The 7 Best Vintage Headphones – 2024

Norvan Martin
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Headphones are strange, this is because while newer is nearly always better in most other gadgets, it is not really so with headsets. We found a couple of older headphones that are still functional today to prove this point. They don’t have extra features and may be retired soon, but they are still terrific bargains for anyone who enjoys the retro look and feel.

Top Pick

SALE!!
Koss Porta Pro Classic On-Ear Headphones, Retro...
  • Connectivity Technology: Wired. Designed for deep bass performance
  • Comfortable, secure fit with adjustable headband and multi-pivoting earplates
  • Two adjustable temporal-comfort zone pads shift the pressure and perfectly balance the ear plates on your ear

1. Best Overall: PortaPro by Koss

PortaPro by Koss

People still use the Koss PortaPro headphones despite their old looks like something offered alongside the Super Nintendo or the popular Sony Walkman.

SALE!!
Koss Porta Pro Classic On-Ear Headphones, Retro...
  • Connectivity Technology: Wired. Designed for deep bass performance
  • Comfortable, secure fit with adjustable headband and multi-pivoting earplates
  • Two adjustable temporal-comfort zone pads shift the pressure and perfectly balance the ear plates on your ear

The PortaPro’s “Back to the Future” look isn’t for everyone, particularly for a reason that includes the thin headband that has a habit of biting hair. But, the lovely surround sound offers an amazing experience.

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Pros

 

  • Excellent audio quality with a balanced sound signature.
  • Lightweight and portable design.
  • Durable build quality for long-lasting use.
  • Adjustable headband for a comfortable fit.
  • Unique collapsible design enhances portability.

Cons

 

  • On-ear design may cause discomfort for some users during extended use.
  • Limited noise isolation due to the open-back design.
  • The plastic construction may feel less premium compared to some competitors

2. Best for home DJs: Sony MDR-7506

Since the early 1990s, the Sony MDR-7506 has been a favorite among radio DJs, but you don’t have to be an expert to appreciate its natural-sounding, nicely balanced profile.

Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm...
  • Neodymium magnets and 40 millimeter drivers for powerful, detailed sound.Specific uses for product :...
  • Closed ear design provides comfort and outstanding reduction of external noises
  • 9.8 foot cord ends in gold plated plug and it is not detachable; 1/4 inch adapter included

Some might find the sound from the Sony MDR-7506 headphones a little thin, but these headphones work well with various genres.

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Pros

 

  • Outstanding audio performance with a neutral and accurate sound signature.
  • Sturdy build quality, suitable for professional use.
  • The foldable design and a coiled cable for enhanced portability.
  • Excellent noise isolation for an immersive listening experience.
  • Comfortable fit during extended use.

Cons

 

  • The design may feel bulky for some users.
  • Ear pads might wear out over time and need replacement.
  • The coiled cable can be cumbersome for casual everyday use

3. Best for Audiophiles: Sennheiser HD 600

Since the late 1990s, the HD 600 has been a fantastic companion for home theatre or high-end audio settings.

SALE!!
Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 600 - Audiophile...
  • Lightweight aluminum voice coils ensure excellent transient response.Specific uses for product : Professional
  • Neodymium ferrous magnets maintain optimum sensitivity and excellent dynamics
  • Sophisticated design, elegantly finished in black and gray

It still plays smoothly, extensively, and cleanly for an old headphone. The HD 600 isn’t especially movable because of its laid-back tone and the fact that they’re all open-backed. However, it may still be a soothing listen with the correct audio set.

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Pros

 

  • Superb audio performance with a natural and detailed sound signature.
  • Premium build quality and lightweight design for comfort.
  • The open-back design provides an expansive and immersive soundstage.
  • Durable construction for long-lasting use.
  • Velour ear cushions enhance comfort during extended listening.

Cons

 

  • The open-back design may leak sound, limiting its use in noisy environments.
  • Not as portable due to the open-back design and lack of a folding mechanism.
  • Requires a quality audio source to fully appreciate their capabilities.

4. Best for studio professionals: K240 AKG

The AKG K240 Studio is an upgraded version of the older AKG K240 Monitor, yet its design and sound are still reminiscent of the legendary pair from the 1970s.

SALE!!
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open,...
  • Professional studio headphones
  • Semi-open
  • 3 m replaceable cable

It’s a semi-open headphone aimed at studio professionals, so it doesn’t have a lot of basses, but it has a lot of detail and a wide soundstage. 

