Headphone Reviews
Best Budget Headphones For Audiophiles And Those With A Sharp Ear

Best Budget Headphones For Audiophiles And Those With A Sharp Ear

Last Updated [3 April 2021]

To start off, I’d like to open up a discussion about what your idea of the perfect set of headphones has been up to this point. I don’t have a ton of extra cash lying around to just spend on new toys.

What are some of the best budget audiophile headphones that you have found that don’t sacrifice the quality of sound for a lower price tag? 

Best Bang For Your Buck

Depending on your current income, that will definitely factor into your personal definition of what a “budget headphone for an audiophile” would actually end up costing. This brings me back to my personal feelings on not only one’s personal choice of headphones but also their choice of what sounds they’re choosing to send through those headphones. I usually use different pairs of headphones for different media types, whether that be watching a new episode of Game of Thrones or checking out the latest Jay-Z album. 

I’m sure you guys have similar feelings on this subject. I find that this is where comfort steps in to play a huge role in the choice of wear, depending on what kind of audiophile you are. If I’m going to sit down for three of my precious hours to kick back and enjoy a long film, I’d prefer to be as comfortable as physically possible. Of course, the actual sound quality is an important factor to consider, even if you’re watching a movie.


Reviews of Best Budget Headphones For Audiophiles

Philips Fidelio X2HR

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The Philips Fidelio x2hr is among the best audiophile headphones for those on a tight budget. It is compatible with both android and apple devices and it has a detachable cable. The ear pads are replaceable which is very handy for hygienic reasons. They have a closed back design providing noise isolation to keep your music just for you without external noises interfering. This makes for a pleasant listening experience.

Pros

  • Open back design for noise isolation.
  • Open and Detachable cable.
  • 700 Ohm impedance for high clarity and low distortion.
  • Replaceable ear pads for hygienic reasons.

Cons

  • The headband is not very comfortable for long sessions.

Sennheiser HD 600

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The Sennheiser HD 600 is a very popular pair of audiophile headphones among music lovers. Some would place them among the best audiophile headphones. It is versatile and has a closed back design. It is very comfortable and has great sounding bass. However, it doesn’t have noise isolation which makes them susceptible to external noises. This affects audio performance through sound leakage.

Pros

  • The Sennheiser HD 600 is Affordable.
  • Closed back design for noise isolation.
  • They have noise cancelling capability.
  • Great sound quality for the price range.

Cons

  • Does not come with a detachable cable.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x

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Audio Technica ATH M50x is A budget audiophile headphones with closed back design which provides sound isolation to keep you away from external distractions while listening to music. They have a very sturdy build and can last for up to 10 years which is great for the price tag. The ear cups are replaceable and comfortable for long listening sessions.

Pros

  • Great Build quality and comfortable for long use.
  • Affordable.
  • Good noise cancelling.

Cons

  • Poor bass.
  • They are a bit bulky (around 8×8 inches).
  • No noise cancellation feature.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

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Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 ohm headphones are among the best budget audiophile headphones which provide top notch sound for the price range they have. They have a closed back design thus providing sound isolation. They are very comfortable and do not fatigue even after long listening sessions. They have great bass reproduction and an in-line remote for iPhone users to control music without touching the phone (iOS only).

Pros

  • The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro has Great build quality.
  • Come with a 1 year warranty.
  • Great Bass for the price tag.
  • Has active noise cancellation.

Cons

  • Does not come with a detachable cable.

Hifiman HE400S

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The Hifiman he400s is a very popular audiophile headphone with closed back design which provides great sound quality. They have professional grade sound and come with an in-line volume control for iPhone users. The ear cups are replaceable which makes them very convenient and hygienic for long listening sessions.

Pros

  • Great Build quality and comfortable for long use.
  • Great Bass for the price tag.
  • In-line volume control for iPhone users.

Cons

  • The cable is non detachable and is also not replaceable. You need to use the one that comes with it.

Grado sr80e

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The Grado sr80e is a great pair of budget audiophile headphones that provide a great sound that cannot be compared to the price. They have an open back design for better sound quality and come with a detachable cable. The ear pads are replaceable just in case you get sick of them or they wear out. They are perfect for home listening.

