Best Overall Headphones for Under $275

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by youraveragevinylcollector, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Commerce, GA
    Recently, I have been looking for a pair of headphones to replace my gracefully aging Skullcandy Hesh 2s. I do a lot a traveling, mostly 45-60 minute long rides, but I also need a pair of headphones that can be used at home for extremely good audio quality. I've been preferring a pair of headphones with a flat frequency response, as I have been finding myself wanting less bass, and more of a balanced sound. I've been thinking about Audio Technica ATH-M50Xs, but I know there are hundreds of other audiophile headphones out there for under $275. What are some decent headphones in my price range?
     
  2. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    If you can stretch a bit more...there are some deals to be had on the Audeze Sines at the mid-300s. They are fantastic for the money.

    Send me a message and I can connect you to someone has has some deals on this.
     
  3. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Commerce, GA
    I don't think I could go that high. Besides, I'm trying to save up for an almost entire stereo upgrade. ($700 for a new turntable setup, $200 for a new amp, etc.) I'm looking for headphones that agree mostly with 1960s-1980s rock, country, and pop.
     
  4. jlykos

    jlykos Forum Resident

    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    I can't say enough good things about the NAD HP-50 headphones. You should be able to find them in your price range. They work well straight out of an iPod or you can hook them up to an amplifier / DAC.
     
  5. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    I love my beats, but “audiophiles” on this site will say they are crap! :magoo:
     
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  6. molinari

    molinari Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york city
    For a balanced sound, I’d also recommend the NAD HP-50. I’ve tried the ATH-M50X’s - but they sounded really hyped to me - not nearly as balanced as the NAD’s... You should be able to get them for $250...
     
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  7. black sheriff

    black sheriff Forum Resident

  8. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    No problem, that makes sense.
     
  9. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Commerce, GA
    CNET and many other websites seem to like these headphones. With that price and frequency response, that is a deal.
     
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  10. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
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  11. xantus

    xantus Active Member

    for your music preferences I would look at some alessandro MS-1's, or the AT-a900
     
    LeeS likes this.
  12. Drew769

    Drew769 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    By "traveling" do you mean a public place like an airplane? If so, you will (obviously) want to limit the search to a good pair of closed headphones. If you are in hotel rooms and home, though, and open-back cans are an option, then I think you will be able to best achieve your goal of a more balanced sound. Open backed can create a spaciousness and air that are tough to match with closed backs.

    In the open category, and available in this price range, I strongly suggest the Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro in the 250ohm. You can also get these in a lower or higher impedance model (forget the low number, the higher one is 600 I believe). The 250ohm version works well with an iPhone or a personal player, like a Pono. They are basically like studio monitors for your ears - sounds become 3 dimensional and hang in space, and you notice details in your recordings that you have never heard before. Bass is surprising for an open back - tight an authoritative, without being boomy or overwhelming. These are NOT Beats. I've owned a pair for three years now, and honestly after hearing all kinds of cans at the NY Audio show (including Stax, Audeze, Hi_fi Man), I came home and listened to these cans and they sounded great by comparison. They are a steal for this price point. When I use them on my big rig at home, they take on an even greater dimension of sound. A true dual purpose set of cans.

    If you need closed back phones, and especially for travel, I like the B&W P5. They do have more bass than the Beyers (as can be expected), but they still have a very high end quality sound. There is ample space around the instruments, and vocals are clear and natural. Jazz is outstanding, and they can rock as well. They have a much lower impedance, making them ideal for phones and music players. They come in a nice case, with two cords, and they fold flat. The earpieces come out easily as they are held on by magnets. The leather used is buttery soft. Another plus is that they are somewhat low keyed - you don't look like an idiot walking around with these on your head. These can also be had in the under $300 category.
     
    black sheriff likes this.
  13. husafreak

    husafreak Great F'n music that's difficult to listen to!

