Best Headphones Under $500

23 Jul 2017

If you’ve been listening to your music through computer speakers or the earbuds that came with your smartphone, switching to a pair of high quality headphones will be a sonic revelation. On tracks you’ve listened to countless times before you’ll hear instruments and studio effects that you never knew existed, be able to make out the individual voices in background vocals and hear true stereo separation. In short, you’ll enjoy a sound mix that is close to what the engineers and artists heard in the studio. But with the massive growth of the music industry has enabled the rise in the many number of models brands in headphones and it is always going to be tough to choose the right headphone.

So to help you make the perfect choice, we’ve put together a list of some the best headphones under $500. The article also provides a detailed review about the types of headphones available in the market and the factors that need to be considered before buying a headphone that suits you and also about some of the accessories available along with some of the frequently asked questions about headphones. So let’s jump straight into the article about the best headphones under 500.

Different Types of Headphones Under $500

There are many different types of headphones available in the market and let’s look at the various types in detail:

Earbuds

Earbuds headphones changed the headphones industry dominated by bulky headphones and became a big hit among the customers. These are cheap, compact and provide good quality sound. These earbuds headphones rest on the outer ear, but they don’t block the outside noise to a great extent and hence you can’t use it in a crowded area and one size doesn’t fit all and can fall out easily from your ears. It can also be hurtful to your ears sometimes. But these headphones were manufactured in a large scale and came as an accessory with many portable music devices.

In-ear Headphones

In-ear headphones are the perfect choice for people looking for compact headphones that can be carried along with them easily and also provides a secure fit into their ears. These headphones fits inside your ear canal and comes with foam or rubber tips. These are also available in various sizes and hence you can select the best fit for your ears. You can also use these ear phones during walking, running or travelling to hear your favorite music. These headphones also don’t exert too much pressure on your ears like the earbuds and they remain in place for a long time and even some high-end models provides for excellent noise reduction and delivers great sound quality.

On-ear Headphones

Even though these models are similar to over the ear headphones, these don’t cover the entire ear, but only cover the ear canals or your outer ear. These models come with a closed back and highly preferred by people who don’t like ear buds or in-ear models hurting their ears and instead go for these on-ear headphones. And these models provide great sound quality but the main drawback of these headphones is that there is less bass response and outside noise can be still heard on your ears. These headphones are so noisy that even person siting closer to you can hear your music to an extent.

Over the Ear Headphones

The over the ear headphones are full size headphones that comes with cushioned ear cups that covers your entire ear, so that no outside noise is heard and you can experience sound quality of the highest standard. This feature of isolating outside noise is called “passive noise reduction”. But these phones are large in size and can’t be worn for longer periods as their size may cause a strain on your neck due to its weight.

These over the ear headphones comes in two different models namely, closed back headphones and open back headphones. Even though both are similar in shape, the basic difference between these two models is the design of the ear cups, where the closed back headphones comes with ear cups that are closed and hence the it blocks ambient noise and provides excellent noise isolation. But in open back headphones the back of the ear cups are not closed and you can literally see the inside circuitry easily, and hence you can hear outside noise easily.

Wireless Headphones

When it comes to headphones, the best option is going for a wireless one as they don’t require any cables to be connected to the music player but connects through Bluetooth technology. It also helps you free movement and no tangling with the wires in any sort.

Things to consider while buying Headphones under $500

Headphones are meant to provide a great sound experience to make you relaxed and only the right set of headphones can give you the desired output and if you are looking for the best headphones, then please keep in mind the following factors, before buying headphones as these factors will help you buy the best headphones under 500 dollars:

Earbuds or In-ear or Over the ear headphones

The first thing you need to consider is the type of headphone you require, whether you need earbuds, in-ear, on-ear or over the ear headphones. If you are looking for the cheapest headphones, then definitely the earbuds is your best bet as they are the most affordable options that also provides solid output, if you don’t care about it falling often from your ears or about the itchy feeling in your ear after using for a long time. In-ear headphones are similar to the earbuds, but provide a secure grip onto your ear. On the ear headphones are slightly costlier than the earbuds and in-ear headphones but provide quality sound output, but still outside sound is leaked onto the ear. The best and the most comfortable option is over the ear headphones as it provides a great sound experience and excellent noise isolation features.

Budget

The cost factor is another major thing that needs to be considered as you can’t pay more than your budget. Hence, look for the headphones that falls under your budget. Even though low quality headphones under $100 can provide good sound, but it won’t be the same as best closed back headphones under 500. As the low quality headphones have a lot of limitations like the noise isolation feature is very less when compared to other high end headphones. If you are looking for the best headphones and don’t care about the budget, then you can really go in for a high-end closed back headphones.

Corded or Wireless

Whether you need a corded or a wireless headphone depends upon how you are going to use your headphone. If you are looking to remove all those unnecessary tangles of the wire or if you can invest more, then you can go in for a wireless headphone. But basically the corded headphones are the ones that offers high-quality sound, noise isolation etc.

