Best Budget Audiophile Headphones of 2021 – How To Enjoy Your Favourite Music On A Budget

Best Budget Audiophile Headphones of 2021 - How To Enjoy Your Favourite Music On A Budget

Best Budget Audiophile Headphones of 2021 - How To Enjoy Your Favourite Music On A Budget

There's an incredibly vast choice of high-end headphones, and many are utilizing a myriad of high-tech bells and whistles to make your listening experience comfortable and unique.

But what if you want pure sound quality without tacked on features like companion apps, noise cancellation, leather padding, and other elements that drive up the price without making the sound output any better?

With a pure emphasis on sound quality, audiophile headphones are a testament to outstanding sonics - rather than showcases of the latest tech.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the money to buy a pair of audiophile headphones since they can cost upwards of a couple of hundred dollars. This is because these headphones feature high-quality drivers and are usually built out of premium materials.

With that said, quite a few audiophile headphones are circulating the market that won't cost you an arm and a leg. I've spent quite some time researching the best budget audiophile headphones and compiled my findings in this article.

So, if you're interested in the best budget audiophile headphones, keep on reading! As a bonus, I've also compiled a short buyer's guide!

In a hurry? After 35 Hours of Research, We Recommend:

Best budget audiophile headphones - Best audiophile headphones overall

Why they are the best?

  • Thanks to the open-back earcup design, these headphones offer an incredibly neutral sound stage.
  • The padded earpads and headband make them incredibly comfortable to wear.
  • Although they're built out of mostly plastic, these headphones feel high-quality.
  • An excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the true sound of music while laying back at home.
98/100
our score

sourses
35

RESEARCHED SOURCES

600

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

35

hours researching

36

products compared

Last Updated: September 1, 2021

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best headphones for classical music available for those who are interested in enjoying the classic  the best possible way. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best headphones for classical music currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Budget Audiophile Headphones Comparison List

Product

Design

Driver Type

Impedance

Sensitivity

Driver size

Our Rating

Current Price

Sennheiser HD 600

Open-backed

Dynamic

300 Ohm

97 dB

40 mm

98/100

Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM

Closed-Back

Dynamic

38 Ohm

99 dB

45 mm

95/100

Grado SR80e Prestige Series

Open-backed

Dynamic

32 Ohm

99.8 dB

40 mm

93/100

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Closed-back

Dynamic

80 Ohm

96 dB

45 mm

90/100

1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones

In-ear headphones

Hybrid

32 Ohm

99 dB

n/a 

85/100

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Closed-back

Dynamic

32 Ohm

105 dB

50 mm

84/100

Top 6 Best Budget Audiophile Headphones - Reviews And Recommendations

Finding the best budget audiophile headphones for your needs can be quite a chore. The market is saturated with headphone models that each come with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

But, don't worry - you're at the right place. I've done the research for you and compiled it into this nifty list of best budget audiophile headphones you can find on the current market.

So, let's begin with the best of them all and move on from there.

Sennheiser HD 600
Our Rating: 98/100

If you've been following my recent posts, you might remember I've already talked about Sennheiser HD 600 headphones in my best headphones for classical music article. In that article, I've talked about how they're the best budget option for classical music. Well, they're actually the best budget option when it comes to audiophile headphones. Let's see why.

The Design

To ensure a low price point, Sennheiser made a couple of successions in designing these headphones. For starters, the Sennheiser HD 600 is entirely built out of plastic. Besides the drivers, the only metal component of the Sennheiser HD 600 is the metal band used to adjust the headphones to fit your head size. Thankfully, the plastic doesn't feel cheap - quite the contrary, it feels high-quality and incredibly firm.

The plastic surrounds the earcups and is also the main part of the headband. Both the headband and earcups feature velour covered memory foam for increased comfort during long listening sessions.

You might feel slight discomfort during the first few hours because these headphones have a tight clamping force. Thankfully, this is only temporary.

The ear pads feel incredibly comfortable, and I especially love how comfortable and well-padded the headband is. I'm pretty sure you won't have any trouble listening to music for hours on end with these headphones.

The Performance

When it comes to performance, the Sennheiser HD 600 a clear and detailed sound stage. I've tested this headphone on a wide range of devices, and I've discovered that you need an amp for the Sennheiser HD to shine truly.

Once hooked up on an amp, you get to see what the Sennheiser really has to offer. The dynamic drivers' audio-quality is well-balanced with crisp mids, highs, and a surprisingly punchy bass for an open-back headphone. Unfortunately, the sub-bass is a bit too low. The subs are present, but I feel like they could add more to the overall audio quality if they were just a bit more present.

Since the Sennheiser HD features an open-back design, there's no noise cancellation or isolation to speak of. Coupled with the need for an amplifier to truly shine, these headphones best work as a home listening solution.

If you're looking for good audiophile headphones for enjoying music at home, the Sennheiser HD offers the best value for money.

Pros

  • Excellent design
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Balanced sound signature
  • Very affordable for audiophile headphones

Cons

  • Requires an amp to shine truly
Audio-Technica-ATH-M50x
Our Rating: 95/100

The Adio Technica ATH M50X is probably the most recommended headphone for those that are just getting their feet wet in the world of hi-fi. But why is that the case? The answer is simple; they're an incredibly versatile piece of audio equipment.

ATH M50X looks incredibly food, is incredibly comfortable, and is foldable to boot. On top of that, they're pretty sturdy, ensuring they'll last you a long time. On the other hand, the sound stage isn't entirely neutral, which is why they're my second pick.

The Design

Audio Technica ATH M50X is an over-ear closed-back headphone that's built mostly out of plastic. There are a couple of metal accents, like the headband's construction, but the rest is pretty much made out of plastic. Thankfully, the plastic feels incredibly sturdy and high-quality, and I do not doubt that the Audio Technica ATH M50X will last for many years before breaking down.

These headphones also come in two types: wired and wireless. For utility, the Audio Technica ATH M50X features a removable cable. What's more, the connector also features a security clamp that ensures that the cable won't accidentally fall out while you're out and about.

