The 6 Best Budget Audiophile Headphones

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Best Budget

41olJ2WSRqL. SL75

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M20x...
  • Fit type: Over-ear
  • Back: Open-back
  • Connection: Wired
  • Colors: Black
  • Excellent construction
  • Affordable
  • Stylish
  • $54.00
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Top Pick

Best All Round

41+X iFa0PL. SL75

  • Philips Audio Philips...
  • Fit type: Over-ear
  • Back: Open-back
  • Connection: Wired
  • Colors: Black
  • Drivers aligned with ears for good sound quality
  • Breathable earcups for extended use
  • Comfortably fitting headband and earcups
  • $74.99
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Best For Gaming

41BOIgl+j L. SL75

  • Philips Audio Fidelio...
  • Fit type: Over-ear
  • Back: Open-back
  • Connection: Wired
  • Colors: Black
  • Durable and portable
  • Comfortable, cool design
  • Immersive music with the open back
  • Perfect for gaming and watching movies, too
  • $144.99
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Most Durable

41HP7R21I5L. SL75

  • beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO...
  • Fit type: Over-ear
  • Back: Closed-back
  • Connection: Wired
  • Colors: Black and grey
  • High-end sound quality
  • Durable structure and soft surface
  • One-sided cable for easy handling
  • $159.00
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Best Quality

519S46IZTgL. SL75

  • HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear...
  • Fit type: Over-ear
  • Back: Open-back
  • Connection: Wired
  • Colors: Grey
  • Lightweight
  • Improved headband pressure pattern for comfort
  • Comfortable pleather and velour ear pads
  • $218.73
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Most Comfortable

  • Sennheiser HD 600 Open...
  • Fit type: Over-ear
  • Back: Open-back
  • Connection: Wired
  • Colors: Black
  • Great soundstage
  • Comfortable design
  • high-end, durable material and structure
  • $399.95
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Best Wireless

41Gdb1AOGwL. SL75

  • Bowers & Wilkins PX...
  • Fit type: Over-ear
  • Back: Closed-back
  • Connection: Wireless/Bluetooth
  • Colors: Gold
  • Long battery life
  • Decent active noise cancellation feature with 3 modes
  • Strong Bluetooth connection
  • $349.99
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Using audiophile headphones takes the experience of listening to music to a whole new dimension.

With the right headphones, you will get to listen to clear crisp music, and experience the best soundstage. You will be able to imagine the location of each musical instrument as if you are listening to a live music performance.

Audiophile headphones, however, come with big price tags. That is because only high-quality build materials and drivers are used to make them. But this does not mean you cannot find a nice set of headphones at a reasonable price.

In this article, we will show you a variety of budget audiophile headphones, and we will tell you what to look for to get the best budget audiophile headphones.

Our List of the Best Budget Audiophile Headphones

In this section, we will show you a bunch of budget-friendly options. These will suit your needs, whether at home or on the move. Let us look at the best headphones for you, regardless of your price range!

Audiophile Headphones under $100

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Sale
  • Advanced build quality and engineering; Designed for studio...
  • 40 millimeter drivers with rare earth magnets and copper clad...
  • Tune for enhanced low frequency performance
  • Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound...
  • Convenient single side cable exit; Magnet neodymium; Designed for...

We begin our reviews with the lowest price option for those of you on a tight budget, the Audio-Technica ATR-M20x. Do not let the price fool you though, these headphones come with excellent low frequency performance (read more about frequency response) to give you a fantastic audio experience.

Audio-Technica are renown in their field for their superior quality and finish, not letting it slip with this slick pair of headphones. There is no need to worry about sound leakage, with fantastic sound isolation you can rest assured that whether you are using these at home, in the car or on the move, your favorite artists are just for your listening pleasure.

Whilst these headphones do not come with the best noise cancellation, the over the ear cups absorb outside noise, so you will rarely have to worry about background noise.

If you can afford the extra $50, we highly recommend the newer model, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, which boasts many improvements over its predecessor. If not, and you are on a budget, these are the best choice for a great pair of affordable headphones.

