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Top 6 Best Retro and Vintage Headphones [Wired & Wireless]

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Last updated on July 6th, 2020 at 06:01 am

Retro/vintage headphones are some of the coolest looking headphones around. They also give you a glimpse of how the old school era was like or even make you remember fond memories.

In this article, we list the best retro/vintage headphones that will make you the coolest person on the block.


Position
First Place
Runner Up
Best Budget
Snapshot
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
JLab Audio Rewind Wireless Retro Headphones | Bluetooth 4.2 | 12 Hours Playtime | Custom EQ3 Sound | Music Controls | Noise Isolation | with Microphone | Throwback 80s 90s Design | Black
What You Need To Know About The Headphones

The AKG K240 Studio is not only comfy but also has the best retro/vintage looking design.

The Sony MDR7506 makes you feel like you are wearing clouds

The JLAB Rewind is the cheapest retro headphone that comes with a lot of benefits.

Prime
-
Rating
Position
First Place
Snapshot
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
What You Need To Know About The Headphones

The AKG K240 Studio is not only comfy but also has the best retro/vintage looking design.

Prime
Rating
Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
What You Need To Know About The Headphones

The Sony MDR7506 makes you feel like you are wearing clouds

Prime
Rating
Position
Best Budget
Snapshot
JLab Audio Rewind Wireless Retro Headphones | Bluetooth 4.2 | 12 Hours Playtime | Custom EQ3 Sound | Music Controls | Noise Isolation | with Microphone | Throwback 80s 90s Design | Black
What You Need To Know About The Headphones

The JLAB Rewind is the cheapest retro headphone that comes with a lot of benefits.

Prime
-
Rating

Last update on 2020-07-15 at 20:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Preview
Name
Rating
Acoustic Design
 
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones

Over-ear
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Over-ear
Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones (old model)

Over-ear
GRADO SR60e Prestige Series Wired Open-Back Stereo Headphones

On-ear
Marshall Major III Bluetooth Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Black - New

On-ear
JLab Audio Rewind Wireless Retro Headphones | Bluetooth 4.2 | 12 Hours Playtime | Custom EQ3 Sound | Music Controls | Noise Isolation | with Microphone | Throwback 80s 90s Design | Black

On-ear

Here Are The Best Retro/Vintage Headphones


Pros

  • Very comfortable and lightweight
  • Amazing sound
  • Beautiful looks
  • Attractive price tag

Cons

  • Not bass-heavy
  • No sound isolation

Acoustic design: Semi-open over-ear | Connectivity: Wired | Frequency response: 15Hz-25kHz | Drivers: N/F | Driver type: N/F | Sensitivity: 104 dB/W/m | Impedance: 55 ohm

Retro-looking with golden accents, amazing sound quality and comfort. The AKG 240 Studio delivers these three and counting.

This retro/vintage headphone basically checks all the boxes. What more could you want? Because of the over-ear and lightweight design you can wear this for hours and even forget it’s there.

And the sound quality is superb. The highs and mids are reproduced well. However, these are not bass-heavy because there designed for studio recording.

In addition to that, they do not isolate sound. In other words, you can listen to music in its unadulterated form. Finally, these amazing retro/vintage headphones are affordable.

It’s not always that you see a headphone that provides such amazing benefits whiles being so affordable.

To sum it all, up the AKG 240 Studio is the best retro/vintage style headphones you can get. An excellent choice when it comes to design, comfort and price.


Where To Buy

Price not available

Buy On Amazon

Pros

Cons

  • The long cord can be annoying and difficult to replace
  • Heavy

Acoustic design: Closed over-ear | Connectivity: Wired | Frequency response: 10-20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Neodymium | Sensitivity: 106 dB/W/m | Impedance: 63 ohm

In looking for the best retro wired headphones. Comfort is paramount. And the Sony MDR7506 delivers just that.

These headphones have super-soft ear pads that go easy on your ears. This allows you to listen to music and sounds for long periods. And you know how long they are without your ears getting sore. Unfortunately, they are not durable.

