Cheap, decent $30 headphones for music listening.

Gamma LH-036

Average User Rating:
  • Cheap, decent $30 headphones for music listening.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Bagheera
    "Decent $30 cans for those on a budget."
    Pros - Decent clarity in the treble. Good bass extention and tightness. Very durable and can take a lot of abuse.
    Cons - Extremely sharp and sibilant treble. Materials feel cheap and the earcup joints tend to get a bit squeaky.
    If you have been to Taiwan, you likely have seen one of these inside a CD store. It is one of the most widely-used headphones for CD listening stations there.

    It was in fact my first exposure to "hi-fidelity" sound - when I was a teenager, I remember being completely blown away by these phones!
    They can still be found for less than $30, which IMO makes them very competitive against the Superlux HD668b.
    Materials & Craftsmanship:

    The packaging is pretty barebone, though you do get a 1/4" adapter.
    Materials feel cheap, obviously, but you get what you paid for $30. The LH-036 does have one feature I really like: The cups are connected to the headband via a ball joint, which pivots very easily for a good fit. Unfortunately the screw that affixes the earcups to the joint have the tendency to get a bit loose after a while, and each time this happens I have to open up the housing to tighten them (the joints also get squeaky if these aren't tightened).

    The earpads are made of pretty cheap pleather, but they are very easily removable and serviceable.

    I don't find the LH-036 to be comfortable due to my ear size - the earpad opening is on the small side and not very deep. Clamping force is decent though, and the headband is actually very well-padded.
    Audio Quality
    The LH-036 sports large 50mm drivers, and the sound quality is actually very good for its price.
    Technical Specifications:
    1. Driver: φ50mm Neodymium
    2. Impedance 32Ω
    3. Frequency Response: 5-25,000Hz
    4. Maximum Output: 100mW
    Treble: The treble is my biggest complaint with the LH-036. It is very sharp and bitey - a problem I seem to also have with the Superlux HD668b. This is an extremely sibilant headphone and will require a good amount of EQing in order to sound pleasant. That said, detail and clarity is decent, though not quite as good as the HD668b.
    Mid-Range: The mid-range is actually pretty good (when the treble is behaving). The LH-036 by default has a V-shaped presentation, but the mid-range clarity is decent and I would say have a slightly warm tilt.
    Bass: With a good amp these headphones actually put out a decent bass with good extension and tightness. I actually think the extension is better on these than the HD668b.
    Sound Stage: The sound stage is actually pretty ok. It's comparable to the HD668b, though imaging isn't as good (due to treble clarity not being on-par).
    The Gamma LH-036 has been around for over two decades now - it's actually held up pretty well considering its age and price range. If you are in the market for some budget head gear and don't mind EQing for good results, this should definitely be on your list.

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