The ear pads are incredibly plushy, ensuring superb comfort. Unfortunately, the foam does get a bit too warm during prolonged listening sessions, but the case with most budget audiophile headphones.

When it comes to clamping force, just like with the Sennheiser, the Audio Technica ATH M50X will clamp down quite a bit for the first couple of hours. After that, it's all smooth sailing. Since these headphones have no active noise cancellation, having a tighter fit isn't that bad.

The Performance

When it comes to audio quality, Audio Technica markets the ATH M50X as monitoring headphones. However, the ATH M50X lacks the flair to be truly considered mixing and mastering headphones. With that said, the overall audio quality will make any audiophile happy.

The bass is full and quite punchy. In fact, the bass is its main attribute, which makes them one of the best headphones for rap, EDM, and other bass-heavy music. The mids are a little bit laid back for my taste but are clear and crisp. The treble is also clear and crips.

Although they don't have the best sound stage, these budget audiophile headphones are still one of the best choices for beginners. 

Pros

  • Well built
  • Come in both wired and wireless flavors
  • Excellent audio quality for budget audiophile headphones
  • Excellent noise isolation

Cons

  • The sound stage isn't neutral
Grado SR80e Prestige Series - Best Open-Back Budget Audiophile Headphones
Our Rating: 93/100

Gardo Labs have been around for quite a while. This family-owned audio equipment company takes pride in hand-making each of its headphones to ensure excellent audio quality for their customers. The Grado SR80E are excellent budget audiophile headphones, thanks to their superb sound quality.

The build quality leaves a bit more to be desired, but at this price range, you'll hardly find another headphone with this good sound output.

The Design

Grado SR80E are open-back headphones that feature open-back earcups. The overall design of these headphones is truly unique. The SR80E design looks almost antiquated. But don't let the looks fool you; the SR80E is a part of Grado's classic line of headphones.

While there might be some people out there that might be put out by the design of the SR80E, I personally love it. The SR80E represents a great contrast to today's futurism-inspired design of audiophile headphones.

These headphones are mostly made out of plastic and feel pretty light. Unfortunately, the build quality isn't the best. The plastic feels cheap like it could crumble at any time

The ear cups can swivel 360-degrees while the headband features lightly padded leather. The headband padding could be better because it can start digging into your hair after a while. Thankfully, the headband is made out of metal, giving it a boost in sturdiness.

The ear cups feature a non-removable cable, which can be a problem when packing them. Thankfully, the cable feels sturdy and doesn't tangle that easily.

As for comfort, the padding on the earcups is serviceable at best. You will start feeling heat around your ears after an hour of listening. The clamping force is also a bit too high, so make sure you stretch these headphones until they start feeling comfortable.

The Performance

For a pair of budget audiophile headphones, the SR80E offers an excellent balance in the frequency range. These headphones produce an incredibly neutral sound stage. The bass is present and punchy but not overwhelming.

The midrange is what makes the SR80E one of the best audiophile headphones for those on a short budget. Thanks to their open-backed design, you'll be amazed at how neutral the sound stage is. On top of that, imaging and instrument separation is some of the best I've heard in a while.

Unfortunately, because of their open-backed design, you won't have an excellent listening experience while commuting. There's no noise cancellation to speak of, which makes these headphones best for home use.

Pros

  • Incredible sound quality for budget audiophile headphones
  • Neutral sound stage
  • It doesn't require an amplifier to work correctly

Cons

  • Poor build quality
  • Not the most comfortable headphones in this price range
beyerdynamic DT
Our Rating: 90/100

The fourth place in my list of best budget audiophile headphones goes to Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones. Beyerdynamic has an excellent reputation for producing some of the best audiophile headphones in the world. Whether you need fully-fledged studio headphones, or something more portable, Beyerdynamic has you covered.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro-s are one of the best budget audiophile headphones with closed-back ear cups you can find on the market. Let's see why.

The Design

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones look very similar to the rest of this company's offering. The headphones are mostly built out of metal, with only a few plastic accents. The earpads' outer case is mostly made out of plastic, but it feels very high quality and sturdy enough to withstand quite a beating.

The headband is made out of metal and features a pleather cover. The padding provides just the right amount of softness and can easily be adjusted to fit your head shape. The earcups are joined with the headband via metal bands that feel quite sturdy. Unfortunately, the hinges are made out of plastic, which means you can easily break these headphones if you're not too careful.

The overall weight of these headphones is almost negligible, which makes wearing them a joy. On top of that, the ear pads are very soft and are covered with cloth that's incredibly breathable. At first, the earpads might be too stiff, but they'll "break-in" in no time.

The Performance

For a headphone with closed-back earcups, the DT770 Pro headphones provide excellent passive noise cancellation. The noise cancellation isn't that good in particularly loud environments, but it's more than serviceable for most use cases. Unfortunately, active noise cancellation comes with a premium fee.

When it comes to sound quality, I have nothing but praise. The sound is well balanced, with an emphasis on the low-end. During my first listening experience, I thought the bass is a bit too punchy, but it got much tighter after a while.

As for the mids, the sound is incredibly neutral but lacks color. Not to say that the mid-range is terrible, but I think it could be much better. The bass is a bit too present compared to the mids, but nothing too noticeable.

The treble is pleasant to the ear, and the instrument separation is quite good for closed-back headphones.

Pros

  • Best closed-back budget audiophile headphones on the market
  • Excellent built quality
  • Decent passive noise cancelation

Cons

  • The bass is a bit too prevalent
  • The mids aren't well balanced
1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones - Best In-Ear Budget Audiophile Headphones
Our Rating: 85/100

So far I covered on-ear or over-ear headphone models. But what if I told you there's an in-ear headphone model that's capable of delivering high-quality audio straight into your earlobes.

The headphones I'm talking about are 1More Tripple Driver Earphones. Built by a Chinese company in the USE, these headphones offer incredible sound quality at an affordable price.

The Design

1More Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones feature a premium metallic design that just oozes style. The housing features a flared conical form with a downward pointing metal cylinder extension at the end. The nozzle is also metallic and comes with an opening with an ear wax guard.

