Every day in this stressful world is a struggle against sickness, emotional setbacks, and work-life balance.
Thanks to technology, we can simply grab our headphones, connect them to our devices, and zone out whenever we want to.
Speaking of zoning out, we’ve been seeing plenty of these “brain-tingling” videos meant to trigger our Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR).
While experts are still searching for explanations for this surreal phenomenon, millions swear by its ability to calm and relax the mind.
And if you’re on the hunt for the best headphones for ASMR, you’re in the right place.
Best Headphones for ASMR: Brief Reviews
1. Sony WH-1000XM4
This latest version of the highly coveted WH-1000XM3 headphones has given leading brands a run for their money.
If you tried the earlier version, expect major changes and upgrades to this model.
While they look very similar to their predecessors, the latest XM4 comes with new features that are too good not to notice.
It packs a punch for its multipoint Bluetooth pairing system, a Speak-to-Chat option, and digital sound processing technology, among others.
These headphones also have remarkable noise-canceling capabilities, which we think are the best in their class.
- Dual Noise Sensor Technology
The XM4 comes with two microphones on each earcup that capture ambient noise and transfer it to an HD noise-canceling processor in real-time.
Together with the Bluetooth Audio SoC (System on Chip), these earphones can adjust music and noise signals.
If that’s not enough, you’ll find that they also adjust acoustic characteristics over 700 times per second.
For an even more profound noise-cancelation, the WH1000XM4 comes with Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing technology.
It works by delivering optimal sound at high altitudes so that you can enjoy watching ASMR videos even while on the plane.
- Real-Time Restoration of Compressed Files
Compared to its predecessor, the XM4 is much better at processing and restoring high-range sounds usually lost during file compressions.
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), it recognizes musical genres, instrumentation, and other elements.
As a result, you get a richer and more comprehensive listening experience.
- Quick Attention
A signature feature of the XM4 is it automatically adjusts the volume when you need to.
Just place your hand over the housing to turn your music down and let ambient sound like announcements and conversations come through.
With your permission, your XM4 headphones can adjust the level of noise cancelation depending on where you are.
For example, at home, you may prefer a fully canceled noise, but you may want voices to come through in the office.
- Multipoint Bluetooth Pairing
You can pair these headphones with two Bluetooth devices at the same time.
For instance, if you’re watching ASMR videos on your tablet and your mobile phone rings, your XM4 will automatically detect it.
In turn, you can transition to your call smoothly.
- 30-hour Power
With a running time of 30 hours, the battery life of the XM4 is admirable.
Even more impressive is that charging it for just 10 minutes can give you five full hours’ worth of charge.
It’s a great feature when you’re always in a hurry.
More than anything, we like how quick and easy it is to charge these headphones.
It also analyzes unique sonic characteristics caused by user-related factors, like head size, glasses, and hair, and fine-tune the sound to suit your needs.
Now, how cool is that?
With everything you’ll get from these headphones, you’ll find that they are quite pricier than other brands.
And if you wish to enjoy all of these features, you will have to pair them with an Android or iOS device.
- Superior sound quality and noise-canceling
- Pairs with two devices at the same time
- Speak-to-chat mode
- Excellent battery life
- Wearing detection
- Adaptive sound control
- Too expensive
- Doesn’t support Qualcomm’s AptX codec
- Most functions are only usable on Android or iOS devices
2. Sennheiser HD 599
This headphone is touted for its impressive frequency range with ample highs and lows.
That said, it’s very popular among casual listeners.
The open-back, around-ear design, along with the luxurious velour earpad covering, provides comfort for long hours of listening.
Given its excellent dynamics and extremely low distortion, the HD 599 is an impressive bit of engineering.
- Open Acoustic Design
Sennheiser’s Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R) design is a proprietary technology designed to deliver “open” spatial presentation and improve your listening experience.
- Impressive Frequency Range
The HD 599 has a frequency of 12-38,500 Hz.
As such, you will find that it has a solid low end, decent mids, and rich and detailed high ends.
- Multi-connectivity Options
The unit comes with a three-meter detachable cable and a 6.3-mm jack so that you can easily connect it to your home entertainment system.
Aside from this, you also get a shorter, 1.2-meter cable with a 3.5mm jack perfect for mobile devices, including tablets and laptops.
- Extra-thick Padding
Compared to its predecessor, this model features extra-thick padding for the headband.
Meanwhile, a super comfy and soft luxurious velour covers the ear cushions.
If you like listening to ASMR for long hours, this might just be the right pair of headphones for you.
It’s designed so that you stay comfortable as you listen to relaxing tunes for hours on end.
One issue with these headphones is their lack of a noise-canceling feature.
As such, this could affect your experience if you’re trying to listen to ASMR in a crowded place.