Compatibility Factor

Most of the headphones are compatible with smartphones either iPhone or Android sets. But it is better to look whether your headphone supports the model of your headphone as you are generally going to use your smartphone as the device that gets connected to your headphone. If you are gaming freak and going to use it on your computer system, look if your sound card supports an high end headphones. Some headphones also comes with the ability to receive calls.

Sound Isolation

One of the important aspects a music enthusiast who looks forward in a quality headphone is the noise isolation feature as it will block all kinds of outside noise and you will be only hearing the sound from your headphones to have a great sound experience. Sound isolation also saves your battery life as you don’t want to turn up the volume to isolate outside noise. If you are travelling a lot, then headphones with good sound isolation feature is the one you need to look for. Closed back headphones normally provide great sound isolation or passive noise reduction features.

Comfort

Another important thing to consider is the comfort factor of your headphones. Heads and ears are not the same for everyone and hence a headphone that sits comfortably to one person may not be the same to another person. When it comes comfort levels, closed back headphones are not always the ones that provide the greatest comfort levels, as they can become quite hotter during summer or put more pressure on your neck due to its weight etc. So go for the headphones that provide the ultimate comfort levels and help you enjoy your music for a longer time.

HiFiMan – HE-500 Headphones

If you are looking for the best headphones in the market, then the HiFiMan HE500 definitely sits right on top of the list. It is really an impressive headphone loaded with a lot of features. It fantastic orthodynamic design and high end technology that is not even found in other expensive headphones makes this as one of the best headphones under $500.

It uses an exclusive planar-magnetic technology, which is a large magnetic driver with an even Mylar diaphragm that is coated with a tiny layer of aluminium and is suspended between two thin bar magnets. With this technology where the diaphragm is spread over the entire back, it produces highly reduced noise distortion compared with other headphones at the same price range.

HE-500 also uses a larger magnets to greatly increase the sensitivity over the other HiFiMan models along with a different diaphragm to enhance the midrange levels to a great extent. The ergonomics is also great as the headphone is lighter in weight than other models. The pads are also different from the HE-6 as it is much softer and comfy to the ears. The cables are also different as it comes with a completely new Canare speaker cable, which is much warmer and offers a great bass whereas the HE-6 cables are more treble oriented.

The diaphragm is also slightly modified to deliver enhanced sound quality with improved better bass and vocals. The voice call traces are not gold but made with aluminium. When it comes to tones, the HE-500 stands out from the HE-6 model, as the tonal balance is great with HE-500. Overall a great headphone at a much affordable price than the other expensive models from HiFiMan.

OPPO PM-3 Closed-Back Planar Magnetic Headphones

The OPPO PM-3 is another impressive headphone in terms of excellent build and exceptional sound quality. It comes with an attractive design and provides great compatibility with smart phones and tablets. One of the best closed back headphones under 500, the OPPO PM-3 comes with a beautiful carrying case long with an additional bonus cable for use with your mobile phones. It is also extremely comfortable and can be used for longer periods without any issues.

At around $400, the OPPO PM-3 is another impeccable model that utilizes planar magnetic drivers to provide low distortion and provide coherent and spacious sound. One thing that makes the OPPO PM-3 stand out from the other models is that most of the headphones that uses a planar magnetic driver are open-backed designs, whereas the OPPO PM-3 is a closed back design. As the open-back models leak sound and cannot be optimal for use in public spaces, the OPPO PM-3 can be used anywhere as all the outside noise is isolated and you only hear the original sound emanating from the headphone.

The PM-3 comes with great looks and is sturdily build and comes in an attractive steel blue color and is extremely comfortable on your ears. But it is slightly on the heavier side with 320 gms in weight and is little snugly on the ears. The headband and hinges are all made with metal. It is also compatible with your mobile phones and comes with a 3m wire and also comes with a bonus cable for use in mobile phones along with a protective carrying case to carry your OPPO PM-3 wherever you go.  The bonus cable comes with an integrated remote and microphone.

Philips Fidelio X1/28 Premium Over-Ear Headphones

Philips has always been a great leader in innovation in the field of digital media as they invented the compact audio tape cassettes as well as the Compact Disc (CD) and they always strive hard to focus on the needs and requirements of the customers. Philips is a global leader in the digital industry with over than 50,000 registered patents and continuously winning awards year after year for innovation and excellence.

The Philips Fidelio X1 has been specifically designed to provide natural acoustic sound with help of double layered ear-shells and an open back architecture. It comes loaded with a powerful 50mm neodymium drivers to provide a wide range of sound. The tilted drivers accounts for a great fit in the ears and provides minimum sound reflection. Sound precision is always maintained to uniform standards with the help of a specially tuned diaphragm. The headbands are built using high quality calf leather to provide longer lifetime.

The 3 meter cable also ensures extreme durability as it is made using OFC woven materials. No tangling with the cables, thanks to the dedicated cable management clip. Even during the summer heat, the ear pads doesn’t absorb much heat as it is designed using breathable velour materials that helps in dissipating all the pressure and heat. You don’t feel a sense of irritability or discomfort with the deluxe foam memory pads and enjoy listening to long hours of music without any issues. The self adjustable air hammocks provides for a comfortable fit around your ears and the air pressure build up is greatly reduced with the help of the open back architecture. The ear shells can be tilted to almost a 15 degrees angle to provide the best fit to your ear and also channel the audio directly into your ears.

Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones

The new Sennheiser HD1 wireless headphones is a revelation in the wireless headphones market as it has created a benchmark in terms of excellent performance, unbelievable comfort level and unique style. You can enjoy countless hours of Sennheiser sound without any trouble with the dangling wires. Integrated with high-end Bluetooth technology to transmit high quality Sennheiser signature sound to your headphones as you don’t feel any lag in quality or sound at any time. It also features Near Field Communication (NFC), so that it can coupled with any device that is NFC-enabled with just a mere touch.

The Noise Gard hybrid active noise cancellation feature reduces all kinds of ambient noise from outside and provides crystal clear music to your ears. You can even attend your phone calls and with an excellent Voice Max technology, your voice is loud and clear to the person on the other side. It also features dual microphones that eliminates all external interference to enhance your speech. Made using high quality stainless steel and red leather, the Sennheiser HD1 wireless comes with an iconic design.

The ear cups are ergonomically designed and made using memory foam cushions to provide ultimate comfort for long lasting music sessions. The headband made of stainless steel can be folded easily, so that you can carry it along with you inside the premium carry case that comes along with the package.

The Sennheiser HD 1 latest wireless in-ears headphones comes with a simple and minimalist design. But that doesn’t end up there as the HD1 scores in the stitching department with a Ferrari-red stitching and beautiful red accents along the connection wires.

B&O Play by Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8 Wireless Headphones

Beoplay H8 wireless headphones is one the best headphones under 500 dollars and the most popular in-ear headphones in the market. It is specially designed for music enthusiasts and comes with an excellent noise cancellation feature that you can easily control. Download the Beoplay app and adapt your tunes accordingly to your taste and enjoy endless hours of music as the battery life may last up to 14 hours of non-stop music. The Autumn Winter collection of the BeoPlay H8 headphones comes in an attractive deep red color and a makes a great companion during the cold winter days.

Even though they are sleek in design, the sound performance is excellent with its active noise cancellation feature and the ability to control it according to your requirement. You can just turn off to enjoy your favorite music in a natural environment or go obsessed with the music by turning the noise cancellation option and hear only the sound from your headphones.

The touch interface on the right ear cup helps to keep your music in control as you just need to tap or swipe to play or pause music, switch to another track or adjust the volume and noise cancellation feature. During the colder days, no worries if you are wearing a gloves, as you control the headphones, even with your gloves on.

The rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery provides optimal performance when you are on the move as you can hear your songs for upto 14 hours having both ANC and BT on and with only ANC enables you can enjoy music for up to 35 long hours. An audio cable is included in the package and to complete a full charge of your headphone, it takes less than 3 hours.

Accessories for Best Headphones under $500

GOcase F2 case Headphone Case for Parrot Zik and Beoplay H6

So you brought your favorite headphones to enjoy countless hours of your favorite music, but you need have your headphones safe and secure and that is the reason you need to go for a premium case for your headphones. The F2 headphone case provides ultimate shock resistance features and comes with 4-layered protection for your headphones. The carabiner and handle included in the case, makes it utterly simple to attach you’re your GOCase with your travel bag. The design is simple and sleek and carrying it along with you is easy.

Wooden Omega Headphones Stand/Hanger/Holder – Walnut Finish

While you are out listening music headphones, you need to keep in a safe place and you can’t always keep it inside a case and open and close it every time to take your headphone out. Instead you can go for a headphone stand that can hold your headphone easily. The Wooden Omega headphone display stand/ hangar / holder supports for all major headphones including Sennheiser, Denon, Beyerdynamic,  Grado Monster and many more. It comes with unique contemporary style and a beautiful walnut finish and a great addition to your home and office.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to remove the tips / cushions?

To remove the tip or the cushions from your headphones, just hold your headphone in one hand and using the other hand just pinch the cushion or the tip till the end and give it a light twist. It will easily slip out from the ear stem.

Which sized tip and style is best for me?

Heads and ears are not the same for any two people. So you need to try the headphones before you buy and each style has its own advantages. So try each style and see which provides the best fit and comfortable on your ears to enjoy hours of music without any disturbances.

Which is better a straight or angled connector?

When it comes to connectors to headphones, many customers prefer an angled connector over straight connectors because they can be easily carried along with them wherever they go.

What are Noise cancelling headphones?

Noise cancelling headphones are specially designed to eliminate all the ambient noise from outside and deliver high-quality and exception sound to the users. These headphones comes with a special technology to reduce all kinds of noises from outside, which can’t be simply done by covering your entire ears alone.

Conclusion

Hope we’ve covered a lot thing about the best headphones under 500 and you have come to a sense of understanding about which of these headphones may suit your music requirements. Even though each of the headphones is unique to one another with some features all the above headphones listed above are some of the best headphones under 500 dollars that you can certainly vouch for.

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