Best headphones under 500 bucks

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onourway
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by onourway » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:31 pm

am wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:11 pm
I went with the Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Over Ear Headphones, Black (WH-1000XM3/B) (2018 model) for 348 dollars. Have had them for about a week and real happy. Sound quality and comfort are perfect for me.
Good choice! Amazing noise cancelling, excellent sound and super comfortable.

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DWesterb2iz2
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by DWesterb2iz2 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:54 pm

I sat next to a sound engineer on a a plane ride, and I happened to be looking for headphones at the time and asked him for advice. It became, instead, an interesting conversation about the problem of framing sound reproduction in terms of accuracy and the physiology of hearing and how people hear things differently from each other, and differently over a lifespan, and differently even at different times of the day. I knew trauma could affect hearing, but medicines can too. He didn't offer any advice about headphones.
Last edited by DWesterb2iz2 on Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Texflier
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by Texflier » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:25 pm

I’ve been a solid Bose user for years, but after this thread and reading the following review, I may give Sony a try for my next headset:
https://www.wired.com/review/review-son ... eadphones/

bo105954027
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by bo105954027 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:06 pm

I've got really dumb ears and I literally can't distinguish between a 50 bucks headphone and a 500 one, except noise cancelling headphones are quieter.
Time in market beats timing the market.

finite_difference
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by finite_difference » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:33 pm

TSR wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:39 am
c.coyle wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:26 pm
Sony is still making the MDR-V6 after 30 years, which means people are still buying them. Must be a reason. Flat response. Closed back for no leaking sound. Comfortable. Replace the factory vinyl earpads with some Beyer velour pads, and you will be very happy with the sound, comfort, and the left over $400. No kidding

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDRV6-Studi ... ony+mdr+v6

https://www.amazon.com/Compete-Audio-BD ... er+earpads
I live in Nashville, and these Sony headphones are sort of the industry standard for studios. No, they are not the nicest thing you can possibly own, but if you are accustomed to listening to earbuds they will knock your socks off. Nice, unadorned sound, great for all music types, and you can buy five of them for the cost of nicer stuff.* OP doesn't say what kind of audiophile he/she is. If you haven't done a lot of this stuff then stick with the Sonys. If you have and you've "moved on," then there MAY be better options at higher price points. (Emphasis on the "may" because sound is a lot like wine -- it's perceived quality can correlate closely with its cost.)

*I've owned a pair for many years. My one complaint is that the plastic on the ear cover started flaking a bit after about 10 years.
Thanks for this recommendation. They cost only $71 including Prime shipping. Compared to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, which costs $142, the reviews suggest the Sony MDRV6 are just as good, except they don’t boost the bass by default. So if you like the bass boosted by default, you’d need to get an amp or use an equalizer.

That is not to say you won’t get better sound from open ear sets like the Massdrop/Sennheiser HD6XX ($200) or HIFIMAN HE-400i ($165). But it sounds like those are only useful in environments where you could just as well listen to speakers.
Last edited by finite_difference on Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ssquared87
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by ssquared87 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:53 am

onourway wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:31 pm
am wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:11 pm
I went with the Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Over Ear Headphones, Black (WH-1000XM3/B) (2018 model) for 348 dollars. Have had them for about a week and real happy. Sound quality and comfort are perfect for me.
Good choice! Amazing noise cancelling, excellent sound and super comfortable.
+1. Got the Sony WH100XM3 a few months ago. I was specifically looking for noise cancelling with decent sound quality. Tried a bunch of options. Was surprised how poor the sound quality on the Bose QC 35 was compared to the Sony. Bose overemphasized the mid range frequencies Sony seemed more neutral. After using the Sony now for a few months very glad I made the purchase

sambb
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by sambb » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:09 am

sony xm3 are great. i was a bose person until i tried them. they are fantastic

madbrain
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by madbrain » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:04 am

