While its true that some serious audiophiles and fans of portable audio will have to have deep pockets and fat wallets to purchase TOTL headphones that doesn't mean that there aren't a load of good sounding headphones if you are on a tighter budget. The reality is that choosing a set of headphones can come down to a range of factors such as style, use and features such as noise cancelling and bluetooth. Thankfully the headphone market has became ultra competitive thanks to the rise of smartphones, Iphones and on the go media consumption and has lead to some great buying options and sound quality at a cheaper price. So with no further ado we give you our list of the best headphones under 100 2015.
Audio Technica ATH-M40x - Best All Round Headphone
The Audio Technica ATH-M80 are one of the most popular beats alternative headphones on the market mainly because they destroy the Doctors headphones on sound quality and that still holds true for the little brother the ATH-M40x. Audio Technica have managed to retain a high level of audio fidelity in the M40 headphones and a number of other design features have trickled down from the ATH-M80 to make these one of the best headphones under 100 right now. Users will be treated to the usual Audio Technica build quality so you can rest assured these budget headphones will last you for years to come. Included in the accessories are 2 sets of detachable cables as well as a carry pouch. The headphones make use of a proprietary 40mm dynamic driver to produce sound that is clean clear and well balanced to work with a range of music genres. When we tested them back in April of this year we noted that whilst the ATH-M40x were a little bit heavier than the competition they were still well within the limits to be used as a portable headphone and were surprisingly comfortable.
Noontec Zoro HD II - Best Beats Headphone Alternative
The original Noontec Zoro HD were one of the most highly recognized headphones under 100 of the past 2 years. The audiophile and portable audio community went absolutley crazy for them over the incredible sound quality that the Zoro were able to push out for those looking for a budget portable headphone. Now Noontec has released the Noontec Zoro HD II that offer a number of refinements whilst still maintaining that detailed and engaging sound that everyone loved about the first headphones. The Zoro HD II have great build quality and a collapsable design that make these an ideal headphone for those wanting to take there headphone on the go such as commuters and students and they are lightweight too. You get the benefit of being able to use detachable 3.5mm cables and an included carry case. The headphone has dynamic drivers inside from German firm Votrik that use high density materials in order to reduce vibrations and distortion resulting in a cleaner more accurate reproduction of your music. During testing we found the Noontec Zoro to be extremely comfortable so you should be able to enjoy them over periods of extended listening. Finally we have to talk about the styling of the Zoro headphones, we think that these are one of the best looking portable headphones you can buy and they come in a range of 4 different colours letting you choose the one that best fits your own personal needs.
Grado SR 80e - best Budget Audiophile Headphones
I don't think there is a more legendary name in the headphone world than Grado. The company was founded over 50 years ago by Joseph Grado, who sadly passed away earlier this year, and is now ran from their same New York home by grandson Jon Grado. The companies headphone design is legendary with the design being relatively unchanged for decades now. The Grado SR80e are the the best value set of full size Grado headphones you can buy but offer a lot of the technologies that make the entire range such a pleasure to listen to. The headphones are of the open back design so this wont be one to use in office or whilst commuting due to their being virtually no isolation from the external environment. However, it is this exact reason that the Grado SR 80e are able to produce such a wide and open presentation of the musics soundstage. The drivers used inside the SR80 are dynamic driver and specially made and tuned for the Grado family and work perfectly with a range of music especially Jazz, Rock and Classical music. Bass lovers will be better of elsewhere though as this is a more balanced sound with amazing levels of detail and separation as opposed to sub bass impact. Make no mistake these are without a doubt the best sounding headphones on this list and one that audiophiles all around the world will give an approving nod if they catch you wearing them. The fact that such and incredible headphone can be purchased for under $100 on amazon right now is down right jaw dropping.
Sony MDR-XB800 - best Bass Headphones
I thought I would include the Sony MDR-XB800 on this list of the best headphones under 100 for one simple reason. Bass. The XB in the MDR-XB800 stands for extended bass and holy s**t do these headphones deliver that in copious brain shaking and ear drum exploding amounts. The Sony of course have the great build quality that you would expect from a company that is known for making some of the best portable audio gear on the planet. Although a rather large headphone you are still able to fold the MDR-XB800 down to make them a great option for those looking to commute or travel with them. The headphones also come with a 4 foot tangle free cable with gold plated 3.5mm connectors and are one of the coolest looking headphones on this list. Really though it comes down to the sound and if you are looking for headphones to use with electronic, rap or pop music then these could well be your go too. The large dynamic drivers combine with a unique air seal technology to create levels of sub bass that will literally vibrate your head. Its a unique headphone and infinitely better than the Beats by Dre headphones that cost many multiples more.
Sony MDR-7506 - best Studio Monitor Headphones
Primarily designed to be used as a studio monitor headphone the audiophile community has recognised the Sony MDR-7506 as one of the best headphones under 100 in recent years. A lot of the inherent qualities of the MDR-7506 are exactly what make it such a great headphone for portable users. Firstly these headphones are designed to be used and abused and build quality and durability during our testing was found to be one of the best on the market. These sony headphones are meant to be used in a studio environment and as such will have no problems with you throwing them in a backpack, dropping them or any other nefarious nonsense you like to do with your beloved audio equipment. Sound reproduction is almost ruler flat across the audio frequency spectrum with no one area overshadowing another thus letting you hear a load of detail no matter what genre you decide to use them with. If you are looking for a good set of budget studio monitor headphones then these are the one we would go for . We also like the the Sony MDR-7560 were very good isolating earphones that manage to block out a lot of external noise from the environment so if you use your headphones for commuting then this might be a great choice for you. The only downside we found was that the cable is quite long when it is fully extended but it is coiled so it shouldn't pose too much of an issue.
Of course as the headphone industry evolves there will be a lot more to add to the list of the best headphones under 100 and we will keep updating if we find anything new that is worthy of a spot. Feel free to drop us a message bellow and let us know what your favourite headphones are and remember to add us on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date with the latest portable audio news and reviews.