- Dynamic and detailed sound
- Great for neutral listening
- Very comfortable
- Open-back design
- The frame feels a bit weak
- Mids aren’t as detailed
- Doesn’t come with a storage case
- Lacks noise-canceling features
3. Kokoon Sleep Headphones
If you rely on watching ASMR videos or listening to music to fall asleep, the Kokoon headphones might be what you need.
Unique to this headphone is its sleep-inducing design, featuring comfortable materials like natural fibers and soft silicon.
ASMR videos are only as good as the headphones you’re wearing.
And the Kokoon Sleep Headphones ensure you’ll have the best experience.
- Noise Protection
These over-ears have built-in Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) that blocks external noise.
As a result, you can expect to have hours of uninterrupted sleep.
- Relaxation App
This unit comes with an app where you can access sleep music, soundscapes, and audio exercises that promote quality sleep.
- Adaptive Audio
Kokoon headphones’ adaptive audio technology utilizes motion sensors and EEG to detect if you have fallen asleep.
The EEG is a non-invasive way to record electrical patterns in your brain.
As you doze off, the music automatically fades and is replaced with white noise.
- Comfortable Design
The low-profile earcups fit the shape of your head, so they stay in place while you lie on the bed.
The earpads are extra plush as they are made with breathable natural fiber.
You must note, however, that these headphones work well if you’re a back sleeper.
If you’re used to sleeping on your side, you need to do some workaround, such as using a memory foam pillow, to feel more comfortable.
The Kokoon Sleep headphones are uniquely designed to give you comfort while you sleep.
As you would expect, they are significantly more comfortable than standard headphones.
We specifically like the motion-sensing tech and EEG brainwave sensors that come in contact with your ears in a way that you won’t even notice you’re wearing them.
These headphones’ main selling point is that it senses when you’ve fallen asleep and switches the sound to white noise.
The problem is, it will only work for you if you’re a back sleeper.
- Extremely comfortable
- Great sound quality with noise-canceling features
- Comes with a library of sleep-inducing music
- Sound lowers down as you doze off
- Washable ear cushions
- Not be ideal for side-sleepers
- Sleep tracking can be improved
- Steep price tag
4. COWIN E7 Headphones
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the COWIN E7 perfectly fits the bill.
These noise-canceling headphones give you 30 hours of runtime, which is excellent for working or traveling.
You can expect crisp, clear, and powerful sound from these headphones.
And this is thanks to the ANC technology and proprietary 45mm dynamic drivers that produce a deep and accurate bass response.
- ANC Technology
While its noise-canceling feature isn’t as superior as higher-end headphones, you still get a decent result.
It can cancel most of the noises near you with a simple switch.
- Long Battery Life
When fully charged, you can use these headphones for 30 hours.
Plus, it’s quick charging. For instance, a 10-minute charge gives you one hour of runtime.
- Profound Bass Strength
These headphones have a sub-bass that’s rich and profound.
The mid-bass can be a bit overwhelming, but with an equalizer, it gets insanely empowered.
- Stable Fit
The earpads are soft and deep enough to cup the ears without generating pressure.
Meanwhile, the clamping force is secure and easily adjusts to any head size.
Despite the rock-bottom price of COWIN E7, it offers advanced features like a built-in microphone for hands-free calls, a Bluetooth system, and NFC pairing using voice commands.
We also like that the earcups can rotate to a 90-degree angle
This allows you to lay your headphones flat when carrying them around your neck or inside the pouch.
These headphones are incredibly comfortable, although they are pretty bulky.
You also only get basic features, but that’s understandable since you’ll not be paying as much.
- Plausible wireless range
- Long battery life
- Sound doesn’t leak much in quieter settings
- Quite bulky
- Very basic features
- Buttons feel a bit cramped
- Mid-range accuracy is mediocre
5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The Bose QuietComfort has one of the best noise-cancellation qualities in its class.
As expected from a premium brand, these headphones pack plenty of innovative features.
You’ll get to enjoy a noise-rejecting dual-microphone system, personalization, and hassle-free Bluetooth pairing.
If you’re a fan of voice assistant technology, you’ll love these headphones, too.
Using voice commands, you can hop from one track to another, turn the volume up or down, search information on the web, and do so much more.
- Noise-Blocking Technology
One of the most impressive things about these Bose headphones is their noise-rejecting capability.
They do a great job at shutting down noise from cars, trains, and human voices.
You might feel a bit of pressure in your ears upon switching on this feature, but it isn’t bad.
- Google Assistant
The QuietComfort 35 II can support both Alexa and Google Assistant.
To enable the voice command, you will have to access the Bose App to personalize the settings.
Then, using your app, you can adjust the level of noise cancellation, manage Bluetooth connections, enable music sharing, and so on.
You can even use it to control your compatible smart home devices.
