Best Audiophile Headphones Under $500 In 2021

Being an audiophile requires lots of dedication, skills for critical listening, time, hard work,  and some top-notch gear.  

Unfortunately, you can’t be a specialist in audio until and unless to own some of those premium quality headphones. It feels really bad spending all that hard-earned money, but you can make it a single time investment that will transform your life forever.

A wise purchase is ten times better than spending countless money in a never-ending cycle of mindless purchases. Invest one time,  and save the hassle for an entire lifetime. 

Audiophile headphones come in a very diverse range.  Each headphone can cost you anywhere from a few dollars to thousands of dollars.  However,  while two budget-friendly options deprive you of important features, the premium ones costing thousands have nothing so special about them. 

Perhaps, the ideal budget to spend on some value for money audiophiles headphones is approximately 500$. You get a high-quality set of specifications at a reasonable price rate.  

Are you unable to find your best audiophile headphones under 500? Well,  then fret no more because here is an articulation of the top-rated products out there!

NameRATING
PRICE
Philips Audio Fidelio⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
AKG Y500 On-Ear⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
DALI IO-6 Premium⭐⭐⭐⭐
Beyerdynamic DT 880⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
HIFIMAN SUNDARA⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sennheiser Momentum 3⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sony Professional⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bowers & Wilkins PX7⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
GRADO SR325e⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
SIVGA P-Ⅱ Over⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Top 10 Audiophile Headphones Under 500 

1. Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air HeadphoneTop Rated

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air Headphone - Top Rated

Capable of handling metal music just as good as folklore tunes, Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR is your go-to option if you constantly shift between genres. Phillips has condensed the dynamic capabilities of 50 mm drivers and the magical spaciousness of open back-headphones.

With these on, you will experience the richness of music at its finest because the engineering inside promises a well-balanced sound. The reason we recommend these for all genres is the fact that neutrality happens to be a dominant feature of this headset. The low frequencies won’t suppress the highs and vice versa. Each melody will interact with your consciousness in its truest form.

What’s more, Phillips furnished the hard-plastic ear cups with plushy, velour earpads that feel soft and comfortable on the ears. The over-ear construction engulfs the entire ears. Thus, becoming a barrier between most of the external disturbances and your ear canal. Hence, allowing you to enjoy the music without any interruptions.

Apart from a phenomenal audio delivery, the headset exhibits excellent immunity to falls and rough usage. The use of premium quality hard-plastic and technical components maximize the robustness offered.

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Breathable, replaceable earpads

  • Durable

  • Lightweight

  • Crystal Clear sound

Cons
  • Not very portable

2. AKG Y500 On-Ear Foldable Wireless Bluetooth Headphones – Budget Buy

AKG Y500 On-Ear Foldable Wireless Bluetooth Headphones - Budget Buy

So, here’s your killer buy for under 300. It’s the headset that promises style and functionality at a very pocket-friendly price.

AKG Y500 features a slim and trendy profile. With an aluminum frame, it is one of the most lightweight yet sturdy headphones of all. The appropriately cushioned headband and ear cups will provide the comfort that you require for long listening sessions.

Plus, for your ease, AKG has equipped the headset with an auto pause feature. When you take off the headset, the song that you currently enjoy will automatically pause. And when you put on the headphones back, the on-going track will automatically resume.

With that said, it can also connect with two devices at once. Its Multi-point connectivity enables its Bluetooth to connect to two devices simultaneously and even switch between the two.

The only concern that users seem to have is of its average bass performance. Although it does justice to the entire sound spectrum, a few lows may feel neglected..

Pros
  • Available in four colors

  • Foldable

  • Visually aesthetic

  • Impressive battery life

  • Affordable

  • Speed Recharge

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Average bass

3. DALI IO-6 Premium Wireless Over-The-Ear Anc HeadphonesPremium Pick

DALI IO-6 Premium Wireless Over-The-Ear Anc Headphones - Premium Pick

DALI IO-6 made it to the top audiophile headphones owing to its premium construction and the resulting premium sound quality. Possessing an experience of over 30 years, the company knows nothing less than the best, and it truly reflects in this headset.

