Best sub $100 headphones?
October 9, 2009 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Headphone Filter: Looking for a pair of quality headphones, but cant try them on because im out of the country.

I am trying to figure out what pair of headphones I should get. Budget is around $100. I listen to alot of music when I study, but that also means that they need to not leak too much. I have been looking at the Sennheiser HD280 pros and Ultrasone HFI550/580s. What should I get?

1.) Good build quality
2.) Good sound quality
3.) Reasonable size and foldablility
posted by Heliochrome85 to Technology (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I was given these as a gift and love them...
posted by LakesideOrion at 2:32 PM on October 9, 2009

The Sennheiser HD280 Pros are a good pick. They are in your budget range and are also closed so you won't have any leakage with sound. The only caveat is that the bass sounds a bit shallow. If you pair it with a headphone amp it may bring up the low end.
posted by cazoo at 2:45 PM on October 9, 2009

I'm a fan of the classic Sony MDR-V6. They don't leak sound at all, and people have 25+ year old examples that are still going. To make them really good, though, you can put velour earpads on them.
posted by zsazsa at 2:58 PM on October 9, 2009

I wear Sony MDR-7506 (Basically the successor to the V6) for 10+ hours a day. Love them. $100 or less anywhere. The 7506 and the HD280 are as close as there is to a standard for sound guys on-set. Both are very solid options.
posted by jjb at 3:26 PM on October 9, 2009

I picked up the Shure SE115 to use while riding my motorcycle and they're awesome. They're noise isolating, so sound doesn't leak in (or out) when they're seated deeply in my ear. This lets me listen to music at a low volume, even with the wind buffeting around my helmet. They meet all three requirements.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:38 PM on October 9, 2009

I use the Sennheiser HD280 at home and have been very happy with them. Sometimes they tweak my ears a little after extended listening.

Yeah, I think they're a little laid back on the low end, but I listen to a lot of bass-heavy music and haven't ever really thought it was that much of a negative. FWIW I felt they opened up after getting broken in some.
posted by Ultra Laser at 3:59 PM on October 9, 2009

I owned a pair of Beyerdynamic DT770 headphones for many years that are similar in sound to the HD280s but are more detailed in the low end and less sibilant in the high end. I'm sure you can pick them up for less than $100 used on but don't hold me to it. It's worth spending a bit of extra money for them if need be.

Good luck!
posted by Awryter at 4:51 PM on October 9, 2009

I recently bought the Sony MDR-7506 from Amazon and HATED them. They're really hyped at the high and low end and suck out the mid-bass.

If you can deal with jamming headphones in your head, go with the in-ear type. They'll give you much better isolation than regular headphones and are much more portable too. They just tend to be lacking in the low bass at your price range.
posted by kenliu at 5:04 PM on October 9, 2009

I use Grado SR-80s and I've never been happier with a pair of headphones. They're sturdy, comfortable and sound fantastic for the price.
posted by Merzbau at 5:37 PM on October 9, 2009

I'll have to second Grado SR-80s and although they've got wonderful sound, I do wish the adjustable sliders were more taut. The longer I've had them, the less likely to keep their position. I can't really complain though, as the warranty/guarantee allows me to send them back for basically any reason. I've been tempted to try a higher-end Grado but never felt the need... Yet.

Precise sound. I have to echo that I've never been happier with headphones that I sometimes consider wearing outside, they're so good.
posted by prodevel at 9:04 PM on October 9, 2009

I was in the market for similar headphones (with the issue of portability, though), and Sony MDR-V6, Sennheiser HD280pro, and Grado SR-60 & 80s were definitely the top headphones recommended all around (including various headphone-specific sites and forums with very dedicated headphone-fans).

I may be misremembering, but I'm fairly sure there's sound leak with the Grados.

FWIW, I decided to go with a cheaper Senn pair (to throw around) and am considering the Sony just for curiosity's sake.
posted by mittenedsex at 10:12 PM on October 9, 2009

Brands you should look for Grado, (over ear, big) Shure (in ear headphones), Sennheiser (general over ear, small)
posted by radsqd at 9:54 AM on October 10, 2009

The Grados are open back and will do little to block out outside sounds and will leak a lot of sound, so they're bad if you want to use them to study in a library or other quiet environment.
posted by kenliu at 1:43 PM on October 10, 2009

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