If you’re in the market for a new set of headphones, you’d be crazy to not do a little internet research first on the best headphones (congratulations, you’re not crazy!). Whether you’re looking for the best wireless headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones, or you have a budget under $100, under $200, or under $500, there are an endless number of boxes you personally might want to tick off before making a purchase. I find that the best way to figure out what’s good is to take into account headphone reviews online. Luckily for you, I’ve been in the hunt a few times before before, and have some good input to give. This list is only sort of in order (the order depends on your needs), and the input is taken from Amazon reviews (click on the product picture to see them), personal experience, and reviews from Head-Fi.
Sony MDR-1RBT Premium Bluetooth
4.3 Stars, 79 Reviews – $300 – Buy It
If you’re in need of the best wireless headphones or the best bluetooth headphones, these are the beasts you’re looking for. A little pricy (granted, I’ve never tried them), but they seem like the Cadillac of wireless headphones by looking at the reviews. Besides. Remember, the convenience of shedding the cord without sacrificing quality can’t be understated!
Grado Prestige Series SR80i
4.4 Stars, 516 Reviews – $100 – Buy It
We’re early in the list, so get ready to be more impressed down the line. They may not look like much, but are serious rivals to the Sonys down the list for $100 bucks or less. The good reviews are spectacular, so let the people have their say! I think that this is your choice for headphones under 100 dollars.
Sennheiser HD 598
4.6 Stars, 291 Reviews – $250 (deal) – Buy It
Drool. Less expensive than the 650s, what they may lack in comparable quality, they more than make up for in aesthetics and price. The design is inspired by sports sedans, and if I had 250 bucks for any item on the list, this would be my spend. These headphones are for the shopper who wants the quality of Sennheiser and some sexy ears without totally breaking the bank. I pee a little every time I look at these.
4.6 Stars – 22 Reviews – $1975 – Buy It (I wish)
If I had enough dough for a set of these, I’m not sure I’d buy them. That said… I really, really, really want to try them on before I die. So this is more of an entry for the “one day”. One day we’ll all have headphones like these, right? Mahogany casing… 99.99999% Oxygen Free Copper in the wire (could you even hear the difference of that much perfection?) Doesn’t matter. Check them out, just to dream.
4.6 Stars, 111 Reviews – $255 – Buy It
I see these all over the place, they seem kind of like the dark horse headphones that are always there. I think that the people that have bought them know something we all don’t. Do they look a little like you have UFOs on your ears? Maybe. Does it matter? Nope. You’re getting top-notch sound with some nifty features, like a mini detachable XLR cord.
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
4.7 Stars, 668 Reviews – $80 – Buy It
I’ve used these in live sound situations (like at the big board at a concert), and have been suitably impressed. Don’t get me wrong – just because they are rated higher than, say, the Sennheiser HD 650, does not mean that they are of superior quality. However, it is a great measure of value; and for under $100, these headphones definitely deserve a look if not only for their durability – they last years and years.
V-MODA Crossfade M-100
4.8 Stars, 197 Reviews – $300 – Buy It
Check out these noise-cancelling headphones. In addition to being drop-dead gorgeous, they feature top-notch noise isolation brought to you by a metal casing and some comfy-lookin’ ear pads. I was at first concerned that the metal would alter the headphone sound, but after peeping the reviews, I’m convinced that they are the absolute best spend for your 300 bucks.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
4.7 Stars, 146 Reviews – $180 (ridiculous sale) – Buy It
Similar in range to the ATH-M50 (up next), I’ve found these headphones have a much “smoother” sound. They are also a lot more comfortable if you’re going to wear them for a long period of time, but they don’t fold up as nicely or feel as durable (overall less portable). If you’re looking for the best headphones under 200 dollars, then I would definitely make the decision between these and the M50s, depending on your preferences.
Audio Technica ATH-M50
4.7 Stars, 1260 Reviews – $160 – Buy It
If you’re looking for the best headphones under $200, these Audio Technicas have pretty much taken the title. Go absolutely anywhere and ask for the best all-purpose headphones on a budget, and someone will pipe up with these ones. I have had the pleasure of owning these for more than two years, and let me tell you – the hype is not misguided. They’re really that good, all the way across the frequency spectrum. The only one piece of criticism I’ve heard against them comes from my former Digital Audio Arts professor, who thought that they were a little too crisp. For most people that’s not an issue. (He recommended the previous item).
Sennheiser HD 650
4.6 Stars, 146 Reviews – $500 – Buy It
Now this is a step up. I’ve had the privilege of wearing these on two separate occasions, and I was completely blown away both times. The entire sound stage comes to life – you hear every detail of the music as if for the first time. Made by Sennheiser, one of the most well-reputed headphone brands out there, you’re guaranteed the most superior in design and engineering. Like the 598s, one thing to note about these headphones is that they are open-back. Most headphones of superior quality are open-back; what this unfortunately means is that more sound leaks in from the outside. If you’re in a quiet environment, this isn’t a problem. If you need noise-cancellation, then they aren’t for you.
That’s it, my top ten is complete. So welcome to the club – once you go HQ, you never go back. It is possible to be an audio junky without being a millionaire! Hopefully you’ve found something that interests you enough to make a purchase, if not… then happy hunting. Visit www.dudepins.com and the Dudepins Shop now for more awesome gear that guys are pinning up.