These operate wirelessly and offer a phenomenally convenient control. Whether you wish to switch it off, switch it on, or pause the tracks, you can easily do so using the easy controls given on the earcups. The battery life is of about 17 hours, which suffices the need for a good road trip.

In terms of looks, these are plain neat. In actuality, we find the neatness and defined build of the headset quite oddly satisfying. The thin headband, coupled with on-ear earcups, offers a composed and sophisticated look. Although the padding on the headband and earcups is sufficient per the size, a few users believe that the company could have offered more plushy padding.

Moreover, you will also get a case along with the headset. So, you can keep this beauty safe and secure as you move around or when you are on a trip. Plus, these are foldable as well with a flexible build. Hence, even when in hand, you will find these quite very portable.

Pros
  • Minimalistic design

  • Easy controls

  • Extensive battery life

  • Active Noise Cancellation

  • Wireless

  • Foldable

  • Retains individuality of instruments & vocals

Cons
  • Slightly uncomfortable

4. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphone

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphone

If you seek a good audiophile headphone, one that is usable both professionally and at home, then Beyerdynamic DT 880 is an excellent pick for you. This carefully built headset features a semi-open-back design, which provides top-notch audio quality without giving the headset an extraordinarily (and uncomfortably) professional touch. It promised the jazzy, cool feeling – exactly what an aspiring audiophile would want!

Its circumaural earpads are massive but generously cushioned. And the same applies to the headband. Collectively, these provide good support for long gaming sessions.

However, the metallic grilles on the outer panel and its massive frame may pose a threat to look unacceptably grand. We see that Beyerdynamic balanced this out with the color scheme. The grays and the blacks compress the visual massiveness of the headset. 

As for the weight, these are light. The adjustability of the headband makes it easier for users to put these on and not feel burdened by them.

Moreover, the semi-open back design brings about an unrivaled sense of spaciousness. You will feel immersed and have a clear sense of direction. Simultaneously, you ought to note that the sound may leak due to the semi open-back construction.

Pros
  • Plushy earpads

  • One-sided cable

  • Lightweight

  • Comfortable

  • Replaceable parts

Cons
  • Sound may leak

5. HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones

If you feel torn apart between your gaming needs and music listening needs, then we’ve included this model solely for you. Purchasing a super-specific model is always a point of problem for aspiring audiophiles and gamers. And we (as well as HIFIMAN) truly understand that!

HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-ear planar magnetic headphones accurately address these confusions and second thoughts. This masterpiece brings together the spaciousness with extensive frequency range, which makes them ideal audiophile gaming headphones. You can pick the most sensitive of sounds as if these are in your surroundings.

Plus, the looks are truly breathtaking! These are black, smooth, sleek, with modish headband and grilles. Although the weight might be more than the others listed here, its size is relatively compact and adjustable. 

The wired construction, coupled with its firm and sturdy design, may not make the headset as portable too. We recommend this for in-house use. Be it, for your professional studio needs or at home.

Pros
  • Sleek looks

  • Comfortable

  • Robust build

  • Clean and balanced sound

  • Extensive frequency range

Cons
  • Not very portable.

6. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones 

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones 

If you are looking for something that offers you some exceptional features with no compromise on ease of usage, consider these Sennheiser Momentum 3 headphones. Sennheiser designs them to provide comfort to the wearer via the soft ear pads and genuine leather headband. Thus, ensuring comfortable wear even during longer listening sessions. It offers exceptional audio quality with the perfect harmony of bass, treble, and midrange. The outstanding audio quality delivers accurate highs and lows, ensuring a worth-while listening experience. The Active Noise-Canceling (ANC), along with Transparent Hearing Feature, enhances the listening experience even more. While the ANC has three different modes to adjust to multiple surroundings tailor the audio to your requirements, the Transparent Hearing allows you to stay fully present in various settings. Hence, allowing you to cancel out surrounding noise or blend it in with your music, depending on your preferences. 