I bought the Sony 1000X M3 at the Hong Kong airport last saturday. The E-lifestyle store was about to close at about 11pm. I seldom make any decision involving more than $100 in a hurry without thorough research. But this is one purchase I don't regret. I wore them during my entire 12 hour flight to SFO. Not to listen to music, but to cancel noise. They are much better than earplugs. Managed to sleep with a contraption of CPAP mask, these headphones, and eye cover. And the painkillers for my 2 broken ribs.

alwayshedge
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by alwayshedge » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:57 am

UniversityEmployee9 wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:26 pm
I paid $9.99 for mine on Amazon iirc. Just went with the "Amazon recommends" option or whatever it's called.
:confused The OP is clearly looking for quality headphones, not 9.99 Amazon headphones.

rich126
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by rich126 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:12 am

I use the Bose headphones QC25 and they have had some really good prices over the last year (as low as $100). They are great in removing a lot of the noise from airplanes (especially the engine noise). I'm always surprised when I take them off to go to the bathroom and realize how loud it is. I also had a cheaper pair of another brand but the difference is huge (and I'm suggesting everything from Bose is worth the price but for me the headphones certainly were).

JEC
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by JEC » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:06 am

F150HD wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:49 pm
onourway wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:29 pm
F150HD wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:08 pm
wow. I cannot imagine paying $500 for a pair of headphones. Ever. regardless of how wealthy I ever was!
It's a hobby like anything else. Far cheaper than things like watches, boats, ORV's, cycling, etc.

That said, at work I spend 4+ hours a day with headphones on. Might as well invest in something that is comfortable and sounds good.
by that logic you must spend $1500 on a pair of shoes, as like most, you probably wear shoes 12+ hours a day.
You're missing the fact that a great set of headphones, like some of the Sennheisers mentioned, can easily last 20+ years (seriously). When taking that into consideration, it's nothing at all like spending $1,500 on a pair of shoes. Your interpretation is way off from what he meant.

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tuningfork
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by tuningfork » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:34 pm

Are there quality differences in sound between wired headphones and Bluetooth wireless headphones? Does wireless cause any reduction in frequency reproduction, digital glitching, etc. that doesn't happen with good old analog wired technology?

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F150HD
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by F150HD » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:22 pm

JEC wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:06 am

You're missing the fact that a great set of headphones, like some of the Sennheisers mentioned, can easily last 20+ years (seriously). When taking that into consideration, it's nothing at all like spending $1,500 on a pair of shoes. Your interpretation is way off from what he meant.
this thread is old. regardless, in 20 years these will probably be outdated, in fact in 5 years that will probably be the case w/ how technology moves in this space.

Going to go listen to my 8-tracks now. :happy

onourway
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by onourway » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:23 pm

F150HD wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:22 pm
JEC wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:06 am

You're missing the fact that a great set of headphones, like some of the Sennheisers mentioned, can easily last 20+ years (seriously). When taking that into consideration, it's nothing at all like spending $1,500 on a pair of shoes. Your interpretation is way off from what he meant.
this thread is old. regardless, in 20 years these will probably be outdated, in fact in 5 years that will probably be the case w/ how technology moves in this space.

Going to go listen to my 8-tracks now. :happy
Not for good headphones. Currently listening to one of the best pairs I own - nearly 20 years old, and worth close to $1500 on the second-hand market because in all that time nobody else has managed to make another pair quite like them - even at many times the cost (these originally sold for about $300.)
Last edited by onourway on Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

onourway
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by onourway » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:25 pm

tuningfork wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:34 pm
Are there quality differences in sound between wired headphones and Bluetooth wireless headphones? Does wireless cause any reduction in frequency reproduction, digital glitching, etc. that doesn't happen with good old analog wired technology?
Depends on how picky you are and what your setup is. Using the best available codecs, there is very little quality loss, but there will still be more digital interruptions with bluetooth than with a wire. You need to make sure both the headphones you buy and the device you will connect them to both support one of the high quality codecs.

