Choosing headphones can be a headache. There are hundreds of models on the market, whether you’re looking for a noise-canceling set to improve your work commute, or a hi-fi set to enjoy records in peace and quality. With headphones spanning a full range of prices from pocket money to serious investments, it can be difficult to cut through the noise and find the right set that suits your needs. Here we’ve compiled three of the best budget-friendly headphones on the market at the moment, to help you inform your choice when it comes to buying your next set.
Bose QuietComfort 45
The Bose QuietComfort 45 is the pinnacle of Bluetooth headphones. They offer noise-canceling capabilities and rugged build quality, as well as a battery life of up to 24 hours, but also sit at the higher end in terms of the budget with a retail price just shy of £300. However, the QuietComfort 45 is easy to find in mainstream appliance shops, which is great news for bargain-hunters – particularly those who work in healthcare, for whom Currys NHS discounts can save a pretty penny. In all, these headphones are an incredibly highly-regarded model, with immense practical utility and impressive battery life – making for a great long-term investment.
Not all headphones are made with the same purpose in mind. Many consumer headphones are designed as an extension of the hi-fi system, with sound-enhancing features that propose to bring your music choices to life. But what about headphones that instead present the music as authentically as possible? These exist, in the form of “monitor headphones” which producers and recording engineers use while mixing and mastering records. These monitor headphones are designed with flat frequency response, ensuring that no part of an audio signal is unrepresentative loud, or quiet; that is, everything heard through them is clear as can be. Audio-Technica is an excellent mid-range audio brand, and the ATH-M50X is an incredibly accessible model of monitor headphones with a surprisingly flat frequency response for the price. These are great all-around headphones, just as happy on a commute as in the studio.
For the true-blue audiophile on a budget, there is thankfully a wide variety of headphones that cater to the home listener without breaking the bank. Perhaps the best amongst them is the Grado SR80x, an open-backed model that manages to come in under three figures without too much sacrifice. They certainly won’t hold a candle to the premier, four-figure headphones such as Sennheiser’s top-line HD 820 – but nonetheless deliver with crisp definition and a quintessential airiness. The SR80x wouldn’t be a great choice for listening to music out and about, but can certainly enhance your listening experience in quieter, internal environments.