Best Headphones under $50
Not everyone has the budget for $300 headphones. But believe it or not, they are a few truly outstanding headphones that can be head for under $50. Whether it’s because the company needs to price competitively (like Audio-Technica) or the models have been around a long time, there some headphones that truly disprove the adage that “you get what you pay for”. These are the best headphones and earphones available for under $50. The selections on this list are varied: from Sennheiser’s bass-head earbuds (that’s right, Sennheiser makes earbuds for bass-heads!) to the wildly successful Koss PortaPro headphones, which haven’t changed since the 1980′s!
RHA is new to the North American market, but the small British headphone maker has make some truly outstanding earphones with these MA-350′s. The large 10mm drivers reproduces sound with astonishing clarity, handling the highs of classical music while being able to rock out with energy. The braided cloth cable (a rarity in sub-$150 headphones) makes them incredibly durable as well. If you have diverse music tastes and want earphones that can handle them all, these are for you. If your music is mainly about bass, then check out our #4 picks, the Sennheiser CX300 MKII earbuds.
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The first over-ear headphones on our list come from a small Japanese headphones maker. The ATH-M30′s are Audio Technica’s entry level headphones, and once you get these you may inevitably end up upgrading to their excellent M50′s. The soft velour ear-cups are a pleasure to wrap around your ears, and there’s very little heat build up. The sound quality is outstanding for its price range, as these headphones handle both the highs and lows without sacrificing any detail in the mid-range. If I had one complaint, it would be that the M30′s highs are a little too bright. After a classical music session with trumpets you may need to take the headphones off to recover from the ‘treble fatigue’ as they call it.
This model of headphones has been around for over ten years, and as a result these headphones are almost criminally low-priced: $25. If you are a DJ or music producer these are the best headphones you can buy in this price range. The detachable ear-cups enable you to listen with one ear. When compared with the HD202, these headphones are a little darker, which means that they don’t have the M30′s ‘brightness’ that I talked about in the high end. These also have more of a boom on the low end (i.e. bass). In short they’re a fun set of headphones with lots of energy. They also work very well with portable devices so you can use them on the go.
It’s weird to think of Sennheiser as making ‘bass-head’ earbuds, but here we are. The original CX300 earbuds were too bassy and were panned for being muddy. The result is these improved earbuds that will still blow you away with bass, but also has a more balanced and detailed sound.
Everything old is new again. Or, in the case of Koss’ PortaPro headphones, never change and what was once ‘outdated’ will become cool again. The PortaPro style headphones have never changed their design from the 1980′s. The same metal sliding headband that used to catch your hair? It’s still there. To be fair, the PortaPro sound is truly outstanding. Music sounds wonderful coming out of these headphones, and those who own the PortaPro’s will defend the design to the death. But I found that the headphones were seriously lacking in comfort, and that a little modern redesign could make these headphones into truly timeless classics.