The cable is just as impressive as the rest of these headphones. It quite lengthy and features plastic coating above the Y-splitter. Beyond the Y-splitter the coating is replaced by nylon braiding. For additional durability, both the Y-splitter and the 3.5-mm audio jack are made out of metal.

The cable features a straightforward 3 button in-line control panel. The buttons allow you to play/pause tracks, skip tracks, and adjust the volume.

When it comes to comfort, 1More Tripple Driver In-Ear Earphones is one of the most comfortable I've worn in my life. The earbuds are angled at a perfect angle so you don't feel any discomfort no matter how long you wear them.

The Performance

1More Tripple Driver In-Ear Earphones feature hybrid drivers. On top of that, they utilize a dedicated dynamic driver just for bass. The bass response is nothing short of excellent. It's punchy but doesn't drown out other frequencies. With that said, I would love if the bass was just a little bit higher, but that's a personal preference.

When it comes to midrange frequencies, these headphones are incredibly neutral. This means you'll have no issues picking up the richness and the texture of the instruments and vocals.

On top of that, thanks to their innate design, these headphones offer decent noise-cancelling capabilities.

Pros

  • Superb and durable design
  • Very affordable
  • Offer an incredibly well-balanced sound stage for an in-ear headphone

Cons

  • The bass is a bit lacking
Best Midrange Classical Muisc Headphone - Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Our Rating: 80/100

The V-Moda Crossfade Wireless headphones are the first V-Moda headphone model Roland's engineers tuned since this company acquired a majority stake in V-Moda. The result is one of the best audiophile headphones V-Moda has ever produced.

If you're an avid audiophile, sound engineer, or are just a regular Joe looking for a pair of headphones with amazing sound quality and rugged design, the V-Moda Crossfade should be on the top of your shopping list.

The Design

The V-Moda Crossfade headphones are not the most subtle out there, nor are they exceptionally light. Quite the contrary, these headphones feel quite hefty when worn. Thankfully, they're incredibly comfortable, so you don't even feel the extra weight.

The earpads are very plush and create an excellent passive noise canceling seal that'll block out most of the noises from the environment. The earcups' outer panels feature a hexagonal design and can be removed and replaced with various designs you can purchase from V-Moda. I especially love the gunmetal plates because they give these headphones a tactical look.

The padded headband is built out of metal and features cloth and leather covering. You can easily adjust the headband to your head size by pulling or recessing the headband's metal braces.

Since these headphones are wireless, there are a couple of buttons that allow you to control the playback, volume, and even calls. These buttons are all located on the right earcup and feel pretty satisfying to use. The right earcup also houses the 3.5-mm audio jack, which is good news when you drain out the battery.

The audio and USB cable you get out of the box to feel pretty solid. On top of that, the audio cable also features a microphone.

The Performance

When it comes to sound quality, it's decently balanced with a slight emphasis on the low end. The bass feels quite prevalent and can sometimes drown out the mids and highs.

When listening to tracks that only feature vocals, you can still feel the bass boost. This is something most audiophiles might not like. But if you want to listen to techno, drum 'n' bass, rap, or any other type of bass-heavy music, these headphones are the stuff of dreams.

I did manage to tone down the bass using mixing panel magic, but I guess not everyone has the time or the will to spend hours finding the correct sound settings.

When it comes to battery life, these headphones can last up to 12 hours on one charge. And if you end up draining the battery, you can always plug in the audio cable.

Pros

  • Rugged-design
  • Wireless capability
  • Rich bass output

Cons

  • A bit overpriced
  • The bass can be too overwhelming for some

Audiophile Headphones - A Buyer's Guide

If you're planning on enjoying music in the highest fidelity possible, you need a decent set of headphones. Unfortunately, buying headphones isn't as straightforward as you might think. There are quite a few factors you need to consider before making the final decision.

This section will go in-depth on all factors you need to consider when buying the budget best pair of audiophile headphones for your needs. Let's start with the basics and move on from there.

Headphone Design: Over-Ear, On-Ear, or In-Ear

Well balanced sound with excellent battery life. Philips Fidelio X2HR headphone with active noise cancellation.

Well balanced sound with excellent battery life. Philips Fidelio X2HR headphone with active noise cancellation.

Even if you're not an avid audiophile, you already might know that headphones come in three flavors: Over-Ear, On-Ear, and In-Ear. However, most people don't know the strengths and weaknesses of these three designs.

Over-Ear Headphones - Pros And Cons

Philips fidelio headphones with excellent bass audio and balanced sound. No battery life worries.

Philips fidelio headphones with excellent bass audio and balanced sound. No battery life worries.

Most audiophiles prefer over-ear headphones because they offer numerous advantages over the other two types. For starters, over-ear headphones are incredibly comfortable to wear in the long run. You might feel a slight discomfort with on-ear and in-ear headphones during long listening sessions, which will (almost) never happen with over-ear headphones.

Still, just because headphones feature an over-ear design doesn't automatically translate to them being comfortable. To ensure they're as comfortable as possible, look out for the headphone's build-quality, construction materials, and the overall weight of the model you're interested in.

When it comes to sound quality, over-ear headphones are, by far, the best sounding. This is because their larger size can accommodate a bigger driver, which means you'll get better sound.

On-Ear Headphones - Pros And Cons

Philips SHP9500 wired headphones with well padded earcups. No battery life issues

Philips SHP9500 wired headphones with well padded earcups. No battery life issue.

On-ear headphones are the most versatile type of headphones on the market. Thanks to their compact size, they're excellent for both listening to music at home and while you're out and about. Although they're not as discreet as in-ear headphones, their larger size means they can accommodate a bigger driver, which results in excellent sound quality.

Unfortunately, on-ear headphones widely vary in price. You can find a seat of cheap on-ear headphones that sound amazing, but there are also quite a few big brand headphones that are quite pricey and sound terrible.

In-Ear Headphone - Pros And Cons

Wired headphones that are well built and have incredible noise isolation. They're not true wireless.

Wired headphones that are well built and have incredible noise isolation. They're not true wireless.

In-ear headphones are the cheapest on average and the most discreet. An in-ear headphone is an excellent choice for those that like to listen to music while commuting or working out. And if you don't like having to hassle with a cable, you can find quite a few wireless headphones that offer an excellent balance of price and sound quality.