Pros

  • Great Sound quality for the price tag.
  • They have an open back design. Thus better sound quality with low impedance (32Ω).
  • Detachable cable for replacement and convenience.
  • Replaceable earpads for hygienic reasons.

Cons

  • They are big (around 8×8 inches). And they have a detachable cable. Make sure you do not lose it.

Philips shp9500

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The Philips shp9500 is an award-winning headphone. It is very light and foldable for those who like using them with portability. They have a retro look and are compatible with both android and apple devices but they do not come with an in-line remote for iPhone users.

Pros

  • Foldable for portability.
  • Lightweight (4oz).
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • No in-line remote for iPhone.
  • They have ear cups made of pleather which is not ideal for long term use. Buy a set of vegan leather ear pads from philips to avoid getting glue allergies.

Sony MDR7506

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The Sony MDR7506 headphone is a must have for all music lovers. It is among the best budget audiophile headphones and it comes with an in-line remote control for iPhone users to control playback without touching their phones. It has a closed back design and is very comfortable to wear even after long periods of use.

Pros

  • Great bass.
  • Affordable.
  • Great Build quality for long use. Comes with a 1 year warranty.
  • In-line remote to control volume without iPhone.

Cons

  • Uncomfortable ear pads.
  • Warms up around the ears quickly.

Buyer’s Guide

Classical music

If you will be listening to classical, consider buying a headphone with greater sensitivity. This will help you to get the most out of your music and it will also prevent distortion.

The frequency response of the headphones has to be flat in order for this type of music reproduction. If it distorts, it will make the sound not enjoyable at all, even for non-audiophiles users like me. Be sure that you are buying headphones that suit your needs and preferences as much as possible to get a great experience.

Sound leaks

In general, in-ear and supra-aural headphones are better at sound isolating than circum-aural ones. The reason is that ear cups create an air cushion that doesn’t let the sound in or out easily. In general, if you want to choose passive isolation, then you should get an on-ear headphone. For active noise cancellation, you should look for over ear headphones.

Noise cancelling headphones are also good if you want to listen without disturbing others who may be around you.

Signature sound

If you are a fan of certain artists or bands, be sure to get the signature headphones from this artist. Some artists have signature headphones manufactured under their name which are priced higher than the original ones.

Testimonials

The different brands of headphones have testimonials from technical experts and enthusiasts like me and my friends. It would be great if you can ask some of your friends who may be audiophiles for recommendations before buying them. They will definitely recommend some good ones that they used before and give you guidance with buying.

Hip hop

If you will be listening to hip hop, you want headphones that can produce a punchy bass that can go deep. The sound should be strong enough so that you will feel it in your bones.

Rock

If you are into rock, then the headphones must be able to deliver a clear guitar sound and drum beat. A good rock song should have a powerful rhythm that will be felt by the listener.

Jazz and classical

For jazz and classical, listening to these genres without high quality audio can bring boredom.

Bass lovers

If you have a great bass, then the headphones has to be able to deliver the bass waves.

Music genre preferences

Apart from choosing the headphones which has your favorite speaker size, you should consider other factors. The following are some of these factors that will affect the price of your purchase.

Lightweight

The headphone is lightweight so that it can be used for a longer time without tiring your head and ear.

Headphone jack

The jack is largely universal so that you can use it with all types of devices as long as they are compatible with it.

Microphone

If you want to use your headphones for testing calls, then you will have to look for a headphone with microphone and this will increase its price.

Comfortability

The headphone should be extremely comfortable so that you wear it without any problems. It should not produce any pressure on the head or ears which would make the user uncomfortable while using them.

Wireless headphones

If you want wireless headphones, then you should check whether your device is compatible with them or not. You can use it with all mobile devices and this will not cost you much.

Headphones Brands

We have listed some of the most popular headphone brands which will be very good at making a great experience for you.

Beats studio the Beats studio is a revolutionary product by dr dre. They have changed the history of music playback by introducing headphones that are loud and bass heavy.

Open back headphones

Open back headphones deliver superior audio fidelity. They provide a more spacious and spacious soundstage thereby increasing the listening experience. The bass is deeper in these headphones as compared to closed back models

Closed back headphones

Closed back headphones are the best option for people who prefer to listen with complete isolation. The bass delivers a decent amount of punch that makes them better than their counterparts which are not closed back.

