Why Is It Necessary to Have the Right Pair of Headphones for Watching Movies?
Only a cinephile knows the importance of having the right pair of headphones for watching movies. There are two main elements in a movie that can make your cinematic experience a wonderful one – good picturization and great sound. Both of these elements have the ability to make or break your movie-watching experience. Just like good high-resolution detailed visuals are a treat to your eyes, high-quality audio helps you rejoice even more and completes the entertainment.
It can be quite disappointing if the movie you’re watching doesn’t have a good sound quality, and you need to struggle to hear the dialogues clearly. More than half of your energy then goes into adjusting the audio settings to make it sound right and despite that, if it doesn’t work, you lose your interest in watching. Frustrating indeed! Well, a great pair of headphones for movies can take your cinema-watching experience to a different level altogether.
The high-end cutting-edge technologies incorporated into the best headphones for movies these days make them sound just like a big home theater set-up in a super-compact way. They give an incredibly detailed, rich, and powerful sound with superior clarity in the voices. This enables you to hear every bit of the dialogue, even when the characters are muttering in a low voice.
Benefits of Using Headphones While Watching Movies?
Besides, using headphones for watching movies can add a lot of conveniences. For example, they allow you to watch movies anywhere, be it at home, or outside, while traveling, while you are on a break at work, or anywhere else. In short, you can literally watch movies on the go. The best part is, it gives you a phenomenal listening experience in your own personal space without bothering anyone near you.
Also, using one of the best headphones for watching movies can bring you closer to the scene as you hear it close to your ears. To add to this, many headphones come with sound adjustment settings that can help you get just the right sound you need to enjoy your movie.
Some of the best headphones for movies from the high-end categories also come with a noise cancellation feature that shuts you out from the external noise offering a silent ambiance for uninterrupted movie time. A lot of different headphones also come with surround sound technology giving you a theatre-like experience.
In the next section, we will cover a range of different types of headphones for movies including the best earbuds for watching movies, so you get an idea about what are the most popular ones available right now.
Best Headphones for Movies: List of Some of the Top-rated Headphones for Movies, Their Special Features, and Prices:
The headphones market is packed with headphones of different kinds but if you are specifically looking for the best headphones for watching movies, you need to concentrate on the specific category. The audio gears dedicated for movies come with specific designs and have slightly different sound engineering than what a music headphone may have because, in this case, the concentration is more on the voice clarity and sound details. Other than that, some headphones are integrated with the software for the virtual surround sound effect.
This list below is a round-up of different types of headphones- best on-ear, over-ear, and best earbuds for watching movies, under different price ranges, and with different wireless technologies-Bluetooth and RF. The options also include compatibility with different source device-mobile phones, TV, and laptops.
While some of these headphones may be expensive and some really cheap, all of them are good in their own way and serve different needs. They have received high ratings and recommendations from the users widely. So without further delay let’s move on to the list:
Sennheiser RS 195: (Best headphones for movies- our top pick)
Whether it is entertainment, professional, or consumer market, Sennheiser is one name that always appears in the best headphones list. The RS 195 model offered by this well-established company is one of the best headphones for watching movies that tops most of the list at present.
The headphone is a premium product that is accompanied by an RF transmitter, required cables, and batteries. The headphone is known for its exceptional sound quality that can give you the ultimate audio experience while watching a movie. To maximize your enjoyment, it also gives you 7 different EQ presets to select from to get the most preferred listening.
With a frequency range of 17 Hz to 22 kHz, the headphone delivers solid audio accuracy, a wide sound stage, and a well-balanced sound. The headphone’s transmitter gives a connection range of 100 meters allowing you to move around freely or sit anywhere and enjoy your show. The battery life of 18 hours is also pretty decent enough for you to give uninterrupted showtime.
- Superior quality audio.
- Over-ear ear cups offer good passive noise isolation.
- Two sound boosting modes-speech mode and music mode let you change the quality as per your need for enhanced listening.
- The transmitter is versatile supporting both analog and digital inputs.
- Expensive option.
- The over-ear, closed back design may produce heat around the ears with long hours of listening.
Sennheiser SET840 TV headphones for movies: (Best earbuds for watching movies with RF transmitter)
If you like Sennheiser but do not prefer a headphone because it’s bulky or big, then you may like this one. SET840 is an in-ear style headphone with an extremely lightweight build. But, do not get misguided by the headphones’ size and look. It has been considered as one of the best headphones for watching movies by several headphone experts for several solid reasons.
