Best headphones under 500

Many fabulous headphones cost less than 500 when you look for them.

If you’re looking for headphones for around 500, think of the AirPods Max, the Sony WH1000-XM5, or the Bose 700. These headphones are fabulous for listening on the go or in noisy places where features like active noise cancellation and wireless technology are must-haves, but this article is about something else. People usually use headphones at home because they have the best sound quality for listening to music or working (or playing games) at your desk.

If you’re unfamiliar with Hi-Fi audio, watch a video that DMS made with headphones.com before continuing to read this article. The video is a beginner’s guide to high-end headphones and other things, and you can click the link here to watch it!

The Apos Caspian

Best headphones under 500

The best things about it are the Harman-like taste, the great mid-bass, and the overall great sound.

It might not be to your liking: a little too warm.

Most types of songs work best.

Hip-hop, indie pop/rock, and new, well-mixed/mastered music are my main types of music.

We need to amplify: No.

The last time there was a change was when I wrote this piece in 2020, until now.

I wouldn’t say I liked the Caspian as much as I do.

It wouldn’t be on any best-of lists. I was excited to listen to it and looked forward to it.

That might not be fair, but I’ve tried out more than 115 headphones, so I’m a bit cynical. Lol.

A little less than 500 is an excellent price for it. It’s almost perfect for build quality, comfort, and sound quality. It also comes with a balanced cable and a nice carrying case.

While the Caspian aims for a fun experience overall, the sound signature is warm and avoids the problems of standard closed-back headphones with too much bass.

The catch is that the mid-bass sounds excellent, which many companies need to improve.

There’s just the right amount of a rise to keep you interested, and the slams give the songs the extra body they need without being too much or dull like your mom’s meatloaf.

Beyerdynamic DT880

Beyerdynamic DT880

The sound is mostly even, and the reaction is very flat.

You may not like a treble that is too bright or peaky.

Most types of songs work best.

Bread and Butter: Mastering, Mixing, and More.

Yes, it needs amplification.

Beyond the K702 and HD600 models, the Beyerdynamic DT880 has been a mainstay in studios worldwide for a long time.

However, other headphones called “Studio Monitor” or “Reference Headphone” aren’t those things.

The well-known Audio Technica ATH M50/50x and M40x are examples.

It’s unfair to market those as reference headphones since they sound different from them.

An over-boosted bass, pushed-back midrange, and slightly boosted high response don’t make you feel that way, and they’re not even close to being the best studio choices for mixing, finishing, and reference.

The bass sounds slightly rolled off, but it’s pretty thick.

At this point, the mid-range is as flat as a grid. There isn’t any accurate coloring or focus at any part of the frequency range.

There is a slight drop off after about 1kHz, but there is a small bump at 3kHz in the presence region, just enough to keep them alive.

The Sundara headphones feature a noticeable treble boost around 9–10 kHz, and opinions on its impact vary. Some listeners believe this boost enhances their ability to hear more nuances in the mix compared to headphones with a more relaxed treble presentation.

I’ve owned a Sony MDR-V6, and it has a similar high point at the top and sounds a lot like the 880 overall.

I often use a V6 when mixing because it lets me hear many things simultaneously. It helps find mistakes and get a good sense of the mix.

The 880 works the same way, though the response is undoubtedly more even and more effortless.

Open-back vs. closed-back

Open-back vs. closed-back

When choosing, consider whether you prefer closed- or open-back headphones.

Open-back headphones are popular because they let air flow from the ear cups to the driver, making them perfect for mixing. Pressure doesn’t build up, usually resulting in a more expansive and genuine sound.

Conversely, closed-back headphones provide superior isolation. Therefore, they are perfect for engineers working in live environments or recording. Additionally, they have a purpose in mixing, primarily if you work in a noisy area.

Impedance

Conclusively, more fabulous headphone impedances require more power to move the drivers and project sounds. 

 Consumer-grade audio equipment, such as phones, typically performs better with low-impedance headphones since they provide minimal amplification.

Why would you want a high-impedance pair of headphones if they are more difficult to drive? One benefit of using them is that they won’t blow out when connected to higher power devices, such as some pro audio gear.

RØDE NTH-100

RØDE NTH-100

Although we gave the closed-back NTH-100, RØDE’s first pair of studio headphones, a fantastic 10/10, its variety of well-regarded, affordable microphones makes the company most famous.