For beginners, be sure that you know what type of headphone you want to have before purchasing them.

Headphone amplifier

The headphone amplifier is a very important component that ensures that the sound quality of your headphones is not compromised. With an amplifier, you will be able to get the most out of your headphones without any sound distortions. DACs and amping can be confusing but we will explain it simply so that you understand more about it.

bass response

If you want to increase your bass response, then you should buy a headphone amplifier. The headphone amplifier has a circuit that can boost the bass in your headphones depending on the sensitivity of the headphones.

planar magnetic drivers

The planar magnetic drivers deliver excellent sound quality. These drivers are also known as the dynamic driver and they are efficient in producing good bass response and good sound quality.

bluetooth codecs

The bluetooth codecs are an important feature that ensures that the audio transmission is reliable. With this, you will be able to transfer the audio from your phone to your headphones as well.

audio cables

The audio cable is the medium that is used to transfer the audio from your phone to your headphones. You will need this cable for any of your audio applications.

Studio headphone Set

A studio headphone set is an ideal option if you are a professional. It provides great sound quality and durability for long use. The studio headphones come with a headset amplifier which boosts the bass in your headphones.

Price point

Headphones can be bought anywhere between $20 to $2000. You should ensure that you get the best value for your money and ensure that you are paying for quality headphones.

Head Size

Hands down, the most important aspect of headphones is their head size. The head size should be decent and fits the shape of your ears. You can buy headphones in different sizes as long as they fit well on your ears.

Gaming headphones

If you will be gaming on your computer or console, then these are the headphones that you should buy. They provide great sound quality and can even be used for listening to music while playing games.

Ear tips

The ear tips are the part of the headphones that directly touches your ears. It can be made of different materials and it provides comfort to your ears.

Voice coils

The voice coils are the part that extends from the ear cups of the headphones. It is very important for your audio experience since it is responsible for the sound propagation.

Microphone quality

If you will be making phone calls through your headphones, then the microphone is very important. The microphone quality should be decent and should not distort the audio.

Instrument separation

If you want to listen to music, then instrument separation is very important for you. It will be able to distinguish between different instruments and deliver a great sound quality.

Watching Movies Without The Sound

If you turn the sound off on The Shining and watch the characters move by in silence, it will have a totally different effect on you, if any at all. The sound effects and little details in a movie soundtrack can sometimes make or break the entire experience.

Perfect Pair of Headphones For an Audiophile

This is especially true for any movie relying heavily on building suspense or using jump scares as a tactic to hold your attention. Even if some of this is happening at a subconscious level, I’d like to err on the side of being prepared either way.


Sonic Collaboration

Rather than stir up a pot of angry debate about whether V-Modas sound better than Bose, I’d be interested to hear your feedback on what works for you and why.

I’m open to learning more about your personal interests, so I can use that to further my own interests along the sonic road of discovery. The collaboration of ideas is often what allows for the furthering of discussion and broadening of perspective.


Where Should You Start?

Sometimes finding the right place to begin your journey into blissful ecstasy of sound can seem overwhelming. 

It doesn’t have to be a difficult process, in fact, it should be quite the opposite. There are at least a few companies that produce quality headphones and other accessories. 

Unlimited Access Means No Excuses!

Now that we have unlimited access to trusted vendors online, there’s really no excuse for not being able to re-discover your favorite songs and albums. If you’ve forgotten, or taken a break from one of your old favorites, there’s no better time than the present to dive back in.

At Sonic Elevation, we like to make it easy to find and at a price that you feel comfortable with. 


Marshall Headphones

Marshall Headphones is the headphone branch of a company that has been around for close to 50 years now called Marshall Amps. Many musicians, audiophiles, and casual music fans use Marshall products to experience the Sonic Elevation that we crave.

Their equipment has been used by a wide range of guitarists from bands ranging from AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bring Me The Horizon to Buckcherry, A Day To Remember, Megadeth, and many more.

pair of marshall headphones

Marshall has proven time and time again to be a leading competitor in the field of audio and will continue to do so for many years to come. 

