Types of Headphones: An Overview
What sets apart headphones from a loudspeaker is the ability for an individual user to listen to a source of music or other audio, privately. Over the years, headphones have evolved from a pair of small loudspeakers that were simply held closely to the person’s ear, to a sophisticated technology used for various purposes, including products that are now able to produce high-clarity sounds mainly for the listening of music. Headphones usually have a 3.5mm jack to plug into a source of audio; the more expensive models may utilize wireless Bluetooth technology, which is gaining popularity.
Headphones now come in many shapes and sizes, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. A pair of circumaural headphones for example, usually tends to produce higher-quality sound than a pair of earbuds, while sacrificing some portability with a larger weight and size. Before we get into the detailed explanations of the different types of headphones, we should discuss some important sub variations of each:
These types of headphones have an opening in a portion of the back of the earcups; allowing sound produced by the headphones to go out, while also leaking ambient noise in. The advantage of this is that it tends to give a natural or studio-like sound experience for the user. A disadvantage of this characteristic is that music quality may be hindered when used in a noisy environment; for example if you find yourself using headphones in a crowded gym while working out, closed-back headphones may be a better choice for you.
Within this category also exists a ‘subcategory’ if you can call it that, which still has some sort of opening in the back of the earcup, but is designed in such a way to block most of the external noise from passing through, while still maintaining its original purpose of allowing sound waves to exit. Some like to completely differentiate this design with open-back headphones, but the way I see it, these should just be seen as a slight advancement in the same technology.
The name is pretty self-explanatory; closed-back headphones are sealed by design, meaning there is no opening in the back of the earcups. Although the perception of distance between the sound source and the user is negatively affected due to this design, it allows a stronger bass response to be produced, and has some passive noise-cancellation properties as well.
What are Supra-Aural Headphones?
This design consists of headphones with pads that press directly against the ears. An advantage of these is that they usually can be made smaller in size. The downside is that depending on the individual differences in the size and shape of the ear, they may be uncomfortable after long periods of use.
Personally, I found supra-aural headphones to me the most uncomfortable with earbuds following closely second, and tend to avoid them (although some people love them!). The comfort factor is largely reliant on the size of the earcup as well as the material that is used to press against the ear; unless you can afford some high-end headphones, the quality of this material tends to be mediocre when used in relation with its intended purpose.
What are Circumaural Headphones?
These consist of headphones with pads that go around the ears, rather then press directly against them. The pads are three-dimensional and usually circular, oval, or rounded squares, allowing ears to rest comfortably between. The nature of this design permits a design that allows a full seal from ambient noise; the more expensive products utilize active-noise cancellation technology and often produce exceptional sounding bass, mids, and highs.
The only potentially limiting factor with circumaural headphones is the overall weight and size of the headset. It is essential to pick a brand that uses decent materials in the production of its product, because it is easy to find yourself stuck with a heavy pair of headphones that you find very uncomfortable after long periods of use. It is always recommended not to blindly purchase a pair of headphones simply on sound quality alone, as comfort is also an important factor.
Modern technology allows the design of high-quality circumaural headphones that are also significantly lighter than what was seen as recently as ten years ago, which often weighed in excess of over one pound. Lightweight but durable, metals and plastics are now cheaper to use, and have helped make serious improvements in this regard, as the majority of these types of headphones now weigh between one-quarter and one-half a pound.
What are Earbuds?
Another name for earphones, earbuds are much smaller than both circumaural or supra-aural headphones in that they do not sit on or around the ear, rather they are placed directly into the outside of the ear canal. As technology has continued to improve, a good pair of earbuds can now deliver some very decent sounding music to the user, comparable to even some of the larger headsets; this comes with the advantage of being much smaller and easier to carry. One example of earbuds that nearly everyone has seen before are the standard Apple earbuds; a decent set of stock earbud headphones, but cannot compete with the other categories.
Earbuds are also notorious for hearing loss associated with loud music; unfortunately, most earbuds do not provide the user with any noise-cancellation capabilities, and so people often turn the music up much louder than normally necessary to compensate for a noisy environment.
What are In-Ear Monitors?
Another name for in-ear headphones, in-ear-monitors are often confused with earbuds due to the comparable size and shape. IEM’s are often regarded as being a much higher quality pair of headphones compared to earbuds. This is due to the fact that they actually go into the ear canal with plugs made of silicone, rubber, or a variety of materials, rather than sitting on the outside, which provides a barrier from external noise in the environment. The soft material that the IEM’s use to rest in the ear also tends to be much more comfortable compared with the hard plastic shell of earbuds. Today, earphones, earbuds, in-ear-monitors, and in-ear-headphones are all terms that are used interchangeably; even here on PricenFees, you will see us comparing high quality earbuds and in-ear-headphones all within the same article.
Best Headphones Under $100 Reviews
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Review
The ATH-M40x headphones are first up on our list, and for good reason. Utilizing powerful 40 mm drivers, these headphones deliver some of the highest quality sound you can get for under $100. As expected with a pair of headphones using drivers as large as these, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x’s do have some bulk to them (not in weight, but the size of the headphones themselves). Your first reaction may cause you to question whether or not these would be comfortable over extended periods of use – the simple answer is yes, they are actually very comfortable. The ear cups are designed to rotate freely, and the soft cushion utilized in this circumaural design gently contours around ears of all sizes.
“With the volume cranked up you may feel as if the room should be rattling…The midrange tones are precise and crystal-clear…”
Just to reiterate what was said above in terms of sound quality – these headphones can’t really be beat for under $100. The bass hits hard, and sounds great in the process. In other words, thumping bass on other headphones or earbuds often reaches a point of irritation due to hissing or other distortion in the music – this is not the case for the ATH M40x’s. With the volume cranked up you may feel as if the room should be rattling, but the mids and highs are not at all negatively affected. The midrange tones are precise and crystal-clear. Studio monitor headphones such as these often place great emphasis on high-quality midrange frequencies, as this is where many of the most important elements of music are expressed (vocals, guitars, and other instruments). The higher frequencies are also of exceptional quality on these headphones. If the music requires, the ATH M40x headphones deliver some crisp and respectable highs. Other lower quality products on the market tend to “add” to the high frequencies, which is not ideal in terms of music accuracy – this is not what the Audio-Technica’s will do. They give it only when it is needed.
They sound awesome, they’re comfortable, and with the detachable cables and foldable design, you should have no problem carrying them with you or traveling long distances. Overall, if you’re looking for some great headphones under $100, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x’s are one of your best choices.
2. Brainwavz S5 Review
The Brainwavz S5 IEM’s are built with a metal house design and feel well put together and sturdy enough for the gym and other day-to-day activities. Another feature that stands out immediately after unboxing is the super flat, wide cable that has been chosen for this product. You should probably never have any problems whatsoever with tangling – and will be highly resistant to snag-tears as well. The flat design and the rubber coating keeps reduces noise conduction due to movement of the cable (a common problem for IEM’s).
“If you like a balanced feel to the music, with some heavy impact bass and a sparkle in the treble, you will love the Brainwavz S5 headphones…”
A bag of tips of various sizes is also included to ensure the proper fit. A nice addition is the pair of Comply Foam tips included with purchase – I happen to prefer the custom-fit these have to offer when available. The Brainwavz S5’s are lightweight and comfortable to use. They are not the smallest earbuds we have reviewed, but they are comparable in weight and the added bulk was not an issue for us. The S5’s are designed for over-and-around ear use, and the wide, flat cable rests comfortably against the ear. We jumped around, did pushups, and took these for a run and they remained in position throughout our testing.
The mids and highs sound very good, with vocals and low-mid tones placed in front, and highs placed in the back. The bass is deep and powerful – the bass is full-bodied and reaches a low grumble at times and a tight boom in others. What you will really appreciate with these headphones is how well the bass flows with the rest of the music. The highs, mids, and bass work very well together. If you like a balanced feel to the music, with some heavy impact bass and a sparkle in the treble, you will love the Brainwavz S5 headphones.
For under $100, you will not find another pair of in-ear headphones that sound this great overall. This product is relatively inexpensive, fun to use, and made with hardwearing material that can take a beating.
3. Skullcandy Crusher Review
Today, there are a lot of headphones available on the market. Some are good, some are not good, some are great, and some are the best. The Skullcandy Crusher headphones belong to that last part of that spectrum, and easily fall into our Top 10 list of headphones under $100.
“..an extremely bassy head-crushing set of headphones…thumping and deep but the mids and highs are not completely overshadowed and still offer terrific response..”
Why makes this set of headphones one of the best to buy for under $100? First is the understated, but extremely classy design of the headphones. Skullcandy is known for flashy and hip designs but the Skullcandy Crusher headphones offer a great industrial look that is sure to go with a variety of getups. Small touches like the seams on the ear cushions and the lines on the headband provide a unique monolithic look.
The Crusher is foldable and comes with a detachable cable for increased portability. The Skullcandy Crusher headphones also offer a great comfortable fit on the head with the force of the headbands not too heavy, unlike other headphones that feel uncomfortable and strenuous to wear over long periods of time. The ear cushions feel nice and gentle and provide an easy fit on the ears.
