Best headphones $75 or under?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by peskypesky, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. peskypesky

    peskypesky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Ok, I'm a HEAVY user of headphones, since 95% of my listening is with my laptop or DAP. So I break headphones at a pretty rapid rate. The plastic parts used in modern headphone production just do not stand up to the thousands of hours of use I give them. Even the Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitors I bought last year broke pretty quickly. I remember when Sony studio headphones would last decades. I'm a professional video editor and had a pair for about 17 years before they finally bit the dust. (I'm guessing the plastic they now use is just too brittle).

    So, to get to the point, I no longer spend lots of money on headphones. They just break too quickly. So, I am looking for recommendations on sub-$75 over-ear headphones that you really like. Open or closed. I use both.

    Right now, I'm using Samson SR850s, which seem to be a rebranding of Superlux headphones. These Samsons are very comfortable, lightweight, nice padding....and the sound is really good. Very robust bass, good mids, clear highs. Super impressive for $30. I will probably buy another pair of these if they break, unless I get better recommendations.

    I do have a pair of Takstar Pro82's waiting for me at my brother's house in Austin....and they get excellent reviews...so I'm eager to hear them.

    Any other recos?
     
  2. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    Koss PortaPros. They cost less than $50 for a pair and have a fairly good sound.

    The following video will provide you with information on these headphones:

     
  3. rcsrich

    rcsrich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    The Audio Technica ATH M40X are in that range, solidly built for the price and accurate.
     
  4. peskypesky

    peskypesky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    i've heard good things about them, but they seem to have the very same construction flaw that has killed several pairs of my headphones in recent years. With prolonged use, the plastic breaks at this stress point:
    [​IMG]

    e.g.
    [​IMG]


    and another:
    Audio-technica ATH-M40x broken hinge after light use
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Save your lunch money just a bit longer and try some Grado SR80es - by far the best headphones I've heard under $100.

    They're technically on-ear headphones but the cups mostly fit over my ears (I don't think I have small ears). They're not uncomfortable anyhow.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  6. rcsrich

    rcsrich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    Ouch!
     
  7. rcsrich

    rcsrich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    I love the sound of my SR60s, but they don't feel particularly sturdy...maybe they're tougher than they look.
     
  8. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Only for the fact that they're low
    weight. They don't creak and moan like they're about to snap at any moment like my ATH-M50s did.
    How sturdy does a pair of phones need to be, really? I mean, they won't hold up well if one sits on them often, but I have to wonder what he is doing to break all these cans.
     
    Coltrane811 likes this.
  9. peskypesky

    peskypesky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    I own a set of Grado SR80s and a set of their twin, Alessandro MS1's. I love their sound and light weight. But both of my pairs died...the cable is garbage. At some point, I'll try re-cabling them.
     
  10. Linto

    Linto Mayor of Simpleton

    Russ_B66 likes this.
  11. peskypesky

    peskypesky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    I can assure you, it has nothing to do with what I'm doing, and everything to do with current production methods and materials. As I wrote, I owned a pair of Sony studio headphones that lasted me about 17 years. The construction and materials were robust.

    I'm a professional video editor and wear my headphones pretty much all day at work, and then in the evenings when I'm home. So they get a LOT of use. Each time I put them on my head or take them off, some stress is applied to the headphones. It's a matter of physics. And unfortunately, the plastics now used in many headphones will eventually weaken and crack at those stress points.
     
    Aftermath and rxonmymind like this.
  12. peskypesky

    peskypesky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    thanks, but those have the same faulty design. the plastic will eventually crack where the headband meets the cups.

    Grados have a better design at that stress point, as it's a metal rod, not plastic.
    [​IMG]

    But the problem with Grados is the cable.
     
    Gramps Tom likes this.
  13. rxonmymind

    rxonmymind Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sacramento
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  14. Are you willing to believe it may be your use of the headphones, or your physical makeup, that is the real issue behind the breakages?
    Maybe you have a bigger than normal head. Simply by wearing the phones you are stressing them and when you stretch them to put them on and off you simply overtax the equipment.

    In a similar situation I have a friend who is REALLY big. Well over six feet tall and easily over 360 lbs...and he is not over weight by much...he is just a huge man.
    He wears out shoes at an alarming rate simply because of his size. He also can not sit in ANY folding chair because it just won't support his weight. He can't use most ladders either because they are not rated for his weight. Not much he can do about his physical size and he understands he has to adapt to things because of that size.

    Maybe your style is just too abusive. Take the phones off and toss them down rather than set them down. I am not talking about THROWING them down, but rather a simple, casual, toss to the side. Maybe they fall to the floor a lot due to the work area set up...knocked off the bench, cord caught and yanked, angled table and they slip off and fall, that sort of thing.
    If this is the case a dedicated hook, or spot, may help...or something along those lines.

