The best way to get the best sound quality for the least money is still buying good wired headphones. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that the level of resolution and musicality that traditional headphones in the indicated price range guarantee, Bluetooth headphones simply cannot provide.
We’ve rounded up the best wired, on-ear and wrap-around headphones available for the price listed today.
8. Sony MDR-7506
The incredibly popular model has replaced the legendary studio MDR-V6, first released in the mid-1980s. Over the years of its life on the market, the model has actually turned into a kind of dynamic headphone standard for studio work, in addition, it is very fond of audiophiles. An impedance of 63 Ohms and a sensitivity of 106 dB make the headphones versatile, working equally well with both portable and stationary signal sources. The closed design coupled with 40mm neodymium magnet drivers ensures neutral and dynamic sound. The kit includes a 3-meter twisted cable, which is quite appropriate for portable use. The only limitation is the rather large weight of the headphones – 520 grams.
7. Sennheiser HD 25
This bestselling book from a German company was hailed in 1988 by studio workers and hi-fi aficionados alike. These headphones have become one of the generally accepted standards for equipping recording and monitoring studios, in addition, they surprise the uninitiated with the discrepancy between the seeming simplicity and lightness of the design and the amazing sound quality. The model has a comfortable sliding plastic headband, dynamic drivers with a diameter of 35 mm and soft comfortable ear pads. Over the years, there have been many versions of this patch model for both portable and stationary use, and the original commemorative model with yellow ear cushions has recently been released in 25,000 copies.
6. Grado SR125e
The most popular and well-deserved model in the Grado range. Like all the company’s products, it continues to be produced at the company’s own factory in Brooklyn, New York. These dynamic, open-back on-ear headphones are tuned to deliver the most believable and comfortable midrange reproduction possible. Yes, the foam ear pads are not to everyone’s liking, but the soulful and emotional sound of Grado has many fans. In this price category, they have few competitors in terms of conveying all the nuances of vocals. The sensitivity of the model is 99.8 dB, the resistance is 32 Ohm.
5. AKG K 701
These headphones look much more expensive than their price. Popular with audiophiles and professionals alike, this classic open-top design features a double headband with polymer wrapped metal arms, a spring loaded headrest and round ear cups with large ear cushions. The necessary elasticity to the stop is provided by four rubber cables, while it itself is made of genuine leather and is equipped with pads on the inside. Glossy cups and shiny rims are made of high-quality plastic, the outer mesh on the speakers is metal. The coils in the speakers are wound with a thin flat wire, and a double membrane is used. The sound of the model is rather restrained, but extremely accurate, which is so much appreciated by amateurs of “examining” phonograms.
4. Fostex T50RP mk3
Pioneers of the mass use of magneto-planar emitters in headphones, the first version of the model appeared on the market back in 1976. The conversion of electrical energy into acoustic energy occurs in them according to the isodynamic principle – a thin film with a voice coil printed on it vibrates in a field created by powerful neodymium magnets located on both sides of it. The proprietary Regular Phase technology helps to maintain the correct phase characteristic of the signal through the use of not only a film diaphragm of the original design, but also a specially shaped grating. The headphones are made in a semi-closed acoustic design, the cups are made of special anti-resonant plastic. The model is supplied with detachable cables in two sizes. The headband of the headphones is made of metal and finished with artificial leather, ear pads are made of it. The low sensitivity of 92 dB implies the need for a dedicated amplifier or turntable.
3. Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7
For the first time this model of dynamic closed headphones appeared on the market in 2015 and immediately made a real sensation. These great-sounding headphones can be paired with almost any smartphone with a 3.5mm output, thanks to a sensitivity of 101dB and an impedance of just 36 ohms. Additionally, you can purchase a 1.2 m cable with a 4.4 mm jack for balanced connection. A dynamic and driving sound with a very decent resolution is provided by 45 mm drivers with neodymium magnets. The only drawback is the ear cushions that begin to peel off after a year, but there is no shortage of spare parts for this model today.
2. Sennheiser HD 560S
This open-source model, which was launched in 2020, uses the same mechanical and acoustic platform as the HD 559 and HD 599, while the sound character of the headphones is completely different – much more neutral and balanced, with excellent resolution. This is achieved through the use of dynamic drivers with a membrane made from a new polymer mixture, which allows to obtain a more linear frequency response, as well as an optimized voice coil with a resistance of 120 ohms. This made it possible to achieve an extremely low level of natural resonances of the system. In addition, this coil, coupled with a high sensitivity of 110 dB, makes the headphones versatile, ensuring good compatibility with a wide variety of signal sources.
Another model of studio headphones that has served sound engineers and audiophiles with faith and truth for many decades. Moreover, despite the not the highest price, the headphones continue to be produced in Germany. The model is available in several finishes with a large selection of nominal resistance values - 35, 250 or 600 Ohm, which means that you can choose the version that suits your specific use case. The design of the headphones is dynamic, with a semi-open acoustic design. The headband is made of aluminum and the ear cushions are covered with synthetic velor. Timeless classics.