When it comes to sound, the headphone delivers an immersive, high-quality sound for a lifelike experience be it for movies or music. It also has speech and sound enhancement modes to adjust the speech to maximum clarity as per your hearing preference. Pretty similar to RS 195, these headphones use an RF transmitter to connect that has a 100 meters range for free movement.
The best part about the RF transmitter is that the signal transmits even through the walls. This means that even if you have to go to the kitchen to check your oven real quick, you can do so with your earphones on, so you do not miss out on the important dialogues. These headphones have a battery life of 8 to 9 hours on a single charge. The refueling takes about 3 hours if the battery drains out completely.
- Three different audio modes for the best speech intelligibility.
- Great replacement for Sennheiser over ear headphones.
- Extremely light and easy to use.
- These headphones work best with plasma TVs.
- Great for senior people who may find headphones a bit too bulky and difficult to handle.
- Expensive option.
- Battery life could have been better.
Sony L600 Wireless Dolby Surround Sound headphones: (Best headphones for watching movies with a dedicated theater mode)
If you are looking for a true surround sound experience like that of a movie theater, then here’s the Sony L600- one of the best headphones for movies. With a solid reputation in the industry for incredible sound signature, this headphone offering from Sony, undoubtedly, has stellar audio performance.
Paired with a transmitter, this headphone communicates via Wi-Fi. The headphone is engineered with a 7.1 virtual surround sound system-this means that it has 7 virtually placed speakers and 1 subwoofer on each ear cup for next-level, immersive audio. This is backed by 40 mm dome drivers that have a frequency response of 12 Hz to 22 kHz that delivers superior sound clarity with the detailed audio presentation.
For an optimum listening experience, the headphone comes with 4 different hearing presets a dedicated “theater mode”, sports mode, voice mode, and game mode. The headphone is equipped with multiple audio inputs for compatibility with multiple devices.
- Super comfortable to wear with plush ear pads and lightweight build.
- Digital Dolby surround sound.
- Good battery life of upto 17 hours.
- Comfortable and lightweight design.
- Quick charging.
- Easy to use controls for smooth navigation.
- None found.
Sony WF-1000XM3: (Best earbuds for watching movies)
Headphones are not your thing? Well, then Sony has a series of alternatives in the form of earbuds. Sony WF-1000XM3 is one of the best earbuds for watching movies, packed with some amazing features.
The earbuds feature high technology active noise cancellation combined with different sized ear tips for superior passive noise isolation that effectively shuts out the outside noise. The ear tip options also let you choose the exact fit, so it can form a proper seal within the ear canal and doesn’t keep falling off.
The earbuds have a great sound signature, with deep bass, crisp mids, and clean, undistorted treble. They also have a good battery life (6 hours in the earbuds and 24 hours including the charging case back up).
- User friendly touch controls.
- Great-noise canceling ability.
- Bluetooth 5.0 ensures seamless connectivity and uninterrupted content streaming.
- Ergonomic fit.
- The size of the earbuds may feel slightly bigger for smaller ears and may pop out.
SONY WH-RF400R Wireless headphones: (Best headphones for movies with an affordable price tag)
Here’s yet another one from Sony which is a perfect pair of headphones for movies. They work on RF technology and come bundled with a transmitter, RCA plugs, Y adapter, and 3.5 mm audio cables.
The headphone features excellent sound reproduction- Sony signature sound with rumbling bass, superior voice clarity with the voice mode, and perfect noise reduction. The headphone gives you a playback time of 20 hours once charged fully.
Designed with soft and thick ear padding, with elongated ear cups, the headphones offer supreme comfort even when you wear them for several hours.
- Wireless transmission range of 150 feet allows a lot of space for mobility.
- Affordable price.
- Impressive bass boosted sound.
- Great noise reduction.
- Super comfortable design.
- Some users experienced static while using these headphones, but that can be resolved.
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II Bluetooth headset: (Best active noise-canceling headphones for movies)
When you think about noise-cancelling headsets, one more than brand that comes to your mind other than the Sony, is the Bose. This company’s Quiet Comfort 35 II is one such headphone offering from the brand that stands out from its competition in many ways.