Unfortunately, due to its small size, an in-ear headphone is the worst sounding. Of course, a few headphone models have superb sound output, but they're few and far between.

Closed-Back Or Open Back Design

The three types of headphones I just discussed all come in two flavors - open-back and closed-back.

Open Back headphones, instead of a hard shell covering their back, have a mesh. Because the sound cannot reverberate, this results in a more immersive and natural sound quality. However, open-back headphones leak a lot of the sound in the environment, making them excellent for home use.

Closed-back headphones feature a closed earcup design. Because of their closed-back design, these headphones don't leak any audio, making them perfect for noisy environments. Another benefit to closed-back headphones is that they have a better bass response because the sound can reverberate in the ear cups. So, if you like listening to bass-heavy music, a closed-back headphone is the best choice for you.

Impedance And Sensitivity

Well built semi open headphones with excellent bass and balanced sound.

Well built semi open headphones with excellent bass and balanced sound.

Headphone impedance is measured in Ohms and represents how hard the headphone driver hinders electrical current flow. A low impedance headphone is easier to drive and doesn't require additional power from an amplifier. What's more, low impedance headphone will deliver high audio levels with very little power. This makes them perfect for those audiophiles that like listening to music while on the go.

A high impedance headphone requires an amp to work correctly. This makes high impedance headphones best for home use.

Headphone sensitivity represents how good a headphone is at converting the electrical signal into an audio signal. It's measured in Decibels of sound pressure per milliwatt abb. It indicates how loud the driver can get from a particular power source.

The higher the headphone sensitivity, the better they'll perform without the need for additional power. The lower the sensitivity, the more power they'll need to get louder, which means you'll need an amp.

Types Of Headphone Drivers

Fidelio x2hr headphones with balanced sound and semi open design.

Fidelio x2hr headphones with balanced sound and semi open design.

When it comes to budget audiophile headphones, there are three types of drivers they utilize. These are planar magnetic drivers, dynamic drivers, and hybrid drivers. Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Planar Magnetic Drivers

Planar Magnetic Headphones offer better sound quality and value for money, Not to mention the bass

Planar Magnetic Headphones offer better sound quality and value for money, Not to mention the bass

Planar magnetic headphones are becoming more and more popular among audiophile circles because they can reproduce incredible audio while remaining relatively cheap.

Planar magnetic headphones feature two magnets instead of one like in dynamic drivers and don't rely on a moving coil to vibrate the air and create sound. Instead, these drivers feature a thin diaphragm sandwiched between two magnets. When an electrical signal is introduced, the magnets induce a magnetic field, which moves the diaphragm.

Dynamic Drivers

Dynamic drivers are the most popular types of headphone drivers. You can find them in everything from cheap headphones to high-end headphones.

Dynamic drivers utilize a voice coil in a magnetic field to move the diaphragm. When an electrical current is introduced to the coil, it creates a magnetic field that attracts or repels it from the magnetic field. The movement of the coil also moves the diaphragm, which in turn produces sound.

The main advantage of these drivers is that they don't require a lot of power to work.

Hybrid Drivers

Hybrid drivers are the newest kid on the block. They utilize a new technology that combines dynamic and balanced armature drivers to produce sound. Thanks to this unique technology mix, hybrid driver headphones provide a decent balance of good bass response and good treble.

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

Sennheiser HD 600

Why they are the best?

  • Thanks to the open-back earcup design, these headphones offer an incredibly neutral sound stage.
  • The padded earpads and headband make them incredibly comfortable to wear.
  • Although they're built out of mostly plastic, these headphones feel high-quality.
  • An excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the true sound of music while laying back at home.
98/100
our score

Best Headphones For Classical Music – Enjoy Your Favorite Symphonies On The Go

best headphones for classical music

Best Headphones For Classical Music - Enjoy Your Favorite Symphonies On The Go

The best way to listen to classical music is to immerse yourself in it. Besides listening to a live orchestra, the best way to fully immerse yourself in the melodies is with a pair of quality headphones.

Unfortunately, finding the best headphones for classical music can be incredibly tricky. Manufacturers are making headphones based on what people are most commonly listening to. Unfortunately for classical music lovers, most people like their headphones to sound base-ey.

To make things even worse, the headphone market is unimaginably large. This makes finding the best headphones for classical music incredibly tricky.

Thankfully, you're at the right place. With my help, you'll be sporting a pair of classical headphones in no time!

I've picked the six best classical music headphones you can find on the current market. As a bonus, I've also compiled a short classical headphones FAQ.

In a hurry? After 26 Hours of Research, We Recommend:

best headphones for classical music - AKG K702

After all the tests and comparison, this speaker is, hands-down the best choice for center channel speaker. 

Why they are the best?

  • Wide sound stage
  • Neutral soundscape
  • Excellent quality
  • Very comfortable
98/100
our score

sourses
31

RESEARCHED SOURCES

617

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

26

hours researching

31

products compared

Last Updated: September 1, 2021

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best headphones for classical music available for those who are interested in enjoying the classic  the best possible way. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best headphones for classical music currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Headphones For Classical Music Compared

Product

Design

Driver Type

Impedance

Sensitivity

Our Rating

Current Price

Polk Audio S35

Open-Back

Dynamic

62 ohms

105 dB

98/100

Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM

Closed-Back

Dynamic

35 ohms

100 dB

94/100

Beyerdynamic DT 880

Semi-Open-Back

Dynamic

250 ohms

96 dB

90/100

Philips SHP9500

Open-Back

Dynamic

32 ohms

101 dB

80/100

Sennheiser HD 600

Open-Back

Dynamic

300 ohms

97 dB

85/100

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Open-Back

Dynamic

250 ohms

102 dB

83/100

6 Best Headphones For Classical Music - Reviews And Recommendations

Picking the best headphones for classical music can be quite tricky. You can easily end up with a pair that won't just underperform but also burn a hole in your wallet. Thankfully, you're at the right place.

