July 18, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

The best value for money headphones on the market

In the realm of audio equipment, finding the perfect balance between quality, comfort, and affordability can be a daunting task. As a seasoned audio enthusiast who has tested numerous headphones, I’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the best value headphones currently available. Whether you’re a professional who needs accurate sound reproduction or a casual listener looking for immersive audio experiences, there’s something here for everyone.

Sony MDR-MV1 Headphones

The Sony MDR-MV1 stand out for their exceptionally flat sound, making them a great choice for professionals and audiophiles who prioritize accurate sound reproduction. During my testing, I found their extra highs to be perfect for maintaining clarity without adding unnecessary coloration. This makes them an excellent go-to tool for audiophiles and engineers alike. The spatial sound capabilities enhance the listening experience, especially when paired with DOLBY ATMOS-compatible music, allowing textures to move seamlessly.

Despite their rugged features, the Sony MDR-MV1 remain lightweight at just 223 grams, ensuring comfort during extended listening sessions. For those looking for a similar model on a tighter budget, the Sony MDR-7506 offer a more affordable alternative. While they have a smaller soundstage, they maintain a neutral sound profile suitable for critical listening.

Sennheiser HD600

Considered the king of planar headphones, the Sennheiser HD600 continues to impress with its unrivaled mid-focused sound quality. On sale for $350, it offers exceptional value for money in the realm of high-fidelity audio. During my testing, I noted its even distribution of sound across the entire frequency spectrum, ensuring that every detail is faithfully reproduced. Although it benefits from an amplifier for optimal performance, the HD600 remains a staple for professionals and audiophiles due to its longevity and reliability.

The HD600’s durable construction and the availability of replacement ear cushions further emphasise their value, ensuring they stand the test of time. Trusted and tested for over two decades, it’s no surprise that the HD600 remains the preferred choice among discerning listeners.

Meze 99 Neo

For enthusiasts who prefer closed-back headphones, the Meze 99 Neo stand out as an excellent option at $199. Featuring a captivating V-shaped sound signature with detailed highs, these headphones deliver clarity without causing listener fatigue. During testing, I found them to be nearly identical to the 99 Classic aside from the wooden earcups, which I found to not significantly alter the sound character as some may claim.

What sets the Meze 99 Neo apart is its exceptional comfort, possibly the most comfortable on this list, making it ideal for extended listening sessions without discomfort.

Strauss and Wagner ANCBT501

In the realm of wireless headphones, the Strauss & Wagner ANCBT501 offer excellent value for money at a modest price of $130. Featuring a V-shaped sound response, these headphones deliver excellent clarity and bass, complemented by effective noise-cancelling technology. During testing, I was impressed with their 40-hour battery life and durable construction, making them a practical choice for budget-conscious audiophiles looking for quality wireless performance.

Sivga Luan

The Luan headphones excel at offering a flat sound profile with an emphasis on highs and upper mids, ensuring exceptional clarity without overwhelming treble. Very easy to operate and well-built, these headphones feature super-soft ear cushions that fit comfortably on most users’ heads. During my evaluation, I tested them with a spare cable, which improved their value by elevating their already clear sound quality.

While the Sivga Luan offers impressive performance for its price range, upgrading the cables can further refine its sound, delivering a high-end experience typically found on more expensive models.

Hifiman XS Edition

For those on a budget under $500, the Hifiman Edition XS offer an attractive option with their bright, clear sound and wide soundstage. Equipped with planar magnetic drivers, these headphones offer an exceptional treble response that would impress even the most discerning audiophiles. During testing, I found their performance to be particularly immersive, bringing out details in music that other, lower-quality headphones might miss.

While an amplifier is recommended for optimal performance, the Hifiman Edition XS can be adequately powered by most dongle-style DACs, making it accessible without compromising quality.


In the world of electrostatic headphones, the STAX SR-1X are a paragon of clarity and detail. While they do require an electrostatic amplifier to operate, these headphones offer unmatched brightness and extended highs that appeal to enthusiasts seeking pristine audio reproduction. While not inexpensive, the SR-1X offer significant value for those entering the electrostatic headphone market, providing a level of detail that conventional headphones struggle to match.

Ideal for listeners who appreciate bright sound signatures, the STAX SR-1X serves as an excellent entry point into the world of electrostatic headphones, showcasing their potential for exceptional clarity.

Fostex T50RPmk4

Rounding out our list are the Fostex T50RPmk4, celebrated for their robust bass response and warm sound. Combining the best elements of open and closed-back designs, these headphones offer a wide soundstage that enhances the listening experience across a number of genres. During testing, I found their ergonomic design and comfortable headband adjustment mechanism to be particularly easy to use, and are geared toward enthusiasts who prioritize both sound quality and long-term comfort.

For budget-conscious bass lovers, the Fostex T50RPmk4 represents the ultimate in value for money, offering a complete audio experience without compromising build quality or performance.


Choosing the best value headphones requires considering a number of factors, from sound signature and comfort to durability and price. Each model highlighted in this guide offers unique benefits tailored to different preferences and budgets. Whether you're a professional sound engineer, a passionate audiophile, or simply someone who enjoys immersive audio experiences, there are headphones on this list that are sure to meet your needs. By prioritizing value for money without sacrificing quality, these headphones ensure that every listening session is a true delight, revealing nuances in the music that elevate the overall experience.

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