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Pros

 

  • Studio-grade audio precision with a flat frequency response.
  • Robust build quality for durability in professional settings.
  • The semi-open design provides a balanced soundstage.
  • Self-adjusting headband and velour ear cushions enhance comfort.
  • Detachable cable for convenience and ease of replacement.

Cons

 

  • Semi-open design may not provide sufficient isolation in noisy environments.
  • Bulkier design compared to some portable headphones.
  • The headband adjustment mechanism may be prone to wear over time

5. Best Budget Headphones: SR80e Grado

The Grado SR80e is, once again, more of a remastered version of a vintage headset, but it’s close enough to its predecessor to earn a slot here.

As we’ve previously stated, Grado’s handcrafted cans aren’t for everyone, but its devotees are bordering on cultish for its natural sound and clean delivery.

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Pros

 

  • Exceptional audio clarity and detail for audiophiles.
  • The open-back design creates a spacious and immersive soundstage.
  • Lightweight build enhances comfort during prolonged use.
  • Durable construction with quality materials.
  • An affordable entry point into high-quality audio.

Cons

 

  • The open-back design may not suit noisy environments.
  • On-ear design might cause discomfort for some users.
  • Limited noise isolation due to the open-back design.

6. Best Retro Design: iKF R1 Wireless Retro Headphones

The iKF R1 Wireless Retro Headphones blend vintage aesthetics with contemporary wireless technology, offering a unique audio experience. The build quality features a combination of sturdy materials and a retro design, providing a stylish yet durable headset.

iKF R1 Wireless Retro Headphones | Bluetooth V 5.3...
  • 【Go Retro】The fashion code is hidden in the daily accompanying digital products, The retro and...
  • 【60-Hour Playtime】Keep your music hassle-free by wirelessly linking your Bluetooth enabled device and...
  • 【Transparent Mode for Ambient Awareness】Stay connected to your surroundings with the transparent mode...

It’s wireless functionality ensures freedom of movement, complemented by a decent battery life. The headphones deliver a balanced sound profile suitable for everyday listening, though not audiophile-grade. The on-ear design and cushioned ear cups enhance comfort during extended use, appealing to users with a penchant for nostalgia.

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Pros

 

  • Unique retro design for a stylish aesthetic.
  • Wireless functionality provides convenience and freedom of movement.
  • Durable build quality for long-lasting use.
  • Comfortable on-ear design with cushioned ear cups.
  • Affordable option in the wireless headphone market.

Cons

 

  • Sound quality may not match high-end audiophile headphones.
  • Limited features compared to premium wireless models.
  • May not offer advanced noise-cancellation features

The DOQAUS Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear cater to gamers seeking wireless flexibility without compromising performance. Constructed with a blend of durable materials, these headphones offer a solid build quality, ensuring longevity.

DOQAUS Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear, 90 Hours...
  • ♪【Built for Quality】The headband is made of high-grade nylon material, which is not easy to deform, has...
  • ♪【Up to 90 Hours of Playtime】 With up to 90 Hours of listening time in Bluetooth mode, you'll always...
  • ♪【Comfortable and Specially Developed Design】 The over-ear Headphones are designed for long-term...

The over-ear design provides comfort, aided by cushioned ear cups that enhance wearability during extended gaming sessions. With impressive battery life, these headphones support extended gameplay without interruptions. The Bluetooth connectivity ensures a hassle-free setup, and the headphones deliver a balanced sound profile suitable for gaming immersion.

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Pros

 

  • Solid build quality for durability.
  • Over-ear design with cushioned ear cups enhances comfort.
  • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity provides gaming flexibility.
  • Long battery life for extended gaming sessions.
  • Balanced sound profile for an immersive gaming experience.

Cons

 

  • Sound quality may not match premium audiophile headphones.
  • Limited customization features compared to specialized gaming headsets.
  • May not offer advanced noise-cancellation for noisy gaming environments.

The Best Antique Headphones

The MDR-51 could easily pass as the greatest vintage headphone, however, this isn’t because of a lack of bass; instead, it’s because they’re on-ear with foam pads.

A pair of MDR-54s from 1990 have more bass, but these sound great now that they’ve been fitted with proper cushions rather than foam, which improves the bass even more.

Here are the specs.

■ Price ~ $3,000

■ Type open-air dynamic type

■ Diaphragm 30mm dome type

■ Impedance 24Omu

■ Playback frequency band 14-24,000Hz

■ Permissible input 100 mW

■ Sensitivity 105DB / MW

■ Code 2m OFC Litz wire stereo 2-way plug

■ Weight 52g (It does not contain code)

■ Sale August 1990

■ Discontinued around 1994

Headphone in the style of the 1980s

Grado Prestige SR325e Headphones

Grado, founded in Brooklyn, has developed audiophile-friendly headphones since the 1950s. So, if their products now look vintage, it’s because the rest of the world has changed, not them.