I've spent dozens of hours on research and went through hundreds of different models to bring you this list of the best headphones for classical music. I made sure to include a wide variety of models from every price range.

best headphones for classical music - AKG K702
Our Rating: 98/100

AKG is one of the world's best headphone manufacturers, and their K702 headphones prove it. AKG K702 is just one of four headphone models AKG launched as a celebration of their 65 years in the business. However, unlike other 65th-anniversary flagship models, the K702 has the best sound quality for classical music.

The Design

The first thing that blew me away about these headphones is their build quality. You can really see how much time AKG's R&D department spent on making the K702 feel high-quality. The AKG K702 features a combination of metal, leather, and plastic.

The earcups are made out of plastic, while the headbands feature two metal wires with a suspended leather strap that rests on your head. Although there's no headband cushion to speak of, the AKG 702 headphones are quite comfortable to wear. If you have a bigger head, you might feel slight discomfort, but only after a couple of hours of wearing them.

I especially love the velour on the ear cups - it's incredibly soft. It makes wearing these headphones for classical music a joy. The removable ear pads are surprisingly soft and thick enough to keep the drivers away from your ears.

I have nothing bad to say about the design. Maybe AKG should have worked a bit on the headband, but that's just a minor complaint.

The Performance

AKG K702 has an open back design. While this has its advantages, it also has some disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of noise isolation, which means the K702 headphone is not a great pick if you're planning on wearing them in crowded places. On top of that, they "leak" a lot of the sound. However, the sound stage and sound quality are otherworldly!

The K702 headphone is incredibly neutral sounding. They do have some bass in them, but you should skip these headphones if you like listening to base-ey music. These headphones are all about that mid-range. The mids are incredibly crisp and clear. These headphones' overall tonality is perfectly neutral, and I especially love how vivid the vocals are.

My only issue is the treble range. It's a bit high for neutral headphones, but nothing major. The sound stage is what makes these headphones one of the best choices for a classical music fan. It's incredibly clear, and you won't have any trouble picking up different instruments in the melody.

Pros

  • Incredible sound stage
  • Neutral soundscape
  • Very comfortable
  • Amazing overall sound quality

Cons

  • The headband could've been better designed
best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 94/100

You can't talk about hi-fi headphones without mentioning Audio Technica. This company has an incredible success track in making reasonably priced headphones all about the listening experience.

Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM headphones are no exception. They deliver incredibly clear sound out of the box, and they're comfortable to wear, too!

The Design

The first thing that went through my mind when holding the ATH MSR7GMs is how big they are. But the oversized design actually serves a purpose. It ensures they fit almost every head size.

Just like the AKG 702, Audio Technica ATH MSr7GM features two metal wires with a suspended headband. However, unlike the K702, the MSR7GM headband has cushions for additional comfort. Unfortunately, the headband is a bit too loose for my comfort, but the metal wires still have more than enough spring in them to keep the headphones firmly in place.

The earcups are built out of high-quality plastic and feature thick and comfortable ear pads. This means you don't have to worry about the drivers touching your ears. You won't have any trouble enjoying your favorite classics for hours on end without any discomfort.

The only issue I have with them is the audio cable. It's quite stiff and non-detachable. This narrows down their use case to just home listening. 

The Performance

Just like the previous model in the list, Audio Technica ATH MSR7GM also features an open-back design. This means the soundscape is much more spacious, which makes them perfect for classical music.

The sound quality is incredibly crisp and clear. Although the highs are a bit too brash, the mid-range is more than decent. The low-end is present, but just enough to give more depth to the sound. This means they're not that suitable for listening to different genres like rap or techno.

When it comes to soundstage, it's on par with the K702. I had no trouble sensing the distance between different instruments. You won't have any trouble picking up the distance and depth between different instruments, and, thanks to amazingly crisp details, you'll be fully immersed in your favorite classics.

The treble range is a bit too harsh at times, but I think that has something to do with the recording and not the headphone drivers.

Pros

  • Reasonable price range
  • Open-backed design
  • Excellent sound quality and frequency response
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear

Cons

  • The audio cable is a bit too stiff
best semi open-back headphones for classical music - Beyerdynamic DT880
Our Rating: 90/100

Beyerdynamic is another fantastic brand that offers some of the best headphones for classical music on the market. The DT 880 model offers excellent build quality and flexibility.

If you're looking for a high-quality semi-open headphone, the Beyerdynamic DT 880 will meet your expectations. 

The Design

Just like most of Beyerdynamic's headphones, this headphone model has an excellent build quality. Unlike most of you would expect, the DT 880 model is very light and flexible. The connection joints are pretty strong, so you won't need to worry about cracking or breaking.

When it comes to the ear cup design, they're big and ride around the ears offering great comfort. What's more, they're covered with velours, so they feel very soft. The headband can't be removed, but it's covered in leather and well-padded with foam. If you prefer a removable headband, we recommend you go with the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Premium model.

The clamping pressure in this model is good, and you can adjust it for better comfort. The downside of these headphones is that they come with a hard-wired cable. 

The Performance

Although these pair of headphones have a semi-open design, they will leak some sound and allow for ambient noise. However, compared to open-back models, these semi-open headphones do offer some isolation.

This model offers good and balanced sound quality. They offer a boost in hi-fi, which is good news for avid violin fans, but not that good news for people who like bass in their listening experience. The bass isn't powerful, but it's present. The midrange frequency response present, and it will offer you a neutral and intimate sound.

When it comes to the soundstage, it's spacious and engaging. What's more, you'll be able to hear instrument separation with good detail retrieval, which makes these headphones a fantastic choice if you want to listen to classical music. 

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Semi-open
  • Excellent quality
  • Spacious soundstage
  • Excellent clarity and details

Cons

  • Non-detachable cable
best budget headphones for classical music - Philips SHP9500
Our Rating: 80/100

The Philips SHP9500 headphone is the perfect choice for those who want to enjoy classical music without breaking their bank. If you’re not too picky about the build quality and need headphones for the average everyday usage, the Philips SHP 9500 will perfectly suit your needs.

The Design

Even though these headphones have a simple metal and plastic construction, they will remain comfortable throughout many listening hours. Because of the simple construction, these headphones are very light. The headband is double-layered with a cushion so that the headphones sit comfortably around your head.