When it comes to sound quality, the Skullcandy Crusher headphones do not disappoint. Skullcandy is known for making hard-hitting bassy audio gear and the Crusher is no exception. In fact, that is the entire point of this pair of headphones: to deliver an extremely bassy head-crushing set of headphones. There is even a dedicated bass slider in the earcups that can pump even more bass to the sound output. Though there is some distortion at high volumes with the bass slider at maximum, songs are still extremely audible. This is normal, and Skullcandy accounts for this problem by giving you the control over how much bass you want at any given moment. The lows are, of course, thumping and deep but the mids and highs are not completely overshadowed and still offer terrific response.
The durability of the headphones is on the top-end, thanks to an excellent quality build that is free of unnecessary seams and a solid reassuring feel to the cans. All in all, the Skullcandy Crusher headphones are one of the best and most affordable in the market because of its excellent design, great sound quality, and a reassuring build quality.
4. Bose SoundTrue Review
There are a lot of choices for headphones available in the market today but the Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones stand out. Check out why this is one of the best headphones to buy under $100.
“..drivers pump out rich, warm bass coupled with steady mids and crystal clear highs that combine to deliver a pleasurable listening experience…
Its design is absolutely vibrant and the headphones come in different colors. The signature discreet Bose design is mixed up a bit with stylish tonal accents and flashy inner earcup designs. The Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones are extremely lightweight, tipping the scales at just about 183 grams. The headphones are sculpted to fit a variety of head types and sizes. Plus, they are exceptionally comfortable with a reassuring fit that does not feel as if a small head jerk will unseat the headphones’ position. The ear cushions also offer a nice gentle grip around the ears and do not feel uncomfortable even when worn for long periods of time.
Sound quality is always a hallmark of Bose and the Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones does not disappoint. The headphones’ drivers pump out rich, warm bass coupled with steady mids and crystal clear highs that combine to deliver a pleasurable listening experience. The signature sound of the Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones is warm but offers no distortion at even the highest of volumes and is absolutely one of the best under $100.
The choice of plastic as the predominant material for the headphones is not particularly surprising given the price range but the overall build quality of the Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones feels overwhelmingly solid. The ear cushions and padding of the headband feel really good when worn and the matte plastic is nice to the touch. The headband does not feel flimsy. In fact, it feels reassuringly solid and looks like it could withstand even a beating. There are also no rattling parts inside the cans that may come loose with movement.
Overall, considering the vibrant style, excellent sound quality, and great build quality, the Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones are definitely one of the best affordable headphones out there.
5. Ausdom M05 Review
Every time you want to relax undisturbed, listening to your favorite music while chilling in favorite hangout, then the Ausdom MO5 headphones are one of your best options.
The Ausdom M05 headphones are comfortable for long use and allow for convenient storage. It comes with an over-ear design and soft ear cushion that brings comfort even during hours of continued use. After a while we forgot they were even there. The M05’s can be conveniently stored with help from its advanced and easily foldable design. These headphones are perfect for travel and can withstand wear and tear without any problems.
“Rock out using the Ausdom MO5 headphones with their combined crystal-clear vocals and rich bass…”
The Ausdom M05’s are specially designed for audio quality, and phone call quality takes a close second – you can use the headphones wired (for stereo audio only), or you can choose to go with the wireless Bluetooth functionality. They provide high quality wireless audio transmission and hands-free calling through Bluetooth v4 technology. There are easy-to-use controls for audio and phone calls, which include a built-in microphone for music streaming and headset functionality.
A full battery charge takes only 2-3 hours. Also, you can use the headphone without charging the battery by connecting the 3.5 mm audio cable to any non-Bluetooth device – you will never have to worry about not having your music if your battery runs out. This headset provides 20 hours of playtime and 250 hours of standby time, which is great – these headphones utilize a 400Am rechargeable battery built into the headphones for maximum battery power. Regarding charging compatibility, it can easily be recharged using a USB charging cable and can be connected to any personal computer, laptop, or other similar personal electronic gadgets with a USB connector.
Rock out using the Ausdom MO5 headphones with their combined crystal-clear vocals and rich bass provided by the full frequency response of 20Hz to 20KHz. These headphones utilize CSR BT v4 + EDR with aptx chips to produce hi-fi sounds that are hard to match. The 40mm speaker drivers result in some heavy-hitting bass and some exceptional mids and highs.
The Ausdom MO5 headphones are not the most popular, but their functionality, durability, great sound quality, and elegant and sleek design – it makes us wonder why these have not gone as mainstream as our other top picks above.
6. Sennheiser HD 380 PRO Review
Looking for a pair of headphones that would suit to your liking and lifestyle can be hard. Seriously, who would even have the time to check headphone specs given today’s busy lifestyle? Sometimes, people just grab what’s the latest or the cheapest set of headphones — only to be disappointed by its performance. If you’re truly looking for the best headphones under $100, the 380 PRO’s would surely please most audiophiles and other avid music listeners.
“The product truly lives up to its name, as it provides professional, quality sounds and performance…”
But here’s some good news for those who want to buy a new pair of headphones: The Sennheiser HD 380 PRO is one of the best quality headphones available in the market with an affordable price. If you’re a person who loves listening to loud music, this is the perfect fit for you. The Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones minimizes external noise with its around-the-ear design that delivers high accuracy sound, as well as excellent passive noise attenuation, making it ideal for home use.
The headphones come with a detachable coiled cord with a mini jack connector and full-size adapter so you can move around hassle-free. The 8-27,000 Hz frequency will give you the right boom in your ears without being distorted. Cool, right? Not only is it good for DJ-ing but it is also useful for listening to audiobooks if you are in public. The sounds it filters through are accurate and clean even after hours of using. Consumers have raved about the comfortable experience while using it, and we happen to agree!
The product truly lives up to its name, as it provides professional, quality sounds and performance. What’s more, these headphones are priced only at under $100, so you’re sure to get your money’s worth for them. They are easy to store, thanks to their slim carrying case, and are the perfect pair to tote if you’re traveling or while on the go.
Using the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones has definitely made our listening to music much more enjoyable during long rides and commutes.
7. Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 Review
Are you having a hard time with your current headphones? Does the audio hurt your ears each time you use it? Worry no more — you can now stay comfortable and relaxed with the new headphones by Skullcandy. Whether you are watching videos on your laptop or PC at home or listening to music through your smartphone, you can now experience superb digital audio in utmost comfort with the Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 headphones.
“..detailed, warm sounds, with some deep bass…overall great audio experience…”
The Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 headphones are an aviator-type headset. They are guaranteed to deliver some detailed, warm sounds, with some deep bass, all while being daring and unique in style. Even better, these headphones can be found on Amazon, and come with a price tag of less than $100.
The Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 headphones are considered by a lot of music experts as one of the best headsets available in the market today. Thousands of audiophiles who have used the S6AVFM-156’s have given positive ratings and feedback about it – and we would have to agree.
This pair is one of the best headsets for individuals looking for an overall great audio experience. It possesses the ability to provide full comfort and support clear conversations. Every package comes with a plush carry case and a 4.3 Mic3 sound cable. The Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 Headphones have a crystal clear sound quality and a nice design for its market price of under $100.
The key features of these Skullcandy headphones include some superb sound performance, there are no compromises on the comfort factor, they have a sleek retro design, and easy volume controls for those on the run.
The Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 headphones are definitely among the best, high-quality headphones within this price range. The audio input and output of these headphones is hard to beat. You do not need to shell out much of your hard-earned money to enjoy a high-end sound experience.
8. SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD Review
Much can be said for the seemingly unending plethora of headphone choices in the market nowadays. There are headphones of all shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. And standing out over a sea of headphones is the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones. Swap till you drop with the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD Headphones.
“..warm sound signature that is capable of pumping out booming, thumping bass…the mids and highs are great in their own light…”
Coming in at a very attractive price of just less than $100, the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones are engineering and form factor marvel. The headphones in their entirety are “swappable,” literally. Every component can be removed and altered, customizable to each person’s preferences.
The headband is extremely flexible and feels like it could withstand a lot of pressure. There are also memory foams on the middle part that touches the head for added comfort. They also come in a myriad of different colors to suit individual preferences. The cans are removable and so is the cable. The cans feature a design that is reminiscent of Dr. Dre’s brand of headphones in which the cans do not completely envelop the ears and instead just push them back — so listening to music while wearing the headphones for long periods of time do not become uncomfortable.
The sound quality of the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones is pretty good, though can’t really compare to our other top-rated headphones above. The drivers emit a warm sound signature that is capable of pumping out booming, thumping bass. While the lows may overshadow the mids and highs a bit, the latter two are still completely audible and sound great in their own light. The sound range is balanced, though SOL REPUBLIC’s particular emphasis on bass comes with noticeable but not too overt audio distortion in the mid to high range. The distortion is only apparent in high volumes, and is generally only an issue with bass-heavy music. Unless you have a trained ear for this kind of thing, you probably would not notice this at all.
The durability of the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones will not be an issue as the headphones are made of high quality materials — the dense plastic feels solid and is reassuring. Overall, the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones are one of the best headphones under $100, especially considering its unique design, its impressive sound quality, and the sturdy design.