The headphones equipped with a three-level, industry-leading noise cancellation feature, that allows you to set the exact sound background that you prefer to watch your movie in. The noise cancellation feature also ensures that the original sound quality is retained irrespective of the environment you are in. The headphones are perfect for watching movies because of their rich immersive sound with booming bass, well-sculpted vocals, and treble.
Some of the other additional features like smart voice control – Alexa, which will help access the music hands-free, a high-quality mic for crystal clear communication are additional features that make this headphone suitable for multiple applications.
Packed with these powerful features this one has proved to be one of the best headphones for watching movies.
- Mighty sound with punchy bass.
- Excellent noise-cancelling functionality.
- Seamless Bluetooth pairing with low latency.
- Made with high-quality materials and internal components.
- Available in both wired and wireless modes.
JLab Audio Epic Air ANC True Wireless Earbuds: (Best earbuds for watching movies for budget conscious people)
If you do not want to go for an expensive pair of earbuds and do not want to miss a great movie-watching experience either, then JLab’s Epic Air ANC will not disappoint you. These earbuds are small in size and are ergonomically designed to fit perfectly in all types of ears. It also forms a tight seal in the ear canal which prevents sound leakage and reduces the noise passively to maximize your listening experience.
One of the best earbuds for watching movies, these earpieces have three different noise-canceling modes- ANC on, ANC off, and Be Aware (or the pass-through mode) that can be adjusted through the JLab App. This makes your movie watching easy when you are on the go as you can control the background sound at your convenience. Other than that you can also set your preferred sound by selecting one of the three EQ presets- Balanced, Signatures, and Bass Boost.
With Bluetooth 5.0 support, you will have a low latency making sure that there is well-coordinated audio and video in the movie without any time lag. This Bluetooth technology also ensures quick pairing with the mobile device and a strong wireless connection.
- Lightweight and small-designed for a comfortable fit..
- Incredible battery life of 12 hours (36 hours with the charging case)
- Great sound with adjustable presets.
- Good noise cancelling technology.
- Extremely affordable.
- Low latency ensures a great movie experience.
- The sound quality is not of that level as that of over-ear headphones but is still a good option for those who have a tight budget.
Bose QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Earbuds: (Best earbuds for watching movies with best-in-class ANC)
QuietComfort earbuds from Bose are a premium pair for those who do not mind extending their budget. The earbuds’ whopping 11 levels of noise-canceling is the main highlight of this product. This allows you to tailor the sound to exactly what your hearing preference is depending on your surroundings. This means there is no stopping when you are in a movie mood irrespective of where you are.
Like all the other Bose headphones, this pair of earbuds has got Bose’s signature sound architecture with powerful drivers and active EQ that self-adjusts depending on the volume. While the earbuds may not have the same level of bass response as that of Bose’s headphones, it still performs significantly well for its size. The mids or the vocals are clean and crisp and the highs, undistorted.
The Bluetooth 5.1 for low latency and uninterrupted connection, comfortable ear fit, and a decent battery complete the package making it one of the best earbuds for watching movies from Bose.
- World class noise canceling feature with a wide array of modes.
- Solid comfort with IPX4 rating for sweat/splash resistance.
- Bluetooth 5.1.
- Intuitive touch controls.
- Incredible sound.
- Battery life could have been better. Bose earbuds have 18 hours including the charging case. Some of the other earbuds in competition on the other hand have 8 to 12 hours of battery on a single charge.
Skullcandy Crusher Evo: (Best headphones for movies with an outstanding battery and solid bass)
One of the best headphones for watching movies, Crusher Evo is an excellent product when you want both sound quality, and excellent battery life.
Designed for the best movie experience, these headphones are super comfortable to wear. They are not only made with high quality, durable plastic but also have foldable construction for easy portability. The ear pads are made with leather while the headband has a metallic finish to add to the sturdiness. The overall build is lightweight suited for all-day wear. These are by far the longest lasting headphones on our list for their design and construction.
If you are a bass-head, then you are going to love this headphone’s unapologetically powerful bass response, but if you are not a bass lover, then it is best to go for another option. Now, although the headphones have an extra intense bass, they do not overpower the vocals, instruments, or other sound elements. This makes it a perfect option for movies and makes it more realistic.
The impressive 41 hours of battery life is perfect for a weekend movie marathon or during the long haul flight journeys.
- Compatible with different devices like TV, laptop, mobile etc.
- The bass slider provided allows you to adjust the bass response of the headphones.
- Incredible battery life.
