Please note that only Hi-fi headphones are discussed and listed here. Caveat : Do not use standard hi-fi headphones with the line level output of a device such as a soundcard or a musical instrument, while this works the high resistance of the headphone will over time dim and eventually kill the output, this is more a problem with high end cards/devices that have a standard line out than budget cards/onboard soundcards that feature a line out that is designed to double as a heaphone out. This was a constant problem with electonic musical instruments in the 70's and into the 90's but there was a tendency to use 6.3mm jacks for both line out and headphone outs and place them next to each other at the back of the instument, and for peoplle to use 6.3mm line level outputs on instruments that did not feature headphone outs like 808's. There are headphones and adapters made especially for use with line level signals, so rather buy a budget multimedia headphone especially for this usage or when purchasing speakers for your computer simply make sure they have a proper headphone output. Also note when choosing a headphone for a personal audio device take a look at the sensitivity information supplied by the maker of the headphones, quality hi-fi headphones appear perfectly serviceable for use with such devices but the low power output of many personal audio devices means that they often have difficulty in driving headphones with high resistance, this is in particular the case in Europe where overall sound pressure of headphone devices is actually limited by law so audio devices sold in Europe often have lower outputs than the same devices sold elsewhere. All the major manufacturers have variations of their headphones especially designed for use with portable audio devices and there are no problems in using them with home audio so it makes much more sense to buy one of those if your primary use is with a portable device, portable headphones are usually not as comfortable for long term listening however.
Aiwa Makes a range of headphones and earphones, we have not had the opportunity to test most of their range but their budget closed models are strangely loud on the outside.
AKG Makes a large range of headphones, anything from budget hi-fi and multimedia headphones to top of the line units like the classic K 1000. Traditionally AKG has been strong in the field of closed models intended for professional use in studios and suchlike. You can find more info on their line here.
Altec Lansing Makes a range of multimedia headphones intended for computer usage mostly.
American DJ Has a range of DJ and consumer orientated models such as the DJH-150 closed model and the DJH-Superbass, a similar closed model but with bass boosting.
Audio Technica Has a range of headphones, many of the geared toward professional use in studios etc.
Azden Makes a wide range of headphones, earphones and transducers, mostly sold to OEM's.
Behringer Has a range of closed back headphones intended for semi professional or pro usage such as Djing, studios etc., while those products are not the same class as the other German designed pro-audio headphones they have retail prices that can only be described as mind boggling, they start at well under 15€ (or 10£) if you shop around.
Beyerdynamic Makes a range of both open and closed cans, their closed models are very popular in recording studios.
Bang & Olufsen Has a small range of some really good head and earphones but it can be a bit difficult to find info on them on their homepage.
Coby Has a range of budget headphones, mostly intended for use with pesronal audio.
Dowumi Makes an interesting range of bone conducting headphones under the Vonia name, the transducers on them do not make the air vibrate like normal headphone but rather vibrate on the chin bone to excite the Aanvil in your ear. This means you can listen to music on headphones without being subject to the hearing damage so often associated with heavy headphone use and obviously in a working situation this means you have full use of you ears even when listening to music or vize versa. Has also found a niche with secretaries and people with similar functions that need to be able to do transcriptions while they are performing other duties as well such as manning a reception desk or such.
Formost Electronic Has a HUGE range of head and earphones available, you have probably owned a headphone from this company at one time or another since they are mostly an OEM.
Fostex Makes a line of low impedance, closed cans intended for studio and other recording use, lighter than many other similar designs and of special note is their T20RP.
Fujicon Has a range of headphones both intended for personal and home hi-fi.
Future Sonics Makes skin coloured earphones called Earmonitors that are extremely small, used by TV news rooms and in similar situations were discrete monitoring if of importance.
Garwood Manufactures "in-ear monitors" or high quality earphones intended for on stage monitoring purposes etc., also has wireless transmitters and receivers for that same purpose.
Gemini This DJ equipment manufacturer has at the least 1 model of the closed variety.
GLI Has a range of closed budget phones, intended for DJ use.
Grado Makes mid to high end headphones, their cheapest models such as the SR60 and the SR80 are extremely good value and have a wonderful retro-chic (and sound), but their more expensive models such as the SR125, the SR225 and the SR325 are less convincing and not really up to the standards of the competition in terms of sound quality.
Koss Long running headphone specialist, make anything from cheap earphones to audiophile cans. Many of their classic and more upmarket designs are closed in contrast to the better European models that are usually open.
Ministry of Sound The company introduced a new range of headphones and earphones in 2012, while these are still closed back designs with bass boost they are less intended for DJ use than the previous lines sold under this brand and are best described at budget headphones better suitable for use with personal media players and home hi-fi products. Notably their new designs are on-ear rather than over-ear designs and thus neither isolate enough to be usable for DJing or tracking, nor open enough to give an extended frequency response.
