have a slight bass boosted profile, making them great for casual listening.
Good budget option: Audio-Technica ATH-M20X
While they may not be made from the most premium materials, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20X are a pair of monitoring headphones that won't break the bank. The 40mm drivers deliver a slightly enhanced bass sound profile, but they overall sound pretty neutral. However, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20X don't fold up at all, so they aren't the most portable option.
Super comfortable: beyerdynamic Amiron home
The open-backed beyerdynamic Amiron home are super comfortable and lightweight, making them easy to wear for long periods of time. The sound is quite impressive, befitting the price, offering very clear mids that can sometimes be challenging for headphones to get right. As with all open-backed headphones, the sound leak is very noticeable, so they aren't the best for listening in a crowd.
Affordable open-backed headphones: HiFiMan HE400i
If you're looking to dip your toes into the world of open-backed headphones, the HiFiMan HE400i are a great pair to get you started. The design makes the cans sound spacious, but they never lose that detail you want in Lossless Audio thanks to great planar magnetic drivers. The build quality is also quite superb, and they're very durable.
Great wired or wireless: Sony WH-1000XM4
Although you can't experience Lossless Audio on Apple Music using Bluetooth, the Sony WH-1000XM4 happen to also have a 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning you can use them plugged in to experience that Hi-Fi goodness. Plus, when you don't care about Lossless Audio, these are the best Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones you can buy, so you're getting great sound regardless of how you listen.
When money is no problem: Dan Clark Audio AEON Flow 2
If you want to spend all the money on headphones to give you an absolutely amazing Lossless Audio experience, the Dan Clark Audio AEON Flow 2 are the option for you. They're expensive but sound absolutely incredible. The large plushy ear pads and the fairly lightweight design make wearing the cans for extended periods a breeze, and their extremely balanced sound makes listening to all kinds of music pretty amazing.
Other equipment you might need
As I'm sure you're aware, iPhones don't come with a headphone jack built-in; the only port on them is the Lightning port that Apple has been using with its iPhones for years. On top of that, Apple announced that if you want the highest quality of Lossless Audio it provides for Apple music, you'll need an external DAC. With that in mind, here are a few extra accessories you might want to get Lossless Audio.
Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter
This simple adapter lets you plug in any 3.5mm cable into the Lightning port on the iPhone so that you can use your favorite cable.
Lightning to 3.5mm Audio Cable
You can skip the adapter altogether and just get the Lightning to 3.5mm Audio Cable, which comes in black and white.
To get the absolute best audio quality streaming Apple music, you'll need a DAC, and the iFi Hip-dac is the perfect portable option that isn't too expensive. It has plenty of connectivity options and supports many codecs. It even a little bass-boosting button if you feel like turning up the low-end.
Wired is the way to go for Lossless Audio
As mentioned before, you won't be able to take advantage of Lossless Audio on Apple Music without a pair of wired headphones — Bluetooth just doesn't cut it. Why? In short, Apple Music doesn't support the right type of codecs over Bluetooth, so it doesn't matter how high-end your Bluetooth headphones are; you'll need to plug them in to hear Lossless Audio.
For your first foray into headphones that can handle Lossless Audio, the Monolith M565C are perfect. They're not too expensive, and still offer superb quality and sound. The wood finish makes these headphones look and feel even more elegant, and the 66mm drivers really pump out a lot of great-sounding music.
Looking to jump into the deep end of audiophile headphones? The Dan Clark Audio AEON Flow 2 come in at a staggering price point but deliver every little bit of detail in an impressive soundscape. You'll be hard-pressed to find headphones that sound better for listening to Lossless Audio.
Don't forget, listening to wired headphones on an iPhone can be a little tricky since there is no headphone jack on the phone. Make sure you pick up a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter so your new wired headphone can plug into your iPhone.
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