The headphones are responsible for taking care of all our audio needs and one should not cheap out on these devices. Some of the high-end audiophile-grade headphones cost even more than a thousand bucks but today we will be looking at some of the best headphones under two hundred bucks which will prove to be your ultimate companion for your musical journey.
Table of Contents
1. HIFIMAN HE-400i
The Best Over Ear Headphones Under $200 With Bass-Heavy Feels
- Design: Open-Back, Over-Ear
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 35 kHz
- Impedance: 35 Ω
- Sensitivity: 93 dB
- Weight: 370 g
- Detailed and smooth bass
- Accurate mids and highs
- Quite heavier than the rest
Hifiman is one of the best companies when it comes to designing planar magnetic headphones. Hifiman HE-400i is the most popular model of Hifiman due to great sound quality and mediocre price. The physical design of the headphones is very attractive and the big earcups along with thick, firm ear pads provide a sweet experience. The headband of the headphones is a bit thin but does not feel uncomfortable at all. The shiny looks of these headphones make them one of the most appealing headphones on this list.
The sound signature of these headphones is quite neutral, especially for being planar magnetic headphones. The bass feels strong, detailed and smooth, although the sub-bass lacks a bit of strength. The mids and highs are very transparent and one can feel the accuracy of tones easily. The planar magnetic headphones are known to have a very big size and most probably you would not have seen bigger headphones than these. This might be good for the looks but this size has a negative impact on the weight of the headphones as well and these headphones are the heaviest headphones on the list, with a weight of 370 grams.
Overall, if you want strong and detailed bass while not having the bloating effect you get with cheap headphones, then you should consider buying these headphones and these are definitely one of the best over-ear headphones under $200.
2. Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
The Best Headphones For The Money
- Design: Open-Back, Over-Ear
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz - 35 kHz
- Impedance: 250 Ω
- Sensitivity: 96 dB
- Weight: 250 g
- Durable design
- Supreme value
- Recessed mids
Beyerdynamic is a German company and their products live up to the name. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are mid-range open-back over-ear headphones, having a solid built quality, as expected from a German company. The earcups of these headphones are circular and both the ear pads and the headband feel really soft and provide a nice experience. Since these headphones have an impedance of 250 Ohms, you would be better off using a high-end amplifier so that you can run these beasts at their full potential.
The sound signature of these headphones is quite analytical and the headphones offer a neutral sound, which is why you can use these headphones for studio purposes. There is a bit of recession in the mid-tones but there is almost no compromise on the details. The balanced bass and treble feel nice and overall, these are one of the best-valued headphones you can get in sub hundred dollars price point.
We recommend these headphones if you want neutral yet powerful sounding headphones with the strong build quality and these features make them the best headphones for the money.
3. Sennheiser HD 599
One Of The Best Audiophile Headphones Under $200
- Design: Open-Back, Over-Ear
- Frequency Response: 12 Hz - 38.5 kHz
- Impedance: 50 Ω
- Sensitivity: N/A
- Weight: 250 g
- Great soundstage
- Extremely comfortable
- The looks might not appeal to everyone
Sennheiser headphones are well-known for their premium sound and comfort levels, which is expected from a company which has been running for dozens of years. Sennheiser HD 599 are one of the most comfortable headphones and use super-soft padding and ear pads, providing a luxurious experience. The ivory theme of the headphones might not appeal to everyone but at the same time, it provides a classy and unique look.
The sound quality of these headphones is one of the best for the price and the sound feels very melodious. The headphones lack a bit in the bass which is why the mids seem very detailed and accurate. The highs too, are very rich and do not pose issues like harshness or sibilant sounds.
Overall, if you want comfortable headphones with great melodious sound quality, there might not be better headphones than HD 599 for you, as these are one of the best audiophile headphones under $200.
4. Sennheiser HD 4.50
One Of The Best Wireless Headphones Under $200
- Design: Closed-Back, Over-Ear
- Frequency Response: 18 Hz - 22 kHz
- Impedance: 18 Ω
- Sensitivity: N/A
- Weight: 238 g
- Battery: Up to 19 hours
- Wireless connectivity
- Active noise cancellation feels awesome
- Not as comfortable as other headphones on the list
Sennheiser HD 4.50 are wireless headphones which use a closed-back design with over-ear style. The looks of the headphones are very modern and these headphones are great for people who want to listen to headphones with a V-shaped sound signature. The headphones provide a foldable design, making them great for travels but the design of these headphones is not very good when it comes to comfort levels. The ear pads of the headphones are very firm and that is why the ears get hot after using the headphones for a couple of hours, however, this design is great for noise cancellation.