- Available as both wired and wireless.
- Dedicated subwoofers offer intense bass output.
- Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.
- The rubberized/ silicone finish headband may make you feel a little warm or break a sweat when worn for a long time.
ASTRO Gaming A50: (Best headphones for movies with customizable surround sound)
Although originally made for gaming, ASTRO A50 brings in a stellar Dolby-enabled 7.1 surround that gives you a theatre-like, immersive listening experience. This high-resolution audio lets you hear every sound in the movie with utmost clarity including the dialogues in low voices.
If you connect the headphones with a PC you will be able to access the Astro Command Center Software that lets you change the EQ settings.
The headphones come with a base station that also acts as a charger. The base can be seamlessly connected with the TV using a 3.5 mm AUX cable or Toslink optical connectivity. For enhanced comfort, the headphone is bundled with a Mod kit that contains an additional leather headband and extra ear cushions that can be changed as per your need.
- 7.1 surround sound for 360 degree experience.
- Changeable headbands and ear cups.
- Decent battery life of 15 to 18 hours on a single charge.
- Comfortable design for all-day wear.
- Price is on the higher end.
- You need a PC to access the EQ adjustment options.
Here are a few more that stand as a strong contender to the best headphones for movies list:
MEE Audio Matrix Cinema Bluetooth Wireless Headphones (Best headphones for movies with clear voice modes for enhanced voice delivery)
Avantree HT4189 (Feature-rich headphone for movies under $100)
Sennheiser 175 RF Wireless Headphones (Best headphones for movies with surround sound and bass boost modes)
Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds (Best headphones for movies with stellar acoustics)
History of Cinematic Sound: How Has Surround Sound Improved Over the Years…
Sound has always been an integral part of the history of Cinema. Going back to the past, you will notice that some of the biggest hits in the world of films have happened partly or entirely because of their incredible sound effects. Movies like Jurassic Park, Matrix, Star Wars have surely left a great memory of that realistic feeling that echoes in the ears even today!
The sound format of the cinema hasn’t achieved what it is now, today. It has gradually, over the period of time improved, with several trial and error right from the beginning when cinema had emerged. The sound engineers and studio professionals worked together to merge the video and audio, adding special effects, trying out different techniques to get the right content that was presentable to the audience.
With the advancement in technology, the cinematic sound also underwent numerous improvements with invention- from different types of loudspeakers, audio drivers, various sound input and output systems to other internal components in the speakers, headphones, or other audio systems in both the commercial and consumer sector.
Surround Sound technology:
The 5.1 or 7.1 Dolby Surround sound is one of the greatest inventions in the history of cinematic sounds that gives the audience a chill down the spine with its 360-degree effect. Many people think this technology emerged only a few years back and is relatively new, but the fact is, this sound format goes back to the 1940s when the very popular movie “Fantasia” was in the making.
Walt Disney got in touch with Bell Labs for the movie’s sound engineering and came across the “multi-microphone stereo recording technology” that the lab was working on. So that was the very first time when the audience experienced the effect of a 3D sound system. The engineers working at the Disney studio improvised on this technology, channelizing the sound to front, left, right, and back fieldshich then became the company’s proprietary technology called “Fantasound technology.”
More About the Surround Sound Technology
Since Fantasound technology was the first surround sound of its kind, it was pretty expensive and complicated as well. It was therefore difficult for other studios to put to use for their production. So after almost 10 years of work, Hollywood got a little more affordable sound formats- Cinerama (surround sound with 7 channels) and CinemaScope (surround sound with 4 channels). However, these formats were pretty short-lived as it was still quite an expensive option.
The Dolby Stereo emerged in the 1970s which was the true surround sound that saw success with the release of the Star Wars movie. After the success of the movie, several other film studios decided to adopt this format. From the year 1992, digital surround sound came into existence in the cinema, with the launch of Dolby Digital Surround and later was improvised with different versions like DTS, SDDS, EX, and now ATMOS.
Choosing Between Wireless and Wired Headphones:
When it comes to deciding between wired and wireless headphones, it has always been a tough decision to make because both these types have their own advantages and disadvantages. The choice of buying or using a wired or wireless headphone is completely your personal preference irrespective of whether you use a smartphone, a TV, laptop, or any other device.
While the clash between wired headphones and wireless headphones remains, here are a few features and comparisons on how both these types of headphones stand on them. This will help you decide which one works best for you:
Sound Quality- Do Wired Headphones Sound Better Than Wireless?
