When it comes to headphones, there are limitless options you can choose from. However, that means that it’s hard to choose from a pool of different headphone brands and models. That’s why, we tested and reviewed the 5 best headphones under $50 available in the market for this year. We tested them based on their sound quality, durability, value and more. Let’s jump straight into it!
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x
Audio-Technica is known for making flat or reference headphones, they have made headphones for testing other headphones. They have provided good headsets for audiophiles and with the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x, they do just that but with a budget asking price. A good studio-style, a closed-back wired headset which is an excellent choice for both tracking and mixing.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are moderately comfortable headphones with solid build and will stay put on your ears in casual listening sessions at the studio. But they are not good for sports as they do not provide a pretty tight fit, which is good for prolonged hours of listening. They are designed with function in mind as the design is pretty simple and understated studio look, maybe a little dull but will get the job done.
They come in monochromatic black going on further with the utilitarian look. The ear cups will fit most of the normal sized ears. The pads of the ear cups are a stiff but with the low clamp-force they balance each other out. Build quality is pretty good, the headphones feel pleasantly dense and they will most likely not fall apart. Everything considered this is not the best choice if you are looking for portable headphones to use while you are commuting, these are built for purpose and do their job pretty well.
Relating to the bass they do not provide an exceptional experience, it is not bad thing but it is not something to boast about. There are some rises in bass but overall not much. In mid-bass there is some punch though. The mid-range is mediocre but clear, not hollow or muddy, the frequencies do not bleed in but a little bland, although very natural sounding. The trebles are lacking energy and sometimes a little harsh but not uncomfortable. Unrefined throughout. Overall this is a very flat headphone, everything sounds accurate and natural but lacks soul. This is a perfect budget headset for mixing and tracking.
With its neutral sound it will be a very good tool for professionals. Unfortunately, for audiophiles the experience will not be satisfying, but it won’t be disappointing either. This is in the middle of the ballpark, but considering its price point, i would say that they are definitely the best headphones under $50 available right now.
2. Bluedio T2s
Bluedio is a Chinese manufacturer that knows how to make good audio devices with high standards of quality. Bluedio T2s are Bluetooth headsets that are built to last, have impressive battery life and decent sound. And for the asking price you can’t go wrong with these.
Bluedio T2s has an eye-catching and sporty design. It is a Bluetooth headset designed for active people, and the manufacturer has achieved that goal.
It has metallic accents and angled design with sharp lines giving it a more premium look. The comfort comes from the headband and earcups padded with memory foam and clad with leather that feels good on touch. Maybe the earcup padding could have been a little thicker, but it is not a big issue. The cups are circular and built with plastic all around. However, it does not look and feel cheap at all, retaining the ‘premiumness’.
The earcups can be rotated up to 195 degrees for compactness and portability. On the left earcup there is an input port that allows you to connect the headphones to your mobile device, if you run out of battery or for convenient in-home use. The battery lasts up to 40 hours on 50% volume and charges pretty fast.
For the general public that will mostly listen to mainstream pop/hip-hop music, these headphones will have a nice sound to it. But it would be a nightmare for audiophiles. The bass is very thick and warm. Very heavy and slow bass, with surprisingly good depth to it. The mid-range is pretty good actually. It excels mostly in vocals. The midbass likes to bleed in the mid-range frequency.
Songs with more mid-bass will interfere with vocals from time to time. However, female vocals sound better in the Bluedio T2s, but are not really airy, but still it is pretty thick. The treble is just mediocre, without any refinement and edge. However, it is not ear-scratching and uncomfortable.
As expected the detailing is almost non-existent and the soundstage is also pretty flat.
If you need a good pair of Bluetooth headphones with mediocre sound quality, and these are very sturdy and built to last, providing very good value to the product.
3. Mpow H5
Coming in with Active Noise Cancelling and above-average sound for their budget price the Mpow H5 are the best option if you value sound quality and premium feeling design. While also being wireless, the Mpow H5 are looking to become your best friend while you are commuting. Decent battery life and easy to learn controls combined with the unique looks you will fall in love with these.
The Mpow H5 is exceptionally stylish, that is undeniable. The ear cups are highlighted with glossy aluminum plating, apart from that the rest of the headset is built from matte plastic. It has a pretty slim headband making it pretty lightweight and very portable. On the left ear cup you will find the Active Noise Cancelling switch, because it is very power consuming comparable to Bluetooth, it is recommended to keep it turned off and turning it on just when you need it, which, in turn, will add hours to the battery life.
