If you’re looking for the best headphones under $500 we’ve got you covered.
Everyone needs a good pair of headphones. Whether you’re a professional DJ, an avid gamer or you just enjoy listening to music with the best quality possible, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t own a decent pair of headphones at you can get this for under $500.
For some this will still feel like a huge investment but once you own a decent pair of headphones you’re going to be able to enjoy them for the long run (insert evil laugh here knowing that the desire to upgrade never ends…)
Unfortunately, many high-quality headphones on the shelves these days are ridiculously expensive. Could you imagine paying over $600 for a pair? Me neither. Thankfully, there are a few great headphones out there that cost much less.
We’re going to take a look at five of the best headphones under $500 and review them in detail.
- If you're looking for the best headphones under $500 we've got you covered.
- Best Headphone Under $500 Reviews
- Wrapping Up
Best Headphone Under $500 Reviews
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphone is a perfect addition to your high-end home entertainment system. Hand-picked components, special acoustic materials and exceptional engineering make these headphones an audiophile’s dream.
You will want to consider some sort of headphone amp to drive these for their best potential.
The Sennheiser HD 650 was such a champion open back headphone for many audiophiles, the HD650 just improves on an already great model. With an open back you’ll not want to take this commuting or use it in an open office but all other applications will reward you with amazing audio.
Experience the ultimate in luxurious design and exceptional sound quality with Beoplay H9i wireless Active Noise Cancellation headphones from Bang & Olufsen.
So, here is the best headphones for $500 list in summary and full detail so you can have the short snack version and the long tasty version.
1: Beats Solo Pro Wireless Headphones
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Beats by Dr. Dre is probably one of the most popular brands of headphones out there and for good reason. They are extremely high quality and produce some really immersive and comprehensive sounds. These wireless Beats headphones are noise-cancelling to allow you to be completely enveloped in the sound.
Since these headphones are noise-cancelling, you won’t hear any external sounds when wearing them. They calibrate your audio in real-time so that you don’t have to make any adjustments while listening and so that you can listen to your music in its entirety without distractions.
That being said, they won’t completely block out all of the sounds of the outside world. They use ‘transparency’ technology to naturally filter in the ambient noises of your environment so that you can still be aware of your surroundings while also being immersed in what you’re listening to.
This is great, but if you’re in a loud area, like on the bus or train, for example, then you might be distracted from your music if the volume isn’t all the way up. You may also know that having the volume cranked to the max isn’t exactly healthy, and it is a great way to give yourself hearing problems.
The noise-cancelling and transparency filters are togglable. If you decide to turn both of them off, the batteries inside the Beats Solo Pro can last for up to 40 hours before needing to be recharged.
Read Also: Best Planar Magnetic Headphones
What’s great about these headphones is the fact that they can be folded. When in the folded position, they are powered off and can be stored in any compact holder, like a backpack. When you unfold them, they power on, and you can begin listening for up to 22 hours with transparency and noise-cancelling features on.
They feature Apple H1 Headphone Chips, as well as Class 1 Bluetooth, which allow for a greater connection range and far fewer dropouts than ever before. If it’s style you’re after, then these headphones have you covered.
The only thing you need to worry about is damaging these headphones. While they are foldable, the mechanism can be quite fragile, and you’ll need to be extra careful when packing them away, or you risk breaking them apart.
- Transparency filter
- Above features are togglable
- Up to 40 hours of power
- Can be easily damaged
- May become uncomfortable after extended use
Read the latest reviews for the
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2: Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphones
As the name suggests, these are professional quality headphones that are specially designed for use in a studio or a similar setting. They are the perfect addition to any high-end home entertainment system or just anyone looking for a professional-grade listening experience for under $500.
If you’re looking for a great starter pair of headphones to incorporate into your studio or just want to be able to listen to music the way the pros do, then look no further than these open-back headphones from Sennheiser. Featuring components that are picked by hand, exceptional engineering, and special acoustic materials, these headphones are an audiophile’s dream.