While some of the company’s designs go back to the 1960s and 1970s, the Prestige SR325e model boasts an aluminum housing and speaker grate–inspired design that screams ’80s — and sounds great while doing so.

Wireless Vintage Headphones

MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones by Master & Dynamic

Classic design meets cutting-edge technology: These folding over-ear headphones are made of high-quality materials like grain leather and a stainless-steel frame, and they come with Bluetooth and a 16-hour battery for streaming music from your phone.

Koss Wireless Headphones

The famed Koss Pro-4AAs have undergone several revisions since their inception, but this edition still tells a unique story. It comes with a beautiful army green color scheme and a brilliant silver band. This headphone exudes flair.

The Koss brand has a long history, but these headphones have much more. An interesting thing about the Pro-4AAs is that it was the first dynamic headphones to deliver accurate, full-frequency, high-fidelity sound, revolutionizing the audio industry.

Walkman Vintage Headphone

Wired On-Ear Headphones from Sony’s ZX Series

The Sony ZX Series on-ear headphones have it all, combining comfort and performance in a single package. Another excellent feature is the ear cups’ swiveling, enfolding, closed-back design, which traps in sound while taking up very little space.

They’re additionally padded to comfort you while wearing them. The L-shaped port accepts a 3.5mm connector, and the anti-tangle y-type cables are 1.2 meters (3.93 feet) long. Even when you’re dancing to your favorite song, they’re resistant to snagging.

You’ll never have to worry about charging or replacing batteries with these headphones because they’re wired.

Vintage Microphone Headphones

The Studio Pro-10 is an over-the-ear DJ headphone with dynamic bass. This comes as a 50mm neodymium driver that accurately reproduces all the dynamics in your music while also providing the regulated bass that DJs and audiophiles want.

It’s perfect for DJ digital mixers, mixer panels, turntables, monitoring in recording studios, film production, video, electronic news gathering—pretty much any application that requires high-quality sound.

Specifications

  • Model: Pro-10
  • Color: Black
  • Speaker: 50mm
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 110dB +- 3dB
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-40KHz
  • Max input power: 1600mW
  • Plug Type: 3.5mm/6.35mm
  • Stereo Cable 1: 2m-3m 9.8ft 3.5mm to 6.35mm
  • coiled cable Cable 2: 1.2m 3ft 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable with microphone

Vintage Bluetooth Headphones

Marshall Over-Ear Headphone

Marshall Amplification is a well-known audio company that designs and manufactures various audio equipment, such as speakers, headphones, and amplifiers.

It was founded in London in 1962. Marshall’s Monitor is the company’s first wireless over-ear model. It was first offered as a wired model, but it has since been improved to include Bluetooth, a beautiful feature.

FAQs

1. Is retro vintage headphones’ quality comparable to current headphones?

They are, indeed! The best retro vintage headphones have all the features of their modern counterparts.

They feature a wired/wireless option owing to Bluetooth aptX so you may use them even up to 30 feet away from your device. These headphones also feature a long battery life and noise-cancellation capabilities.

2. What are the greatest retro vintage headphones brands?

Retro vintage headphones are not the same as conventional headphones, and not all manufacturers provide them.

Some of the greatest brands for retro-style headphones, such as Marshall, Sony, Koss, Panasonic, and others, may already be familiar. In this guide, you’ll discover a review of these brands’ items.

3. What can you do with vintage retro headphones?

Retro vintage headphones aren’t just for at-home use; you can use them for anything depending on the extra features you choose.

Retro vintage headphones with studio-quality audio were designed exclusively for sound mixing during live concerts, recordings, and DJ activities. Headphones with headsets and built-in microphones are also available, which are ideal for gaming.

4. Did headphones exist in the 70s?

Yes, they did. By the 1970s, headphones had transcended the workplace as a tool to enjoy music without bothering others. The next stage was to detach headphones from home stereo systems so that consumers could listen to music anywhere they wanted: Office rides, restaurants, libraries, and more. 

Conclusion

Although, most of these vintage headphones might easily scare you when you think of the year of production. But when you select any of the vintage headphones mentioned in this article, it will definitely be a worthy buy. Remember, old is gold.

If a vintage headphone is not for you, then you can always get a wireless Bluetooth headphone, but please note that some of these wireless headphones may take a while to charge; that’s a major disadvantage. 

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin