Top 10 Best Earbuds Under $200 - 2016 - Christmas Gift Guide

Audiophile On 2016 Christmas Buyers Guide and Top 10 list of the best earbuds under $200

Want to know what the 10 best earbuds under $200 are?  You came to the right place.   The market has been heating up over the past year with more and more brands emerging and throwing their hat into the ring in one of the most competitive price categories in portable audio. We know that choosing a gift can be hard so we have narrowed down the competition for you and with Christmas is just around the corner, any one of these earphones or earbuds will make for an awesome present this holiday season.   

This Top 10 is going to be in no particular order, all are great but read the description to find out if they are something you or a loved one is going to like.  If you need any more advice don't worry, simply leave a comment or question down bellow and I will get back to you ASAP with my recommendations.  Happy Holidays.

 

Top 10 Earbuds Under $200

LZ A3s - The New Kids On The Block

I have only spent a few weeks with the LZ's but this is definitely going to be the breakout earphone under $200 this year.  Using a hybrid driver configuration, detachable cable and ergonomic design has been a great choice by the newcomers LZ.  

The earphones feel incredibly well put together with an all metal housing and metal grills.  The detachable cable will further extend the life of the IEM's (In Ear Monitors) and they come with a great selection of accessories.

What is most impressive though is the sound.  The LZ A3 have a big wide open soundstage that is uncommon in earphones at this price point.  This is combined with deep controlled bass that sounds excellent with most genres, intimate mids that make guitars and vocals sing and a smooth top end. 

 

Mee Audio Pinnacle - Excellent Bang for Buck

MeeAudio has traditionally made great cheap earphones.  Howwever in recent months the company has really stepped its game in order to compete at the higher end of the market. 

For its price, the Mee Audio Pinnacle P1 offers a whole lot of features you usually find on far pricier earphones. An all metal body, braided cable, comprehensive accessory set make for a formidable sub $200 earphone.

Sound wise there is a lot of detail going on and a fairly balanced and natural presentation.  Highs are smooth, mids a touch on the warm side and the low end has just enough punch to make it a great all rounder compatible with every genre. 

 

RHA T10i - The King of Deep Bass Earbuds

Do you like bass?  Do you like bass enough for it to practically rupture your ear drums and melt your face off?  Me too that's why for the past 2 years our go-to earbuds for bass has been the RHA T10i. 

Not only do you get RHA's now legendary build quality and their outstanding 3-year warranty but you get a sound that is sure to bring a huge grin for anyone who lives for massive bass drops.  It's a sub-bass monster and it is awesome.

We also noted in our RHA T10i review that these earphones have a number of really nice custom touches that further sets the apart from other sub $200 competition such as patented earguide systems and knurled aluminium jack points.

 

 

Shure SE315 - Sweet Shure House Sound

Shure's SE215 are a great set of headphones at under $100 but the SE315 take things to a whole other level. 

Thick with Shure's much loved house sound its tuned for musicians but also works great as a personal IEM.  The sound is smooth and midrange focusedwith a fair amount of impact from the low end. 

The over ear design means that they will stay put in your ears even when running or performing .  We find them to be one of the comfiest earphones on this list when used with Comply foam eartips.

The build is excellent as you would expect form an earphones designed to be used primarily as a stage monitor and you can even have them in a range of colors or fit aftermarket cables.

 
$189.99
Shure

Sony XBA-H3 - Big Driver, Big Soundstage

An absolute steal for the price the Sony XBA-H3 is both a unique looking and sounding earphone that hosts a whole lot of the companies most advanced sound technology inside. 

A huge 3-way hybrid driver setup is why it looks so weird (there is a gigantic 16mm dynamic inside) and these very much follow a form follows function styling.  With such a large diameter driver we thought these Sony IEM's would be bass cannons but what we found instead was an expansive soundstage rich in detail and imaging. 

If I were to compare it to anything I would say a slightly rougher sounding version of Shure's $1000 SE846... that's a big compliment in itself.

 

Chord & Major 8'13 Rock - Tuned Earphones?

You could really take your pick of Chord & Major earphones, they are all great in our experience.  Unlike other companies that design their earphones to be used as all rounders Chord & Major's premium earbuds are tuned to be used with specific genre   That means if you listen to a lot of rock music the Chord & Major 8'3 are specifically designed and tuned for that purpose. 

If rock music isn't your thing don't worry they also offer a whole host of different tonal earphones (classical, jazz etc) but its the Rock & Classical 9'13 model that are the most versatile for our listening.

 

Final Audio Design Heaven VI - The Classy Option

I find it hard to believe that earphones as good as the Final Audio Heaven IV can be had for such a low price.  I own a set myself and they have been one of my most used sets of monitors for the past 2 years

The build quality is superb and they are one of the best-looking earphones on this list.  The fit and isolation are on a par with the Etymotic ER4 but they just feel a little bit more special

The sound is excellent, full of detail and with a slight hint of warmth and some of the best bass I have ever heard on a sub $300 set of earphones. 

We love them because you get a lot of the features like BAM (Balanced Air Movement technology) that you find on the companies pricier models.

 

Yamaha EPH-100 - Unbeatable Value

Its been a few years since we published our review of the EPH-100 that ended up blowing up and causing hundreds of people to buy them. 

Even though a lot of other models have come out the EPH-100 still remains a serious heavy hitter. 

Crazy 3D presentation with black blacks and a super smooth treble make listening to any kind of electric music a hell of an experience. 

Even though the hype train has died down these are incredible value IEM's and one of my all time favourite IEM's at any price.

 

Westone UM Pro AM10 - Westone Sound On a Budget

 

Westone's much needed refreshment to their line of universal stage monitor the W1 earphones were met with mixed reactions.  The AM Pro 10, however, are beasts. 

A single driver over the ear detachable cable earphone that is as happy on stage as it is commuting on trains and planes. 

An incredibly well though out set of accessories plus the smooth presentation and solid bass have impressed a lot of people in the headphone community.

Whilst it doesn't have the low end kick to compete in the bass department with some of the other IEM's listed here they are a nod to neutrality and balance.


Sennheiser IE60 - Sennheisers best sub $200 IEM

Sennheiser IE60 Headphone
$153.37
Sennheiser
 

If you are looking to get a similar sound to Sennheisers extremely popular IE80 earphones the Sennheiser IE60 are the perfect substitute.

Overall the IE60 are fairly balanced but they do lend some extra grunt to the bass that can be extremely pleasing if you listen to a lot of electronic or mainstream music. 

Its a fun sound but remains true to the original recording material and displays ample sound staging and excellent imaging.  

Build quality and housing design is vastly improved over the outgoing IE6 IEM's and these are a set of earbuds that are built to last.


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