They boast specially designed acoustic silk that ensures that the entire frequency range is dampened precisely. This allows these headphones to reduce THD (total harmonic distortion) to a whopping low of just 0.05% – basically undetectable.
The magnet systems are highly optimized, as well, to provide the least amount of harmonic and intermodulation distortion possible, which comes together to create a sound crisper and cleaner than morning air. The HD 650 features some of the latest and greatest in dynamic and open headphone design.
While we’re on the topic of ‘open’, it’s important to note that, since these are open-back headphones, anyone around you will be able to hear what you hear in almost as much detail. This means that you’ll probably want to avoid blasting your music through these headphones on the plane or on the bus unless your fellow passengers are fine with listening along.
Open-back headphones provide a more ‘integrated’ listening experience. By that, we mean that you’ll be able to hear the ambient sounds of the world around you quite clearly, provided you haven’t cranked the volume up to max. This is part of what makes them suitable for a studio setting, since producers can hear what’s going on around them.
The Sennheiser HD 650 boasts a high-quality silver/titanium finish, as well as a specially-modulated connecting cable, which is detachable. This cable is made from very conductive copper and has an extremely low handling noise (low sound sensitivity borne from the structure).
- Specially designed acoustic silk
- Crisp sound
- Silver/titanium finish
- Low THD
- Projects sound outward
- Can feel heavy over time
Read the latest reviews for the
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphones
3: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Headphones
Besides being a mouthful, these headphones are on about the same level as the Solo Pro from Beats, but there are a few key differences that set the two apart. For one, they’re made by different companies, obviously, and they also serve different functions.
If you’re looking for a luxurious noise-cancelling experience, then look no further than the Beoplay H9i headphones from Bang & Olufsen. They provide excellent quality of sound while also removing any outside noises, leaving you totally absorbed and immersed in your music or audiobook.
They feature an advanced Transparency mode, similar to the Solo Pros, which allows you to let in some ambient environmental noise while you’re listening. This is great for times where you need to be somewhat alert but still want to be able to listen to your tunes.
What makes them unique is the fact that they also come with a dedicated voice assistant button. This provides you with even more options to control your headphones while you’re moving since you won’t need to fiddle around with any annoying buttons if you really don’t want to.
The advanced ANC (active noise cancellation) blocks both low and high-frequency noises, like traffic and human voices, making the Beoplay H9i perfect for traveling. Active noise cancelling differs from passive noise cancelling in that it is a technology that is specially designed to block out all noise that is not coming from your headphones.
These headphones are compatible with the Bang & Olufsen app, which lets you configure your listening experience while moving, whether you’re listening to your favorite tunes during your daily commute or listening to a podcast while working from home. The choices are virtually limitless.
When using both the Bluetooth and ANC functions, these headphones will provide you with up to 18 hours of playback time, more than enough to keep your music going throughout the day. The cushions are generously padded and are designed to completely cover the ear, making them feel as though they were made from clouds themselves.
Do you like to move around? No problem. The Beoplay H9i have a whopping 121 feet Bluetooth range, so you’re free to move around the room, or even to another room entirely, without experiencing any sort of lapse or gap in connectivity.
- Generous padding
- 10m Bluetooth range
- App compatibility
- Transparency mode
- Volume does not get super loud
- May feel top-heavy on smaller heads
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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Headphones
4: Master & Dynamic MW65 Headphones
Another mouthful, these headphones from Master & Dynamic are said to be the most technically complex and sophisticated headphones that they’ve ever created. They are an excellent companion for daily travels or listening.
Not only are the MW65s the most technically sophisticated headphones that Master & Dynamic has ever created, but they are also the lightest. They weigh a mere 245 grams and feature active noise-cancelling technology, as well as custom 40mm Beryllium drivers that work in combination to produce a truly amazing listening experience.
