Top Rated Audiophile Headphones Reviewed (On A Budget)

Published Categorized as Headphone Reviews

Who are audiophiles? Basically, audiophiles are people who value music a bit more than your average Joe. They really like their music and pay attention to details, hence they crave best-quality tech in order to enjoy in their music with a lavish taste.

Since most “audiophile-level” headphones cost a ton, we’ve decided to scrounge the market for more affordable options right before we came up with the list of hand-selected picks we’re offering you today.  Pair them with the greatest turntables available and you’re ears will be loving you.

Top Rated Audiophile Headphones Reviewed

Where as a lot of audio equipment seems like it’s going to break the bank, we’ve helped people that are on a little tighter budget get the audiophile headphones they’re looking for.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

1. Beyerdynamic DT770

Now, Beyerdynamic is an underdog brand, true, but we’ve decided to recommend their DT 770 Pro to you as we felt like it didn’t get the attention it deserved so far. These headphones are plain awesome, featuring a closed back design, soft circumaural ear pads, and exceptionally strong drivers.

beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones in Gray. Enclosed design, wired for professional recording and monitoring

Brief overview of key specs and features:

These headphones are very versatile – they are originally intended for studio recording or monitoring applications, which means that you’ll get nothing short of smooth audio at all times.

What we liked?

Aside from the exceptional audio quality, we really liked the robustness and versatility of Beyerdynamics DT 770 Pro. These headphones provide high-fidelity sound, and feel exceptionally comfortable to wear due to muffled ear pads.

What we thought could be improved:

There’s a common thing that every quality headphone set tends to provoke – they neutralize ambient noises in a natural way by pressuring the ears (with the ear-cups), so you should expect some fatigue after prolonged usage.

Our verdict:

Beyerdynamic’s DT770 Pro are definitely different from any other budget audiophile headphones. They boast superior versatility, they’re outfitted with unique drivers, and boast full-spectrum sound transmission. Suffice to say, they’re well worth the money, and that’s a major understatement.

Pros:

  • Highly versatile headphones
  • Full-spectrum sound
  • Studio-grade features
  • Natural ambient noise reduction
  • Comfortable overall

Cons:

  • Possible fatigue after extended usage

2. Sennheiser’s RS120

Next up is Sennheiser’s RS120. Though they usually make boutique-level audiophile headphones, they also make budget models occasionally. The RS120 features a lightweight build, two rechargeable batteries, and frequency response that spans between 22 Hz and 19,5 kHz.

Sennheiser RS120 On-Ear Wireless RF Headphones with Charging Dock (Renewed)

Brief overview of key specs and features:

Even though they’re wireless, they’re not Bluetooth compatible – you’ll get an exquisite Sennheiser transmitter which can work up to three hundred feet away. The transmitter is, on the other hand, compatible with most similar headphones, and allows you to wire up multiple devices simultaneously.

What we liked?

The quality of Sennheiser’s headphones is undisputable, and the reason why we want you to give this one a shot is because it offers a new, unique way to enjoy your music with your fellow audiophiles.

The transmitter receives the reception through ceilings and walls, and given that you can pair up several devices, you can host a “silent party” of sorts with it. As for the traditional features, the drivers are decently powerful (although not as powerful as the one Beats Studio 2 comes with), and the ambient noise reduction is optimal, to say the least.

What we thought could be improved:

Sennheiser’s RS120 headphones are decently comfortable, but there’s the end of it. They’re not very, or even “quite” comfortable, especially when compared to our previous picks. The headband and earcup areas, however, feel quite nice.

Our verdict:

If you’re looking for a way to improve your listening experience and take it up a notch at a bargain price, don’t skip out on Sennheiser’s RS120 headphones.

Pros:

  • Comes with a wireless transmitter that works up to 300 feet
  • Outstanding drivers and ambient noise reduction
  • Deep bass and all-around soundstage
  • Exceptional value for the money

Cons:

  • Not compatible with Bluetooth
  • Moderately comfortable

3. Bose’s SoundLink II

Let’s wrap things up with one of the best budget audiophile headphones ever made – Bose’s SoundLink II. These headphones provide deep, full-spectrum sound and feature a greatly improved equalizer when compared to the original model (SoundLink I).

Bose SoundLink Around Ear Wireless Headphones II - Black

Brief overview of key specs and features:

They feature Bluetooth connection which covers the range of 30 feet, and we guarantee you’ll like the extended battery lifetime – you can use them for approximately 15 hours while they require 3 hours to get back to full charge.  We used these when picking our favorite sounding records of all time.

What we liked?

The battery lifespan is great, the soundstage is awesome, and the integrated microphone system makes them quite versatile. What makes them so good for audiophiles on a budget is the fact that they provide excellent sound quality and don’t cost an arm and a leg.

What we thought could be improved:

Even though they can last up to 15 hours, they require a lot of time to get the charges back up. That’s the only problem, though.

Our verdict:

Bose makes some of the finest headphones on the market, and it’s easy to see why SoundLink II is one of their finest models. It holds a huge value for the cash and we highly advise that you give them a shot.

Pros:

  • Great sound quality
  • Latest Bluetooth connection tech
  • Balanced soundstage and EQ
  • Practical and portable
  • High battery lifespan

Cons:

  • Takes a while to recharge

Buying Guide

Sound quality: One, and only one thing is on the mind of each audiophile before they buy their headphones (for the hundredth time) – how will they sound?

The quality of sound is what makes the difference between casual and audiophile headphones, and you’ll know how to understand this difference once you get acquainted with different models. Quality drivers (among other features) ensure quality sound – it’s plain as that.

Related Read: Best Turntables Under $300

Versatility: Versatile headphones will allow you to switch back and forth between the plethora of music genres and sub-genres. A balanced sound-stage is the only pre-requisite – if your headphones can blast rock tracks right after mellow ballads, you can be sure that you can call them “versatile” true to form.

Noise cancelling features: It’s pretty hard to imagine a situation where you’re relaxing with your favorite music if you hear constant buzzing coming from the outside. It can be a pesky, needy roommate, the ugly sounds of traffic one never seems to get used to, or plain sounds from the Mother Nature herself.

In order to preserve your peace of mind, look for headphones that come with a variant of noise cancelling features.  

This is not mandatory, though – there are audiophiles who like to experiment by enjoying in nature while their favorite tracks (usually ambient music) are playing, so if you consider yourself as such a person, you can skip the noise cancelling part.

Neutral sound signature: If the track appears “altered” in any way, an audiophile rejects it and loathes it. What “alters” the audio in most songs is the device we use for the reproduction of sound of the song in question.

Neutral sound signature is a must when we’re speaking about audiophile headphones, regardless of how much they cost. In fact, the majority of models in the budget section feature neutral sound signature, but you should still keep an eye out for bass-heavy or bright headphones and avoid them.

Conclusion

If you’re feeling sick of your old headphones and the poor audio quality that keeps declining by the minute, there’s a strong chance that an inner audiophile in you wants out. Since the transition can be painful to your wallet, we hope that you liked our selection of the cheap audiophile headphones and wish you good luck in your search.

By Robert Halvari

My name is Robert Halvari - audio engineer and a total audiophile. I love vinyl because it has that natural character which brings music to life. I've been using and testing vinyl record players for around 15 years and I'm sharing my love and knowledge of vinyl by publishing all I know at Notes On Vinyl

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