Like other recent Bose headphone models, the QuietComfort 35 II is AR-enabled.
In particular, they feature motion sensors to track head orientation and body movement to manage standby power behavior.
Bose is the first brand to integrate voice assistant technology.
So, if that’s something you’d like to have in a pair of headphones, the QuietComfort 35 II is worth every penny.
As with anything, remember that with such high-tech features also comes a steep price tag.
- Easy operation using voice assistant technology
- Superb noise-canceling
- Personalization via the Bose app
- Not the sleekest design
- Plastic build
- Lacks autoplay or pause
- No instant mute
With most workers transitioning to remote settings and families encouraged to stay home, having a reliable set of headphones for work and play is a must.
The problem is there are thousands of headphones in the market.
Hence, choosing the best one can be pretty challenging.
Just like buying other gadgets, shopping for headphones involves careful consideration of their features, specs, pros, and cons.
More importantly, you should take into account your lifestyle, needs, and budget.
Below are the major factors to consider when buying headphones:
1. Design and Use
Headphones come in different styles, designs, and features, so pick a pair that’s suited to your expected use.
For example, if you’re using them for work and travel, look for headphones that are portable, sturdy, and offer longer battery life.
Also, if you often find yourself in noisy environments, consider headphones with active noise-canceling technology.
While it’s nice to have every possible feature in your headphone, it doesn’t make sense if you’re not going to use them.
Besides, more features typically mean higher price tags.
Prioritize features that are suitable to your needs.
Nevertheless, make sure your headphones have the basic tools you’d expect, such as “autoplay” or “autopause,” “mute,” and Bluetooth pairing.
3. Sound Quality
There is always a feature that separates “good” headphones from the others, but you should be extra picky when it comes to sound quality.
There are a few technical characteristics that every headphone buyer needs to pay attention to when shopping for the best headphones.
The driver is the element that transmits audio signals and converts them to audible sound waves.
Manufacturers typically specify the driver diameter of their products.
The best driver size depends on the design of the headphones, but industry standards range from 20mm to 50mm.
Generally, the larger the diameter, the better the sound quality that you will hear.
Sound Pressure (Sensitivity)
Sound pressure or sensitivity refers to the headphone’s ability to capture sound, even at the smallest change or volume.
Look for headphones with higher sensitivity levels, as they guarantee better driver performance without using that much power.
This indicates the sound frequencies that headphones can produce.
The higher number represents the frequency produced in high notes, and the lower number indicates the bass (low) notes.
While the range doesn’t always correspond to good sound quality, the frequency response helps you choose the type of headphones to buy.
For example, if you love listening to music with plenty of bass sounds, look for headphones that support low frequencies.
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)
This refers to the distortion of the sound, usually when the headphones’ volume is turned up.
Keep in mind that the lower the THD, the better the quality of the headphones.
Most high-end models have a THD of 1%, even less.
While it shouldn’t be your main priority, setting a budget helps trim down your choices.
Low-end headphones range from $25 and below, while average models land between $40 and $50.
Meanwhile, high-end headphones can cost from $250 to $350, sometimes even more.
Cheap headphones aren’t always a good buy, as they usually have a mediocre sound quality and build.
If you use headphones a lot for work and leisure or prefer high-quality sound for ASMR videos, higher-end models are worth the investment.
Besides, you can expect that they will last for a long time.
Headphones for ASMR FAQs
1. Should I use headphones for ASMR?
Many ASMR videos are created using binaural techniques, which means they simulate the acoustics of a three-dimensional environment.
If you want to immerse yourself in those effects, you need to wear headphones that produce high-quality sound.
2. How loud should you listen to ASMR?
Health experts recommend against listening to any forms of audio at higher than 85 dB to avoid damaging your ears.
3. What makes a good pair of headphones for ASMR?
There are a few factors to consider when shopping for headphones for ASMR.
These include sound quality, frequency response, and noise-canceling.
The ability to block noise in your environment will significantly help you experience the effects of ASMR videos.
4. Are headphones or earbuds better for ASMR?
Generally, earbuds are preferred for ASMR because they sit right inside your ears and help you feel the triggers much closer to your headspace.
However, higher-end models of headphones can have similar benefits.
5. How do I listen to ASMR?
It’s important to remember that ASMR is not only triggered by sounds.
Instead, you should pay attention to the entire experience to get in the zone.
Additionally, make sure to adjust the sound to the most comfortable range.
After carefully analyzing their features and performance and considering their pros and cons, we’re happy to award the top spot to the Sony WH-1000XM4.
They are the best headphones for ASMR because they do an excellent job in terms of sound performance and functionality.
Compared to the other high-end products, they have the best noise-canceling capability and sound quality.
By every possible metric, these wireless headphones are superb.
These headphones are also perfect for listening to music and watching movies.