Wired headphones are the topmost preference of any critical listener or a sound engineer at any given time. In most of the music production studios where audio quality is given the utmost preference, wired headphones remain the first preference. The reason is, these headphones use analog signals transmitted through the cable. The processing is quick and this way no data gets lost while maintaining full resolution. This means you get the purest form of audio. If you are looking for a minimalistic choice in the wired area, the best retractable earbuds can be a great choice.
Wireless headphones on the other hand undergo digital signal processing where the processing takes more time due to audio compression etc. and chances of losing data are high. This results in audio that is slightly lower resolution than what the original audio has.
However, with the increase in demand for wireless options, and innovative technology, the manufacturers are coming up with different ways to maintain the resolution as much as possible and hold the original quality of the sound reproduced by them. The acoustic performance of the wireless headphones, therefore, has drastically improved from what they used to be before.
The wired headphones, definitely an inexpensive option with simple plugged feature of a 3.5 mm audio jack and you are good to go.
When it comes to wireless headphones, they technically powered by a battery, need a charger to charge them, need wireless technology to connect or pair with the source device. There are a lot more technical aspects that go into a wireless headphone that automatically makes it a costlier option. Even though, in the past few years, the cost of wireless headphones has significantly gone down, if you compare they are still more expensive than their wired counterparts.
Features and Convenience:
Undoubtedly, wireless headphones are more convenient than their wired counterparts for several reasons. Although the wireless headphones have comparatively a higher price tag, they come loaded with different features that you will not get in the other type. With features like smart voice control, noise cancellation, various sound setting modes, software support for different adjustments, etc. The wireless headphones take the listening experience to the next level. Added to that, the wire-free option allows you to move around freely or work simultaneously while you speak with someone or listen to music.
The wired headphones on the other hand need you to carry your phone around everywhere you go, leaving the hassle of dealing with the tangled wires. So when it comes to convenience, wireless headphones are a clear winner.
Latency, Audio Drop, Signal Breakage:
All these come into your mind when you plan on buying a pair of wireless headphones. Well, while Bluetooth technology has several benefits, sadly, there are a few problem areas associated with this connectivity type like the audio lag or drop or losing signal while you are in the middle of a conversation or movie.
This usually happens, when the headphone has an older codec, or you move out of the range. But with the latest Bluetooth versions and codecs like the aptX Low Latency, APT X HD, LDAC, or AAC, this issue is resolved to a great extent but not full in some cases.
While the wired headphones use a 3.5 mm cable that needs to be plugged into any device, it is compatible with many devices. However, a lot of phones are ditching the headphone jack to switch to wireless completely. In such cases, the wired headphones become redundant.
Bluetooth’s headphones on the other hand can be connected to modern-day devices, but if you have an older device, the wireless headphone may not be compatible with it. In those cases, you will require a medium- an A/V device or a Bluetooth transmitter to connect to your device.
The bottom line is what works best for you- a wired or wireless depends on your device, compatibility, your need, your audio preference, and of course the cost!
Coming back to the best headphones for movies, it is hard to pick one best because different headphones have different qualities that their individual price can accommodate. That is why in the above list we have included a diverse range of headphones that are top-rated in the market today. In order to get an optimum experience do consider various factors like the audio quality, noise-canceling feature, good battery life, and volume control aspects before you pick one. It is crucial to remember that although the headphones make your movie experience much better, you need to keep the volume level low to moderate in order to prevent any kind of ear damage. Remember- “Safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless.” – Anon. You might also find our best loudest headphones article interesting.
Absolutely. You can easily get rid of the external noise and enjoy an uninterrupted movie time. For that, first, you need to make sure that the headphone you are using is a perfect fit for you. The over-ear headphones with thick padding work best for noise isolation. In the case of earbuds, use the right-sized ear tips to form a tight seal inside the ear canal. Other than that, you can also opt for headphones with ANC features.
There are many brands that offer high-performing earbuds that are suitable for watching movies. Please refer to the list of headphones above to know more about the most popular earbuds that are ideal for movies.
The sound profile of the headphones varies from model to model and with brands. While most of the headphones meant for movies have accentuated bass responses, some headphones are constructed for versatile use. In these cases, there are additional EQ presets or bass sliders to reduce or emphasize the bass based on your listening preference.