Sennheiser HD 8 vs. Presonus HD9 vs. Numark Red Wave: And Our Winner Is…

Between the Sennheiser HD 8, Presonus HD9, and Numark Red Wave; Which is the better pair of headphones?

Here it is ladies and gentlemen. Three highly popular headphones side-by-side facing off. While each pair has its standard ups and downs, they also have their own unique benefits. Depending on what you’re looking for in a pair of headphones will determine which of these might be the best choice for you. After extensive research, personal experience, and reviews; We formulated an in-depth comparison between each one. May the battle commence!  

But first…

What Makes A Pair Of Headphones Good?

  1. Sound Quality: How good the overall audio quality of music, phone calls, or video.
  2. Comfort: The ability to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, or ear pain.
  3. Build Quality: The overall durability and longevity. Able to withstand harsh conditions for extended periods of time.
  4. Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling: If any at all, how well the active noise cancelling or noise isolating abilities are.
  5. Battery Life: How long the battery life of the pair of headphones is at a full charge.
  6. Added Features: A few examples of added features headphones offer can be Bluetooth capabilities, built-in AI assistant, headphone controls, built-in microphone for phone calls, flexibility, rotatable ear cups, etc.

We compared and contrasted each of these factors for the Sennheiser HD 8, Presonus HD9, & Numark Red Wave


Sound Quality

Especially for music listeners, the overall quality of sound is a massive factor in finding your perfect pair of headphones. There are various factors that impact a pair of headphones’ sound quality.

Sennheiser HD 8
Sennheiser hit a home run on this one for its sound quality. The audio is nearly flawless. You will hear an incredibly accurate reproduction of your music. Considering the precise reproduction of music, many DJs and sound engineers use these headphones for mixing, as well. In my opinion, the bass is nearly superb. It’s not too much bass where it gets muddy and boomy. Yet, not too little bass either. You will also enjoy its High SPL of 115dB.

Presonus HD9
If you want a more bass-heavy sounding pair, these are a great choice. The sound quality is very good for the low-price. They precisely customized the frequency response to be from 10 Hz – 26 kHz covering the entire audible spectrum the human ear can pick up. To get excellent sound quality for the price, they use 45mm dynamic neodymium drivers. The sensitivity is at 96dB. The Presonus HD9 was picked as the top choice by Namm in 2018 for editing music! 

Numark Red Wave
With a flat sound quality, there is no EQ or tone manipulation. You will get the accurate quality of sound that the PA is producing. The audio is clear and sounds good. Many DJs use these headphones for mixing. However, with a neodymium magnet, large 50 mm drivers, and voice coil for precise frequency response, these headphones sound fantastic for recreation use, as well.

Overall, the Sennheiser HD 8 has the best sound quality.


The ability for headphones to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, pressure, or ear pain. Considering many people use headphones for commute, air travel, or work; Comfort is a vital factor.

Sennheiser HD 8
For these headphones, comfort is its greatest weakness. While the passive noise isolation abilities are superb, it comes with a trade-off. You’re ears get hot and sweaty due to the extreme closed-back isolation. Most people need to take a break every hour.

Presonus HD9
For all head-sizes, these headphones are very comfortable. The clamping force is just right. It’s not to tight where it hurts, but tight enough to keep the solid noise-isolation abilities. You are easily able to wear them for extended periods without fatigue.

Numark Red Wave
One of the unique features of the Numark Red Wave headphones is its extreme comfort. They are made with breathable protein leather padding that keeps the headphones comfortably for long periods. I highly recommend these headphones if you often travel, considering their comfort for hours. Some people even go as far as using them to take naps in the plane to block out the outside noise.

Overall, both the Numark Red Wave and Presonus HD9 are at a dead tie for their comfort.

Build Quality

What good are your amazingly sounding headphones if they break in a few months? The overall durability and longevity are crucial for any investment you make. Especially for those who need headphones for commute, it’s important they’re able to withstand vigorous traveling conditions consistently.