What’s more, the ear cups have a breathable design making these headphones the ideal choice in hot climates. You can be sure that the Philips SHP9500 will offer maximum comfort wherever you go.

The newer model of these headphones comes with a 5ft cable that offers you the ability to move around and multitask freely without interrupting the symphonies you’re listening to. However, the Philips SHP9500 has no sound isolation or noise cancellation, so make sure the volume is not high when using them in public.

Overall, this headphone's construction is pretty solid, and you can enjoy classical music while doing other activities. 

The Performance

For their price, the Philips SHP 9500 headphone offers a surprisingly good sound quality. They deliver well-balanced mids and highs, as well as good bass for a neutral sound stage. 

The fidelity in these headphones isn’t ideal, but we can freely say it’s satisfactory. However, if you’re an audiophile, the Philips SHP 9500 isn’t the best choice for you. The bass in these headphones isn’t crunchy; instead, it is quite average. The sound can get grainy when you turn up the volume.

If you aren’t looking for the best listening experience and want nice headphones to enjoy your classical music while lying around the house or multitasking, these headphones are a fantastic option. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • 5ft cable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Average build quality
  • Average bass
  • No sound isolation
Our Rating: 85/100

The Sennheiser HD 600 has been around since 1997, and they're still one of the best pair of headphones you can find on the market.

If you're aiming at a great all-rounder, the Sennheiser HD 600 is the headphone to go.

The Design

The Sennheiser HD 600 has an open-back design, so make sure the volume is not too high when you're in quiet public places. However, there's not much to talk about when it comes to the overall design because it's pretty average.

They're made mostly from plastic; only the headphone's grill and headband adjustment arms are made out of metal. Even though they're made from plastic, the quality is excellent.

The Sennheiser HD 600 model is modular, which is a big advantage. The headband, shell, drivers, and earcups can be easily replaced without any specific tools. This headphone is very light, making it sit comfortably around your head.

The headband is also very comfortable because it's well-padded and soft so that there won't be any hotspots while wearing them.

The earcups are padded with memory foam, and their shape fits perfectly around the ears. When it comes to the clamping force, it's high when you buy them. However, after some time, the clamping will reduce, making them very comfortable to wear.

The Performance

The bass of the Sennheiser HD 600 is fantastic. However, one minor downside is that they lack the punch and quantity you would get with a closed-back design. Neither than that, this headphone accurately reproduces the low-end frequency response, and the mid-range frequency response is natural and clear.

You'll be able to hear acoustic instruments, bowed, and vocals in great detail. The treble also offers details. However, in some recordings, it may sound overemphasized. This can sometimes be a downside, but it'll also add more life and detail to dull recordings.

When talking about the soundstage, it's not very wide, but it's accurate. The soundstage in the Sennheiser HD 600 offers a nice and intimate sound making this model excellent headphones for classical music. 

Pros

  • Great frequency range
  • Nice build quality
  • Modular
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Lack of punch in the bass
  • Limited soundstage
Best Midrange Classical Muisc Headphone - Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Our Rating: 83/100

If you're looking for the perfect combination of price, performance, and quality, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro will definitely meet your expectations. These are truly some of the best headphones for classical music.

Although some may argue that the price is too high, compared to other high-end models, it isn't.

The Design

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro are open-back headphones that offer great build quality and comfort. The build quality in this headphone is so good that we can say they're almost built like a tank. If you're a real audiophile, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro will definitely offer you a professional experience.

A big advantage of the DT 1990 Pro headphone is that the cable is detachable. As for the earpads, they're padded with soft memory foam that will fit well around your ears. However, the earpads are hard to replace.

The headband is padded and lightweight making them an excellent choice if you want to wear them for extended periods of time. You can multitask or chill around your house while listening to your favorite symphonies, and you won't even notice you have them on.

Overall, we can say that the construction is outstanding. However, if you're not a fan of the open-back design, we recommend you go with another model.

The Performance

When it comes to sound quality, it's a bit tricky to evaluate because the DT 1990 Pro has two different sounding headphones. The "A" earpad version offers a natural frequency response, while the "B" version offers a nice bass boost.

The soundstage is amazing. You'll have the feeling that an orchestra is playing around you. The resolution is just breathtaking.

The treble is also excellent, while the highs can sometimes be too energetic for some tastes. The midrange responsiveness is not fantastic but combined with the low and high delivery; everything evens out. 

Pros

  • Wide soundstage
  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent clarity

Cons

  • Earpads are hard to replace

Headphones For Classical Music FAQ

what to look for in a center channel speaker?

Should I Go For Open-Back Or Closed Back Classical-Music Headphones?

One of the first things you need to consider when looking for the perfect pair of headphones for classical music is what type will best work for you. Headphones come in two flavors: open-back and closed-back headphones- each with its own set of pros and cons.

As the name suggests, closed-back headphones feature a closed earcup design. This means that the headphones are not "drawing in the fresh air," which means the sound is a lot more base-ey. On the other side, closed-back headphones are excellent when you're on the go because they cancel out the noise.

Open-back headphones feature an open earcup design. This means they're always drawing in the fresh air, which results in a wholly different soundscape. Open-back headphones are much more natural sounding and are just perfect for immersing yourself in classical music soundscapes. Unfortunately, these headphones are terrible when it comes to isolating the outside noise. This is why their best for home use.

Over-Ear, On-Ear, or In-Ear Headphones?

Besides choosing between a closed-back and an open-back design, you also have to consider how you like wearing them.

You can choose between over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear headphones.

Over-ear headphones are best for listening to classical music. They offer the best sound quality for classical music. Unfortunately, they're also the bulkiest of the bunch. This is why they're best for enjoying classical music at home. Of course, you can wear them when on the go, but you'll start feeling the weight pretty quickly.

On-ear headphones rest on your ears, and they're the most common. While not offering the same sound quality as over-ear headphones, they're still more than decent at delivering the right frequency range for classical music. On top of that, they're perfect when you're on the move.