The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless headphones offer efficient portability and have an excellent build-quality. The microphone allows you to manage calls, etc. Also, these headphones are super easy to use and ensure premium functionality. The built-in virtual assistant makes it even easier to operate and handle these headphones. 

Pros
  • Active Noise-cancellation

  • Comfortable

  • Made-to-last

  • Punchier sound

  • Premium functionality

  • Built-in microphone

Cons
  • No independent ear control

7. Sony Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Sony Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

The Sony MDR7506 headphones have some of the best features to offer. With their main highlight being a large diaphragm, Sony engineers these headphones to serve only the best. Comfortable to wear, you can wear these headphones for hours in a go and still not feel the tiniest bit of discomfort. The large-diaphragm makes it ideal for studio and broadcast environments. Hence, ensuring professional sound quality and an outstanding listening experience. It has a lightweight, foldable, and compact design that makes it easy to store and carry.

 Although the non-detachable cord may classify as a drawback, other features compensate for it. For example, the few additional accessories that these headphones come with also include a traveling case. It also has a rugged built and has been made with exquisite materials, resulting in a long-lasting device. Also, the noise isolation feature takes it up another notch. Not only do these headphones give you exceptional sound quality but also; ensure isolation. Meaning, you can conveniently focus on only what you are listening to, made possible through the closed-back design and engineering specifics.

Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Foldable design

  • Noise isolation

  • Rugged 

  • Comes with accessories

  • Professional sound

Cons
  • Not detachable cable

8. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Over Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphone

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Over Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphone

Bowers and Wilkins never fail to impress us. Truly, Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is a sight to behold. As it features a slim and modish profile, this grey-colored wireless headset does not only offer super impressive looks, it also super impressive sound performance.

Its 43mm drivers promise a clear sound spectrum with distinguished sounds and instruments. Plus, the frequency range is capable of highlighting and distinguishing the highs from the lows. Consequently, the thumps and bumps due to the powerful bass will not dominate the lower frequencies. You will be able to enjoy the sweetest melodies and rock-metal with the same intensity.

The battery life is quite impressive. It offers about 30 hours, which is ample enough for a one-way trip! So, whether you’re on a trip or at home, you will truly enjoy the battery life. You can even avail of the Quick Charge feature that will promise about 6 hours.

What’s more, it comes equipped with the ANC technology, i.e., the Active Noise Cancellation. It enhances your listening experiences by cutting out the ambient noises. Thus, helping you stay focused.

Pros
  • Powerful Bass

  • Active Noise Cancellation

  • Stylish, distinct appearance

  • Excellent low-frequency response

  • Balanced sound

  • Quick Charge

  • Excellent battery life

Cons
  • Durability concerns

9. GRADO SR325e Stereo Headphones

GRADO SR325e Stereo Headphones

Grado SR325e Stereo Headphones happen to be a mid-range option in these best audiophile headphones under 500. And also, we mustn’t forget their retro style.

On the outside, these have a thin, black, and metallic appearance. The use of silver grilles for the ear cups creates a good contrast, helping it stand out. Since the construction is open back, it brings about a sense of spaciousness when connected to a playback device. Other than that, the sound you hear will be crystal clear and smooth.

Its wired connectivity further stresses the smooth factor as it eradicates any possibilities of disruptions. The open-back design may mean sound leakage. But that works only fine as the sound experience itself remains unrivaled.

Pros
  • Foldable

  • Unique Design

  • 360-degree

  • Rotating ear cups

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Slight uncomfortable

  • May leak sound

10. SIVGA P-Ⅱ Over Ear Open Back Walnut Wood Planar Magnetic Headphone

SIVGA P-Ⅱ Over Ear Open Back Walnut Wood Planar Magnetic Headphone

At a glance,  the metallic frame and the wooden accents of the SIVGA P-II over Ear Back Walnut Wood Planar Magnetic Headphones will leave you stunned.  It looks and feels extremely premium. 

It has a thickly-padded headband, and ear cushions made from soft,  pillow-like materials make it highly comfortable. However, it has a heavy frame that may make extensive lengthy listening sessions a challenge.

As for the performance, the SIVGA P-II headphones feature powerful drivers and integrated sound technologies. It delivers unbiased and highly accurate sound quality.