Nakamichi Has one model of a mid end headphones called SPK 300, this is a closed model initially designed for studio use but popular in Japan with department stores etc. as a demonstration model, not surprising perhaps since the company is one of the biggest manufacturer of "listening stations" or CD/DVD demonstration modules.
Numark Has a range of closed headphones mostly intended for the DJ market.
Omnitronic Make quite a few headphones, most of them are closed designs intended for the DJ market along with a few single-ear models and specialised foldable cans, but a few of their models are suitable for general use. Try here for more info on their range.
Philips Not perhaps the first company that you think of when headphones are mentioned, but they have a wide range of designs including wireless and surround sound models, and some of their wireless models in particular can be good value. Also have been making noises about their recent Neodymium drivers that they call Clarity an can be found in the more upmarket headphones such as the HP-890.
Pioneer Has a range of open and closed types, from budget DJ models to fairly high end hi-fi models.
Precide Makes high end headphones under the names Ergo and Jencklin Float.
Prefer Makes 2 models of headphones, the budget HPR-35 model and the high impedance HD-66V. More info on both models can be had here.
Reloop Has a range of headphones intended for DJ use, mid end under their own name and budget versions under the Jaytec brand.
Sennheiser The worlds largest manufacturer of Hi-fi headphones, has a range that goes from inexpensive lightweights all the way up to dead expensive electrostatic cans, and quality stuff to boot and usually an enormous bang for the buck. And this has been going on for more than 30 years, it must be something in the water. Anyway the company has just released a new range of low/mid price headphones including the 477 and 497 (but also some cheaper models), all parts of the headphones are user replaceable like with previous 4xx models from the company, are slightly lighter than the range that it replaces (at around 130grams or so) and at the least the 497 model that we tested sounds even better than earlier designs.
Shockwave Electronic Has a broad line of budget headphones, both intended for personal audio and hi-fi usage, more info here.
Singvox Makes a large range of budget earphones and headphones both the normal and the multimedia kinds along with headsets etc.
Sony Makes a wide range of headphones from budget earphones to top of the line studio cans in the form of the MDR-7509, the professional studio models have been manufactured unchanged for a number of years and are all quite similar in outward design being closed back models but vary enormously in price and specifications, the cheapest model is the MDR-7502 taht typically only retails for USD 50 or so but has specification more in line with something that you get free with your cassette walkman and is probably better suited for undemanding usage such as DJ work than for monitoring, the MDR-7505 is much more like it but it should be noted that the RRP for that model is USD115 (retail prices are lower though) but for only 15USD more you can get the MDR-7506 that not only sounds better despite having a very similar 40mm diaphragm (but constructed somewhat differently leading to a different response characteristics) but is also sturdier, foldable and is shipped with a case, definitely worth the small extra outlay, the 7505 is actually an old DJ model from Sony that has been redressed in a black livery to match the rest of the professional line which explains why it is the only 7xxx model to feature swivelling. The aforementioned 7509 sounds much better than the next model below it but then again is twice the price but as one of the best sounding closed back models out there is worthy of an audition if you are in the market for a mid/high end pro headphones, you can find more information on the MDR-7500 here, on the MDR-7506 here, the MDR-7505 here and the MDR-7502 here. Some of the more interesting models from Sony are the noise cancelling models. For movie fans the company also makes one model of Virtual dolby sourround headphone system.
Stanton Magnetics Has a fairly big range of models, all are of the closed variety and are intended for DJ use, but a few models are generic enough to be of use with a normal hi-fi or portable.
Stax Makes some of the best headphones in the world and is the company that invented the electrostatic headphone in 1960 with the SR-1 model after having been making electrostatic loudspeaker elements for a few years, or rather the "earspeakers" as they want their products to be called, they even have an in-ear electrostatic (!!??).
Tonsil Makes mostly budget headphones, but we have not been able to find any online information on them.
Ultrasone Makes mid to high end headphones, one of the few headphone specialist manufacturers left in the world.
United This budget brand is popular in Eastern Europe, makes a wide range of headphones including open, closed and quite a few wireless models.
The noise cancelling headphone is something of a misnomer since it is not strictly intended to cancel out noise but rather to cancel out any sounds external to the headphone, so the usage of the term "noise" is a matter of perception. How this is archived is simple, there is a tiny microphone on the outside of the headphone that picks up the external sounds, this is fed to a signal processor in the headphones that decides what part of the signal is strong enough to penetrate through and simply plays a copy of this out of phase to the headphones and thus cancels the extraneous sound. The signal processing part can be archived by analogue or digital means but analogue is more common due to speed requirements. Most NC headphones appear made with the travelling market in mind and thus most of them are foldable and come with pouches etc. In almost all cases there is an option for turning the noise cancellation off in which case the unit will work as a normal headphone.
Sony Makes the MDR-NC20, a closed back model than is foldable, the element has a much better specification than similarily sized models in the Sony professional range (from which this model is derived) and sounds quite good with the noise cancelling turned off, much better than the average NC headphone, but the quality of the NC is not the best in class.