The anodized, lightweight aluminum and fine leathers create a superior feeling of comfort, while the dual-mode active noise-cancelling technology promotes an expansive and crystal-clear sound in essentially any environment. All of these things work together to allow you to listen to your favorite music anywhere, without experiencing any discomfort or distraction.
With up to 25 hours of battery life, you’ll be able to blast your favorite tracks all day long, without needing to charge the MW65s. When you do need to charge them, it will only take 15 minutes to charge them enough for another 12 hours of playback time.
The dual-mode, active noise-cancelling technology allows you to enjoy an expansive sound wherever you may be. It comes with two modes. ‘High’ is great for when you’re walking the streets of bustling downtown where there’s lots of noise, and ‘Low’ is for when it’s windy outside.
Turning the active noise-cancelling feature off will switch it to passive noise cancelling, which provides a slightly less isolated listening experience. Great for all genres of music, the MW65s from Master & Dynamic provide a great mix of highs, mids, and lows, producing a wonderfully crisp sound.
The custom 40mm Beryllium drivers are what produces the rich, warm sound that is unique to these earphones. If you’re someone who’s always moving around, then you’ll appreciate the 25-meter Bluetooth range, which is 3x the industry standard!
- Very light
- Active noise cancelling
- 25 hours of battery life
- 25m Bluetooth range
- Noise-cancelling modes difficult to differentiate
- Low bass frequencies
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Master & Dynamic MW65 Headphones
5: Hifiman Sundara Planar Magnetic Headphones
Finally, we arrive at this pair of open-back headphones from Hifiman. They are planar magnetic headphones that are designed with a comfortable headband. They are also open-back, providing a more integrated, ambient listening experience.
There are a lot of people who swear by their Planar Magnetic headphones, personally I’ve never quite spent enough time with them for them to win me over, but don’t let me put you off these Hifiman Sundara’s as HiFiman know what they are doing.
Planar Magnetic cans are meant to provide a really crisp result with really quick, detailed sound signatures.
The Sundaras from Hifiman feature their newly developed Diaphragm, which is 80% thinner than their popular HE400 series. This means that you’ll be receiving a much wider frequency response that allows for more detail when listening to your favorite tunes.
The strap on the top of these headphones is weight-spreading, meaning that you’ll feel much more comfortable while you have these on your head. It was also designed to be fashion-conscious, and it could honestly make for a great accessory to one of your outfits if you’re into that sort of thing.
Thanks to the metal headband, the Sundaras are more than capable of taking a few hits. You obviously don’t want to go throwing them around, but dropping them once or twice is not very likely to cause them any harm. This is great news for all the butterfingers out there.
While these are not wireless, the cable that connects them to your listening device is 1.5 meters long, so you’ll be able to move around quite freely without having to worry about yanking the headphones off of your head. It also means you can dance and jive to your playlist, too!
Since these are open-back earphones, anyone that happens to be near you when you’re listening to your music, a podcast, or anything really, is going to be able to hear it in just about the same detail. Because of this, you might want to avoid wearing these in public places, as you’ll probably get a lot of looks if you use them to listen to heavy metal music on the train.
The open back does come with its benefits, though. For instance, you’ll be able to hear what’s going on around you, which can be useful if you’re living with a roommate or your family.
- Durable and robust
- Comfortable head strap
- 1.5m cable
- 80% thinner diaphragm
- Wiring may be defective
- Not wireless
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Hifiman Sundara Planar Magnetic Headphones
With so many headphones to choose from, finding the right one can often seem impossible. Finding one that’s budget-friendly can be even more challenging, but we hope that this review has made that task at least a little bit easier.
Headphones are a personal thing and listening to music is a subjective experience but there are always common sets of heaphones (cans) that people agree on. The HD 650 are an easy example of that, as are all the headphones on this list.
If you have $500 spend you’re pretty much guaranteed to end up with an excellent listening experience based on the quality you’ll get.
Happy listening! Any questions, fire them in the comments below.
Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.
This post was last updated on 2023-09-27 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.