madbrain
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by madbrain » Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:37 pm

onourway wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:25 pm
tuningfork wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:34 pm
Are there quality differences in sound between wired headphones and Bluetooth wireless headphones? Does wireless cause any reduction in frequency reproduction, digital glitching, etc. that doesn't happen with good old analog wired technology?
Depends on how picky you are and what your setup is. Using the best available codecs, there is very little quality loss, but there will still be more digital interruptions with bluetooth than with a wire. You need to make sure both the headphones you buy and the device you will connect them to both support one of the high quality codecs.
I setup the LDAC codec with my Sony X1000 M3 and my Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Couldn't really hear a difference in quality vs AptX, even with classical music. And I'm an amateur musician myself so I should hear it. I can tell the difference between 128 kbps MP3 and uncompressed - it's not that hard: bass is over emphasized on MP3, and some high frequencies lost.

In terms of dropouts, I started getting some at about 6 meters and 2 walls. At 10 meters and 3 walls, it was a total signal loss. I think as long as the 2 devices are in the same room, there isn't likely to be any dropout issue these days. I have also found smartphones are much more reliable in terms of not having audio dropouts vs PCs running Windows. My Windows desktop PC doesn't have a bluetooth interface, though. And Sony hasn't seen fit to implement LDAC for Windows (or MacOS). LDAC is supported on Android, not sure about iOS.

RobLyons
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by RobLyons » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:06 pm

It depends on your wants/needs. Over the ear cans? Ear buds? Wireless? Noise Cancelling?
--> You don't need to pay $500 to get the best under $500. Many $150-$250 models outperform higher priced headphones.
I personally use Audio Technica at home, and for the gym the amazon ear buds do just fine


The list could be endless but here's a good starting point

Audio-Technica DSR9BT
Beyerdynamic Amiron
Sennheiser HD 600
Grado Prestige SR325e
HIFIMAN HE400S
Beyerdynamic DT-880

wireless
Bowers & Wilkins PX
bose qc 35
Sony WH1000XM3

and so on...
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

inbox788
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by inbox788 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:04 pm

am wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:22 pm
I’m trying to find headphones that will give me the best sound for a wide range of music. Everything from classical to hip hop. I’m ok with paying up to 500 bucks, more if it’s truly worth it. I hear Bluetooth doesn’t have as good a sound as wired. Headphones that don’t bleed sound much would be great, as I don’t want my neighbor to hear what I’m listening to, I read all the reviews but get more confused. Thanks,
If you want headphones that don't bleed out, then you need a closed (over the ear) design, not open (on the ear). Or use earbuds (closed design/isolating, not like Apple EarPods/AirPods that leak sound). I've always wanted to try Etymotic ER4, but they're 1000% over my budget. Since they're within yours, you may want to check them out.

https://www.etymotic.com/consumer/earph ... 4-new.html
https://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Researc ... 01GW786B4/

https://www.reddit.com/r/airpods/commen ... e_earpods/
Last edited by inbox788 on Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bluquark
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by bluquark » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:07 pm

I've used Bose QC35 for years and recently bought the Sony XM3. The noise cancelling and battery life on the new Sony is better and the comfort level is worse. They're heavier and seem to squeeze around my ears tighter. This is very personal and many reviewers report no difference in comfort, but anyway it's a bit of a wash for me. I think I'll use the Sony for shorter periods but keep around the QC35 for comfort on long plane rides.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by WhiteMaxima » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:31 pm

Massdrop HD6XX.

onourway
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by onourway » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:59 pm

inbox788 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:04 pm
I've always wanted to try Etymotic ER4, but they're 1000% over my budget. Since they're within yours, you may want to check them out.

https://www.etymotic.com/consumer/earph ... 4-new.html
https://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Researc ... 01GW786B4/

https://www.reddit.com/r/airpods/commen ... e_earpods/
Another model that really hasn’t been improved much with time. :D

My first major purchases when I started traveling heavily for work over 15 years ago were an iPod and a set of ER-4p’s. The iPod is long gone, succeeded by several models and half a dozen phones. The ER-4’s are still my travel companion, having logged hundreds of thousands of miles with me. Not the most comfortable design, but a combination of isolation, sound quality, and portability that is still among the best in the industry.

