Best Overall Headphones for Under $275

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

  1. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Forum Resident

    Yeah, I forgot all about that. They aren't a good choice if you've got engine noise, people yapping, etc., and any other significant outside noises. You're absolutely-right. Grado not so great on the go. If I were in the OP's situatiom, I might consider high-quality earbuds maybe. Otherwise, you're looking at closed-back headphones.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  2. razerx

    razerx Who me?

    The East
    Quality headphones can get too heavy and sweaty for walking around so earbuds are preferred. Midrange Shure earbuds in the $200 range are good enough for the commute. At home I have a closet full of headphones. Seems the search for that set of magical cans continues :) To preserve harmony in the home I listen to all my music via headphones and there is a pair for every genre every mood.
  3. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Sennheiser HD 600
    billnunan and Opeth like this.
  4. But then you need another $275 or more for an amp for them.
    Bill Why Man and rodentdog like this.
  5. xantus

    xantus Active Member

    I would recommend the westone UM 1 or 2. most comfortable in-ears I ever wore
  6. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Commerce, GA
    I might go for the On1 Monitor series. Closed back, really good looking and comfortable headphones, good sound quality- and a good price.
  7. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    I am firmly on Team Grado but would NOT recommend them for travel. Also most would not consider them neutral. I use Beyer DT-250/80 for closed listening. Neutral, easy to drive. Underrated IMHO.
  8. jriems

    jriems Audio Ojiisan

    I think I might give these a try as well based on their looks and the Stereophile recommendation. I had never heard of them until this thread. :eek:
  9. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    definitely need a amp with any hd6xx!
  10. brock

    brock Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    Late to the party here, but wanted to weigh in with a bit of recent personal experience. Based on the info in this thread, I spent the last week auditioning both the thinksound OM-2's and the NAD HP50's. The comparison wasn't even close. I'm keeping the NADs, and the thinksounds are going back. Part of it is the difference between on-ear and over-ear phones, I realize, but to me, the sound of the OMs was way too bassy, with little to no presence to them at all. They made it feel like a dense version of the sound was being drilled directly into my brain. Gave me a headache. Honestly, I'm not sure where the glowing sound-quality reviews on the OMs are coming from. To me, they basically sounded like a spiffed-up version of Beats.

    (On the plus side, they were comfortable, the build quality is impressive -- they just feel like "quality" when you hold them in your hand -- and they look super-cool.)

    The NADs, on the other hand, sound great. Balanced-to-slightly-warm sound, good detail, good soundstage. They make it feel like you're living in the middle of the sound, rather than having the sound drilled into your skull. Good build quality on the NADs as well.

    So, I'm keeping the NADs, happily, and the OM2's have been shipped back to Amazon. Thought my story was worth sharing given all the speculative enthusiasm about the OMs above. YMMV of course.
  11. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    NW Indiana
    I too have the NAD HP50's and am enjoying them immensely. Not sure what I would replace them with today. The Audioquest Nighthawks that have been closed out was a consideration and the Massdrop Fostex TH-XOO have recently caught my attention. This might lead to another thread in the future. Moving up the audio ladder is nice, but for me I have to take steps rather than leaps. I would like to listen to them first, but I do value input from other forum members too. Spending time with your phones is fun and kind of a personal pleasure / experience. I'm not unhappy with my phones, but aren't we always striving for better sound?
  12. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    London, UK
    I was listening to mine last night, such a great headphone!
  13. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Commerce, GA
    I'm honestly thinking about getting either the Thinksound On2s or the new Audio Technica MSR7NCs. I've narrowed it down to those two. Which one would be the better buy?
  14. ishmaelk

    ishmaelk Forum Resident

    Has anyone tried the Musical Fidelity MF-200? It's in that price range and there are usually quite a few offers.
  15. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    I've considered those Audio Technicas as I'm such a huge fan of the ATH-M50X (and Audio-Technica products in general). Here's what gives me pause -

    - I used to own the ATH-ESW990H. I recall buying them instead of the M50X because they seemed more expensive, more "audiophile", etc. I never really liked them that much beyond the aesthetics. I wasn't very upset when I accidentally left them on mass transit. Now that I own M50xs, I can objectively say the M50x is better in every way, at least IMO.

    - They seem very similar physically to the ATH-M70x, which per reviews seem to be the more-neutral/less-fun version of the M50x.

