Best budget audiophile headphones

Are you in the market for a new pair of headphones, but not sure where to start? We can help you find the best budget audiophile headphones. Let us take a look at what this means. As an audiophile, you are probably always on the lookout for the best sound. Whether you are just starting or you are an expert, good sound is a must. We take a look at how we choose the best headphones but make sure that they are affordable. Whilst price is not supposed to be everything, it can be the main hindrance to getting what you want. It helps a great deal to go for tried and tested names, but there are also ways to try out new brands, and get what you need in a good headset.

In a hurry

Are you in a hurry and wondering what you ought to be looking for in a good budget headset? There are a few features that can guide you. One of those is the fit around your ears. An uncomfortable pair can make you dread putting them on. This involves knowing if they are over the ear, in the ear or on the ear. Then you may also want to start taking note of some of the more technical terms such as impedance or the sensitivity that they have to sound. Above and beyond, the price needs to be favorable and still give you the sound you seek. You may also want to check on the type of headphones they are. The classification will tell you what to expect.

OUR TOP PICK

1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones Hi-Res Headphones
We have done our research. There are numerous headphones that you can get. But for this article, we look only at those that are generally affordable. Our favorite pick, for the most affordable in-ear headphones, are the 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones. They have high resolution, bass-driven sound, a  MEMS microphone, and in-line remote, with high fidelity. Our top pick for over the ear closed-back headphones are the Jabra Elite 85h. These are wireless headphones and they have great noise-canceling headphones, which is a great asset for a good set of headphones. Let us take a look at what different brands have to offer.

1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones Hi-Res Headphones

1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones Hi-Res Headphones
Good sound does not come from just one type of headset. There are various types that you can get, but when you need to get good sound on a budget, you also need to ensure that certain features are standard. The 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones are our best pick for the best budget in-ear headphones. They have high resolution, so you will not struggle with sound quality. The sound is balanced and gives you the best highs, mid-tones, and bass levels. The manufacturer prides itself on having this set tuned by a Grammy award-winning sound engineer. They have a separate dynamic driver that teams up with two balanced armatures to give you a crisp and clean sound.  The design is very comfortable in the ear and this is an important factor to consider. These in-ear headphones have an ergonomic design. They naturally fit in your ear which means that you can wear them for longer periods. This set also has inline controls that allow you to adjust volume, skip between songs, and take calls.

Pros

Cons

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones
Our pick for best over the ear Bluetooth headphones  The choice of headphones depends also on what you will mostly be using them for. Producing music will need a sound that is a lot more defined, then when you are listening to music for enjoyment. The Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones are operated via Bluetooth. They have smart sound technology, which detects the sound you need and delivers it.  These headphones have noise-canceling capabilities. Meaning that you can focus only on what you are listening to and nothing else. They are a durable headset and are also water-resistant. When it is fully charged, after 2 hours, the headset can last up to 36 hours.

pros

cons

Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones

Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones
Best wired headphones If you are not a fan of headphones that rely on Bluetooth connectivity then you may want to consider wired headphones. The Sennheiser HD 558 Headphones are accurate and will deliver very clear sound. The technology used on the set sends the clear audio signals directly to your ears via Duofold diaphragms. There is very little distortion with these headphones.  These circumaural headphones have a 6.3mm jack and a 3meter long cable. They have 50 ohms impedance and a sound pressure level of 112decibels and a frequency response of 15 – 28,000 Hz. They are comfortable to wear and weigh only 270 grams, making them portable and easy to carry around. 

pros

cons

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
These are headphones that are perfect for studio recording because of the excellence in sound production. They isolate sound very well, making them great for closing out your surroundings as you work. These are over the ear headphones that seal out any other distractions around. They also have a closed back and are well built.  The design is easy to use and versatile as well. You can flip the ear cups so that you can use the headphones without having to put them on. Also, you can collapse the headphones so that you can carry them easier. This makes it easy to travel with. The bass levels on these headphones are good and will give you very good sound, especially for the price.

pros

cons

Libratone Track Air+ True Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Libratone Track Air+ True Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds
The Track Air Plus works well as a headset for making calls and a firmware upgrade did improve headset performance. That said, the noise reduction isn’t quite as good as on the AirPods Pro. People said they could hear me clearly and loudly, but the pair of wireless earphones didn’t muffle background noise quite as well as a pair of the AirPods Pro.  The Libratone Track Air Plus has been out for several months in Europe. It doesn’t sound quite as open to the ear as the AirPods Pro, but the audio quality is a bit clearer and they have well-defined bass. The noise cancelling is also decent, maybe not quite on par with the AirPods Pro noise cancelling, but close.

pros

cons

Buyer's guide

There are a number of different factors that should be your yardstick when you are looking for good headphones with good sound. One of those is to know the difference between the different builds and what you can expect.

In-ear, over the ear and on the ear are different types that you can consider. Over the ear headphones are usually audiophiles best bet because they have numerous advantages such as active noise cancellation. In-ear headphones are the most convenient to carry around because they can fit in your pocket. The design matters.
Since you look for an affordable set, make sure not to compromise on the quality of the sound. You want to make sure that the impedance along with frequency levels, match what you want to use the headphones for. The noise-canceling features that you find on some headsets are a great help in having good sound and they also cancel out the need for headphone amps.
When it comes to sensitivity, the efficiency at which the electrical signal is converted to an audio signal. The more sensitivity the headphones have the better they will perform. And this also means that they will need less power. Always take into consideration, how well the headphones fit, and if you can use them for extended periods. This goes for all types of headphones.

What is high impedance?

A headphone that has high impedance will need more power to give you good sound, meaning they are less suitable to be used when you are mobile, but they can power more audio devices. You will need to be near a power source. Headphones with an impedance of more than 100ohms, are considered high and is what you will usually find in a studio setting. They also have a clearer sound and hence they are used in professional settings.

Final thoughts

Headphones may seem to have a lot going on in terms of technicalities and shopping on a budget can be restrictive. However, high prices do not reflect on the quality of the headphones. The headphones that we have reviewed are some of the top picks of affordable headphones. Once you have decided what you will mostly be using them for, it becomes easier to pick the right pair that will suit your lifestyle. We hope that this helps you find the best fit for you. Happy shopping!
Rob is a musician and audiophile at heart. He plays 5 instruments. Besides music, Rob enjoys a good whiskey and the outdoors.
Robert S. Thompson
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