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Top 5 Headphones

Updated on July 13, 2015

The Top 5 Headphones for Your Budget

As a novelist, I spend a lot of time wearing headphones. Whether it's at my desk, on an airplane, or for working out. I've tried hundreds of different types. And over time, I've found that there can be huge sound quality differences between similarly priced headphones. While I don't consider myself a hardcore audiophile, I have come to find that these 5 cans are head and shoulders above other models of the same type. Each of these are from a different 'class', so here you'll find the right model for your needs. For a more comprehensive list, you can check this list of the top ten headphones:

Image Credit: Audio Technica ATH-M50S available at

Audiophile Poll

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Notable ATH-M50 Reviews:

Cnet Review:

"These headphones are nicely balanced and offer impressive detail and good tight bass that's ample but not overpowering."

Classical Music Headphones Review:

"The M50s are no slouch when it comes to bass: they pack a punch. Yet they manage to do so without drowning out the other elements of music."

Great ATH-M50 Video Review:

This video above is great. The reviewer explains why the M50's sound so good, and compares them to some not-so-good sounding headphones (Beats)

Definitely worth a watch.

2. Sennheiser HD598 - For homebodies and classical music lovers

Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones - Ivory
Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones - Ivory

The only over-ear headphones that come close to the M50's are the HD598's. They are a different animal however. The open-backed design means that sound bleeds both out and inwards, so you can't use them in places where you will disturb others. The open-backed design creates a natural sound reproduction that actually sounds better than the M50's when it comes to classical music, live recordings and female vocals. But they are also light on the bass, and definitely not portable. All in all, they are outstanding headphones if you're looking for large soundstage and you're listening at home.


3. Bose QC25 Noise Cancelling Headphones - The Best Noise-Cancellation Technology

Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices - Black (wired, 3.5mm)
Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices - Black (wired, 3.5mm)

Other companies have been making strides over the years, but Bose still has the most effective active noise-cancellation technology (ANC). As a result, the QC25 headphones are still the best headphones for air travel. Being able to actively cancel out jet engine noise (instead of turning up your music to drown it out) is a stress relieving experience akin to yoga. I sometimes put on my QC25's when I'm writing just to help tune out distractions.


4. Audio Technica ATH-M30x - Best for Audiophiles on a Budget.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black

While the M30x's don't quite reproduce music with the same skill and detail as the M50x's, it's hard to argue with the price. The budget friendly M30x's still have a great build quality. I've run my chair over them a few times and haven't had a problem. The ear-cups are sot, plush, and comfortable. The only criticism I have is that the high end (treble) is quite bright on the headphones, and so a couple of hours of classical music can be fatiguing to the ears.


5. Scosche RH1060 - The Best Workout Headphones

SCOSCHE Reference Grade Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Foldable Lightweight Headphones with Included Carrying Case - 40mm Realm Audio Drivers with Built-In Mic and Track Controls - Black (RH1060)
SCOSCHE Reference Grade Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Foldable Lightweight Headphones with Included Carrying Case - 40mm Realm Audio Drivers with Built-In Mic and Track Controls - Black (RH1060)

For those that want to go the wire-free route, these are the best bluetooth headphones I've tried so far. They are a sleek, comfortable set of headphones that are my go to pair for going to the gym. Scosche is known as a car audio maker, and are only just beginning to get into the headphones market.

The sound quality, for bluetooth, is excellent, and I would recommend them for any style of music. Seriously, you'll blow away all those gym rats with their silly Beats headphones.


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