The Best Headphone Albums Ever

P5 Review: “How do they sound? In a word – brilliant”

There’s something very special about listening to music on headphones. A sense of closeness to the artist, and, of course, with the right headphones, just enough isolation from the hustle and bustle of the outside world to make listening a real pleasure.

And while a great album is always a great album, sometimes a particular recording will lend itself to the intimate atmosphere of a great pair of headphones. Whether those headphones are connected to your home hi-fi or to an iPod for listening on the move, the experience can transport you.

We’d love to know what your favourite headphone listening pleasures are. Whether it happens to be on a pair of Bowers & Wilkins P5 mobile hi-fi headphones or something else.

Here’s a selection of ours just to get you started.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
Read about it here.

Richard Buckner – Devotion and Doubt
Wonderfully recorded, simple guitar and wonderful voice.

David Crosby – If Only I Could Remember My Name.
Gloriously produced, and wonderful on headphones.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – I see a Darkness
A great hi-fi album full stop. Wonderfully intimate recording.

Massive Attack – Mezzanine
If your headphones can do great bass, this is a must-have recording.

What’s your favourite headphone album?


  • nella says:

    Pink Floyd surely…”Dark side of the moon” unforgettable!!!!!

  • LoFi High says:

    Try something You don’t know:

    Funki Porcini – Headphone Sex, Plod, ON
    Grasscut – 1 Inch/ ½ Mile
    Rainstick Orchestra – The Floating Glass Key in the Sky
    Tosca – No Hassle
    Amon Tobin – The Foley Room
    Daedelus – Love to make Music to


  • Fred says:

    Radiohead – KidA

  • patlin says:

    My top 3 headphones albums:

    Depeche Mode – Ultra
    Yello – Touch Yello
    Interpol – Interpol

  • Stephen L. says:

    Goodbye and Hello- Tim Buckley
    Astral Weeks- Van Morrison
    Bryter Later- Nick Drake
    Foxbase Alpha- Saint Etienne
    Contra- Vampire Weekend

    That is a good start….

  • SB22 aka Dave says:

    How about the Jellyfish record Spilt Milk? There is so much going on and with a good pair of open back headphones (currently using the Sennheiser HD238) the sense of space is dizzying at times.

  • Dirk ''DaKieker'' says:

    My favorite headphones albums:
    – Frankie goes to hollywood – Welcome to the pleasuredome
    – Brookly Bounce – Restart
    – Def Leppard – Rock of ages
    – Dire Straits – Brothers in arms
    – Eagles – Eagles MTV Special night (especially Hotel California)
    – Pink Floyd – Wish you were here

  • Max says:

    Tracey Chapman, Give me one reason

    Sounds really nice and is really grooovey

  • Marianne says:

    The Gorrilaz are amazing with the headphones on!

    My all time favourite is Wish You Were Here though.

  • Andrew Fawcett says:

    Some Great recommendations here. Anybody fancy compiling them into a playlist (iTunes, LastFM or the like)?

  • keith jurow says:

    If I had to choose one “headphone” album, it would be The Way Up by the Pat Metheny Group. The sound quality is superb, but also, there are so many little nuances that are missed when listening in the car or elsewhere where there’s ambient noise around. The second one I’d recommend would be Imaginary Day, also by the Metheny Group. Both albums are sonically exceptional.

  • Eric Nino says:

    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach [Rhinestone eyes, White Flag]
    Armin Van Buuren – Wall of Sound, Cut and Run
    Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing
    Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
    Tool – Sober
    Bob Marley – Is this Love

    Just to name a few, if not this list will not end. :)

  • micjackz says:

    “Like Children”-Jan Hamer, Jerry Goodman Anything by early Genesis and/or Peter Gabriel, “Meddle”-Pink Floyd, too many to mention.

  • Gopal Venkat says:

    Le Noise – Neil Young

    Hitchhiker is fantastic

  • Jens (not DK) says:

    Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (the SACD version)

    Exceptional detail and texture, unbelievable dynamics. Possibly the best demonstration ever of why high resolution music is a good idea.

    Incidentally I read above a guy in Mexico wants to get the listed albums on iTunes. Don’t. Apple likes to charge you a full fat price for half fat (i.e. compressed) music. It’s in their power to take the music distribution revolution they themselves created to the next step and distributing better-than-CD music. Step up Apple!

  • Antonio says:

    B.B. king – Blues summit

    Jorge Aragao -Da noite pro dia

    John Mayer -Continuun

    Waterboys -Room to Roam

  • Robert B. Schulein says:

    Hello from Bob Schulein,

    I found many of the recommended recordings engaging and encourage more coverage of this topic by B&W.