9. Sony MDR-RF985RK Wireless RF Review
The Sony MDR-RF985RK Wireless RF (which stands for Radio Frequency) headphones are one of the best headphones to buy for under $100 because of their many user-friendly features. This pair of headphones has a wireless range of up to 150 feet and contains a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 25 hours. It automatically switches on when the headphones are worn and turns off to save battery power when it is removed.
“The sound quality of these headphones is high-end, and delivers a powerful and expressive audio that is fun to listen to…”
Charging these headphones’ battery can take up to around three and a half hours. This is done by simply connecting the headphones to the transmitter base station. Inputs for these headphones are 2x RCA Phono and a 1 x 1/8” or 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack.
These headphones also contain 40-mm / 1.5” drivers which contain ferrite magnets to provide sound reinforcement. The sound quality of these headphones is high-end, and delivers a powerful and expressive audio that is fun to listen to. It contains a noise reduction feature for minimal transmission of noise in order to make listening to music, watching movies, or playing video games a better experience for the user. The earpiece sensitivity reaches up to 100 db.
The Sony MDR-RF985RK Wireless RF headphones have a radio frequency of wireless analog of 900 MHz for communication purposes. Its frequency response is 10 Hz to 22 Hz for good sound reproduction.
The volume of these headphones is controlled by a rotary system. Choosing channels are controlled with an easily accessed side switch. Tuning of the speakers can be manipulated either on the headphones itself or at the base.
The headphones’ system is a closed-dynamic one, and is designed for over-the-head use. Its primary purpose is for home music, movies, and games. The headband is wide and easy to adjust, making it comfortable for any user’s head. It also comes with a 3.3 m tangle-free wire.
Overall, Sony MDR-RF985RK Wireless RF headphones are a great buy – they have some deep bass, quality mids and highs, are comfortable, and sturdy enough to last quite a while.
10. AudioTechnica ATH-ANC33iS Review
In recent years, it would seem that, as advances in transportation and technology are engineered, the louder the surroundings grow. Even in the once-quiet suburbs, one cannot escape the hustle and bustle of city life; even the faraway and seemingly never-ending honks of passing vehicles and public transportation find their way to more serene neighborhoods. And with the rising popularity of on-the-go music players, the noise reduction capabilities of headphones are becoming the consumers’ most urgent demands.
“The sound output is crisp, with rich bass, mid-range, and high tones. Coupled with its noise-reduction capability…”
Thankfully, noise-cancelling in-ear headphones like the travel-friendly AudioTechnica ATH-ANC33iS earbuds provide amazing noise-reduction features without doing away with comfort, style, or sound quality. In fact, they were made especially for environments with high ambient noise, such as airplanes, train stations, and your everyday city streets. The company description boasts of a 90% reduction in ambient noise, with the help of a tiny device inside the buds that promotes noise reduction.
The sound output is crisp, with rich bass, mid-range, and high tones. Coupled with its noise-reduction capability, the AudioTechnica ATH-ANC33iS is a tiny music monster. As for its physical features, these headphones come with three interchangeable ear pieces — small, medium, and large — for your listening convenience and personal preference. A pair of foam tips, to help reduce background noise, is also included. A microphone (for calls and video chats) and controller (for controlling music) are also available in-line, with the former being omnidirectional and thus obliterates the need to speak directly into it.
As indicated above, these headphones are especially ideal for constant travelers, as they are portable and can be packed lightly. The earbuds themselves are designed to provide comfort while walking, jogging, or pushing your way onboard an awaiting train.Unfortunately, the ANC33iS headphones do not seemingly live up to the hyped 90% NR. As can be gleaned from the experiences of other users, its NR capability is less-than-stellar compared to other brands.
But on its own (and for under a hundred bucks!), and the fact that they do not have the added benefit of surrounding the entire ears, the ANC33iS packs a punch and do great as far as noise-cancellation goes. For those looking for a relatively cheap set of headphones with a more than average performance rating, give the ANC33iS a try.
Best Headphones Under $200 Reviews
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Review
Everything else considered, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones are simply the best choice you can make for under $200. With excellent sound quality, a light-weight portable design, and the durability that is needed to ensure you don’t have to worry about buying another pair of headphones in a matter of months, its hard to find a reason not to buy these.
“The sound quality is superb, with a wide sound stage, deep bass, and some crystal-clear mids and highs…”
For those who want some stylish headphones these should definitely do the trick. With a simple, but sleek design, they happen to look very cool in person.
Additionally, these headphones make up for their size with a collapsible design. You simply just need to fold and rotate the ear cups into any desired position, and wallah – throw it in your bag or your purse.
The sound quality is superb, with a wide sound stage, deep bass, and some crystal-clear mids and highs. The heavy bass flows in the background and does not overwhelm, but at the same time provides just enough thump for those bass heads out there. All genres of music sound equally fantastic, unlike some other headphones we have reviewed which sound nice when listening to certain genres of music, and not so great in others. Whether you listen to hip-hop, dubstep, rock, country, classical, or jazz, these headphones will blow you away.
Oh, did we mention the fact that these headphones are very comfortable? Unfortunately, everyone has had to experience that uncomfortable earache after extended use of a pair of crappy earbuds or headphones. This is not the case with the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x’s. In fact, one of our staff members went ahead and used these headphones throughout an entire 9-hour international flight, without the slightest hint of discomfort. Even when the music was off and with some help from the sound isolation that these headphones provide, he “slept like a baby”. This demonstrates just how comfortable these cushioned ear-cups are.
If you’re looking for the best headphones for under 200 bucks, you found them! Not surprisingly, most other experts agree, and rate these headphones as being superior to the other products within the same price range. These easily compete with some of the more expensive headsets.
2. Sennheiser HD 598 Review
The HD 598’s securely fit to your ears, and comfortably rests without any unnecessary pressure or tension on the sides of your head. The headphones may look a bit bulky, but are actually very lightweight, which is nice.
“..they sound great with a wide sound stage and an overall balanced sound…”
Sennheiser consistently manufactures great earbuds and headphones in all price ranges. The Sennheiser HD 598 headphones are no exception. With sound quality comparable to the ATH-M50x’s we reviewed above, it is not surprising that these are highly recommended by our PricenFees review team, other experts in the field, and through user reviews across the web. Overall sound quality is great, but may be a little bit lax more when it comes to the edgy bass that other headphones are able to provide. This is not to say that these headphones are lacking at all in sound quality, in fact they sound great with a wide sound stage and an overall balanced sound. The bass, mids, and highs are all delivered to your ears with precision, and do not drown each other out.
The only downside (or in some cases a positive feature) is the eye-catching cream color that envelops a large part of the design; this is paired with brown earcup pads and some high-gloss brown finish on a portion of the headband. If you tend to gravitate towards the more “all black” design when it comes to headphones, these may not be for you. If you happen to be open to other colors, this classy design may be just what you are looking for.
The soft cream-colored design matches the dark brown nicely, and makes for an expensive-looking product. If you’re looking for some crystal clear and balanced audio, and a classic design, these may be the best headphones for you for under $200.
3. RHA T10i Review
If you’re looking for a smaller design, some earbuds (technically in-ear headphones) such as these should be your top pick. The RHA T10i in-ear headphones sound fantastic and easily take first place when it comes to the best earbuds under $200. It is hard to compare the sound quality of in-ear headphones to a pair of classic design headphones; it is like comparing apples with oranges. Due to the small design, most earbuds are inherently at a disadvantage when it comes to the sound quality that they can produce.
“The mids and highs are precise. The bass is deep. And they all flow together seamlessly… these earbuds show-off a little bit too much – they make it look too easy…”
A nice perk – these earbuds are designed with stainless steel, which is very easy on the eye and ensures that you will not be shopping for another pair of earphones for quite some time. The lightweight design and a choice between 10 different ear tips, you can be sure these will fit securely and will not shake loose.
The RHA T10i’s truly sound exceptional, even when compared to their larger counterparts. All genres of music sound equally great. Even with an overall smaller bass response, the in-ear design makes it seem like they thump just as much if not more than the other headphones we have reviewed.
The mids and highs are precise. The bass is deep. And they all flow together seamlessly. In fact, these earbuds show-off a little bit too much – they make it look too easy.
4. Beyerdynamic DT-880 Review
With a semi-open ear cup design, these headphones provide an open sound experience, whilst still maintaining some degree of ambient noise filtration. If you are unclear as to what the differences are between open-back, semi-open, or closed-back headphones are, feel free to scroll back up for a detailed explanation.
“The mids and highs flow nicely, and never crackle or hiss at high volumes…”
The overall design seems very solid, and the build quality of these premium headphones can be felt as soon as they are on. The Beyerdynamic DT-880s are slightly heavier than some other headphones we have reviewed, but is nothing dramatic and should not turn you away if you are set on buying this product.
The sound is great, an overall balanced frequency response; nothing too extreme when it comes to bass, which may be appealing to some. The mids and highs flow nicely, and never crackle or hiss at high volumes (and they shouldn’t with the 250 Ohms!). The cushioned ear cup pads are comfortable and fit snugly over the ears.
5. AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Signature Review
Quincy Jones, the music producer, vouched for these, and so do we. Although it is hard to compete with the our first 4 choices above, these put up a good fight and have their own place when it comes to a decent pair of headphones. They sound great. They look pretty cool too. With a wide sound stage and some crisp mids and highs, it is no surprise that these tend to be the recipient of great reviews. The materials that are used to make these headphones are high-quality and durable.
“With a wide sound stage and some crisp mids and highs…”
The ear cups have soft foam padding and feel soft to the touch. The AKG’s are a tad heavier than the other headphones we favored above, but nothing too bad. If you like the Quincy Jones’ style and are looking to invest in some flashy headphones, these may be just for you.
If you can do without the Quincy Jones Signature, our other top picks seem to have more bang for the buck when it comes to sound quality and comfort.
6. VSonic GR07 MK2 Bass Edition Review
Next up on our list is another pair of high-end earphones, which are highly regarded among those audiophile bass heads out there. While not exactly cheap, the VSonic GR07 MK2 Bass Edition earbuds are still well below the usual price range from other high-end headphones made by Shure or Westone, for example. Fitted with 11mm bio-cellulose drivers, the VSonic GR07 MK2’s deliver exceptionally sounding, well-balanced music. In terms of style, these in-ear headphones stand apart from the rest with their beveled rectangle design (which actually looks quite cool). The manufacturer suggests wearing these earphones over and around the ear – I had no problems wearing them like other standard earbuds, but by all means if it is more comfortable stick with using them over and around the ear (for those of you who plan to wear them while playing sports or at the gym, the over-the-ear cable guides included in the package are nice to have).
“The powerful bass is lovely, and integrates smoothly with the mids and highs. The low-mids are also enhanced…”
The VSonic GR07 MK2 Bass Edition headphones are lightweight and comfortable. Designed with a swivel-nozzle feature, and 13 pairs of soft silicon ear tips in numerous shapes and sizes ensures the perfect fit. Additionally, a pair of foam ear tips is also included in the packaging, which is nice.
The VSonic GR07 MK2 earphones definitely excel when it comes to sound quality. Passive noise isolation capabilities, which should not to be confused with active noise cancellation, we rated to be at an above-average level. The powerful bass is lovely, and integrates smoothly with the mids and highs. The low-mids are also enhanced on the Bass Edition. For those of you who listen to bass heavy music such as hip-hop, rap, heavy metal, reggae, or dubstep, a good pair of headphones, which delivers a generous amount of bass, is ideal.
Overall, the VSonic GR07 MK2 Bass Editions were designed for the consumer looking for some extra bass, while still maintaining that exquisite sound quality the standard version VSonic GR07 MK2‘s are able to provide.
7. Sony MDR10RNC Review
Today’s headphone market is saturated with a variety of headphones, each having their own gimmick to set themselves apart. Then there are the no-nonsense headphones that focus only on the fundamentals – great sound quality, comfort, a premium design, and sturdy build quality. The Sony MDR10RNC headphones succeed in just that. Why are they some of the best headphones to buy for under $200?
“The headphones offer deep, soul-pounding bass at little to no distortion even at loud volumes. The mids and the highs are present and sound great…”
First is the design, which is absolutely Sony. The Sony MDR10RNC headphones has a design reminiscent of Sony’s line of headphones, which is characterized by simple, nondescript looks coupled with a particular emphasis on the cans. Indeed, the industrial look of the MDR10RNC is very nondescript, dominated by black with a few silver metal and red accents. The left earcup features most of the headphones’ controls. It houses the 3.5mm audio cable input, the power button, and the noise cancellation controls. The right earcup, on the other hand, houses the compartment slot for the removable AAA battery used to power the noise-cancellation technology. The Sony MDR10RNC headphones also ship with two audio cables with one featuring inline playback controls and a microphone.
Comfort is one of the MDR10RNC’s strengths as it can be worn for long periods of time. The headband has foams and is not too tight. The Sony MDR10RNC headphones are very light and do not feel overbearing when worn. The earcups swivel for additional comfort and provide a gentle but steady cushion to the ears. The build quality is also fantastic with a solid, premium feel that is nice to the touch.
Sound quality is also a strong point of the Sony MDR10RNC headphones especially considering other offerings at its price range. The headphones offer deep, soul-pounding bass at little to no distortion even at loud volumes. The mids and the highs are present and sound great – but sometimes seem to be overpowered by the hard-hitting bass. The headphones have one additional perk albeit a very useful one – the noise cancellation capabilities of the MDR10RNC are really standout and block most outside noise for a wonderful listening experience.
Overall, the elegant but discreet design, the comfortable fit of the headphones, the fantastic build quality, and the strong sound output make the Sony MDR10RNC headphones one of the best headphones available under $200.
8. Beats Solo 2.0 Review
No products found.
No products found.
In recent years, Beats has established itself as a strong player in the world of sound engineering. After the release of the popular Dr. Dre line, the company’s output has had its ups and downs, but its sleek style has never gone out of fashion. With some of its latest on-ear headphones — the Solo 2.0 — Beats could just manage to erase its previous version’s less than stellar performance.
“Keep the bass thumpin…an overall sound signature geared towards the hip-hop, rap, and dubstep genres…”
Speaking of style, the Solo 2.0 is no exception. It comes in black, gray, blue, red, pink, and white, with a glossy finish that the company described as an automobile finish. With a conservative price tag, it is well-worth the expense, if only for the fashion statement one will be making toting the Beats Solo 2.0 headphones around.
However, early users decried the lack of matte-finished sets available, since the aforementioned glossy finish makes the headphones vulnerable to fingerprint marks. A common problem in previous versions was the headband breaking in the middle. This issue is less likely to occur with the Solo 2.0, as it was engineered to be more durable than its predecessors. The overall design is also sleeker, and while it feels heavier, it is not in any way clunkier. If anything, the slight weight increase was due to the improvements made by Beats’ engineers, which means these headphones are better and stronger compared to the company’s older outputs.
As with previous versions, they are foldable, but with no visible screws this time around. The cables are likewise flexible and tangle-free, and can be removed if one prefers a wireless experience. Taking calls and controlling music is also made easier by Beats’ signature cable technology.
The sound quality has also improved, with the company’s signature strong bass undertones, some clear mids and highs, and an overall sound signature geared towards the hip-hop, rap, and dubstep genres. It is well-equipped to improve your listening experience with better noise isolation features, making it perfect for noisy environments, such as gyms, airports, and city streets.
The Solo 2.0 is also equipped with soft on-ear pads to ensure a custom fit. Some users might be put off by the snug fit, but the memory foam feature ensures that the longer one wears them, the more comfortable it gets. The Solo 2.0 is also compatible with a variety of devices, including iOS-run products.
No products found.
No products found.
If you want some durable and stylish headphones, look no further. Beats Solo 2.0 can offer this, as well as an improved audio experience overall. Keep the bass thumpin with the Beats Solo 2.0’s.
9. Jabra REVO Review
No products found.
No products found.
Expensive headphones normally assure quality. However, some headphones like the Jabra REVO headphones offer similar quality even though they are less than $200. This product offers unparallel durability. The compact headphones are made of high quality aluminum and steel framework, ensuring that the product is safe even it accidentally falls on the ground. It is shatterproof with the main earpieces protected by cushion, ensuring they won’t get damaged in cases of shock.
“high-caliber sound quality for both bass and midrange sounds. Its full-spectrum sound can compete with other expensive headphones, leaving a lot of users satisfied”
Aside from the main earpieces, the Jabra REVO headphones also have flexible headbands that can withstand pressure and bending. Its earphone jack can also be detached and stored away. This feature prevents the cord from twisting and damages, which is a common problem among headphones.
Each part has undergone durability testing. The headband is bent thousands of times while the cable can withstand 15 kilograms of pressure. Drop testing has also been conducted. Results show that the headphones are fine even after falling off from a height of 2 meters.
The Jabra REVO receives a thumbs-up as it offers high-caliber sound quality for both bass and midrange sounds. Its full-spectrum sound can compete with other expensive headphones, leaving a lot of users satisfied with its quality. It delivers solid bass sounds leaving you appreciative of each beat.
Jabra REVO offers utmost comfort and convenience. Its earpieces fit comfortably and securely. Additional features for comfort are the soft, supple cushions that guarantee ease when worn.
Its volume button helps in convenient sound adjustment. Unlike other headphones, this product has a built-in microphone and in-line remote compatible with mobile phones’ calling features. Also, earpieces are labeled with “right” and “left” to make sure users will wear them properly – something you probably wouldn’t think of as a problem, but mixing the sides up is a relatively common issue among headphones users.
This headphone has a small form factor that will match everyone’s personal style. It will complement each phone, music device, and portable device’s designs. It comes in a clean color combination of white and light gray.
No products found.
No products found.
Overall, the Jabra REVO headphones possess all the great qualities that people want from other expensive headphones. High-end sound quality paired with its Bluetooth connectivity, this product is ideal for those who love to comfortably listen to music with expensive-quality sound on a budget.