The Sony MDR7506 produces crystal clear and precise sounds. Once you put these on. You would never want to take them off.

Because the sound will make you think you were present during music production. It also has noise isolation to ensure that no external noise disturbs your session.

For those who are concerned about the length of the cord. This headphone right here has a 10-foot cable.

Such long cables don’t restrict you when you want to move around. Although it can be annoying in some cases. Plus, it is quite heavy and not easy to get a replacement cord for it.

Overall, the Sony MDR7506 is one of the best retro/vintage headphones you can get.


Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Superb sound quality
  • Sound isolation works well
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Not bass-heavy
  • Earpads get warm with extended use

Acoustic design: Closed-back over-ear | Connectivity: Wired | Frequency response: 8Hz-25kHz | Drivers: N/F | Driver type: N/F | Sensitivity: 102 dB/W/m | Impedance: 64 ohm

The Sennheiser HD280 Pro looks like the type of headphones Night Rider would use in his hideout.

Because the most striking thing about the headphones is its jet-black robotic retro looking design.

Kind of like how robots were designed in the 80s and 90s. The Sennheiser HD280 Pro is an over-ear closed-back headphone.

In other words, it is very comfy and the sound isolation works very well enough. You might think its noise cancelling. Moreover, it has great sound quality. No surprise here, Sennheiser headphones have great sound quality.

Also, it is a studio headphone so everything is going to sound superb. However, the Sennheiser HD280 Pro is not bass heavy because of this. This headphone tries to make music and sound as clean as possible.

Overall, the Sennheiser HD280 Pro is one of the best retro/vintage headphones. Highly-recommended if you want to go robotic retro style.


Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Great audio quality
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • An open-air design might not be for everyone
  • Thick cord

Acoustic design: Open on-ear | Connectivity: Wired | Frequency response: 20 – 20,000 Hz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 99.8 dB/W/m | Impedance: 32 ohm

The GRADO SR60e is an all-round retro/vintage headphones that can be used for almost everything. A well-built headphone that is easily adjustable making it comfortable.

These are open-back on-ear headphones which might not be for everybody. Most people prefer over-ear headphones or closed-back headphones.

This headphone allows noise to get through and at the same time sound leaks out. So in public areas, the person next to you might hear what you are listening to. If you are this type of person then using these headphones in a public area is a no-go.

The good news is that the open-air design allows for better sound clarity and quality. And because of this the surround sound is so much better making listening to music an immersive experience.

Overall, the GRADO SR60e is one of the best on-ear retro/vintage style headphones. And the audio price-to-performance ratio is also one of the best out there.


Pros

  • Great retro/vintage styling
  • Long battery life
  • Great sound

Cons

  • Uncomfortable when worn for long periods

Acoustic design: Open on-ear | Connectivity: Wired & Wireless | Frequency response: 20 Hz-20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 99 dB/W/m | Impedance: 32 ohm

The Marshall Major III are popular retro headphones for a good reason. And that’s that design.

This headphone is the closest thing you would expect a typical retro/vintage headphone to look like. It has the leather design covered in defined grains. Plus, it comes in three colours – black, white and brown.

In addition to that, it is one of the few retro-style headphones to have modern functionality like wireless connectivity. Battery life is a concern when it comes to wireless headphones.

But, the Marshall Major III has more than enough power to last for more than a day. This means that you can enjoy its great sound quality without worrying about recharging it every hour. There is also the option of using its wired connectivity.

All in all, the Marshall Major III is one of the best retro wireless headphones. However, most people won’t be able to wear it for long periods especially if you wear glasses.


Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight and comfy
  • Long battery life
  • Decent sound

Cons

  • No volume control
  • Not meant for glasses wearers

Acoustic design: Closed | Connectivity: Wireless | Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz | Drivers: 36mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 99 dB/W/m | Impedance: 32 ohm

Ready to go to the 80s? Well, the JLAB rewind headphones will take you there. One of the best budget retro headphones around.