The frequency response of these headphones is a bit V-shaped, with recessed mids and that is why these headphones are attractive for people who prefer fun sound, although purists like the originality. The active noise cancellation feature of these headphones is really wonderful and one can almost not feel the external noise even when standing amidst the traffic. The battery timing of these headphones is also very good, at around nineteen hours, making them great for long flights.
Overall, these are one of the best wireless headphones under $200, especially among those supporting active noise cancellation, although their sound quality is not as good as the other mentioned headphones.
5. V-MODA XS
The Best Sound Quality Headphones With On-Ear Design
- Design: Closed-Back, On-Ear
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz - 30 kHz
- Impedance: 28.5 Ω
- Sensitivity: 105 dB
- Weight: 195 g
- Very lightweight
- Built like a tank
- Subpar soundstage
V-Moda XS are small on-ear headphones with a closed-back design. The physical design of these headphones is very impressive and they are built to last, as the company uses military-grade materials. The headphones are quite comfortable despite having an on-ear style and that is due to the extremely lightweight design.
The sound signature of these headphones is quite unique and the frequency response feels quite flat, although the mids are a bit recessed. The strong bass of these headphones feel great but the bass does not affect the mids which feel very accurate. The brightness in the highs also feels very nice, without showing signs of harshness. The soundstage of these headphones is not as good as the previously mentioned headphones, which was a bit expected from the on-ear design.
Overall, these are one of the best on-ear headphones when it comes to headphones under $200 and these good quality headphones are widely chosen by DJs due to their strong noise isolation and other unique characteristics.
Buying headphones can be quite a hectic task, as there are dozens of high-end companies with tons and tons of products. Therefore, we have written a guide for people who want to buy the most suitable headphones under two hundred bucks.
Open-Back VS Closed-Back Design
One of the most important factors considering the headphones is their physical design. There are three types of designs in headphones; open-back, closed-back, and semi-open-back. The open-back design is the most popular design and these types of headphones provide a relatively natural sound along with a wide soundstage. There are some disadvantages of using open-back headphones as well, which include sound leakage and issues regarding noise isolation. The closed-back headphones, on the other hand, provide strong bass along with great noise isolation while some of the high-end closed-back headphones also offer active noise cancellation. Their disadvantages are that their sound feels a bit artificial and also they are not as comfortable as the open-back headphones usually, as the ears are completely sealed off in these types of headphones. The semi-open-back headphones try to take care of issues of both types and as you can guess, provide a mixed result.
Earcups Design And Comfort
The earcups of the headphones are greatly responsible for the comfort levels and there are three major designs in headphones; over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones, and in-ear headphones. The over-ear headphones are one of the most comfortable headphones and these headphones completely cover the ears from outside, providing a supreme experience. Since these headphones do not press directly on the ears, they do not cause pain in the ears, however, your ears may get hot after using these types of headphones in long sessions. The on-ear headphones, on the other hand, use earpads which press directly on the ears. These types of headphones are good for people who do not want to get their ears hot, although if the clamping force of these headphones is high, you will suffer from pain in the ears. Moreover, these headphones are not as good as over-ear headphones in terms of sound quality, as their soundstage production capability is not good enough. The in-ear headphones, also known as earphones, are worn inside the ears and are usually bought for mobiles. Their comfort levels are good but their sound quality is much lower than the other two types.
Resistivity Of Headphones
All of the headphones pose somewhat resistance electronically and therefore require certain amplification to work properly at full potential. If the impedance of the headphones is low, then the headphones can be easily used through mobile phones or laptops but if the impedance of the headphones is high, especially higher than 100 Ohms, then an amplifier is a must-buy component in order to fully utilize the potential of headphones. The headphones may sound dull if you will try to use such high-impedance headphones without an amplifier. Therefore, if you do not own an amplifier, then you should get the headphones with relatively low impedance.
The external noise irritates a lot of people and causes distraction when you are listening to your favorite tracks. The headphone manufacturers tried to cater to this issue and developed two types of techniques for removal of noise. The first is known as passive noise cancellation, also known as noise isolation while the second is known as active noise cancellation. The passive noise cancellation is a technique which takes advantage of the physical design of the headphones and blocks the external noise through the materials while active noise cancellation electronically cancels out the external noise through destructive interference. Overall, you will be better buying headphones with active noise cancellation if you will be using them in public.
The connectivity of the headphones is an important factor for many people, where some of the people prefer wireless connectivity due to the ease of use and portability while other people prefer wired connectivity. The wireless headphones surely provide ease of use but along with that, you will have to take care of charging the battery which can be very bothering sometimes. Also, the sound quality of the wireless headphones is not as good as the wired headphones, which is due to the connectivity limitation.