In-ear headphones are also incredibly common. Although you might think they're not that capable due to their small size, they're just as capable as over-ear headphones. On top of that, their noise isolation capabilities are second to none. This makes them perfect if you like listening to classical music while working out.

What Type Of Drivers Are Best For Classical Music?

When it comes to earphone drivers, there are three main types:

Dynamic drivers are the most common. In fact, most classical music headphones on the market feature dynamic drivers. This type of driver features a voice coil that's attached to the diaphragm that produces the sound. Dynamic drivers are more than capable of producing the right frequency range for classical music, and they don't require an amp to work.

Planar magnetic drivers are a step up from dynamic drivers. They feature two permanent magnets that move the diaphragm. The two magnets remove any distortions from the sound. While they're excellent at reproducing classical music in its glory, planar magnetic drivers are very expensive. On top of that, they're quite heavy, which is why they're mostly reserved for professional studio headphones.

Electrostatic drivers are the newest contender on the market. These drivers utilize incredibly thin stationary diaphragms that resonate when you introduce them to electrical current. Although they produce the cleanest sound out of all other headphones on the market, they're quite expensive.

What Are Classical Music Headphones Power Requirements?

The headphone power requirements are determined by impedance and sensitivity. When on the lookout for the best headphones for classical music, these two features are quite essential.

Impedance is measured in ohms and represents the amount of current your classical music headphones can withstand before burning out. Headphones can feature an Impedance anywhere between 8 and 600 ohms. The more ohms, the more power you need to make them work. Just keep in mind that you must have an output with the same impedance.

Sensitivity, measured in dB, refers to how loud your classical music headphones can get. With high sensitivity headphones, you won't have to crank up the volume on your playback device to hear your favorite classics. This is where impedance comes into play - the louder the headphones, the higher the impedance. This is why you should always look for a sweet spot of high-sensitivity with low impedance (around 32 Ohms)

What Is The Sound Stage?

Besides sound quality, another essential feature to look out for in the best headphones for listening to classical music is the sound stage. The sound stage gives your spatial recognition of every instrument in the playback—the better the sound stage, the better the instrument separation.

This feature is essential when it comes to enjoying classical music. Classical music includes a wide array of frequencies that all play at the same time. And when it comes to soundstage, open-backed headphones are second to none.

What About Headphone Comfort?

Classical music pieces have a pretty long runtime. For instance, Gustav Holst's "The Planets" has a runtime of 30 minutes. This is why you must find yourself a comfortable headphone.

I recommend you get a headphone that has an adjustable headband and (if possible) a detachable cable. When it comes to ear cups, the most comfortable material is memory foam, but keep in mind that that costs extra.

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this speaker is, hands-down the best choice for center channel speaker. 

Why they are the best?

  • Wide sound stage
  • Neutral soundscape
  • Excellent quality
  • Very comfortable
98/100
our score

10 Best IEMs Under $100: In-Ear Monitors with Stellar Sound

Best IEMs UNDER $100 - In Ear Monitors Reviewed

You all know me as an impassioned speaker reviewer, but above all, I'm an audiophile. I'm always either listening to music or testing out new audio gear, though most of the time I combine the two.

This time around, I decided to stir it up a bit and got my hands on headphones instead.

An IEM (aka In-Ear Monitor) has a wide variety of uses. Whether you're a musician who wants to make sure that your crowd is getting the premium audio during live performance or just need something for occasional use, these earbuds will come in handy.

And what if I told you that most of your needs could be fulfilled on a budget-friendly note? That's why I've singled out the 10 best IEMs under $100 for you to consider.

In a hurry? After 39 Hours of Research, We Recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, these IEMs are, hands down the best ones below $100

Shure SE215-K Professional Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver

Why it is better?

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Wide frequency range
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Outstanding sound isolation
  • You also get a carrying case
  • Both for music & calls
95/100
our score

sourses
30

RESEARCHED SOURCES

775

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

39

hours researching

53

products compared

Last Updated: September 1, 2021

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best IEMs under $100 available for those who are interested in studio quality of sound without breaking the bank. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best IEMs under 100 currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Best IEMs Under $100 – Comparison Table 

Product

Purpose

Sensitivity

Frequency  Range

Wireless

Microphone

Our Rating

Current Price

Shure SE215-K

Shure SE215-K

Musicians/Phone calls

107 dB

22-20,500 Hz

No

Optional

95/100, 

Cystereo Fusion Bluetooth 5.0 Earbuds

Cystereo Fusion Bluetooth 5.0 Earbuds

Musicians/Phone calls

100 dB

34-17,000 Hz

Yes

Yes

93/100

Skullcandy Sesh Evo True

Skullcandy Sesh Evo True

Phone calls

105 dB

20-20,000 Hz

Yes

Yes

92/100

LINSOUL TIN Audio T2

LINSOUL TIN Audio T2 HiFi 2DD Double Dynamic Drive in Ear Earphone Bass DJ Metal Headphones, 3.5 mm MMCX

Musicians

102 dB

12-20,000 Hz

No

No

90/100

1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones

1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones

Phone calls/Musicians

99 dB

35-20,000 Hz

Yes

No

89/100

10 Best Earbuds Under $100 - Detailed Headphone Reviews

best IEMs under $100 - Shure SE215-K
Our Rating: 95/100

The Shure SE215 IEMs are a phenomenal value in this price range, delivering premium music sound quality and performance for phone calls.

Let's see what makes these in-ear headphones the best headphones under $100.

The Design

When it comes to the design, you can get these noise-isolating headphones in three variations: black, blue, and transparent.

I was surprised at how lightweight the earbuds are for the audio quality that they deliver. The optimized nozzle angle makes them comfortable to wear, and the formable wire ensures secure placement.

It's not a detachable cable, but it can be positioned over-the-ear so that the cables do not bother you.

Finally, the lock-snap mechanism enables a 360-degree rotation, which is a nice touch.

Oh, and did I mention that these in-ear headphones are accompanied by a soft-zip carrying case?

Yes, all of that under $100!

The Performance

The Shure SE215 certainly look great, but what bumped them above all the other earbuds under $100 is the impressive sound stage for any music genre.