The JLAB rewind is a great pair of inexpensive retro headphones. It is lightweight and comfy allowing you to wear it for long periods. However, due to the design if you wear glasses this will be uncomfortable to wear.

So it’s either you remove them or get the AKG K240 Studio. Battery life is also amazing for being able to last almost half a day. And the quick charge feature allows you to get more hours if you plug it in for about 30mins – 1 hour.

Sound quality is decent overall. Good enough for listening to music. But, keep in mind that these are budget retro headphones.

So the sound quality won’t be on par as the pricey ones. Also, there are no volume controls on the headphone.

You have to do it from your phone if you want to increase or decrease the volume.

At the end of the day, the JLAB rewind is the best budget retro headphones you can get. Because of its decent sound quality, comfiness and the retro-looking design that takes you back to the 80s.


What Are Vintage or Retro Headphones?

To put it simply, retro/vintage headphones are headphones that were made in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Or they might have a leather and metal design giving them a retro style and feel.

Any headphones that look old school or gives an old school feeling are considered retro/vintage headphones.

Retro/Vintage Headphones Vs Modern Headphones

It depends on your taste. However, vintage headphones look so much better than modern ones and they feel more premium. Furthermore, most of them have better sound quality than modern headphones.

The advantages modern headphones have over retro/vintage headphones are their numerous beneficial features.

An example is noise cancelling. And in our environment, today having such a feature means you can better absorb and enjoy audio.

Since you won’t be disturbed by the noise in your surroundings. Retro headphones are cool-looking and have a better design.

Moreover, if you were born during the time where they were popular. You will appreciate them more because you will remember the fond memories you had during those times.

If you are having difficulty deciding between retro/vintage and modern headphones. Why not get both? That way you can enjoy the best of both worlds – the old school and the modern era.

Why Get Vintage or Retro Headphones?

Because they look cool and have superb sound quality. Why else shouldn’t you get them? You can hardly go wrong with them.

And adding them to your collection of headphones means you get to enjoy what the old school era had to offer when it came to headphones.

Plus, more people will notice you have a sophisticated taste in headphones.

Retro/Vintage Headphone Buying Guide

Not all vintage/retro headphones are the same. There are bad, good, great and the best ones. Although we have listed the best retro/vintage headphones in this article. Here is a guide on how to find them.

Design

The first thing that sets retro/vintage headphones from the rest is the design. These headphones look old school.

They are also made from mostly plastic, wood, leather and metal. If a headphone makes you think that it’s from long ago.

Then it’s probably a retro/vintage headphone. They don’t have sharp angles like how most modern headphones do.

Comfort

Unless you walk in a shop. You can’t directly determine the comfort of the headphones. The only way to do so is to read online reviews of the vintage headphones you eyeing.

Retro/vintage headphones are either on-ear or over-ear. On-ear vintage headphones sit directly on your ear whilst covering a portion of it.

Over-ear headphones cover your ear completely like ear muffs. Both have varying degrees of comfort. But, on average over-ear headphones are more comfortable than on-ear headphones.

Sound Quality

Another factor you can’t tell directly unless you try it out yourself. Fortunately, most retro/vintage headphones sound good. Because in the old school era. They took audio quality seriously.

If you’re shopping for retro/vintage style headphones. Watching YouTube reviews and reading online reviews will give you a fair idea of what you are looking for.

Also, most retro/vintage headphones require an amp if you want to fully enjoy the benefit of superior sound quality.

Connectivity

Wired, wireless or both. Some prefer wired others prefer wireless. But, if you can get a retro/vintage headphone that offers both.

Then you should go for it. Because you enjoy the convenience of having a wireless headphone.

Whiles at the same time plugging a wire in will boost sound quality in terms of lossless and clarity.

Final Thoughts

Having a pair of retro/vintage headphones tell other people of your refined taste in choosing a headphone.

Plus, you get to catch a glimpse of the old school era anytime you wear these headphones. That’s it for the best retro/vintage headphones.

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