Whether its for listening to music, playing games or watching movies, we need a good pair of headphones. However, we all know that most of the high-end headphones cost a lot. That’s why, i decided to list the best headphones under $100 that you can buy right now. I’ve tested and reviewed them over a 1 month period, and can confidently say that those are the best-valued headphones out there.
1. Audio-Technica ATHM40x
The winner of our best headphones under $100 roundup is the ATHM40x. The Audio-Technica ATHM40x offers almost the same sound quality that the ATHM50x offers but at a lower price, offering an open, well-balanced and clear sound that is cut for critical listening, the Audio-Technica ATHM40x doesn’t touch up your music. They provide great audiophile-grade sound that is raw and has a great frequency range, these headphones will elevate your listening experience to another level.
There are some mandatory cuts made to the design to keep the sound on par and the price low, for example, there is just one color available for these headphones, with a matte black finish and some silver highlights that are used on the Audio-Technica logo. You can say that these are a huge pair of headphones with 40mm drivers in it, this makes them not appropriate for commuting, either way, I don’t think that the manufacturers have designed them for that purpose.
The headphones are very comfortable, built to be used for a long time in the studio for critical listening and such. It is worth stating that the overall build quality is excellent and these headphones are built to last, it is good that Audio-Technica has not compromised in this aspect.
You will not find Bluetooth nor microphone in these headphones, because they are made just for one thing, listening to music. For connectivity it includes a standard straight cable, and a coiled one, both of them have 3.5mm connectors on the ends.
In terms of sound quality the Audio-Technica ATHM40x was perfect for a closed-back headphone, it just lacked in the sonic signature but it is not that significant. The bass is pretty strong and boomy with plenty of punch, the mids were the best and provided high-end quality and clarity. The highs did a good job of providing sharpness with remarkable detail, every aspect immersified the experience, and the overall soundstage was pretty wide, but it will also depend on the quality of the track you are listening because these headphones do not soften or improve tracks with low quality.
With a sound quality that you can only find in high-end studio headphones tops our list of the best headphones under $100.
2. Sony MDR7506
Sony MDR-7506 may have been introduced really way back in 1991, but it has remained the favorite headphone of the recording engineers and other sound professionals. They have remained favorites because they perform better than a lot of other headphones costing twice as much. I would recommend these headphones for professional use mostly.
The durability and quality of the MDR-7506 have been proved due to it being still relevant after more than 20 years after launching. They weigh just 230 grams, which is lighter than the average full-sized headphone. The design and build are mostly plastic, but it does not feel flimsy, the outer ear cups are metal and inside you can find the 40mm drivers. The headphones have an impedance rated at 63-ohm. The earcups are not as thick as the newer headphone designs but are pretty comfortable to wear since the clamp pressure is moderate. It blocks a nice amount of ambient noise and does not leak sound out. The coiled cable is 3 meters long, but lacks a microphone. It comes with a 3.5mm plug and a screw-on 6.3mm adapter plug.
The sound of the Sony MDR7506 is tried and tested throughout the years and you will notice it in your first listening. Everything about the audio is correct.
The balance between bass-mid-treble is accurate, and these headphones are very versatile, every genre sounds remarkable. It is pretty easy to spot these in music studios, newsrooms and sound engineers alike. They just do everything pretty good. The bass is smooth, well detailed and pretty tight. Accurate and punchy. Mid-range is detailed and pretty clean. It doesn’t sound congested or muddy. The mids are just pleasing to listen to. For this price, the trebles are pretty clean, as there is no other headphone twice the price of Sony MDR-7506 that could provide better sound.
The Sony MDR-7506 is perfect for recording, because of the detail it provides, with unforgiveness for the lower recording qualities. One of the most versatile headphones, and best sound for its price range. It won’t be a surprise if we see these for 20 more years, the complete package under $100.
3. Sennheiser HD280PRO
The Sennheiser HD280PRO headphones provide high-quality audio for critical-listening with a somewhat hideous but durable design. The audio reproduction is pretty good and has punchy bass. Aside from the design choices, Sennheiser has made a solid pair of headphones here, a great tool for sound engineers and audiophiles alike.
Sennheiser HD280PRO has a black chassis, built for functionality and to provide clean and accurate sound. They are somewhat large and are made for the studio, won’t make a good accessory for your commute. The ear cups have thick padding and covered with leather. They are pretty solid and won’t break apart from a few falls, despite their plastic build. The large, thickly padded cups fit into most of the ears, and the headband is right on top of the head. The clamping force will prove difficult to wear them for long periods of time for people with larger head sizes.
