Choosing your first pair of Hi-Fi headphones can be a daunting task. There are just loads of options to choose from and making the right choice can be quite hard. What more, audiophile headphones can cost an arm and a leg. Do not worry, as we are here to highlight some of the better options with a little less steep prices, to ease you into this hobby.
Sound quality wise, you won’t find anything better sounding, that would also cost only 100$. The build quality has really suffered though. Grado SR80e headphones have very good mid frequencies, which sound crisp and clear. There’s no distortion or muddiness, but the bass might be slightly lacking when listening to bass heavy music. Their open back design means, you can’t really use them on the go, because they won`t isolate any outside noise and bleed a lot of sound.
Being Sennheisers, the least you can expect from them is quality. The Sennheiser HD599′s are very comfortable and have the iconic Sennheiser sound. They have more bass, than you’d expect from open back headphones. The mids and treble have a clear, but slightly more neutral design, than the grado SR80e headphones. Unlike the Sennheiser HD650, these headphones won’t require an amp, because of their low ohm impediace. They usually go for slightly under 200$.
When they originally came out, the Philips SHP9500S punched significantly over it’s price point. Originally they cost around 100$, but now the price has gone slightly up. They have a very comfortable fit and are a great first pair of Hi-Fi headphones. Their open back design gives these headphones a wide soundstage, but takes slightly away from the bass. Mid frequencies are really forward and treble has some interesting spikes. They won`t suit very bass heavy music, but are great for more acoustic and even classical stuff.
Though originally meant for professional use in the studio, they’re also a great option for general listening. Audio-Technica ATH M50x have a slightly larger driver, than their smaller cousin the M40x. That gives them plenty of bass and clarity in treble. Closed back design of these headphones also means, they have minimal sound leakage and can be used on the go. That also means, they have poorer sound quality than open back headphones. They come with a carrying bag and are foldable for easier transport. You can usually find the M50x for about 160$.
These cans will set you back 500$, but they are worth every penny. Being closed back makes them usable on the go and isolates noise around you. The bass has been excellently balanced and doesn’t take the center stage unlike with most closed back headphones. The sound is well balanced and you won’t experience much listening fatigues even on longer sessions.The Shure SRH1540′s are truly comfortable and made of premium materials.
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