    I have worked around tool using individuals my whole life. Because of this I have witnessed quite a lot of people who seem to think the tool is garbage when it breaks, when in fact they are the one doing the damage with, what they consider, normal usage.
    I also know some individuals who have used the same tools "labeled as garbage by the tool mashers" for decades because of the way they treat the tools...it does make a difference.

    While I completely understand the lessening of quality in things, as well as the more difficult task in finding quality things, if you are constantly breaking everything, regardless of brand, quality, or materials, it may be time to look into your use rather than the equipment.

    As far as a recommendation for less expensive headphones.
    I have had good luck with brand names, larger drivers, wider headbands, and fit for comfort.
    There are a few things that will sink a headphone for me.
    1) Tight around the head, especially the ears. Sometimes the fit is just uncomfortable. If the fit is not good the phones will become increasingly uncomfortable the longer I wear them.
    2) If the make up of the phone is "noisy". I have had a few that just squeak and creak with every single movement, and that gets old real fast.
    3) The way the cord, or cords hang. Some cords just seem destined to be in the way, to get hooked or snagged, and to never go unnoticed. This cord issue is one I will work with to a point, but if you can find a better situation go with that. My current Grado headphones are this way. The two cords leading from the (Y) junction have taken on a twist of sorts. This twist keeps one of the cords always touching my cheek or neck regardless of how I try to remedy the situation. It is not that big of a deal, but it could be better.
     
    peskypesky likes this.
  15. Socalguy

    Socalguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    CA
    I have the same problem with sunglasses. I stopped buying expensive Ray-Bans. Now I just buy multiple pairs of cheap shades. When they break, I toss them. No biggie.

    You can get 5 pairs of Sony MDRZX110’s for $75.
     
    peskypesky, missan and forthlin like this.
  16. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    I've had my cheap Grados since nineteen ninety something and they still work to this day.
     
    12" 45rpm likes this.
  17. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    After trying a bunch, I always go back to the Koss PortaPros. Very musical sound, full-sounding, and capable of deep bass.

    The only negative are the unwieldy design. They do have slightly rolled-off highs but that can easily be compensated for with EQ.
     
    Johnny Wong and peskypesky like this.
  18. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    They do sound good but I find them lacking in certain areas. For me, the biggest challenge was wearing them for long stretches.
     
    12" 45rpm likes this.
  19. forthlin

    forthlin Forum Resident

    Didn't watch the video so I don't know it was mentioned that Koss headphones have a lifetime guarantee. It they break, you send them to Koss along with a small fee ($8 I think) and they'll repair them. The times I've sent mine in they just replaced them, probably not cost effective for them to spend the time to repair something that inexpensive. It took less than two weeks to get the headphones. You could buy two sets and switch when one set goes off for repair.
     
    peskypesky likes this.
  20. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    The video does mention about the lifetime guarantee (as in your lifetime), but it didn't go into the above details.
     
    forthlin likes this.
  21. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I don't find them unwieldy, they are probably the most comfortable headphones I've worn. I can wear them for long periods of time. I've tried other headphones but on the whole I find the Koss PortaPros the best headphones for me.

    A factor in this is that they are on-ear headphones. Due to the size of my ears (larger than normal), I generally find that over-ear headphones are uncomfortable. Nothing wrong with the headphones themselves, I just can't wear them.

    An example of this is with the Sony MDR-V6 headphones, which I'd heard are great headphones. I recently purchased a pair and at first I liked the sound of them. Unfortunately, after wearing them for 30 minutes I had a serious problem: the outer edges of my ears pressed against the inside of the headphones and it became extremely painful. It was the last time I wore them. The only way I'd give them another try if I can get much thicker ear pads (like twice as thick) so that my ears won't press against the insides of the headphones. However, I think I will just stay with the Koss PortaPros.

    With in-ear headphones, the sound quality is the factor that works against them. To me, they sound very thin. As an example, I used to wear the Sony Ear Clips. I liked that unlike earbuds they would stay in my ears (the player would go flying first before the ear clips would come out of my ears), I could easily put them on, and I could wear them for long periods of time. At the time, they sounded okay. When I discovered on-ear headphones like the Koss PortaPros, I noticed how thin the ear clips sounded.

    This brings forth another factor to mention when it comes to headphones: Comfort. No matter how great a pair of headphones are supposed to sound, they are worthless to me if I can't wear them for long periods of time. This is why I generally won't consider expensive headphones. I will put down a modest amount of money for headphones without wearing them first, and if they are not right for me I consider it a lesson learned. However, if I'm going to spend a lot (>$100) on a pair of headphones I'm going to have to wear them first.
     
    peskypesky and Strat-Mangler like this.
  22. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Location:
    .
    Nobody mentioned Apple buds????:D
     
  23. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn New York
  24. peskypesky

    peskypesky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    those are beautiful...and I like the metal costruction at that stress point....but you ask a good question about the metal/headband.
     
  25. peskypesky

    peskypesky Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    you are lucky! I have to wonder how your cables didn't disintegrate. That weakness is well-documented on headphone forums. There's an entire cottage industry of Grado re-cabling.
     

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