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Best Sub-$100 Headphone?

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 

Ok all you head-fi'ers, I have a challenge for you. I want the BEST headphones for under $100, though I'm not really an "audiophile". Right now I have a pair of Sony XB-500s ($70), but they feel cheap, aren't good at keeping in sound, and are pretty bulky. Also I have found that the bass and sound quality seem to be lacking for me for some reason (when I turn up the volume it gets worse...), though I suppose they're good for average use (if you're by yourself all the time...)


So, the replacement should be:

Under $100

CLOSED headphone

Very sturdy (should feel and look like they're good quality headphones)

Comfortable (Though I think it'll be hard to beat the Sony's here...)

Prominent and controlled bass (I enjoy "booming" bass-heavy electronic music and hip hop, but I also listen to rock and other stuff, so they should be able to play other genres ok)

Doesn't leak sound very much and good sound isolation (Should keep noise out and keep music in)

Easily driven by an iPod, don't want to buy amps or stuff like that.


I know this is a pretty tall order, but seriously consider it. Don't just spit out your favorite headphone, look at the LIST and ask yourself what areas your suggestion aces and ones it doesn't, then tell me all about it and make sure the price is under $100 the time when you post. I know that no headphone is great at everything, but give me somewhere to look at least...

post #2 of 89

People seem to like the creative aurvana live or earvana live or.. whatever its called

It's exactly $100 usually

It's closed, simple classic fit/design, supposedly pretty bassy. I'm hesitant to officially "recommend" it since I have no first hand experience, but it does qualify for everything on your list. All of my current headphones under $100 are either open (akg and grado) or complete crap (sony).

Edited by machoboy - 9/3/12 at 1:32am
post #3 of 89

You know there's something called the search bar... there are a lot of threads like this, and unfortunately people don't seem to have the patience to find them.


But here, I'll spoon feed you while I can:

Koss DJ100

Ultrasone HFI-580

Creative Aurvana Live

Shure SRH440

KRK KNS 8400


Some of these are above $100 if you buy them new... but if you're lucky you can find them at around the $100 mark, either open box or lightly used.

post #4 of 89
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I've tried searching it, but there's just SO many different posts and suggestions, everyone seems to like something different... I've seen a lot of people recommend the headphones you listed, too. I have seen a few other good reviews on the CAL's and the Ultrasones particularly. So how many of these you listed do you own/have listened to?

post #5 of 89

Unless your XB-500 are defective somehow, or you are driving them with some ridiculous old laptop that only powers the headphone jack with like .0001 watts, there is no reason the XB-500 should be lacking in bass. In fact I don't believe I have ever heard the words XB-500 and "lacking bass" ever muttered in the same sentence. That's what those cans are known for - very accentuated bass that extends decently low but is very bloated and big. See it's frequency response graph and compare it to most other headphones (even compared to some of the ridiculously over-accentuated bass with Dre's Beats, the bass is beefy and completely unrealistic). http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=1153


If you are looking for something with more bass than the XB-500... your options are like the Numark Red Wave or Beats by Dre... both of which I would never recommend to really anyone... Maybe you are coming from the Car Stereo world where adequate bass is like the kind of bass with subwoofers that shake your glasses, in which case I'm not sure what to recommend you. An audiophile forum is probably not the place for you to find recommendations on headphones with that much bass.



Now if I am misinterpreting what you mean by "the bass and sound quality seem to be lacking for me" and instead you mean the bass is too muddy, bloated, and uncontrolled, and not quick and punchy... then I can understand. I would recommend the Brainwavz HM5 for a Under 100$, Closed, Very Sturdy and well built, Comfortable, and Even and Controlled Bass extending very well (but not booming as you describe it).

post #6 of 89
Bassy cans for electronic music? I'd second viralcow's recommendation on the HFI-580. Idk if it is possible to get a new one below 100, but I found them especially good for your music taste. Not as comfy as Sony XB series though.
post #7 of 89
Thread Starter 

Maybe it's my ears lol... I do run it off of an old computer sometimes, but actually I usually run it off an iPod (the square kind, third gen i think...) Believe me, I know that they have bass and lot's of it, like I said when I first got it (and when I actually tried them out in the store) the bass was what I liked. what I'm saying is that mine must be broken or something. It's not there anymore, as much unless I turn up the volume, which sacrifices overall sound quality for me. I DON'T want more bass than the bass I experienced before with these, I want a pair of fun-sounding headphones with pretty good bass under 100 to replace them. Does that make sense? Not sure if I've heard of the Brainwavs... but definitely not the Beats, have you looked at the price tag?!?!

post #8 of 89

Sennheiser HD 439 ftw

post #9 of 89

My 580s were $120 and they're good for trance but I don't like them with any other genre. They're too colored to make acoustic music sound real and the treble is too harsh for industrial/ebm. Trance is their sweet spot though.


The KRK 8400 shouldn't be recommended to someone looking for bass,

post #10 of 89

What's the bit rate of your music files? Did you rip them straight from the CDs yourself?

post #11 of 89

" Also I have found that the bass and sound quality seem to be lacking for me for some reason (when I turn up the volume it gets worse...)"


I don't have XB500s but generally whenever bass deteriorates with volume you need an amp. Bass frequencies are the most power hungry relative to volume and the first thing to go if you don't have enough.

Edited by machoboy - 9/3/12 at 2:17am
post #12 of 89
Thread Starter 

Anyone have any experience with the Sony MDR-V6's? They're about the same price as the XB-500s, and I'm not sure if I agree with "macho-boy" opinion on Sony's in general...

post #13 of 89
Originally Posted by popandlockit View Post

Anyone have any experience with the Sony MDR-V6's? They're about the same price as the XB-500s, and I'm not sure if I agree with "macho-boy" opinion on Sony's in general...



I don't really have an opnion on Sonys in general. I just think the ones I have (MDR V500) suck really bad. The V6 has a much better reputation than the V500, completely different models.

Edited by machoboy - 9/3/12 at 2:24am
post #14 of 89
Thread Starter 

I'm going to need more information than that...

post #15 of 89
Thread Starter 

^ Sorry I was directing that one to "XxDobermanxX"...

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