Sennheiser HD 8
With a rugged and durable build, the quality is absolutely spectacular. They are sturdy and durable. These headphones can withstand vigorous touring conditions. In terms of longevity, a reasonable estimate is about a 15-20 year lifespan.

Presonus HD9
These headphones have a remarkable build quality for their low price. It’s reliable, robust, and able to withstand harsh conditions. Both of the ear cups rotate at 180 degrees, and the elastic extendable ability definitely comes in handy. They are light and flexible, making them an excellent choice for DJs.

Numark Red Wave
I’m personally a massive fan of the overall design of these headphones. In terms of durability and longevity, most people never have any issues. Although we have never experienced any problems, there are a few cases of them breaking within a year. The swiveling ear cups are very convenient.

Overall, the Sennheiser HD 8 has the best build quality.

Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling

Don’t be confused between active noise cancelling and noise isolation headphones. They are both entirely different. Noise-cancelling technology is very unique. Unlike noise-isolating headphones, noise-cancelling headphones do not eradicate outside noise by physical insulation. Within the ear cups, they have a mini microphone that picks up the outside environmental noise. It then triggers a frequency entirely opposite to the outside ambient noise. Thus, canceling out most outside ambient sound.

Sennheiser HD 8
These headphones do not have active noise cancelling capabilities. However, the closed-back earcups provide excellent noise-isolation and sit firmly. One of the things that help securely fit the earcups is its ability to swivel side to side. Even in extremely loud environments like clubs, these work tremendously to isolate noise naturally. Many DJs love them.

Presonus HD9
The Presonus HD9 provides good noise-isolation for those with smaller to medium-sized ears. However, those with more prominent ears may need to look elsewhere, considering the cups are not as big as other headphones on this list. Other than that, the noise-isolation is solid for the price.

Numark Red Wave
These headphones do not have active noise cancelling capabilities. However, they provide excellent natural noise isolation. Considering they were designed for DJs to use in a loud club to find an accurate mix, you will be satisfied with their isolation capabilities. They cover the ear and block naturally block out a substantial amount of outside noise.

Overall, the Sennheiser HD 8 provides the best noise isolation.

Battery Life

Battery life is an overlooked subject when speaking about over-ear headphones. Obviously, the only headphones that have a battery life are those which are wireless. Many headphones on the market do not have wireless capabilities. But for those who do, a more extended battery-life becomes a convenient factor.

Sennheiser HD 8
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

Presonus HD9
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

Numark Red Wave
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

Added Features

Here we summarize each pair of headphones and talk about some of the added features.

Sennheiser HD 8
These headphones do not have wireless Bluetooth, a built-in mic, or any other special features. However, if you’re looking for premium headphones with an accurate sound and incredible bass response, the Sennheiser HD 8 will serve you very well. Coming with the purchase is a 2-year warranty and travel case for added protection.

Presonus HD9
If you’re looking for an affordable pair of headphones primarily to edit music, the Presonus HD9 was picked as the top choice by Namm in 2018! It comes with a 10-foot straight cable that may get annoying to those who prefer a coiled cable. However, most don’t mind. These headphones do not have wireless Bluetooth, a built-in mic, or any other special features.

Numark Red Wave
These headphones do not have any added features. In terms of design, build, and sound quality; These headphones are optimally designed for DJs. They do not have Bluetooth, a built-in microphone, voice-assistant, etc.

Similarities Between The Sennheiser HD 8, Presonus HD9, & Numark Red Wave

  • All are wired
  • None have active noise cancelling
  • All provide passive noise isolation
  • All cover the ear
  • All are very popular
  • All are highly-rated and reviewed

Our Winner

Keep in mind that our opinion is not the end all be all. Like mentioned earlier, everyone has different needs, requirements, and budgets for their headphones. However, our winner is the Sennheiser HD 8 for many reasons. It has superb sound quality, best build quality, and best noise isolation.

Looking for noise-cancelling headphones? See our top choices here.

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Interested in a pair of noise-canceling headphones for under $60? See our top choices here.

6 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $60

If you’re interested in a pair of affordable noise-cancelling headphones, see our top 12 here.

13 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones Under $150: Wireless Bluetooth



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