    Location:
    NorCal, Bay Area
    I think 275 is a little low. There are just so many to choose from at the 300 price point. Unless of course you an get a good deal or buy used. I have the NAD HP50's and like them, but they do look a little funny. Pro's are SQ, fit, and isolation. I agree HD600's are a too large/heavy to be walking around with and they have no isolation. Everybody loves them but I never really did. I just bought a pair of Meze 99 Classics for my wife, I really, really, liked them at a recent Headphone meet. They look great, sound great, light and portable, but 309. You could get almost the same result as those Meze with a pair of Sennheiser Momentums... They have been around for a while so the 275 or less should be doable. Great headphones. My daughter got a pair of Beats in a raffle, very bass heavy phones. I think the Beyerdynamics are the opposite, they are much brighter and it sounds like they need great amplification. Finally way out of your range but my main cans are the Fostex TH-X00, I only mention them because they have an amazing way of giving you great bass and sub bass without coloring the upper frequencies. Bottom line though it sounds like you gotta find the best package in a small light headphone that isolates well and sounds great. So HP50's, Momentums, Meze are the ones I have experience with. Check out www.innerfidelity.com
     
  14. Bryan T

    Bryan T Active Member

    Location:
    L.A.
    For closed headphones, I like my beyer 770s. They are very comfortable and isolate well. I don't like them for commuting - too big. For that, I use some Cardas in-ears.

    By the way, open cans might still annoy your wife with bleed if you are listening at louder volumes.
     
  15. black sheriff

    black sheriff Forum Resident

    I read that he was looking for a pair of headphones for home.

    "but I also need a pair of headphones that can be used at home for extremely good audio quality."

    If he's riding the train or bus I would recommend just buying another pair of throw down Skullcandy's.
     
  16. Dr.D

    Dr.D Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 (over ear)

    They are around £200. I did a lot of homework before buying these, and found them to be the best value for a relatively lower price set of audiophile cans. Great open sound, and in contrast to Beats, they are not Bass heavy.

    I'm gearing up to perhaps take the next step up to a set of Shure SRH1840, but I love my Momentums so much, I worry I'd regret spending so much.
     
  17. ernest787

    ernest787 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Dallas
    I know you said the mid 300s is a no go, but I just bought a pair of Audeze Sine headphones (used) for $300. That's only $25 over your current budget.

    I can praise the Sine headphone enough. They are so good. I don't have the cipher cable with mine, but there are rumblings the cipher will be sold separately in a couple months.
     
  18. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    NW Indiana
    Another vote for the NAD HP-50's here. They should be auditioned and tried on for fit. I have been very pleased with mine. These should be on your radar.
     
  19. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Commerce, GA
    No, car trips only. I want something with enough bass detail so it isn't muffled by the low frequencies you hear while being inside a car. Nothing a small bass EQ can't hurt, as I am using either a phone or a hi res player (in the future) for my music while traveling.
     
  20. The Fall

    The Fall Member

    Location:
    Vancouver
    On1 monitor series »

    Very affordable. Very good looking. Stereophile Class A.

    Bass is punchy and believable. Music sound good.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
  21. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Commerce, GA
    I feel like this will be a difficult decision. These headphones have really good bass, but have 20 ohms more impedance compared to the NADs, and I'm not really sure if my phone or a Fiio X series hi res player would have the juice to pump up the volume on the On1s. However, I do like the look of the On1s much more.
     
  22. The Fall

    The Fall Member

    Location:
    Vancouver
    They're loud off my laptop and my iPhone. My music runs from subtle, to loud, to really loud... They haven't left me wanting. The seal one the ear is tight but comfortable.

    Good luck. Let us know what you land on.
     
  23. peteham

    peteham Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simcoe County
    Hifiman 400S
     
  24. husafreak

    husafreak Great F'n music that's difficult to listen to!

    Location:
    NorCal, Bay Area
    $200 for Stereophile ClassA... Really?
     
  25. The Fall

    The Fall Member

    Location:
    Vancouver
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