10. Monster DNA Review
The Monster DNA On-ear headphones are one of the best audio accessories that you can get below $200. It is customizable and music can be shared with someone using the handy dual ports built into the design. When it comes to audio quality, the bass is pretty great but on higher volumes, it almost feels as if it creeps into the mids and highs, which become a bit harsh-sounding.
“..great choice if you are a fan of deep bass…wide variety of colors for customization and the funky design make it a great choice for audiophiles on a budget…”
When it comes to its design, the DNA looks innovative with its triangular earpieces and pads. There are a variety of customizations you can choose from (a total of 14 color schemes). In addition, the DNA has a rubberized support cushion on the underside of the headband. The earpads are soft, but it can get a bit uncomfortable after extended use (4+ hours). The DNA has two flat removable cables (one cable has a mic for phone calls) which is a good thing since you don’t need to replace the whole kit and caboodle if the wires fray.
Concerning performance, Monster DNA functions well with moderate/mid-level volume. However, at this price range, the volume concern shouldn’t be existent. With the Pure Monster Sound technology, the DNA headphones deliver amazing audio and great bass. The headphones are a great choice if you are a fan of deep bass, you just need to avoid listening to music at elevated volume for extended periods. Overall, the Monster DNA’s have some good sound quality for under $200.
Music sharing is one of the nice features of Monster DNA. The dual audio ports allow you to have an instant “listening party” and share your music with another person. The good thing about the sharing feature is that it doesn’t distort the sound when sharing it with a friend.
One downside of the Monster DNA is it does not have noise-cancelling technology when placing calls; however, the headphones deliver clear reception. If you are making a call on a busy street, the receiver of the call will notice the background noise but it doesn’t appear to overly disrupt the call from what we’ve seen.
All-in-all, Monster surely delivered with these headphones. With a wide variety of colors for customization and the funky yet stable design, it’s worth having if you’re an audiophile on a budget.
Best Headphones Under $300 Reviews
Usually, in selecting a pair of headphones, a prospective customer is faced with an avalanche of choices to consider. There are a myriad of headphones available spanning different brands, lines, and models. But an important question to ask is “what to look for when shopping for the best headphones under $300?” This happens to be because the $300 price point is arguably the sweet spot for purchasing the best headphones. If you’re looking to spend a little bit less than $300, check out our guides for the best headphones under $100 or $200. If you’re looking for the best of the best, check out our guide for the top headphones under $500.
There may be many cheap headphones available out there but the quality often leaves something to be desired. Headphones costing more than $300 may make consumers feel as if they are spending too much, and the cost-to-benefit ratio begins to increase sharply as you continue to go up in price. We went ahead and outlined the top 10 best headphones for under $300 to help you with your decision.
There are many factors to consider in purchasing the right kind of headphones for you. Basically, the different queries a customer may ask can be summed up in a single sentence: What do you look for in some of the best sounding headphones under $300? The answer is as simple as reading the rest of this article where we have outlined some of the basic points for you.
The first thing to consider is style. As something a customer will potentially be seen wearing in public, headphones should be visually attractive as it will be, for all intents and purposes, an extension of the customer’s style. There are a bevy of products today that give an importance to the headphones’ visual flair, coming in an assortment of styles, materials, and colors that customers can choose from. Also, style should include not only looks, but their intended function. If you plan to use them them for mixing or studio recording, get some studio headphones. Do you plan on playing sports, working out, or running? Maybe you should find the best bluetooth headphones to avoid any tangles or snags.
Another factor, and equally important, is the comfort and the fit of the headphones when worn for extended periods of time. There are a lot of headphones that are too stiff that wearing them for more than an hour makes ears feel squished and sore. Other headphones may be too loose that turning your head while wearing them makes the headphones fall off which can be quite annoying. Other headphones may use materials that become irritating to the ears while constantly being worn. The best headsets will also be the most comfortable headphones.
Next thing to consider is sound quality. Headphones without great sound quality are like sports cars stripped of their engines. The most important thing to observe in sound quality is a natural, neutral sound signature. Neutral headphones work great with different kinds of music genres and are not overly bassy like some other headphones are and not too “tin-can like”. Another thing to consider when it comes to sound quality is a great sound stage that accurately recreates instrumental placements.
Portability is another factor to consider as today’s customers will want to take their music everywhere with them. People would not want to lug around overly bulky headphones that do not fold or have earcups so big that stuffing it in an everyday bag would seem impossible. Portability is key for today’s headphones where consumers should look for lightweight headphones that would fit in most peoples’ everyday gear.
Finally, durability is an important thing to consider should potential consumers want to invest in a product that is worth their hard-earned money. A durable pair of headphones consists of high quality materials from the cables used to drivers inside the earcups to finally the flexibility of the headbands. If durability is a concern, look for the build quality of the headphones where the headbands are not too flimsy as to break, the drivers do not rattle when shaken, and the cables are thick enough to handle daily use, and then some.
Of course the first difference is the balanced mixture of all the factors mentioned above. Since there are a lot of available products in the market, it may seem that when one possesses a certain good trait, it already is a worthy product to buy. But it is important to remember that lackadaisical performance in the other factors will irritate consumers about the product they have bought. Some headphones may have great design and build quality, but their sound quality is all bass and nothing else, leaving a muddled listening experience full of nauseous bass-thumping. Even the best bass headphones will have some deep and hard-hitting bass, but will also nurture the high-end notes. The mids and highs are equally as important.
Other products may have excellent sound quality, but may be hampered by bad build quality that feels like it may give up after just a couple of weeks of use or may be too heavy and uncomfortable to wear after long periods of time, and are certainly not portable enough to lug around everyday. The best headphone juggles all the important factors perfectly and gives customers the best product experience in headphones for their money.
1. Sennheiser HD 600 Review
The Sennheiser HD 600 rocks a gorgeous, shiny stone marble-finish design that evokes subtlety and elegance that few other headphones can match. The finish, while glossy, is not a magnet for fingerprints and is really great when paired with the open metal grilles, which do a great job protecting the headphones’ pair of powerful drivers. The design of the earcups pivots slightly horizontally and vertically to provide best in class fit to most head shapes and sizes, while at the same time providing maximum comfort while wearing. The earcups are padded, even on the insides, with soft materials that fit most ears perfectly.
“The bass is deep, accurate, and gets very low – the mids and highs are just as intense and carried out with precision…”
The headband is laden with four pieces of foam that are contoured for better comfort. The sound quality of the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones is a landmark for most audiophiles and one of the best in its class, staying as a standard for neutral sound for more than 20 years. It has an extremely neutral sound signature which is perfect for most types of music, and provides a clear spatial map of all the instruments and vocals present in a track – in other words, an excellent soundstage and wide enough even for the most highly detailed music. It also boasts of neodymium ferrous magnet systems which are computer optimized, delivering excellent sensitivity and natural, accurate sound reproduction with minimal to no intermodulation distortion. The bass is deep, accurate, and gets very low – the mids and highs are just as intense and carried out with precision.
The open air drivers in its design give better open and dynamic range, bringing a tremendously transparent sound. Unlike other headphones with an unpleasant importance for the lows, the sound signature of the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones is natural, providing for an even listening experience throughout the high’s, mids, and lows that make up an excellent sound spectrum. For a pair of headphones which are not foldable, the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones are surprisingly portable, thanks in large part to its extremely lightweight build at only 0.57lbs.
The OFC copper cables are also detachable should people want to put it in bags, which also helps avoid and snagging or tearing while being stored away. The cables are extremely durable, thanks to Kevlar reinforcement. The durability of the headphones themselves are also not an issue as there are no creaks within the build quality, no rattling parts, and no flimsy materials with only high quality plastics used for the body.
Coupled with an international 2-year warranty, the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones are certainly one of the best for under $300 and arguably, one of the best value headphones currently available in the market today.
2. Shure SRH1440 Review
Sometimes, life can be too noisy that all you want to do is shut the noise out and listen to some feel-good music to calm you down or help you deal with stress. If you love music and are looking for the best, high quality headphones on the market, you might want to check out Shure’s SRH1440’s. They are optimized for professional and personal use.
The SRH1440 headphones have an open-back, full-size over-the-ear design and detachable straight cables. It’s large but its lightweight design and gentle earpad pressure make up for it and make for a cozy and comfortable fit. However, it doesn’t fold flat so it may not be the headphones for traveling listeners. The black plastic headband, which is padded and oval-shaped, have a quality feel. The open backs are also much cooler on your ears than a closed pair so the velour doesn’t stick to your skin like synthetic leather cups do.
The Shure SRH1440 Professional Open Back headphones are more than just a simple pair of headphones. It provides full-range audio with great detailed highs and rich bass. Its relatively low impedance (37 ohm) and high sensitivity sound great and are perfect with any portable music players, and at home use. It can also be plugged into a receiver or dedicated headphone amplifier. The open-back design may hinder private listening since the sound will be audible to anyone within a few feet. However, you can still hear enough to know what’s going on in your environment. The headphones do a good job distinguishing vocals and instruments while maintaining a nice ambiance that are not irritable to the ears.