It is available in black and silver, the silver color scheme being the more attractive and eye-catching one. Comfortability may be an issue for people with larger ear sizes, but for medium or small ear sizes it will be pretty comfortable to its padded ears and light-weight.
The Mpow H5 has a lot of components that are designed and placed to create a better audio experience. However, the audio quality is the result of the Active Noise Cancelling.
As most of the over-ear headphones, the Mpow H5 provides ambient noise via insulation from the pads. But the ANC takes it to another level. Apart from ANC the Mpow H5 uses pretty mediocre audio drivers and technologies, however every tone is reproduced with decent clarity and has deep lows, with a slight character in the mid-range. Their high-range is very bland and mediocre, but with a bit of tweak with an equalizer can improve the quality. But if you do not have the sharpest of ears you will love how this sounds out of the box.
Battery life is estimated to be 20-hours with 50% of volume, but if you activate the ANC too it will be around 15 hours, which is still pretty good. Decent quality Bluetooth headphones with a good sound quality and great noise cancellation.
4. Superlux HD-681 EVO
Superlux HD-681 EVO is a budget-priced headphone made for professional use such as studio recording or sound engineering, The headphones are semi-open which is a good feature for pros. However, due to its affordability it can be a good pair for listening to music. If you need the audio performance over everything, you will not find a better entry-level option.
The Superlux HD-681 EVO comes is black or white. Design wise it does not look entry-level. The leather ear cups and headband may not be the highest quality but they are not cheap either. The plastic frame is very lightweight, feeling a little flimsy sometimes. The headband does not have padding but it is fully adjustable, giving you a secure fit while not putting a strain on your head.
Inside of the earcups there is the 50mm diaphragm neodymium driver. It also is semi-open, very uncharacteristic from a budget headphone. In the package there are also replacement pads a, quarter-inch audio jack adapter, and a tote bag, all included in the same price. Considering its low weight and breathable back, it will be comfortable to wear headphones even for longer periods of time.
In general the sound is pretty warm, very clean and accurate. And thanks to its open back its soundstage is pretty wide and large. The Superflux headphone has had the tendency to have uneven highs and getting a little peaky up top. But with Superlux HD-681 EVO that issue is resolved, the highs are pretty clean and even. The mid-range is produced very precisely and clearly, with good vocal reproduction.
The detailed rendering is good enough, and the instruments sounded distinct and accurate. The bass experience was enjoyable, there was a lot of sub-bass provided without bleeding to other frequencies. Unusual for budget headphones lows to not bleed to other frequencies. Every genre listened with the Superlux HD-681 EVO sounded amazing, a bit aggressive and full of thrills. Very natural reproduction.
Extremely solid audio performance compared to its price, the Superlux HD-681 EVO offered perfectly balanced, clear and precise listening experience, being handy for professionals and casual listeners as well, while also providing exceptional comfortability and contemporary design.
5. Monoprice 8323
Monoprice, with their good reputation of high-quality customer service and product support have always produced good products with really cheap prices. When you see the price of a product you would assume that it proportionate with its quality, most of the time it is true. However, Monoprice proves that idea wrong with the Monoprice 8323.
The DJ style headphone is made from lightweight plastic but it is solid enough to withstand some abuse. It is all black with just the silver brand name logo preventing the monochromatic look all around. The headphone will fit most of the head and ear sizes very well. The headband is fully adjustable and is padded for comfort as well as the ear cups. The Monoprice 8323 are not very breathable resulting in warming up in the ear area after prolonged use. However, it does a good job of noise-cancellation, it is certainly not 100% noise-canceling but is up to task blocking external sounds. But considering its price, it is a pretty good and quality build, but not good to get any design awards.
Monoprice 8323 provides a fluid and decent listening experience with full sound, due to the 50mm drivers located in both ear cups. It delivers sub-bass and low-bass perfectly, which corresponds to its DJ name. The whole bass range is punchy, without immersing the mids. The bass is high quality in every aspect. The mid-range is vocal oriented, and can gift amazing vocal experiences. The highs are a little disappointing, but due to its DJ nature, it is expected.
The strong bass and decent mid-range just emphasize the poor treble. The headphones have a pretty narrow soundstage, which some buyers have described as “in-your-face” feeling. When it comes to flexibility, the Monoprice 8323 will handle any genre you can throw at it without sounding bad. The overall sound of the Monoprice 8323 is pretty warm and natural, not at all expected from the price point of the product.
If you need proof that you don’t have to break the bank for a good pair of headphones that have a decent sound, there you have it. Pretty comfortable and great bass, excellent pair of DJ headphones.