Both the bass and treble hold a balance. So,  audiophiles can efficiently analyze all sounds. Each note is rich,  vivid,  and crystal-clear.  

All in all,  the SIVGA P-II Over-Ear Open Back Walnut Wood Planar Magnetic Headphone comes with a 12-month warranty. So,  you can get refunds,  changes,  and repairs. 

Pros
  • Visually aesthetic

  • Durable

  • Crystal clear sound

  • Spacious soundstage

Cons
  • Slightly heavy

How to Choose the Best Audiophile Headphones Under 500?   

Over time,  a lot of companies have stepped up into the audio equipment industry.  There is such a complex variety of brands present in the market.  Surprisingly, each one claims to manufacture the best audiophile headphones. 

So,  which one should you purchase? Which headset fulfills your required specifications? Well,  the hunt can be quite exhausting and tiresome. 

However,  you can make it a piece of cake if you acquire knowledge about the features that matter.  Below,  we have articulated the most-essential specifications for the best audiophile headphones under 500. Read more!

Closed-back VS Open-Back 

Headphones have two different types of the enclosure; closed-back and open-back. The closed-back headphones have a packed enclosure. It means that these headphones do not let the sound waves travel outside the ear cups. 

These closed-back headphones establish an impenetrable barrier between the ambient sounds and audio you are listening to. Hence,  creating outstanding sound isolation.

It does not allow sounds to interfere with each other,  which enhances the clarity of the audio. Also,  it enables you to listen to audio anywhere. However, closed-back headphones are not breathable.  These may become sweaty and hot after extensive usage. 

Open-back headphones, the counterpart,  has a permeable enclosure. Its ear cups have lots of tiny holes that allow the sounds to pass through. Ambient sounds and audio can interfere with each other.  

Consequently,  people around you can listen to the audio in your headphones, and you can hear the surrounding sounds. Although this means zero sound isolation and portability, the open-back headphones are highly accurate. 

These headphones stimulate a real concert-like experience. Hence,  allowing you to listen to the unbiased and original audio.  Some audiophiles value this feature to make better judgments about audio quality. 

Besides, open-back headphones are more breathable too. They prevent all the sweat, heat,  and pressure build-up.

On-Ear or Over-Ear 

Another classification in headphones is of on-ear and over-ear. The on-ear headphones have smaller and rounder ear cushions that rest directly on the ears. Meanwhile, the over-ear headphones have larger ear cushions that cover the area around your ears.  

Both of these types have their benefits and cons.  For example, on-ear headphones are convenient for smaller ears and short listening sessions. People who require headphones for light to medium workload might find these helpful.

Contrarily, the over-ear cushions are suitable for extended listening sessions. The large,  engulfing ear cups put slight pressure on the area surrounding your ears,  but not your ears. Hence,  making lengthy listening sessions possible. 

When selecting between on-ear and over-ear,  be vigilant about considering the nature of work and your preferences.  

Connectivity

Headphones can use two types of operation modes only, which includes wireless and wired. The wired headphones feature a cable that connects the unit to the power source. As long as the power run comes,  these headphones will function smoothly and flawlessly.  

However,  these wired headphones restrict you from moving around easily when working. You can not listen to the audio as you walk from the home office to the kitchen. Pausing the audio is mandatory for every single task.  

One thing to ease this problem is to purchase wired headphones with a lengthy and extended cable. It should be at least 6 to 10-feet long for increased portability.

Meanwhile, wireless headphones utilize Bluetooth technology or the internet for operation. The fluidity of operation depends on the advancement of technology.  Usually,  Bluetooth 5.0 gets considered the best.  These wireless headphones offer immense portability. You can use them anywhere!

Durability

Although the majority of the best 500 dollar headphones are highly durable, audiophile headphones under 100 or even under 250 may use cheap materials in the composition. Manufacturers do indeed attempt to cut down costs on apparently invisible aspects. 

Only after use would you realize the durability of the products, and this allows producers to sell cheaply-made headphones easily.  However,  there are some ways to evaluate the durability of audiophile headsets.  