The SRH1440 is a comfortable full-size headphone that’s unique in many aspects. It looks and feels that it’s going to last long, more than ordinary headphones. It’s so comfortable that you’d be happy to wear these anywhere all day long. The mids and highs are crisp and work well with the bass response and the low frequencies are perfectly represented.
With its good looks, rich sound quality, and great durability, you will absolutely get your money’s worth with this set of headphones.
3. Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000 Review
Pioneer’s newly released Pro DJ HDJ-2000 headphones are packed with features that make it worth more than its retail price of $299. At this price range, buyers are getting the best headphones that their money could afford. When it comes to style, durability, sound quality, and portability, this pair of headphones is superior to most brands and models around.
Looks can be deceiving, but that’s not the case with the latest Pioneer headphones. Its sleek design features a driver unit of a diaphragm of the best material and ideal thickness, and a voice coil for balancing the base and treble sounds. These enable DJ’s to listen sharply, even to danceable and fast tunes, during live performances.
Comfort is also one of the best features of this headphone model. It is covered by soft leather which gives a smooth touch to the skin. It is flexible and fits snugly on any head size. The ear pads and head pad are soft and feel comfortable to wear, even for long hours. The housing can be turned at 90 degrees flexibly, making it possible to listen to high-definition music even if the head pads are rested at the shoulders or with only one ear. How convenient is that?
As headphones for professional DJs, the Pro DJ HDJ-2000 is built to withstand regular and long-haul use. Its Mini XLR connector is removable and makes it easier to replace in case of damage. This keeps the unit useful despite some expected wear and tear due to long-term use.
After use, the headphones can be folded and stored neatly in a lesser amount of space than most headphones require for storage. With this kind of portability, the Pro DJ HDJ-2000 is easy to take to any gig as the ultimate companion for music lovers and musicians.
For DJ’s who love being stylish and exuding a futuristic modern vibe while jamming, these headphones are perfect for the job. The ear pads are designed with an aluminum ring that matches the design of the Pioneer CDC player, displaying a degree of sophisticated style.
The Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000 is one of the best headphones for under $300. Both its inside and outside features are too fabulous to pass up on.
4. Audio Technica ATH-M70X Review
The Audio Technica ATH-M70X is perfect for professional studio use but is just as good as for personal use. With its 45-mm large-aperture drivers and ability to maintain perfect sound balance after reproducing both extreme high and extreme low frequencies, the headphones are most ideal for studio mixing and tracking, audio forensics, post production, and mastering usually completed by music or audio professionals – it is no wonder that these headphones sound excellent when it comes to casual music listening.
Because listening with style is just as important, this model has a very sleek design that makes it attractive and classy. While in use or just simply hanging over the shoulders, it is still eye-catching, with its metal components matching its black earmuffs and headpiece or headband. The metal component of the headpiece actually makes it more durable. The headband’s adjustment has its own click-sound to ensure it’s locked in place.
Its properly contoured earmuffs are sealed tightly for better sound isolation, making it very comfortable to use even for long audio playing sessions or even during long travels. It doesn’t hurt the ears unlike cheaper brands. The earmuffs can also swivel up to 90 degrees in both directions to make it easier for the individual to use.
The Audio Technica ATH-M70X is made of lightweight material. Compared to the other M-series headphones, it may be a little on the heavier side, but it’s still portable — it’s still not going to strain the head for long playing sessions. It’s also not designed to be collapsible because it is designed for professional studio use. It comes with a hard shell case for better protection.
It has excellent and high quality audio that other brands find it difficult to match. ATH-M70X has a purer sound than other models, making it perfect in neutralizing sounds. Bass is definitely out of the picture, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it because that is what professional headphones do: They neutralize the balance between highs and lows to make the true sounds — pure and clean — come out. If a person is looking for more bass, they have to cross this out of their list and check out something else, the bass is definitely there, but it sounds exactly like the artist intended. In other words, unless you plan to listen to bass heavy music like hip-hop, rap, reggae, or dubstep, the bass may sound a little but under-achieved.
Though it may be ideally great for professional use, the headphones are also great for personal use. Take note that quality may not be what you expect, though.
Most online dealers offer the Audio Technica ATH-M70X for less than $300. And with this kind of quality, it definitely gets a thumbs-up for both casual, and professional studio use — they are worth every penny.
5. Beyerdynamic DT-150-250 Review
If you ever find yourself looking for a pair of great quality headphones, try the Beyerdynamic DT-150 (250 ohm) headset. They are excellent to use for broadcasting, filming, recording, or simply for personal use.
The Beyerdynamic DT-150 headphones have a good bass sound that can vary from instrument to instrument. The sounds are so distinct that you can actually differentiate (and quite clearly at that) one instrument from another. The midrange is clean and the vocals have multiple depths. The sound these headphones produce is very much transparent and clean with no added grain sound. It actually feels like you are listening to music or audio live! The sound may also feel so natural as if you are outside and enjoying nature – in other words, the sound produced is very balanced and natural.
The cushioned earpads fit snugly and comfortably. They are awesome for long-term use. The pressure they put on your ears are just enough to completely isolate all ambient noises yet can still give enough comfort. The headband can actually be adjusted to fit any head shape and size, thus making them more personalized for you. You are assured that you will attain maximum comfort when using these headphones. Also, the earpads are soft and can be molded perfectly to conform to — and not crush — your earlobes.
If you are worried about the heaviness, you don’t have to. The Beyerdynamic DT-150 headphones are light, weighing at only 250 grams. You may even sometimes forget you’re wearing them because they truly are so light and comfy.
Lastly, it has a great design that is just so cool. You wouldn’t actually mind using them in public, whether you’re just hanging out with friends or alone. Users will surely like its classy and smart-looking appearance.
With a price of less than $300, a cool and modern design, quality materials, and good performance, the Beyerdynamic DT-150 (250 ohm) headphones will definitely give you plenty of bang for your buck.
6. Shure SE425-V Review
Shure Incorporated — the manufacturer of the Shure SE535-S and SE420-S In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) — introduces these leading products’ lovechild: the Shure SE425-V. One of the major audio products corporations delivers another innovation yet again. The SE425-V is designed for the exacting standards of one’s delicate tastes but all the while being more durable than its parents.
This pair of IEMs packs dual high-definition microdrivers that essentially signify a sectioned tweeter and woofer for a more balanced music experience. The bass is tastefully understated, which accentuates the cleanliness of the highs and mids. Mids are well-adjusted, silky smooth, and clear. The instruments are well-separated, and the music is extremely detailed and clean. Highs are amplified but not overly emphasized. Melodies will glide through the ears with no trace of the elements bleeding into each other.
The covering of the Shure SE425 is made of hard plastic that provides more convenience when it comes to inserting and removing these IEMs from the ears. Available in metallic silver or clear, the color and style are both muted and professional. There is also an array of ear sleeves from which one can hunt for the perfect fit to achieve maximum sound isolation and noise cancellation (up to 37 dB). The varied sizes and fit of the sleeves are also designed for superior comfort and long-lasting wearing time.
It comes with robust, yet light, detachable cables that rotate 360 degrees to avoid snags and tangles, courtesy of its gold-plated MMCX connector. The cable also disconnects for easy replacement and customization. Included are handy memory wires to loop behind the ears to avoid wire disturbances.
The Shure SE425-V is as portable as it gets with its detachable wires and tough travel case for a guaranteed safe and tangle-free journey. What’s more, given all its awesome features, it is reasonably priced at just under $300.
7. Ultrasone HFI-780 Review
Close-backed headphones have always had the problem of outputting canned sound. Sure, there are a lot of them that sound great and are certainly better than their open-backed counterparts in noisy environments. But there is nothing like hearing transparent, natural sound that only open-backed headphones produce. Ultrasone promises lifelike and natural-sounding headphones in a close-backed design with the Ultrasone HFI-780. But does it really offer the best of both worlds?
The HFI-780 boasts a premium design. Right off the bat one will notice the shiny metal case of the cans. Ultrasone’s logo is embossed on each ear cup along with the model number and left/right indicator. The headband is made out of soft touch plastic and complements the styling of the cans. The result is a classy design that is able to compete with the best in the market.
The faux leather ear pads may look better than velour ear pads, but the latter always wins in comfort. The HFI-780, though, is still quite comfortable when worn. The headphones hugs the head with a slight pressure yet nothing that makes it uncomfortable. The HFI-780 can be folded for easy traveling so plus points for portability. The build quality is also magnificent. Aside from the use of premium materials, the whole thing is just tightly built.
Ultrasone touts the HFI-780 to have S-Logic Surround Sound technology that bounces sound waves to the pinna first before going into the ear canal. This in theory should make the sound output more natural than other close-backed headphones. But the HFI-780 fails to deliver on this promise. It did not audibly sound natural and still sounded canned, at least when compared to other open-back headphones. It does deliver booming bass and bright trebles, which is typical for a v-shaped sound-signature. The lows overpower the mids and highs though the latter two are still audible.
With great design and build quality, the Ultrasone HFI-780 is still one of the better buys in the $300 price range. Failing to deliver on its promise does not make it a bad pair of headphones, it still features the same characteristics an average consumer will probably want and get.
