Updated January 25, 2019 by Christopher Thomas

The 9 Best Electrostatic Headphones

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Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

Since the initial publication of this wiki in January of 2019, there have been 7 edits to this page. Electrostatic headphones operate by passing current through an ultra-thin membrane, providing a highly detailed soundstage with almost unrivaled breadth. In fact, they compete with high-end dynamic drivers and planar magnetic ear speakers for the hearts of devout audiophiles worldwide. With the right amplifier, they can offer a nearly unmatched listening experience. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best electrostatic headphone on Amazon.

9. Monoprice Monolith

8. Mitchell and Johnson GL2

7. Stax SR-007A MK2

6. Stax Lambda SR-507

5. Stax SRS-002

4. HifiMan Jade II

3. Shure KSE1200

2. Koss ESP-950

1. Stax SR-009

Editor's Notes

January 24, 2019:

Here's the thing about headphones, especially the really, really expensive ones: there isn't really a "best" pair for everyone, because the listening experience is highly subjective. But we're pretty certain that every audiophile, no matter how picky, will find a suitable model in this list. Plus, for what it's worth, newer doesn't always mean better. Electrostatics have actually been around for decades, though they aren't as well known as dynamic-driven, or even planar magnetic headphones. The Koss, for example, is a 28-year-old design, and to this day it holds up as a fantastic (and inexpensive) choice. If you've spoken with your fellow audiophiles at any length on the subject, of course, the Stax SR-009s will undoubtedly have come up in conversation. They're widely seen as the standard by which most others are judged. Whether you're listening to someone else's recorded guitar solo, or your own, live, while you play it, the Shure in-ears are almost impossible to beat, in terms of comfort and clarity. The Stax ear buds are also great quality, and surprisingly affordable, though they just don't offer the punch of very costly models. The Shures are great for listening to recorded tunes, but they really shine for on-stage musicians such as guitarists, whose instruments fall in the middle range. Stax's Lambda are an old standard, and they are quite good, although the physical shape of the ear cups doesn't play so nicely with everyone's head. HifiMan's new Jade IIs, on the other hand, potentially offer a seriously massive soundstage — because the cans, themselves, are very, very large. Mitchell and Johnson makes a few hybrid pairs that can sound great with more types of music than standard electrostatics, due to the dynamic drivers inside them which focus on the bass notes. And while there's a good chance that Monoprice's latest offerings sound great on a budget, they're so new that it's difficult to find detailed reviews as to their quality, though the first impressions we've seen are quite positive.


Christopher Thomas
Last updated on January 25, 2019 by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.


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