What We Like

  • ✓ Fit type: Over-ear
  • ✓ Back: Open-back
  • ✓ Connection: Wired
  • ✓ Colors: Black
  • ✓ Excellent construction
  • ✓ Affordable
  • ✓ Stylish
  • Can be tight on the head
  • Do not come with a carrying case

Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo

Sale
  • 50mm neodymium drivers deliver full spectrum of sound
  • 1.5m cable gives you freedom of movement for indoor use
  • Comfortable double layered headband cushion, breathable ear...
  • Finishing of connector: gold-plated, acoustic system: open,...
  • Impedance: 32 ohm, maximum power input: 200Mw, sensitivity: 101...

Because Philips SHP9500 are open-back headphones, you can enjoy the soundstage and clear music in a quiet place. However, a lot of audio is leaked in and out of them. So, they are not best in the outdoors or in a place with a lot of noise.

The drivers are precisely angled to fit the ears, so audio signals can go directly into the ears for a great listening experience.

In terms of audio quality, the midrange performance is better than the bass. So, if you are too concerned about the bass, you may not be quite happy with these headphones.

Philips SHP9500’s steel headband has a comfortable double layered cushion and you can adjust its size easily. The earcups are breathable and can be used for long sessions of listening to music.

What We Like

  • ✓ Fit type: Over-ear
  • ✓ Back: Open-back
  • ✓ Connection: Wired
  • ✓ Colors: Black
  • ✓ Drivers aligned with ears for good sound quality
  • ✓ Breathable earcups for extended use
  • ✓ Comfortably fitting headband and earcups
  • The bass could be improved
  • Audio leakage

You would be surprised at how good these headphones are considering their price. You will only think of them as a steal when you see the quality, performance, and comfort they offer.

Audiophile Headphones under $200

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR

  • Hi-res Audio Certified with extended response frequencies
  • Engineered double layered ear-shells with pre-tilted speaker...
  • 50 mm high definition neodymium drivers with LMC diaphragm
  • Acoustic open-back architecture
  • Replaceable deluxe memory foam ear-pads with breathable velour...
  • Lightweight self-adjustable hammock with 3D mesh and genuine...
  • 3 5mm detachable oxygen-free cable (3m) 3 5 mm to 6 3 mm adapter...
  • Connector Type: 3. 5Mm Stereo; 1/4-Inch

Philips Fidelio X2HR headphones are a catch for an audiophile on a budget.

With their open-back design and noise isolation feature, you can enjoy your music with a large soundstage. The bass, midrange, and treble responses are good for a budget set of headphones.

You can wear them for hours thanks to their comfortable, padded headband and lightweight design. The earpads are made of breathable memory foam covered with soft velour.

Philips Fidelio X2HR headphones include a removable, oxygen-free cable. Plus, you get to have a 3mm adapter and a cable management clip.

What We Like

  • ✓ Fit type: Over-ear
  • ✓ Back: Open-back
  • ✓ Connection: Wired
  • ✓ Colors: Black
  • ✓ Durable and portable
  • ✓ Comfortable, cool design
  • ✓ Immersive music with the open back
  • ✓ Perfect for gaming and watching movies, too
  • Some users found it a bit big for small heads

All in all, Philips Fidelio X2HR headphones offer the best value for the money. They combine durability, performance, and comfort, all at a particularly good price.

Beyerdynamic 770 Pro Studio Headphones

  • Closed over-ear headphones, ideal for professional recording and...
  • Perfect for studio and stage recordings thanks to their pure,...
  • The soft, circumaural and replaceable velour ear pads ensure high...
  • Hard-wearing, durable and robust workmanship Made in Germany....
  • Practical single-sided cable (3.0m cable) . Comfortable fit due...

If you are big on quality and durability, then these German headphones are the ones for you.

As with other closed-back headphones, you will keep the noise out to a great extent. However, in extremely noisy situations, you may get a bit distracted.

The headphones feature high-frequency clarity. Also, the bass reflex system and treble are great. Though, they could do better with the midrange.

Beyerdynamic 770 headphones are mainly made of metal with some plastic parts. The sturdy, metal headband is covered with pleather. You can easily adjust the padded headband to fit your head shape.

The earpads are padded, too, and covered by breathable, soft velour for your comfort. The metal structure, supported by great padding, offers a high level of durability. Only one thing to mention, the hinges are made of plastic. So, you will need to be a bit careful with them.