8. AKG Audio K702 Review
No products found.
No products found.
Headphones sold for under $300 are usually marketed as mid-range headphones. They have sound quality that is a jump above the budget-friendly ones that are sold for less. The open-back design of the AKG Audio K702 headphones provides that clear, good sound stage that is not expected of a headphone that is this “cheap,” relatively speaking. Fantastic sounds can come from this arguably inexpensive piece.
The AKG brand has been around for decades and the expectation for their products is quite high. So it’s not really a big surprise that the K702 headphone lives up to the AKG image of delivering only high quality products.
It’s an incredible piece to have for enjoying good music and even a great tool for mixing music. The bass is of exceptional quality and will not be weak when creating music. However, the K702 does not boost the bass as much. This is actually a plus because this makes the music more enjoyable since the impact and speed are still there. The mid range is given off as real tones and the crisp sound is present. The highs are definitely worth hearing and enjoying.
Quality sound is not the only plus in this product. The AKG Audio K702 headphone has that comfortable design suited for those who wear them for long periods of time. The headphones are lightweight and won’t cause fatigue even after an extended hour of use. They come with comfy ear pads that are designed to fit well, no matter what ear shape you have. While most headphones feel hot around the ear after some time, the velvety soft ear pads will not give you that burning feeling. Even the headband must have been carefully thought out by designers: The soft leather band gives ample support over the head without that uncomfortable pressure.
Some people may find its size to be a little large. The AKG Audio AK702 headphones are created and designed not only for casual users but also for professional users as well, which is why they were made with durability in mind. Size and durability have to go hand in hand. It’s not actually that big but in fact gives that space needed to really delve into a song. This is important when trying to pick up on the tone of an instrument and then backtracking to hear them as one.
No products found.
No products found.
The sound quality that you will hear through the AKG Audio K702 headphones may not be as great as the super high-end headphones and not as perfect as the four-figure elite headphones, but it definitely rivals their performance at a fraction of their price.
9. Sony Xbah3 Hybrid Review
No products found.
No products found.
With the 3-way driver unit installed, the sound quality is quite impressive. It has a deep, satisfying bass, smooth and radiant mids, crystal-clear highs, and a smooth frequency response. The treble is bright and well-extended. They produce a clear, undistorted sound in an ample amount of volume, comparable to large headphones (but in a small and portable package). Plus, these headphones offer a noise-cancelling feature that does a good job of blocking out unwanted ambient noise.
Although a bit larger in size than what is accustomed, these headphones are comfy enough that you can listen for up to six hours without getting uncomfortable. They sit shallowly in your ear, due to the slightly awkward design, but they stay in your ears even if you move around a lot. Basically, the fit and feel of these headphones might take a bit of time to get used to, but they’re definitely worth the superb sound quality.
The Sony XBAH3 in-ear monitors offer a comfortable and secure fit with their adjustable ear hangers. It comes with three silicone earbuds in three sizes just in case you want a more customized fit for optimum comfort and audio quality. Not only that, it also comes with two detachable tangle-free cables, with one offering an in-line remote for easier control and the other one being just a regular cable. The in-line remote adjusts the volume and track control for iPods, iPads, and iPhones, while also featuring a built-in microphone for accepting incoming calls. Everything comes in a supplied compact pouch to store your headphones and all its accessories.
Durability isn’t a problem with these headphones because they’re well-built and very sturdy. The design offers an air of confidence, quality, and sophistication, if that’s even possible for a pair of headphones.
No products found.
No products found.
Everything about these in-ear headphones is top-end. Overall, the Sony XBAH3 headphones are top-notch and the perfect companion for audiophiles.
This same review can also be found in our Best Sport Headphones list.
10. AIAIAI: TMA-1 Stones Throw Edition Review
The $300 price point of the headphone market features intense competition. Whether looking for a headphone with great design like the original Beats by Dre Studio or the best-sounding neutral headphones that is the Sennheiser HD 600, $300 is sure to net anyone a great pair of headphones. AIAIAI tries to merge the best qualities of its competition with the TMA-1 Stones Throw Edition headphones. But does it fuse the right qualities together?
First up is the TMA-1’s design which is the product of AIAIAI’s collaboration with clothing brand Carhartt. AIAIAI went for a minimalistic design that is bereft of flashy elements like metal accents or a glossy finish. Instead, the TMA-1 features a two-tone, all-plastic body with a matte finish. The only discernible design cues are the coiled cables above the earcups and the “STONES THROW” sign embedded on each earcup.
The TMA-1 is quite comfortable when worn, thanks to its lightweight construction and the soft synthetic leather earpads. The headband is not too overbearing, though AIAIAI could have used foam as padding instead of rubber. The earcups are adjustable, though the body cannot be folded unlike other headphones; so portability takes a slight hit. The TMA-1 comes with a silk pouch should one want to use it while traveling.
The build quality of the TMA-1 is great. The headphones feel solid with no creaks even when the headband is bent with a considerable amount of force. The coiled cable is thick and looks tough. One point of concern though is the angled stereo plug. While the plug is rigid, it is also too thin. Several surprise yanks could presumably break it.
AIAIAI markets the TMA-1 as a pair of DJ headphones; meaning, it is designed for audio mixing. But the TMA-1 feels more viable as a youth-oriented consumer pair of headphones. This is largely because of its stellar bass response that is very popular among teens these days. The lows are really deep and punchy and may sometimes overshadow the mids and highs. Distortion is also present though only when the volume is cranked up.
Good-looking and bass-thumping, the AIAIAI TMA-1 Stones Throw Edition headphones are one the better buys today. Its jack-of-all-trades approach may turn-off some audio purists, but to the average consumer, it is all one could ever ask for.
Best Headphones Under $500 Reviews
There a wide variety of choices when it comes to headphone models. You can choose from every form, style, and features you want. This article will focus on how to choose the best headphones under the price of $500. Headphones listed herein include those within the range of $300 to $500, or those considered as upper mid-range headphones. If you are looking to spend less, feel free to also check out our guides for headphones under $200 or $100.
If you have stumbled across this article, chances are, you are serious enough about finding the right pair of headphones. You might have tried other headphone models and wanted to get a bit more. You are ready to spend money for upper or higher end headphones. If you are an audiophile, you will surely love to get your own pair of quality headphones. Good choice though, it is because headphones which belong under this category combine practicality, with superb audio performance.
For those who are accustomed to listening to music only through computer speakers or ordinary earbuds, using a high quality headphones for the first time will give instant eargasm. The experience is similar as seeing clearly for the first time. Vocals shine through the music. The sounds of various instruments used become clearer and more distinct. When using high quality headphones, you are given the chance to hear what most sound engineers, artists, and musicians really hear. High-quality audio is hard to find.
The high end headphones, those used in recording studios, may cost a load of money. Some music and audio enthusiasts cannot afford to splurge that much. As such, the upper mid-range headphones are the best option. For a price of within $300 to $500, you can listen to various music with clarity and high performance which budget and entry level headphones cannot provide.
The first thing to try and do before selecting the right headphones to purchase is to try them personally. You may try to read various reviews and articles about each and every headphone available in the market. But, sound is subjective in many ways. It is experienced differently by different people. When it comes to buying headphones, putting them on will defy everything you have read from the reviews. If you can’t do that, the next best thing is to find a credible source like PricenFees and read what they have to say. We love everything headphones – we know whats good and what isn’t. This guide was designed to be a one-stop-shop to help you purchase the best product for you.
Make an initial list of the headphones you prefer. Most music stores have a sample unit for each model they have. Make personal note on the strengths and weaknesses in sound quality, design, durability, and ergonomic design.
Try these models on and listen the same music through them. Know that your personal choice is music plays a vital role in choosing the best headphones. Each model of headphones are created to cater different types of music. It is best to try listening your favorite songs into the headphones. From there, you will have a slightest idea which one to choose.
Next thing to determine is the location and purpose of use of the headphones. Will you be using your headphones at work, while traveling, working out or jogging? Opt to choose headphones with minimal or no sound leakage. You would not want other people from hearing what you are listening to. The purpose and location of use will also determine whether or not you need noise cancellation or noise isolation feature in your headphones.
Noise isolation is accomplished through additional sound blocking materials. For example, the earcups may have more padding and leather cover in them. Through noise isolation, external noise is blocked from entering the ear. Noise cancellation, on the other hand, is an additional technology in the headphones. It involves a microphone which listens to the external noise. It will then release a tone that will eventually cancel out minimal noises. Noise cancellation is not effective in loud and sporadic environment noises.
Additional caution for headphones with noise cancelling features should be considered. For headphones with noise cancelling technology, you will be spending more of your money on noise cancelling rather than sound quality. In fact, noise cancelling headphones compromise the quality of audio performance. Consider buying headphones with noise cancelling technology only if you really need it.
Lastly, determine the genre of music, and what kind of media source or player will you use your headphones with. Check whether they are compatible with your iPod or any MP3 player you have. Do you plan to listen to classical music? Or, maybe you’re into heavy metal, dubstep, or hip-hop? Also, consider the fact that some headphones may need a headphone amp to sound their best.
