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Best Headphones to Buy per Price Range

Updated on November 18, 2013

Treat your ears and enrich your life.

You don't have to be a music aficionado to appreciate the depth of higher quality sound headphones provide. Let your media envelope you, hear more layers of your favorite music come to life, and immerse yourself in a cinematic experiences for your ears.

People spend hundreds or even thousands improving the crispness of their television sets, but most tend to disregard the vast improvement a pair of $200 headphones provide.

This hub will provide you the information you need to make a great decision no matter what your budget allows. You won't find gimmicky features here or brands that spend more on marketing instead developing you a solid product. Only the best in the business, companies like Grado, Audio-Technica, and Sennheiser will be shown.

What is your favorite headphone type?

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What types of headphones are there?

Full size - Full size headphones sit around your ear.

  • The open design keeps your ears from getting hot and uncomfortable over long periods of listening.
  • If you have noisy surroundings, you might prefer a closed design. Noise cancelling headphones will help block out your surrounding sounds and thus recommended for flights or similar travel. The closed design also helps not disturb others around you.

Ear pad - The ear pad design places a cushion directly onto your ear instead of surrounding it.

In ear / Earbuds - Placed inside your ear, this type lends itself to running, working out, or the need for portability.

Wireless - Headphones that operate without a cord using wifi or bluetooth.

Behind the Neck - Headphones designed not to mess up your hair or allow its wearer to use a hat or helmet.

Mic attached - Various headphones come with mic attachments. These are prevalent in gaming headsets for team communication. Don't be deterred if the new headphones you want doesn't have a mic though, you can purchase a clip on mic by Zalman for $10.

Entry range headphones ($50 - $100):

Starting off we have the Superlux HD-668B. These cans are made with cheap parts but get the job done. Great sound and comfort for the price. If these are your first headphones or money is exceptionally tight, a pair of these will do no wrong.

If you are looking for a headset with a mic, the Steel Series Siberia V2 is a popular pick. Its microphone is retractable, offers inline volume control, and comes in ten colors.

Audio Technica ATH-AD700 Open-air Dynamic Audiophile Headphones offers good mids and highs. Its frame is lightweight made of aluminum and magnesium. The ear cups are made of velvet for comfort.

The Grado Prestige Series SR80i Stereo Headphones have been around a long time. They are the award winning big brother to the SR60i. The vented diaphragm allows for lower frequency resonance and extended bass response and is the bass lovers pick in this bracket.

Superlux HD-668 B
Open / Ear pad
Detachable Cables
Steel Series Siberia V2
Closed / Full size
Audio Technica ATH-AD700
Open / Ear pad
Light Frame Structure
Grado SR80i
Open / Ear pad
Solid Bass Delivery

Mid range headphones ($101-$200):

As we move up the ladder, next we have Sennheiser HD 558's.The 558's are basically the entry set into Sennheiser's catalog. Sennheiser's E.A.R. design serves audio to your ears with a crisp clarity that you will appreciate, powered by field-strengthened neodymium ferrous magnets.

If you are willing to spend another $60 or so check out the PC 360 Cans in the next section, the audio is literally twice as good.

Audio-Technica takes everything good about the AD700 model and offers about a 50% improvement in sound resolution in the Audio-Technica AD900 model, unfortunately at double the price. Nonetheless these are quality cans are not to be denied for their excellent sound-stage.

The Grado SR225i caps this bracket off with an incredibly high quality offering. the SR225i's are said to the best headphones for rock and roll. Incredibly sound fidelity. The SR225i's also improve it's airflow by 50% over previous version with a new metal screen located on the rear of the ear cups. The only downside is that these do rest on your ears. If that's not your thing you might pass on these.

Sennheiser HD 558
Open / Full Size
Versatile Sound
Audio-Technica ATH-AD900
Open / Full Size
Great Mids and Highs
Grado SR225i
Open / Ear pad
Best Rock Cans

Upper range headphones ($201-$325):

If you have the money and you are looking for a gaming headset, the Sennheiser PC 360 Headset will not disappoint. These are the cans that I use myself.

The sound quality is so good it's hard to believe, pushing a sound resolution twice as rich as the Sennheiser 555's. You can wear these open design cans all day in perfect comfort thanks to the thick ultra soft ear and headband cushioning. These feature volume controls on the outside of your ear cup and auto muting when the mic is swiveled into the vertical position.

If a microphone isn't important to you, you can get the same quality with better construction materials in the Sennhesier HD 598 Headphones.

  • Plush premium metal mesh and sophisticated burl wood accents
  • Frequency response has a range of 12 - 38,500 Hz, offering even more of a dynamic range as well.

When it comes to listening to a portable device, Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile HiFi Stereo Headphones pack all the bright audio you need with specially developed ultra-linear neodymium magnets and highly optimized Mylar diaphragms. The leather ear pads are magnetically attached and interchangeable.

These headphones also come with a "Made for iPod" cable which allows easy control of an iPod, and the microphone can also facilitates calls on an iPhone.

Sennhesier PC 360
Open / Full Size
Best Gaming Headset
Sennhesier HD 598
Open / Full Size
Metal Mesh w/ Burl Wood Accents
Bowers & Wilkins P5
Best HiFi Headphones

Extreme audiophile headphones ($326+):

These headphones are still recommended but have stepped into the top of the line audiophile price range, offering frequency response ranges of 6 Hz to 51 kHz, handcrafted components, and the culmination of years of engineering prowess to achieve these products.

The Denon AH-D2000 has lightweight magnesium construction and offers up a 5H-45k range for deep and punchy bass response.

The Yamaha PRO 500 are some of the best headphones you never heard of. Great range, designed for larger heads, up to 1000 mW of sound delivery. Also comes with an inline mic.

The Sennhesier HD800 has been specifically engineered in replicating the basic acoustic conditions of natural hearing.

The Grado GS1000i features a new species of handcrafted Mahogany earpieces for wooden air chambers giving it a unique tonal quality, making it one of the best mid-range headphones ever to be experienced.

Denon AH-D2000
Closed / Full size
Lightweight, Excellent Bass
Yamaha PRO 500
Closed / Full size
Beautifully Designed
Grado GS1000i
Open / Ear pad
Ultimate Mid Range Tone
Sennhesier HD700 / HD800
Open / Full size
New Spatial Acoustic Design
$999 / $1,499

What type of media do you listen to most often?

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It's time to put those $20 headphones away; enjoy your media and hear every instrument to each track as it was meant to be heard.

You can't go wrong with any of these picks. Make sure you pick the type that suits you the best though. These are all quality five star products as you can verify.

You might be able to snap up a deal on eBay rather than buying new headphones directly to save some money, no harm in looking.

If you enjoyed reading this:

Check out my other hardware price guides:

Have a suggestion to add? Let me know in the comments below.


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