For example, you can look for materials used in the build. Steel,  alloys, and aluminum are a few top-notch materials that make the headset frame quite sturdy.  Headphones made from these certainly won’t collapse anytime soon.  

Comparatively, plastic and silicone are not so durable. High-grade versions of these materials would last several years but surely not for decades. 

Apart from this,  you can hunt for design-specific features like IP ratings. It signifies the headphone’s resistance against solid and water elements. Generally,  IP ratings of IP66 and above get considered the very best. 

Comfort 

Headband and Ear cups-these two features hold immense value in determining comfort levels. The headband is the strip that connects both the ear cups. Both of these things should have thick-padding and soft fabric for enhanced comfort.  

Perhaps, the most-effective method of evaluating comfort is by observing the thickness of padding or composition of both features. Usually,  memory foam gets used due to the good flexibility of the material.  

When talking about comfort, let’s not forget the lightweight build of the headphones. Heavy and bulky headsets can cause fatigue, which deteriorates your physical health. Thus,  you should opt for lighter construction.

Audio Quality 

Generally, the majority of audiophile headphones under 500 will have good audio quality. However,  as an audiophile, you should know the sound features to evaluate the best possible results. Some of these features include:

Frequency Response 

Have you seen those numbers with Hz written in headphone descriptions?  Do you know what these represent? Well,  allow us to explain. 

The numbers written along with the unit Hz or Hertz represents the frequency response range of the headphones. Ideally,  a human can listen to audio between a range of 20 to 20,000Hz. 

So,  you should opt for headphones with a wider response range. Although it would not allow you to listen supersonically, you would hear clearer and better notes. 

Bass & Treble

Audiophiles prefer headphones that provide an unbiased listening experience for better evaluation. However,  some audiophile headphones do alter the sound quality for prominent bass or treble.  So,  if you are a bass or treble enthusiast,  hunt for these specific audio qualities for a fun-filled experience. 

Accuracy & Richness 

Good audiophile headphones should produce audio that is accurate, original,  and vivid.  The sound notes should retain vibrancy and details. High-quality headphones tend to immerse you in the music with their premium performance.   

Surround Sound System

The Surround Sound System is a unique and integrated technology used in all the best audiophiles gaming headphones. You see,  gaming requires a sound quality that is clear and rich in details. However, the surround sound goes one step ahead and enables you to identify the direction of audio.  

As a result,  you can identify your opponent l’s location or reach out to team players when they call for assistance. Some cheap audiophile headphones for gaming cut this feature out so,  be vigilant when purchasing audiophile headphones for gaming especially.  

Active Noise Cancellation 

The ANC, short form for active noise cancellation, is great sound quality in headphones.  It has small,  minute microphones installed in the headset that identifies unwanted noises.  Upon identification l,  the system produces anti waves to counter effect and eliminate those noises.  Hence,  you can listen to crystal-clear audio! 

Microphone 

Finding quality audiophile headphones with mic can be a daunting task, especially because not all headsets feature it.  But,  integrated microphones have great pros.  

You can use it to communicate flawlessly to your team players or conduct calls or wireless headphones.  Audiophile headset with mic also allows you to record stuff for videos or do live streams.  There is a diversity of purposes that it serves.

FAQS 

What are audiophiles headphones? 

Audiophile headphones refer to the ones that have a build and audio quality, especially for audio passionate people.  These headphones offer premium quality audio and performance than regular headphones. Above, we have compiled the top 10 audiophile headphones under 500. Have a look! 

What are the top 5 headphone brands?

Countless brands are manufacturing headphones in the market today.  However,  some of the brands specialize in the field and have a well-established reputation. These include Shure,  Sony,  Sennheiser, Bose, and BeyerDynamic. 

Conclusion 

Audiophile headsets can be difficult to select from the array that exists in the market. However, it can be a piece of cake with some research and evaluation. 

We have reviewed the top-rated options as well as discussed the most essential factors in the guide above.  Hopefully, you would have found the idealistic audiophile headphones for yourself!

Last Updated on February 3, 2021