The headphones feature a 3mm single-sided cable which enables you to put it on and take it off easily.

What We Like

  • ✓ Fit type: Over-ear
  • ✓ Back: Closed-back
  • ✓ Connection: Wired
  • ✓ Colors: Black and grey
  • ✓ High-end sound quality
  • ✓ Durable structure and soft surface
  • ✓ One-sided cable for easy handling
  • Midrange needs some improvement
  • Plastic hinges require careful use

With Beyerdynamic 770 Pro Studio, you will be able to enjoy your music indoors and outdoors. However, if you are not careful when using it, the plastic hinges may break.

Audiophile Headphones under $500

HiFiMAN HE-400I

Sale
  • Get an extra three-month extended warranty by registering your...
  • 30% lighter than comparable headphones
  • Newly-designed headband with an improved pressure pattern
  • The FocusPad, new beveled hybrid ear pads made of pleather and...
  • Intended for high performance listening in the home or studio

HiFiMAN HE-400I headphones feature a planar magnetic driver giving you the perfect spatial imaging and soundstage. They also offer a good balance between the bass, midrange, and treble.

However, having an open back does not make them perfect for commuting or in the outdoors in general. Noise leakage from and to your surroundings may be unpleasant for you and others.

HiFiMAN HE-400I headphones have a durable, metallic structure and padded earcups. Surprisingly, they are 30% lighter than other planar magnetic headphones.

You can get an extended warranty for an extra three-month, by registering your headphones on the manufacturer’s official website.

What We Like

  • ✓ Fit type: Over-ear
  • ✓ Back: Open-back
  • ✓ Connection: Wired
  • ✓ Colors: Grey
  • ✓ Lightweight
  • ✓ Improved headband pressure pattern for comfort
  • ✓ Comfortable pleather and velour ear pads
  • Not ideal for outdoor use due to noise leakage

Overall, if you are looking to listen to great music at home, or in a quiet place, this is the right product for you. If you prefer to listen to music on the go, then you’d better get a closed-back set of headphones to avoid noise leakage.

Sennheiser HD 600 Open-Back Professional Headphone

  • Lightweight aluminum voice coils ensure excellent transient...
  • Neodymium ferrous magnets maintain optimum sensitivity and...
  • Sophisticated design, elegantly finished in black and gray
  • High quality open metal mesh earpiece covers
  • Detachable, Kevlar reinforced oxygen free copper cable with very...
  • Connectivity technology : Wired
  • Note: The unit ships with 1 ¼” (6.3 mm) headphone adapter plug

If you are trying to find bargain headphones that look and feel luxurious, you have come to the right place.

With Sennheiser HD 600, you get to have deep bass, warm midrange, and crisp treble. The open-back design with mesh grills allows you to get the best soundstage.

They have a lightweight, ergonomic design that fits comfortably into your head. The headband is connected to the earcups with a metal band for maximum durability and fit.

High-end, durable plastic is used to make them. The removable audio cable has decent length and thickness to it which contributes to the durability of the product.

The headphones come with a 2-year international warranty.

What We Like

  • ✓ Fit type: Over-ear
  • ✓ Back: Open-back
  • ✓ Connection: Wired
  • ✓ Colors: Black
  • ✓ Great soundstage
  • ✓ Comfortable design
  • ✓ high-end, durable material and structure
  • You may need to get an amplifier for the best audio quality

If you want headphones that you can use at home with very decent quality and style, these might be the ones for you.

Bowers & Wilkins PX Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

  • Frequency response - 20-20KHz
  • ADAPTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION - Perfect sound anywhere - on a...
  • FEEL MORE OF YOUR MUSIC - Built with the same drive units from...
  • PX RESPONDS TO YOU - When you need to pause, lift an ear cup. Put...
  • SMART POWER -Battery type -850mAh-Lithium Polymer. Battery life-...
  • TO GET THE BEST FROM PX, install the latest version of the...
  • Frequency response - 10Hz to 20kHz and Impedance - 22 ohms...

These headphones offer relatively particularly good sound quality considering that they come with an active noise cancellation (ANC) feature. The feature comes with 3 modes: flight, city, and office.

