What are the best value headphones under $50?
Jun 30, 2009 at 9:09 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21


Jun 30, 2009
First of all, this is my first post on head-fi. I've been lurking for a couple of months now haha. So please go easy on me. And thanks for any help

So a year ago, I dropped $25 on the Sennheiser CX300s. This was my first "big" investment in headphones. I found them much better than any stock headphones or generic pieces. The bass did overpower the sound a bit though. Next, I spent $20 on the Soundmagic PL30s. These helped clean up the bass. I like the sound, but I still find something lacking...

So I started to browse head-fi for an upgrade. I'm just entering college, so I don't have too much to spend. Hopefully no more than $50. Here are what I have been considering so far:

(EDIT: Updated list)

Altec Lansing UHP336 (UE3) - $35
Ultimate Ear Metro.fi 2v - $25
Head-Direct RE2 - $40 (or $50 with an amp)
ADDIEM - $32 (But are the phones in this listing legit?)
SoundMagic PL-50 - <$50? (I'd wait until mp4nation or someone gets them cheaper)
NuForce Ne-7m - $50
Head-Direct RE0 - $100 (I know this is quite a bit above my price range, but if these are really as good as some over $300 phones, then I might be willing to splurge...)

So what do you think my best bet is? Is there a better option that I'm missing? My main concern is sound quality, but size is important too (I probably wold have gotten the 336s by now if not for the large size). Also, is an amp very important/practical? I plan on using these headphones for just general use, no exercising or what not, but perhaps walking or driving from place to place.

Thanks for any help. And sorry to hassle you guys here, but I know you are more knowledgable than I am, and I want my money to go far. After all, I am a college student

EDIT: Sorry, I forgot to specify that I'm looking for IEMs. But if you have any suggestions for small and valuable cans, I'm interested in a set of those too.
Jun 30, 2009 at 4:05 PM Post #7 of 21

Originally Posted by blawhh /img/forum/go_quote.gif
or ER6i if they are on discount

Out of price range, but definitely provide very clean and tight bass (if a bit low in quantity).

I was not impressed with the bass on the UHP336. Sure there's plenty of it, but it just isn't as tight and well-defined as Er6i's or even Shure E4's.

I would say the Ne-7m if you find that the PL30s don't have enough bass and ADDIEM or RE2 if you feel that the PL30s still have too much (or too muddy) bass. The PL50s may be a good bet as well once they are widely available.
Jun 30, 2009 at 7:49 PM Post #8 of 21
Alright, I updated my list with the suggestions. How do the Ne-7m compare to the CX300? Does it have bassy sound like them?

Also, between the RE2 and ADDIEM, which will sound better? And how do these compare to the PL-30s? And what about the PL-50s? Are these in the same class or above the RE2s? And is the seller legit?


Lastly, would it be worth it to spend $50 and get the RE0? How does it compare with the other phones on my list? The sound would have to be significantly better to justify the doubled price tag...
Jun 30, 2009 at 7:55 PM Post #9 of 21
Altec Lansing UHP336. Just got them and they sound fantastic for $35! Remember, they were $130 bucks!
Jun 30, 2009 at 8:12 PM Post #10 of 21

Originally Posted by mp3 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Add a fiver and go for the PL50, you will not regret it.

That's all fine and well but where can you get them for $55?

All I seen so far is an ebay listing and that comes out to $81-86 once you include shipping.
Jun 30, 2009 at 8:23 PM Post #11 of 21

Originally Posted by Peremptor /img/forum/go_quote.gif
That's all fine and well but where can you get them for $55?

All I seen so far is an ebay listing and that comes out to $81-86 once you include shipping.

PL50 is not available anywhere online for $55 yet. Some local retailers in asia are selling them/taking preorders for that much. It is speculated that once mp4nation has them in stock (assuming they will) they will cost around that much with free shipping. No ETA on that as far as I know.

The RE0 are in a different league than the PL30s and compare very favorably to the rest of the IEMs on that list. Keep in mind their limitations of being high-impedance units that benefit from an amp.

As for the ADDIEMs, as one reviewer stated, their particular strength is that they have no real weaknesses.
Jun 30, 2009 at 8:36 PM Post #13 of 21
You might as well get the ADDIEM's for $32 (that seller looks legit enough for me at least) for now and you can later on upgrade to a better pair of IEMs like the RE0.

The more you wait the better the deals get after all.
Jun 30, 2009 at 8:55 PM Post #14 of 21
One more vote for the NE-7m's. For the price, their transparency is excellent, the bass is full and resonant but doesn't swallow the trebles, detail is good but not great, and they have pretty good left-right soundstage (although not a lot of depth).

Also, for the record, based on personal experience with both headphones, I think the 7m's stomp all over the ER-6i's if you like even a moderate amount of bass (or any bass sustain) in your music. Those single BA's produce a lot of detail (sometimes to an artificial degree), but there are limits to the design, and those limits are quite audible in the bottom end of the frequency curve, at least to my ears.
Jun 30, 2009 at 9:07 PM Post #15 of 21
OK, so here's what I've narrowed down the list to so far:

ADDIEM - $32 (Are the ones in that listing the same make/model/version as the popular ones? And are they real?)
Head-Direct RE2 - $40
Ne-7m - $50 + $5 shipping (Could I find these cheaper elsewhere?)

I think the UHP336s are too big for my tastes, so I probably won't get those. And I might add the PL-50s to the list when I can find them. The PK3 are interesting, but my ears don't seem to like earbuds, and they don't stay in place. I'm definitely open for further suggestions though.

Oh, and if someone could comment as to whether these are the right ADDIEMs to buy, I'd be very grateful:

Apple iPod In-Ear Headphones with remote and mic - eBay (item 160339449351 end time Jul-01-09 23:48:11 PDT)

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