As we all know, numbers don’t lie, and neither do your ears when they’re telling you that what you’re hearing is nothing short of excellence. 

Here’s a link to get you started: Marshall Headphones Home 

As always, thanks again for tuning in! 

14 thoughts on “Best Budget Headphones For Audiophiles And Those With A Sharp Ear

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      When I walk around the city I am always looking for a better headset to jam my music.
      I really need to tell my friends about you and see how there music sounds in your system.
      How long have you been selling?
      How is the market where you are at?
      I love WA because I am market all over the place and I am sure you enjoy the benefits as well.

      • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

        You definitely came to the right place if you’re looking for recommendations on “walking around the city headphones”. I recently posted a review of the V-Moda Crossfade LP2 headphones. Here’s a link to that

        I’m always giving out free promo for products I enjoy using myself but officially I’m new to the online promotion end of things. 

        I feel like people are always in the market for a good pair of music listening devices, so it’s probably about the same here as it is where you’re at. 

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      Hi Dom,
      I love your page! It is super calming – but as for the headphones I love my white wireless ones that I use for my workout … to be honest, I forget what brand they are because they were a gift but they are white and look/work well. Similar to those beatz but they are not beatz… anyways I love them and agree with how important audio is. ESPECIALLY for my workouts.

      • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

        Thanks Andrea,
        I definitely hear you, no pun intended, on the importance of a solid pair of headphones for working out with.
        I’m glad you found the page calming 🙂 If you ever get curious and want some more information on specific types of headphones, let me know.

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      Very interesting post Dom. I learned a new word today – audiophile. I could tell what it meant right away but I just never heard it before.

      I’ve never really been into big brands and such. But I do have experience with Bose and find it to be akin to the Mercedes Benz of the audio world. The only thing is that you have to pay exorbitant prices. For me, I just want to hear loud enough to enjoy the audio experience.

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      I appreciate it Kevon and I’m glad you learned a new word and that what it meant was clear just from reading the post. I’ve had a couple pairs of Bose and agree that you really can’t go wrong with them at all. They ARE very expensive, like you said, so I’ll be posting about “budget headphones for audiophiles” in the near future to steer listeners in that direction.

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      I find that often more robust headsets deliver much better sound than sleeker, smaller ones. I find myself annoyed with poor sound quality and for that reason invest a fair amount of time researching products before purchase. More expensive does not always meen better sound.

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      Interesting article! In all honesty I don’t spend much on headphones (or earplugs) but I make sure I have one in my purse to listen to my favorite soundtracks. You are right, one sound or song can change your perspective as a viewer. Its very important with Comedy and Horror.

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      We went and purchased a cheap pair of Sony over the ear headphones, cost about £20 last year. To be honest I thought the sound quality would be poor however we chose a well known brand due to their cheapness and very surprised with the outcome.

      Fed up with these fiddly in the ear earphones enticed me to look for an alternative. Bose and the likes are ridiculously expensive in my view especially when you go for the noise cancelling variety however we find the quality of this cheap pair pretty good for the budget conscious plus the savings we made were priority at the time.

      Having the earphones wrapped around your ears delivers such a better sound experience in my view, I forgot how good they were. Looking back we used these all the time until ipods entered the market.
      What’s you favourite budget earphones?
      Yours,
      Simon.

      • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

        I agree, over-ear headphones always sound a lot better. 

        It depends on what your specific budget is. If you’re looking for an over-ear pair that’s under $100, I would suggest taking a look at Skullcandy’s. 

        If you can spend a little more, around $150, I would go with some V-Modas. 

        Good luck Simon, if you have anymore questions or want a specific recommendation don’t hesitate to ask. 

    • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

      I found the article to be interesting in that you address the different uses for headphones. It’s hard to pick one set of headphones and claim that they can handle anything, but I have loved my ATH-M50’s. My only complaint here is that they are not the most portable headphone, so I use a pair of Panasonic or Audio Technica in-ear headphones. Again, different purposes require different headphones, but there are many great options out there.

      • Author gravatarAuthor gravatar

        I agree with you for sure. Sometimes one size doesn’t fit all. I usually stick with my pair of V-Moda Crossfades for most purposes but on the go it’s nice to have something more compact, without a doubt. Thanks for your feedback Demetri.

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