    Basically, you might see a trend developing that I like the M50x's so much I'm worried that an "upgrade" will be a downgrade for my personal headphone tastes. I like the M50x better then my HD600's and the Audeze LCD-2s I owned. This is an "all-around" qualification, those cans have nice qualities but annoying ones as well.
  16. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Houston, TX
    I found them uncomfortable and, I don't know, unexciting. But their comfort was a big downfall to me so I sold them. I use Grado SR80's when sitting at the desk now. A lot more comfortable. Heck, sometimes I listen through GR10 in-ears through my Valhalla 2. I really like those things.
  17. pick-me-up

    pick-me-up Straight shooter from S/FI

    I bought a pair of AKG K550 and they are just awesome! Costed me only 123 USD with shipping. Maybe too big ones to use with your cell phone, but at home – they are so great! :edthumbs: I listened directly from my CDP, TEAC CD-Z5000.

    For the price, I doubt you can get any better … :) And the model is closed, so you can shut the world pretty much outside you.
    Dr Faustus likes this.
  18. WapatoWolf

    WapatoWolf Forum Resident

    Grado SR 80 or higher for home and bose "sound tru ultra" ear buds ($130) for travel. I use them for gym & commute & they r great. I love my grado sr 80's.
  19. pick-me-up

    pick-me-up Straight shooter from S/FI

    I’m sure they are nice, but it’s a little different animal, so to speak. Not so big, so they are suitable with cell phones as well. I wanted the closed model, so that’s why I picked up AKG K550.
  20. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    Several people have already said this, and I agree 100%, Sennheiser HD-600 headphones, best buy, best product in the price range you are looking in. If you can stretch just a little, I would move up to the HD-650. Call Todd The Vinyl Junkie and get the "right" price on a pair of HD-650, just tell him you need some help, he WILL help! :righton:
  21. youraveragevinylcollector

    youraveragevinylcollector Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Commerce, GA
    I understand it has been a while, but I may just go with the NAD HP50s. Lots of you seem to love them. I would like to go over ear, instead of on ear, I think they would be a little better at deadening outside noise and would be much better for travelling because of that.
  22. timind

    timind Don't blame me

    Westfield, IN USA
    The HP50s have a sound I found close to my Senn HD650s; loved the sound. The only problem I had with them is they are barely what I think of as "over" the ear. At least on my ears which I don't think of as large.

    For a completely different recommendation, look at these: KZ ATE Copper Driver Ear Hook HiFi in Ear Earphone Sport Headphones for Running with Foam Eartips with Microphone: Cell Phones & Accessories
    Best $13 I've spent in years.
  23. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Forum Resident

    NJ, USA
    There's no such thing as the "best" headphones. Design, construction, comfort, efficiency, and SQ all play a role. Choice is subjective, and often dictated by what you can try out, since there are so many options.
    Audiophile headphones are expensive, and you need a proper amp to drive them. If you are serious about travel headphones, a closed-ear style is good, but noise-cancelling designs are better.

    I have two headphones. Sennheiser HD 600 for home use. I chose these for their accurate frequency response. They are not bright or bass-heavy, they have a very neutral SQ. I have a Parasound zDac desktop amp to power them, a good match. I use Audirvana Plus as my music player, and am happy with the sound. Of course there are better setups out there, but I only paid $550 new for the headphones and amp combined, so it was worth it. They are reasonably comfortable to wear, although they start to feel a bit heavy after long periods.

    For travel, I have a pair of Bose QC25's. The sound quality is not quite up to the level of the Sennheisers, but I would not step foot on an airplane, train, or bus without them. They are high efficiency, so any smartphone or mp3 player can power them. They are comfortable enough to keep on for a 10-hour plane flight. If travel was important, and I could only have one pair of headphones, I would choose these. I bought mine used on ebay for $180. Retail is $299.
  24. whaiyun

    whaiyun Forum Resident

    I'd go with B&O H6. They've been getting universal rave reviews. $289 on Amazon right now.

    If you got a bit more money, I'd try the Oppo PM-3. I use them at work and love it. Easy to drive, portable, planar magnetic, near flat frequency response.
    Robert C likes this.
  25. Spsesq

    Spsesq Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    I have the Beyerdynamics Custom Studio (80 Ohm) headphones running through a Schiit Audio Vali 2 amp with a Telefunken E88CC / 6922 rolled tube.
    They have the custom bass reflex vent adjustment for each ear. Four separate adjustments from no bass to heavy bass. I love the warm sound. Around $169-$249 depending on the website. Specs from Beyerdynamics: beyerdynamic CUSTOM STUDIO

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