 John Pickford, our reviewer, said there are no drawbacks and that the headphones have a transparent sound that doesn’t exclude important mid-range detail like many other headphones. Aside from the affordable pricing, another clear benefit is the memory foam’s CoolTech-infused maximum comfort.

We stated in our review that RØDE is a severe company. The superbly sculpted appearance and outstanding performance are just half the tale. The acoustic capabilities of the NTH-100 are just excellent.

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

For a good reason, Beyerdynamic’s closed-back DT770 Pros has been a dependable studio mainstay for many years. Like many of their closed-back competitors, they are comfy and incredibly affordable, and they provide adequate isolation when tracking. Additionally, they have neither a boomy nor a scooped frequency response.

We recommend the 80 Ohm pair for alternating between audio interfaces and playing directly from the MacBook’s headphone socket when on the go. Additionally, various impedances are available, so you can choose the ones that work best with your equipment. We also adore the velvety grey ear cups on this variant.

When you combine them with the SoundID Reference for Headphones from Sonarworks, you’ll have an incredible, well-balanced monitoring setup that sounds far more expensive than you spent!

Austrian Audio Hi-X65

Austrian Audio Hi-X65 headphones

These open-back headphones from Austrian Audio, formerly of AKG, are impressive due to their precise stereo field, articulate low-end, and pin-point clarity. They draw you into the music and highlight every nuance of a mix, master, or well-known commercial reference track. Before we become used to their brightness, they sound boring when we put our headphones back on.

We’ve tested a lot of headphones, and these are some of the most comfortable—you almost forget they’re on your head. You are repairing worn-out or dirty memory foam headbands and ear cup components after prolonged use is possible.

Sony MDR-MV1

The MDR-MV1 headphones from Sony are studio headphones that focus on providing rich, three-dimensional sound. Their high comfort level is helpful for extended sessions, and their open-back design offers a more natural frequency response. It is helpful because many people use headphones to mix in surround sound instead of paying the exorbitant fees and size of a spatial audio speaker array.

In our assessment, these Sony headphones received an astounding 10/10. After blending in Logic Pro, our reviewer Hollin Jones reported very satisfying results, with every sound precisely positioned inside the 360-degree sound field.

HiFiMan Sundara – A Modern Classic

headphones

Why to purchase

Superior Bass Extension and Caliber

Easy to Listen and Natural Tonality with Excellent Detail Retrieval

Why not purchase

Low Design/Build Quality

Some people might not like it if there is no cup swivel.

At $299, the HiFiMan Sundara headphones were the first to compete with the HD600 and HD650 as the best open-back mid-fi headphones. It was especially true when they first came out in 2017 and after the famous upgrade to the 2020 pad.

Why is the Sundara such a great product? One of Sundara’s primary characteristics is that, in contrast to most headphones in this price range, it produces sound without a dynamic driver. Instead, it uses a planar magnetic driver, which carries the traits of this driving technology. The Sundara headphones excel in several planar attributes, including outstanding bass extension down to 20 Hz, articulate bass with quick note transitions, enhanced instrument separation, and a frequency response that aligns with their impressive technical performance. Additionally, their design, featuring no cup swivel, ensures comfortable and enjoyable wear.

The Sundara headphones offer a neutral and natural sound profile, akin to the HD600 and HD650. The bass exhibits excellent depth, but the lower frequencies below 120 Hz are somewhat narrow and could benefit from an EQ or bass boost adjustment. While the midrange is well-defined, it can feel slightly dulled around 2 kHz, particularly noticeable with instruments like brass or electric guitars. There’s a subtle treble brightness boost at around 7 kHz, but it’s minimal and doesn’t lead to harsh or fatiguing treble tones. Overall, the Sundara headphones provide a balanced and enjoyable listening experience.

Summary:

Many fabulous headphones cost less than 500 when you look for them. These headphones sound great, are comfortable, and have lots of features without costing a lot of money. This review looks at the best headphones under $500 and tells you about their best features and why they’re the best, whether you’re an expert or just like to listen to music for fun.

There are different kinds of these headphones, from over-ear to in-ear, so everyone can find something they like. Many of them have noise-canceling technology that makes listening to music more enjoyable no matter where you are. Their styles put comfort first, so you can wear them for a long time without getting tired.

If sound quality is essential, these headphones offer clear, smooth sound with a deep bass. There are many ways to connect, including wired and wireless types that can work with various devices.

These headphones are a great deal for the price, and they come from well-known names, so many people can use them. This review tells you about the best headphones that cost less than $500 so you can choose the right ones for your needs.

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