Kababayan
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by Kababayan » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:18 am

c.coyle wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:26 pm
Sony is still making the MDR-V6 after 30 years, which means people are still buying them. Must be a reason. Flat response. Closed back for no leaking sound. Comfortable. Replace the factory vinyl earpads with some Beyer velour pads, and you will be very happy with the sound, comfort, and the left over $400. No kidding

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDRV6-Studi ... ony+mdr+v6

https://www.amazon.com/Compete-Audio-BD ... er+earpads

These are great headphones, especially for the price.

earlywynnfan
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by earlywynnfan » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:47 am

If you can use the open-backed, I'd like to give two more thumbs-up for Grado. I love mine.

nimo956
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by nimo956 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:16 am

I really enjoy these Meze 99 classics (they are currently $309 on Amazon):

https://www.mezeaudio.com/products/meze ... headphones
50% VTI / 50% VXUS

pennylane
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by pennylane » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:18 am

apple airpods. under $200. Take the rest of the money and take your significant other out to a nice dinner. Trust me (some guy on the internet) it'll be the best decision you make. All the other stuff is overpriced garb.

madbrain
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by madbrain » Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:08 pm

pennylane wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:18 am
apple airpods. under $200. Take the rest of the money and take your significant other out to a nice dinner. Trust me (some guy on the internet) it'll be the best decision you make. All the other stuff is overpriced garb.
I hope you tried everything else on the market before you called it overprice garbage. Talk about an Apple fanboy.

The design of the Airpods seems to be particularly awful. Most reviews say they fall easily. I'm not a fan of in-ear headphones also. Not something I would ever consider, even if it was free.

rgs92
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by rgs92 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:37 pm

ZMF which sells awesome headphones that are bargains even at full price is having a B-stock sale that will give you superb sound at very low prices:
http://www.zmfheadphones.com/zmf-origin ... -overstock

Go to the home site ( zmfheadphones.com ) for full details on their headphones. I have a couple of ZMFs and love them. He is an American designer of them in the Chicagoland area. He (Zach) has a large cult following in the high-end headphone world.

letsgobobby
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:27 am

Costco is selling some Sony noise cancelling headphones for $180. Sounded good to me in store so I bought two, his and hers.

pennylane
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by pennylane » Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:51 am

madbrain wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:08 pm
pennylane wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:18 am
apple airpods. under $200. Take the rest of the money and take your significant other out to a nice dinner. Trust me (some guy on the internet) it'll be the best decision you make. All the other stuff is overpriced garb.
I hope you tried everything else on the market before you called it overprice garbage. Talk about an Apple fanboy.

The design of the Airpods seems to be particularly awful. Most reviews say they fall easily. I'm not a fan of in-ear headphones also. Not something I would ever consider, even if it was free.
I have. I even had $500 B&O headphones. I hope YOU tried the Apple air pods because the with the design actually they never fell off my ears. Even working out and running.

onourway
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Re: Best headphones under 500 bucks

Post by onourway » Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:20 am

pennylane wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:51 am
madbrain wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:08 pm
pennylane wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:18 am
apple airpods. under $200. Take the rest of the money and take your significant other out to a nice dinner. Trust me (some guy on the internet) it'll be the best decision you make. All the other stuff is overpriced garb.
I hope you tried everything else on the market before you called it overprice garbage. Talk about an Apple fanboy.

The design of the Airpods seems to be particularly awful. Most reviews say they fall easily. I'm not a fan of in-ear headphones also. Not something I would ever consider, even if it was free.
I have. I even had $500 B&O headphones. I hope YOU tried the Apple air pods because the with the design actually they never fell off my ears. Even working out and running.
AirPods have two things going for them. They are incredibly convenient and they don’t sound offensive. The first of those being by far the most important. On the other hand, we are finding out now that the batteries seem to be good for about 2 years of regular use. Their sound is acceptable. Nothing more. There are certainly dozens, probably hundreds of better sounding options if that is your priority and have up to $500 to spend.

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