The idea of buying a quality pair of regular loudspeakers for under $100 would be laughable. Indeed, it is a struggle to find good quality speakers for less than $1000 a pair.
But with headphones, you can find truly great headphones for less than $100.
In particular, we recommend the Sony MDR7506 headphones. Currently available for just under $100 on Amazon, this has to be the greatest cost/quality bargain out there for headphones at present. These, and their stable-mate, the Sony MDR V6, have long been a favorite of professionals in recording studios, and with good reason.
They are stunningly clean and clear. The music shines through in a totally unadorned and un-embellished manner, free of coloration or exaggeration. Joe Friday might have said ‘Just the facts, ma’am’; these headphones say ‘Just the music, sir’.
It is easy to see why they have become so much a preferred choice of studio engineers – their lack of sound coloring enables one to clearly perceive the music, prior to then making any personal changes one might wish, via one’s amplifier tone controls.
The headphones come complete with a jack adapter and a soft carry bag, and have a long 10 ft cord, partially coiled. The cord is hard-wired into the headphones rather than unpluggable. Their earcups are smaller rather than enormous in size – Sony claims the headphones to be a hybrid type of headphone combining some aspects of on-ear with other aspects of ‘around the ear’ design; if you have unusually large ears, you might find this an issue. Happily, they have proved fine with our decidedly average ears.
If you don’t like them (and they’re not necessarily the ultimate best, although they are both very good and also incredible value), you could consider the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. These sell for $160 on Amazon.
We note an appealing bundle – the Audio-Technica headphones plus a lovely little Fiio E6 headphone amp, for just $10 more than the headphones by themselves. The ATH-M40x, for just under $100, brings you back more closely to the around $100 price point and are almost as good.
This is a part of our buyers guide series on headphones. Please also visit :
How to Properly Compare Headphones
Five Headphone Recommendations – Introduction
2. Noise Cancelling Headphones
4. Under $200