You're also getting the best call quality - I almost felt as if I was in the same room with the person I'm talking to.

Speaking of the sound quality, something that oftentimes can get in the way of your listening experience is noise. Whether it be construction noises, screaming children, or a loud crowd during your performance, this pair of earbuds offers complete noise isolation.

There's also the Shure SE215 Bluetooth true wireless earbuds model, but I found that this one is better for its ambient noise cancellation capabilities.

Pros

  • Fantastic noise isolation
  • Comfortable for your ear canal
  • Versatile headphone jack
  • Bass response
  • Wide frequency response
  • Excellent sound quality

Cons

  • Some users might prefer the Bluetooth variant
Best IEMs under 100 - Cystereo Fusion
Our Rating: 93/100

The Cystereo Fusion IEM is one of the best earbuds under $100 for more than one reason.

Their slogan is "Never miss a beat" - a bit of a cliché if you ask me, but what is important is that they stay true to it.

The Design

While the earbuds look a bit plasticky, they showed to be quite durable.

So, if the high-end design is important to you, you may be able to find some earbuds that look more expensive.

But you'd be hard-pressed to find them at such an affordable price, let alone with a durable charging case that came with this model.

Moreover, the ergonomic tri-hold structure accounts for a very comfortable fit in your ear. 

The Performance

These true wireless IEMs are equipped with many features that ease the use.

For instance, the one-step pairing with any device that you wish (PC, tablet, cell phone) works instantly, and they automatically connect whenever a previously paired device is within range.

But what ultimately earned these earbuds the title of the best true wireless in-ear headphones is their wireless sound quality.

Not only is the sound clear and filled with bass, which is not typical for true wireless earbuds, but the voice call quality is flawless.

Also, you can remove a single IEM headphone from the charging case for a mono mode that works just fine, or use both for the classic stereo mode.

Pros

  • 26-hour battery life
  • High-quality type C USB cable
  • Advanced noise reduction
  • Mono & stereo mode
  • The low-end does not mask mids & highs

Cons

  • The material felt a bit plasticky
best iems under 100  - SkullCandy Sesh Evo
Our Rating: 92/100

While on the topic of the true wireless earbuds, let me introduce another pair that is the contender to the throne - the Skullcandy Sesh Evo True.

These came second to the Cystereo Fusion solely because of their battery life, but more on that in a second.

The Design 

Right off the bat, the Evo True earbuds look great - Skullcandy hit the home run with multiple color schemes, including Bleached Blue, True Black, Deep Red, and Pure Mint.

They are IP55-rated, which guarantees these earbuds can withstand dust and water. This certification earned them a maximum score for the durability factor.

You'll get a sleek charging case, three sets of ear tips, and a charging USB cable in the package.

The Performance

While you could technically use these IEMs for listening to your music, they shine in other areas.

Conversations are marked with a clear sound and excellent 4-microphone technology that precisely delivers your voice input.

The integrated controls are functional, and you can access pretty much anything effortlessly: volume control, pause, answering calls, etc.

If you want to tune and personalize your sound, you can use the Skullcandy app on both iOS and Android.

However, all these extra features come at the cost of the battery life that is significantly shorter than that of some other Bluetooth earbuds. If this is a decisive factor for you, make sure to always carry the charging case while using these earbuds.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Dust and water-resistant
  • Wide Bluetooth range
  • Packed with smart features
  • The app is intuitive & easy to use

Cons

  • Relatively short battery life
LINSOUL TIN Audio T2
Our Rating: 90/100

Next up is the TIN Audio T2 by Linsoul, the renewed audio company that is especially famous for making their sound signature in-ear headphones.

Let's see why these IEMs are one of the best earbuds under $100.

The Design 

The whole set (headphones + ear tips) comes in a convenient and elegant box.

It's not only a convenient way to carry your headphones with you, but it's also excellent for storage and prevents cable entanglement. The fact that the Tin Audio T2 features the detachable cable also guarantees zero trouble for storing them.

One of the main qualities of these ear monitors is the material. It's a silver-plated wire combined with the metal shell that adds an air of sophistication to the design.

Also, this IEM comes with multiple ear tips for any size of the ear canal.

The Performance

What ultimately won me over is the great sound that the dynamic drivers produce: 10mm woofer paired with a 6mm tweeter account for bass-heavy, rich sound for any music genre.

Add the powerful passive noise isolation to the equation, and it becomes clear that these in-ear headphones cater to an audiophile's needs.

Not for the practical needs, though. The lack of a microphone with these sound-isolating earphones is what prevented them from scoring higher.

So, if you're someone who is looking for a go-to pair of earbuds under $100 for their sound quality, go ahead. But if you're looking for some ear monitors with a mic, search elsewhere!

Pros

  • The metal housing is hypoallergenic
  • The cable can be detached
  • Different ear tins are included
  • Great noise isolation
  • Sound quality
  • One of the best frequency ranges

Cons

  • Not the best for voice calls
  • Aren't water-resistant
1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones - Best Ear Tip
Our Rating: 89/100

The 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear headphones bring a lot to the table - from high-quality sound to an excellent user experience.

If you're hungry for more information, learn more about their sound signature and design below.

The Design 

Nothing about the 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear headphones gives out their price range.

Right out of the magnetic-clasping elegant box, they look premium: there's a leather pocket with the earbuds, combined with as many as nine pairs of ear tips nicely laid out on the right side for you to choose.

Also, they feature foam tips, which I haven't seen with some headphones that cost three times as much.

Finally, stylish silver or gold highlights (depending on the color that you pick) cannot go unmentioned.

The Performance

When I found out that the internationally acclaimed sound engineer Luca Bernard tuned these earbuds, I wasn't surprised.

These IEMs performed consistently well in all fields: the balanced armature coupled with a separate dynamic driver brings out the amazing clarity and deep bass.

I also loved how intuitive it is to use intelligent control technology. It allows anything you can imagine - from Android and iOS phone control to volume control, song selection, and Sports & Exercise mode.

Another ode goes to the efficient noise cancellation that dims low-frequency noises but does not completely eliminate them for accurate music playback.