Bowers & Wilkins PX are very responsive headphones. They pause when you lift one earcup, go on a power-saving mode when you put them down, go back on when you put them on.

They have a good battery life (up to 22 hours of active playback). The battery can be recharged using a USB-C.

They are made of high-quality aluminum and plastic. The earcups are well-padded and large enough for your ears. So, you can use them comfortably for hours.

They also come with a downloadable mobile application to control your audio playback and to save your preferred settings.

What We Like

  • ✓ Fit type: Over-ear
  • ✓ Back: Closed-back
  • ✓ Connection: Wireless/Bluetooth
  • ✓ Colors: Gold
  • ✓ Long battery life
  • ✓ Decent active noise cancellation feature with 3 modes
  • ✓ Strong Bluetooth connection
  • Audio quality might be affected when the active noise canceling feature is on
  • Some users found them a bit tight at first

If you like to try new gadgets, these headphones will be a good fit. They are wireless and come with an application for easier control.

How to Choose the Best Audiophile Headphones?

Before selecting your next set of headphones, read the following points for tips on how to find the best match for you.

Besides Sound Quality, What Should I Look for in a Pair of Headphones?

Comfort

You should be looking for the right material that will guarantee comfort. As an audiophile, you will be listening to music for long hours. The headband and earcups should be padded for comfort.

The material used to cover the earcups should be soft and breathable to avoid overhearing and soreness. A set that perfectly fits your head size and shape should be considered, too

Durability

Audiophile headphones tend to be a bit pricey. So, you should expect them to stay with you for a while.

Choose a set that has durable material, whether metal or high-quality plastic. They also should have a well-built structure to withstand wear and tear.

Should I Select Open-Back or Closed-Back Headphones?

It depends on where you want to use them. Open-back and closed-back headphones have different features and uses.

Open-back headphones offer great soundstage and clear sound quality. You will feel immersed in the music that leaks from the drivers to surround you. So, it is best to use them at home or in a studio.

Outdoors, closed-back headphones keep the noise out and stop the music from leaking. That makes them best for use in noisy places. However, they offer smaller soundstage and less audio quality.

Should I Go for Over-Ear or In-Ear Headphones?

In-ear headphones can have great prices. They will feel lightweight if you want to use them while moving around. They can be used discreetly, and you can store them easily. Plus, they isolate noise from the outside because they fit perfectly inside your ears.

If you care more about sound quality, over-ear headphones are more suitable for you. They have larger and more powerful drivers. That is why most audiophiles prefer them to all other types. They can also offer great isolation unless you are using an open-back pair.

Although they are bulkier and heavier, they are more comfortable than in-ears when you listen to music for long hours. The padded earcups will not make your ears feel sore.

What is the Difference between Noise cancellation and Noise Isolation?

People always confuse noise cancellation with noise isolation. Noise cancellation is an expensive feature in headphones. It plays back an inverted version of the noise around you to cancel it out. Only battery-operated headphones may have this feature, but it is effective.

The noise isolation feature is all about blocking the noise around you by physically sealing your ears. That keeps the music inside and the noise outside. It does not require any kind of charge, so it is cheaper.

These two features will keep you from wanting to turn up the volume which may cause future hearing problems.

How Can I Test My Headphones?

You can get to know a lot about your headphones by reading their manufacturer’s description and user reviews. But it is also a good idea to test your headphones before buying them.

First, you need to test them for comfort and size. You need to make sure they fit your head size comfortably so that they do not hurt later.

Second, you need to check the sound quality. In addition to trying tracks from your own playlist, some experts recommend listening to old music. Old music is not as compact as modern music. So, it offers a wide variety of frequencies.

Is Wired Better Than Wireless

Wireless headphones allow you to move freely while listening to music. You will be able to play, pause, skip your tracks right from the headphones.

While they offer great convenience when busy or working out, they need to be recharged or you will have to buy batteries often. Also, wired headphones have much better sound quality.

Final Thoughts

Audiophile headphones do not have to be pricey to perform well. We have collected some budget-friendly options for you to choose from.

After reviewing many budget audiophile headphones, we found that ​Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo​ headphones have it all. At an exceptionally low price, they are durable, comfortable, and inexpensive. And most importantly, the audio quality is exceptionally good.