The tight grip and leather earcups will provide a good seal and will not let ambient sound interfere with your listening, and the sound leakage will be minimal. However, the downside of that is breathability, as these will not provide any airflow to your ear.
The closed-back design of the Sennheiser HD280PRO makes them a good option for listening in loud ambients and in the recording studio. If I had to choose one word to describe the sound of the Sennheiser HD280PRO it would be ‘accurate’. Every sound is precise and accurate. The sound rendering is perfect and just right every time. The trebles were sharp and crisp without being uncomfortable, and the mid-range was perfectly rendered. In the bass department, the low-end was punchy at the right amount.
Sennheiser HD280PRO have throughout genres presented clean and precise sound. The soundstage was amazingly detailed and wide, which was a nice surprise considering that these are closed-back headphones. The frequency on the low-end goes down to 8Hz, which is pretty uncommon considering the price of the product. The low frequency provides you more accurate bass.
Unless you plan on commuting in these, the Sennheiser HD280PRO make the perfect pair of headphones for analytical listening and for precise and clean music listening experience. All under $100.
4. Taotronics TT-BH22
The Taotronics TT-BH22 Noise-Cancelling provides a lot of comfort, impressive battery life and equally decent sound quality, for the bargain price. Its biggest selling point is the active noise canceling technology that doubles this product’s value, all this combined with its bargain price, it is a great package with the awesome build.
In terms of design, they look like the Bose QuietComfort headphones, some may say it is a copycat, but in my opinion, they are designed excellently. The build quality is decent and everything is built with plastic, but they don’t feel cheap at all. The headband and earcups are covered with genuine leather which saves the headphones from the ‘cheap’ branding, they are both pretty soft with memory foam and provide tons of comfort through use, you can easily carry them for a long time without any strains. They can be folded nicely and placed in the included hard case for carrying in your backpack or luggage, a nice touch for a budget headphone.
Performance wise the Taotronics TT-BH22 Noise Cancelling headphones have slightly warmer sound in general, the low-range was worthy enough with plenty of punch overall. The midrange is slightly undercut but it provides a clean and good sound despite the recess, the treble was very exciting and surprisingly bright, it offered sharp sound without being annoying. In general, the detail was on the soft side, meaning that it is not audiophile grade, the soundstage was equally mediocre, it was just around your head not as wide as I expected, for that price it is superb though.
The active noise canceling technology was pretty good for its price, but do not expect high-end noise-canceling, however, this was expected because of its budget pricing. In general, it does a good job of canceling crowd and motorized vehicle noise very well. The battery life is awesome though even with the active noise canceling on, it got over 25 hours in a single charge, I was surprised by this capacity.
To conclude, you will not be very surprised by any of the Taotronics TT-BH22’s feature but overall it provides a decent pair of headphones that are worth at least double its price.
5. HyperX Cloud II
We are going to start our best headphones under $100 list with an amazing product from HyperX. The HyperX Cloud II adopts the stylish design and most loved features while improving on other areas, such as adding the virtual 7.1 surround sound for added immersion. With its level of comfort and large drivers, great sound processing, and the detachable microphone, it provides an awesome package under $100, the lack of sound customization may annoy hardcore audiophiles, but for gaming it is perfect.
The stylish and understated look of the HyperX Cloud II makes it one of the best looking gaming headsets that you can get for that price. The headset has an all black build, except the metal-brushed parts that have a dark-silver tone, the headband and the earcups are made from faux-leather, that just enhance its looks. The microphone of the device can be extended up to 6-inches, a very flexible one as well and it is detachable, making it good for commuting too.
It is absolutely one of the most comfortable headphones that I have tested in a while, that is made possible mostly thanks to its 11-ounce weight and the memory foam used in the ear cups and headband. It will fit very nicely over your ears and will neither feel tight nor loose, some describe it as the most comfortable ever, giving you an edge in gaming.
In gaming I noticed that these headphones are perfect for the purpose, giving awesome directional sound that is vital in first person shooters, the scores and dialogues had an awesome sound to them improving the overall gaming experience. The microphone worked pretty well as it delivered clear and great speech to your teammates and you gaming party members. It is also worth noting that the virtual 7.1 surround sound enhanced gaming and multimedia experience, making everything more immersive and life-like.
Listening to music on the HyperX Cloud II is very enjoyable, but not as good as headsets made for the purpose, but if you do not have a separate pair for listening, these will do just as well. You will notice the distinct lack of bass, but the treble was crisp and sharp, and the mid-range sounded clean and instrument detailing was decent.
Perfect gaming headphones for under $100.