    In an effort to bring binaural sound into the mainstream and in essence create a true 3D audio art form, my research has shown that the synergy of sight an sound is a very powerful force in creating convincing “you are there experiences”.

    I call the results ImmersAV Technology meaning the creation of an immersive experience using sound and sight (Audio and Video).

    An additional element of production that I have found to be important is to present the video image from the perspective of a “you are there ” listener.

    I have lectured on the subject around the world and at the Audio Engineering Society

    I have produced a number of representative examples that may be viewed on You Tube.

    For a 10 minute introduction to the technology with demonstrations, please visit:

    All comments encouraged and welcome.

    Thank you

    Bob Schulein

  • Peter Binovsky says:

    Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms (SACD).

    I like listening to Mark Knopfler .He is amazing.

  • Renan Cesar says:

    Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother Suite

    Buddy Guy – Buddy´s Baddest

    Jerry Lee Lewis – Mean Old Man

    Chico Buarque – Construção

  • Renan Cesar says:

    Oh, there is another one.

    Rolling Stones – Stripped

    Excelent sound quality

  • Frode Gundersen says:

    Mr. Bungle – California.

    Analog recording, many different musical styles mixed together, many layers of sound.

    Their Disco Volante sounds good on headphones as well.

  • Apollo Joseph says:

    Hello All,

    most albums sound great on these headphones but if you want to appreciate the phones more, try out any instrumental music particularly any of Chris Botti’s albums and you will note their distinction. The trumpet never sounded any better if i can say so.

  • Ivan says:

    Pink Floyd – Dark side of the moon
    Depeche Mode – Violator
    Led Zeppelin – IV
    David Bowie – The man who sold the world
    MGMT – Congratulations.

  • Sam Smith says:

    Eric Clapton – Change the World & Blue Eyes Blue
    Dire Straits – Telegraph Road
    Muse – The Resistance
    Eva Cassidy – Fields of Gold
    and many more!!

  • scott says:

    Yes-Close to the Edge
    Jethro Tull-Thick as a Brick
    Jackson Brown -Late for the Sky
    Steely Dan-Aja

  • Simon says:

    Floyd – Dark side of the moon
    Floyd – Wish you were here
    Jethro Tull – Broadsword & the Beast
    Eric Clapton – Pilgrim
    Norah Jones – Come Away with Me
    Enya – The Memory of Trees
    Enya – And Winter Came

    Ok its more than 5 but its a tough call……:)

  • Craig says:

    Kid A–Radiohead

  • Mark Pulliam says:

    My #1 favorite is the Tron Legacy soundtrack.

    Other great ones are:
    Radiohead-In Rainbows
    Ladytron-Witching Hour
    Andreas Vollenweider-Book of Roses
    Steve Roach-On This Planet
    Toumani Diabate-Symmetrical Orchestra

    (For what it’s worth, my current favorite headphones are AKG K550.)

  • rafael says:

    As other mentioned before, Kid A is great…

    some albums that surprisingly no one mentioned:

    – Dave Matthews Band – Crash (speccially the song “Say Goodbey” ….great soundscape…
    – Dave Matthews Band – Before These Crowded Streets
    – Alice in Chains – Unplugged
    – Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
    – Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
    – Leftfield – Leftism (for those who like electronic)
    – Anything from Nine Inch Nails, specially The Slip, The Fragile

  • Mark Pulliam says:

    Since my last post, I have switched to the P5s. To me, it feels less like a lateral move than a genuine upgrade. Not only are the build quality, isolation, looks and comfort superior, but so is the sound (which surprises me given that my AKGs are classified as reference cans.

    Oh, and here is a new release to add to the best listening list: The Haunted Man by Bat for Lashes.
    An absolute masterpiece from start to finish.

  • Greg O says:

    Eels -Electro Shock Blues

  • Martin says:

    Em:t 1194 – Woob
    Em:it 3396 – Russell Mills – Undark
    Murcof – The Versailles Sessions

    I have yet to hear the Yello Touch album but I’ve also heard the sound is supposed to be superb.

  • menard says:

    “Destroyed” moby

  • herve says:

    lso frank zappa

  • herve says:

    lso frank zappa ;lather zappa

  • Rod says:

    Muddy Waters : Folk Singer
    Hugh Masekela : Hope
    David Munyon : Pretty Blue
    John Mayer Trio : Try
    David Bowie : best of bowie
    Truly wonderful albums.
    They will impress for various reasons
    but the roots of music are touching and
    something humanity can be very proud of
    and B&W for how we listen to it.
    P5’s and soon to be CM10’s ?

  • Macmvn says:

    Avalon-Roxy Music

  • Matt Watson says:

    I like:
    TESLA-What You Give
    EAGLES-Hotel California (LIVE)
    ALICE IN CHAINS-Nutshell (Unplugged)

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