There’s nothing quite like music. It’s either loved, listened to, recorded, performed, or played back by almost every one of the seven billion people on earth. It comes in many different genres, but there’s at least some form of notes we can all find groove-worthy.
With this kind of engrossing quality it’s no surprise people want music to be everywhere they go. You’ll listen at work, at the gym, in the shower, on the bus, on the sidewalk, or in your car. The options are endless, though one thing remains the same: being without music is a drag.
So what can you do to make sure you can listen to your favorite artist’s new album everywhere you go? Outside of hiring them to play the soundtrack to your life, a quality pair of headphones is the next best thing.
Since we know money trees don’t grow in everyone’s backyards, we’ve searched high and low for affordable headsets suitable to anyone’s bank account. What follows are our picks for the best headphones under $200 currently available on the market.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 ($199)
Coming in just shy of the $200 benchmark, Audio-Technica’s ATH-50 is a headset designed with studio monitoring and mixing in mind. Its circumaural (over-ear) ear pieces feature a 180-degree swivel, ideal for one-ear listening. The ATH-50 uses comfortable padded ear cushions which won’t hurt your ears during long listening sessions either.
Aside from their look and comfort, the ATH-50 feature impressive audio playback. With its high sound pressure level capabilities you’ll get crystal clear sound and deep, accurate bass. Audio-Technica’s ATH-50 is a solid choice for DJ’s, studio engineers, and recording musicians.
Meze 66 Classics ($149)
Though Meze is an little known brand, its 66 Classics are something to behold. These rock some slick wood cups which provide natural, balanced sound and happen to look good in the process. The lightweight and durable headband folds in on itself making for easy storage and transportation.
The 66 Classics use a detachable cable and feature neodymium drivers for efficient sound reproduction. And with impressive passive noise isolation and warm natural sound, Meze’s 66 Classics sound as good as they look.
Bowers & Wilkins P3 ($199)
Bowers & Wilkins’ P3 headphones are among the more comfortable models on this list, courtesy of heat sensitive memory foam ear pads that mold to the shape of your ears. The longer you listen, the more adaptive the foam pads become and its comfort increases. And it’s not just for comfort — the P3 helps form a seal around your ear with its bespoke fabric that also improves noise isolation and bass.
The P3 comes in several different colors — blue, red, black, and white — and feature a limited two-year warranty from authorized dealers. At $199, it’s right at the brink of our benchmark, but their sound quality and comfort make it an easy choice for everyday use.
Marshall Monitor ($148)
Music aficionados may recognize the Marshall name as they’ve been a mainstay in guitar amplification for years. Its venture into the headphone game deserves just as much of your attention as its amps. The Monitor headphones stay true to the classic Marshall look with black vinyl leather and their name embossed in white. It features a fully detachable cable which plugs into either earphone, and with its microphone and remote it also lets you answer calls.
Marshall’s Monitor folds in on itself and stores in the included canvas bag making them easy to take on-the-go. For those of you who’ve used other Marshall products you already know about the top-tier sound quality and its headphones are no different. Besides the studio quality sound, users can customize what they hear using Marshall’s magnetic ear cushion F.T.F. System. Leave the cushions in the headset for a laid back and warm sound or take them out for a clear and bright playback. How you prefer to listen is up to you.
Panasonic RP-HTX7 ($110)
Panasonic’s RP-HTX7 is a great vintage looking headset which packs clean, quality sound for a fraction of the price of its competitors. They feature an over-the-ear design creating a clean seal around your ear to help keep outside noise out and your music in. This is perfect for those of you who prefer listening to music while at work, but don’t want to bother co-workers. Though it doesn’t feature booming bass like some others on this list, you’ll find clean and even sound with surprisingly good detail.
This headset does falter slightly by not having an integrated microphone for phone calls, though this is a minor nitpick on an otherwise fantastic headset. It comes in several different colors to suit anyone’s desires and often carries a price tag much less than its MSRP. Designed for both mobile and home use, the RP-HTX7 is a worthwhile investment for any music lover.
Sennheiser HD280 Pro ($99)
The Sennheiser HD280 Pro may seem bulky at first glance, though you may be surprised to learn they weigh just 10 ounces. The ear cushions and headband feature comfortable leather, so long listening sessions won’t cause issue. Packaged with the headset is a 10 foot coiled cable, a 1/8 inch mini plug, and a 1/4 inch adapte,r perfect for plugging in to home stereos and mixing consoles.
Great for listening to music on a mobile device, a home theater system, or on your computer, the HD280 Pros are a jack-of-all-trades type headset. You’ll feel right in the middle of action scenes in movies or on-stage at a concert and no matter how loud you listen you won’t bother people around you. They’re also easy to fold up and are compact for those of you always on the go.