1. Shure SRH1540 Review
The Shure SRH1540 is one of the best headphones below $500. One of the best upper mid-range headphones, Shure SRH1540 promises stellar audio performance. Its absurdly high price is justified by its power and performance.
With its over-the-ear design, users are assured of extreme comfort. Its ergonomic and stylish design lets you pamper your ears in style. The Shure SRH1540 has soft ear pads which mold to the jaws and temples. The ear pads help lock in sound without getting uncomfortable heat on the ears. The tiny holes in the fabric help the pads to breathe comfortably.
The aluminum materials in the band and cups adds a stylish edge, as well as durability. The headband is made primarily of plastic to make the headphones light when worn. Each earcup has a patterned black hatching covered with smooth glossy plastic. It is then ringed with a shimmer of silver. The Shure SRH1540 truly look good.
As for sound quality goes, the Shure SRH1540 gives premium and solid audio performance. Expect balanced sound when used. It gives modest bass support and prominent mids. Users will get a full and rich soundscape every time they use the Shure SRH1540.
The Shure SRH1540 has buttons and controls that are easy to access. Volume between the left and right speakers can be handled to get balance in sound.
Each pair of headphones comes with a leather pouch to pack the whole headphones and its accessories safely. The headphones are lightweight and very comfortable to use.
The only concern regarding this pair of headphones is the practicality concerning the price. Unfortunately, these headphones do not receive as much attention as they deserve because many people simply cannot afford them. Not all headphones successfully combine comfort and sound quality as well as Shure SRH1540 does.
2. Westone W40 Quad Driver Review
Westone Audio is a company known for its successful line of in-ear and acoustic innovation products. Its new model, the Weston W40 Quad Driver, boasts of being a high-quality, audiophile-worthy in-ear earphones. Its balanced sound, wide soundstage, and warm sound signature make it one of the best headphones to buy under $500.
As promised by Westone Audio, the Westone W40 Quad Driver will take the listening experience to a new level. The Westone W40 provides an amazing, clear, and rich details in its sound quality. It is not overwhelming to the ears when it comes to bass, but is still hard-hitting and deep. Overall, the Westone W40 gives a balanced and sufficient amount of bass, even for a hardcore bass-head like myself.
These headphones are specifically designed to fit snugly into the ears and head. Westone W40 knows the importance of proper fit in optimal audio enjoyment. This perfect fit provides superior comfort.
Each pair of the Westone W40 Quad Driver comes with two detachable cables. One cable is smooth in texture. It is specifically designed for iOS devices – with the 3-Button Apple Control System, volume, tracking, phone answer, and Siri activation. The other one is a twisted pair in line cable. Both cables have a huge 90-degree source connection.
The Westone W40 features a “Monitor Vault”. It is a small plastic, latch-locking case used to carry the headphones and its accessories. The interior of the monitor vault is foam with a weather resistant design. The monitor vault has a second cable, nine additional ear tips (four are silicon, five are foam), an earwax removal too, two additional faceplates (in red and blue colors), and a small wrench used to remove and customize the headphones.
The Westone W40 Quad Driver comes in a handsome package. Each pair comes in a magnetic sealed box.
3. AKG K712 Pro Review
No products found.
No products found.
If you are looking for some serious headphones, the AKG K712 Pro Reference Studio Headphones is the headphones to clamor for. When buying a pair of headphones, know that each pair is built differently – especially when it comes to purpose of use.
The AKG K712 Pro headphones can do some serious stuff. They are constructed to be the proper pair of headphones for any kind of music work. Of course, they perform well if used just for listening to music. But the AKG K712 Pro headphones are capable of doing so much more. Its performance gave it the excellent reputation as the headphones used by ‘pros’.
The quality of entry level or mid-range headphones cannot compete with that of the AKG K712 Pro. These headphones are especially made for genuine mixing and mastering of applications. Its open backed form allows natural, flawless and accurate sound reproduction. The AKG K712 lets you listen to music the way it is – without the excessive bass. Listening through the AKG K712 gives a clear separation of frequencies – a quality which is rare amongst headphones.
However, the headphones give sound leaks which may not be great for late night working. If no sound leakage is desired, closed back headphones are recommended.
The built of the headphones is solid and high quality. These headphones are lighter than one would expect. With only about a quarter of a kilogram in weight, the AKG K712 Pro are highly suitable for long period usage. The headband consists of high quality leather – making them soft to the ears. The other components of the headphones are made of plastic and foam – making the durable and robust.
No products found.
No products found.
In totality, the AKG K712 Pro is a great steal for its price. It can certainly compete with higher end headphones. If you are up for some serious music listening, then the AKG K712 Pro are certainly for you.
4. Beats Pro by Dr. Dre Review
No products found.
No products found.
Alas, the most popular choice for upper mid-range headphones: Beats Pro by Dr. Dre. The opinion about these headphones are split into two – some love it the others hate it. This is because its attributes tend to go to the extreme.
The Beats Pro are made with a sturdy design and quality construction. The solid build will assure how extremely durable they are. The headband and earcups are largely padded with a soft cushion material. The padding in the earcups are detachable for washing.
The Beats Pro can be described in many ways – extremely comfortable is not one of them. The headphones are bulky and heavy on the head. The adjustable headband does not help in providing comfort. It is because the earcups are too tight on the ears. We did not have many problems with prolonged use, but they also are not the most comfortable headphones we’ve had the chance to try on.
When it comes to sound quality, the bass is ‘skull-shattering’. Bass can become too overwhelming and prominent. Although most people would want excessive bass, others prefer a well-balanced sound. Those who enjoy electronic, rock, hiphop, and upbeat songs will surely enjoy Beats Pro. On the other hand, those who prefer mellow and slow songs should find another model of headphones. The mids and highs are good and crisp. In short, the Beats Pro are not suitable for all types and genre of music.
One concern regarding the booming bass is its tendency to overpower the mids and highs. This happens when the volume is turned really loud. The overwhelming bass can make the music sound messy and sloppy.
Beats by Dr. Dre are one of the most popular choices of headphones for professional DJs. However, purist audiophiles will have problems with the Beats Pro.
No products found.
No products found.
These headphones do not provide accurate and natural sound reproduction. The Beats Pro are perfect for aspiring and amateur DJs and mixers.
5. TDK ST800 Review
The TDK ST800 is one of the best headphones made by TDK. Its retail price makes it within the very affordable range for high-quality headphones.
As for comfort, it can be worn throughout the day without any experience of pain or discomfort. The headband and the ear pads have soft padding to protect the head and ears. The only issue with comfort is the hefty AAA batteries placed on the left side. These batteries provide extra weight on the head when worn.
The leather finishing to the headphones provide additional durability and style. It cannot be denied that the leather and stitch detailing on the headphones make the design more visually appealing. The overall look of the headphones denote elegance and professionalism.
There are sturdy controls and features added throughout the headphones. The control wheel, battery cover, wire, and EQ controller (consists of the volume wheel and mute function) are all strategically placed for ease of access. In order to activate the volume and mute functions, the EQ controller should be turned on first. The EQ controller can also enable the internal amplifier installed in the TDK ST800.
When it comes to sound quality, the TDK ST800 does deliver quality audio. The audio quality is good but not extraordinary like some of our other top picks.
The bass was balanced and not overwhelming to the ears. The highs are pleasant and easy to the ears. The sound quality is not terrible at all based on its low price.
6. Shure SCL3 Review
Sound isolation helps in preventing external noise from interrupting music listening. Combine sound isolation with a sleek build and good sound quality, and you find yourself with the Shure SCL3.
In spite of the noise isolation technology that Shure SCL3 has, the audio performance of the headphones is not compromised. In fact, the sound isolation helps in getting detailed highs and enhanced lows. The Shure SCL3 do not give the most powerful bass we’ve heard, keep that in mind if you expect some skull-rattling bass in your new earbuds. Expect crisp and crystal clear mids and highs. If you want more bass response, make sure that the ear pads are sealed tight on the ears. Tight fit of the ear pads makes the sound to be fully insulated.
Of course, the sound isolation feature enables minimal sound leakage to none. The Shure SCL3 can be used on noisy locations without being disrupted by noise. Moreover, you can also use it in offices, rooms, parks, or the bus without worrying that people can hear what you are listening to.
The Shure SCL3’s sound isolation works by blocking out unwanted external noise while allowing music to come in. The outstanding sound isolation feature of the Shure SCL3 outperforms the higher end active noise cancelling headphones. The secure and snug fit increases the sound isolation capabilities of the headphones.
Each pair of the Shure SCL3 include three sizes of different sleeves for the ear pads – soft flex, foam, and triple flange. You can choose from these sleeves to know which best fits you. A good fit will enforce sound isolation while improving bass response and comfort. A carrying case is also included with each Shure SCL3. Organize and transport your headphones and its accessories using this pouch.
The best thing about Shure SCL3 is its reasonable price. However, you will be guaranteed that you will get the value for every dollar you spend when it comes to Shure products.
Last update on 2021-06-25 at 03:36 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API