10 Best Wired Headphones For Audiophiles On A Budget (2022)

With so many wired headphones out there, it can be hard to know where to start. So we’ve narrowed it down to the top ten on the market!


Back in the day, people laughed at the idea of Budget Audiophile Headphones. Up until the last few years, wired headphones retailing for less than $1000 were pretty mediocre. But now, there are quite a few quality hi-fi headphones at this price point. If you want to hear what these headphones are capable of, pair them with one of our recommended DAC/Amp combos!

We have over 20 years of experience evaluating and reviewing hi-fi components, and we listen to tons of gear, so you don’t have to! Check out our list of Best Wired Headphones For Audiophiles On A Budget (2022)!


Here’s our shortlist of the Best Wired Headphones For Audiophiles On A Budget (2022):


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The List:

Best Wired Headphones Under $50: Koss KPH30i On-Ear Headphones ($29.99)

Wired Headphones

These Koss KPH30i on-ear headphones have brought a lot of joy to many audiophiles, providing a nice warm, open sound that you can listen to for hours. They’re also lightweight and comfortable, which adds to the cachet. Besides listening to music, we also use them for phone calls and zoom meetings because the mic’s clarity is surprisingly good! This is a great pick-up for the “work from home” crowd, excellent value for $30.

Specs:

  • Frequency response: 15-25,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 60 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB SPL
  • Cable Length: 4 foot

What we love:

  • Great Price
  • Big, Spacious, Engaging Sound
  • Light and Comfortable

What to think about:

  • Not the most detailed
  • They feel a little fragile

Buy: Amazon


Best Wired Earphones Under $50: Moondrop CHU Dynamic IEM ($21.99)

If you’re looking for a balanced-sounding IEM and don’t have a lot of cash to spend, the Moondrop CHU is a no-brainer. It’s comfortable, well-built, and has clarity and soundstage beyond what is expected at this price point. The only knocks I see are a slight lack of punch for the bass heads and a non-detachable cable that could fail down the line. The bottom line is…get a pair.

Specs:

  • Material: Zinc alloy
  • Driver: 10mm high-performance dynamic driver
  • Diaphragm material: Titanium-coated
  • Sound coil: 0.035mm ultra-fine black CCAW
  • Magnetic circuit: N52 neodymium magnetic
  • Acoustic filter: Patented anti-blocking (anti-imbalanced) acoustic filter
  • Sensitivity: 120dB/Vrms(@1KHz)
  • Impedance: 28 Ω 土15% (@1khz)
  • THD: THD@1KHz≤1%
  • Frequency range: 10Hz-35kHz (IEC61094, Free Field)

What we love:

  • Great Build Quality
  • Comfortable Fit
  • Remarkably Balanced and Open Sound

What to think about:

  • The cable Isn’t Detachable
  • Bass Dynamics A Little Soft

Read our full review

Buy: AMAZON


Best Wired Earphones Under $100: 7Hz x Crinacle Salnotes Dioko Planar In Ear Earphone ($99.00)

wired headphones

The 7Hz x Crinacle Salnotes Dioko is a nice set of earbuds with a decent fit, good build quality, and excellently balanced tuning. While they could use a little more air, separation, and depth, Dioko has speed, crispness, and articulation I haven’t heard in dynamic driver earphones at this price point. That alone makes them stand out amongst the sea of IEMs out there. Buy these if you want to hear true audiophile headphone sound for less than a Benjamin!

Specs:

  • Connector: 0.78mm 2pin
  • Cable material: OCC copper and silver-plated OCC copper
  • Weight: 275g
  • Size: 15.2cm x11cm x 5.5cm

What we love:

  • Great Build Quality
  • Balanced Tuning
  • Smooth, Detailed, Midrange

What to think about:

  • Could Use A Little More Air, Separation and Depth

Read our full review

Buy: AMAZON


Best Value Headphones Under $250: Sennheiser HD 560 S ($199.95)

With its sleek design and comfortable fit, the Sennheiser HD560 S is one of the best headphones under $200. They have an amazing soundstage, along with remarkable clarity and accurate bass. They also have a detachable cable for easy replacement and soft earpads for long listening comfort. With an impedance rating of 120 Ohms, you’ll need a decent headphone amp to get the best out of them.

Specs:

  • Frequency response: 6 – 38,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 120 Ohms
  • THD: <0.05%
  • Sensitivity: 110dB at 1 kHz, 1V
  • Cable: Detachable, 3 meters (9.8 feet) in length

What we love:

  • Good Build Quality
  • Open, Accurate Sound
  • Comfortable Fit

What to think about:

  • Bass Dynamics A Little Flat
  • Needs A Good Headphone Amp To Shine

Buy: AMAZON


Best Value Wired Earphones Under $500: Periodic Audio Beryllium V3 ($249.00)

Periodic Audio has the audacity to call these $249 Periodic Audio Beryllium V3 “Your Endgame,” which is a big statement considering that many IEMs range into the thousands of dollars. That said, I can understand where they’re coming from with that statement.

With their highly coveted Beryllium coated diaphragms, these earphones do just about everything right, presenting music with excellent dynamics, refined treble, and organic timbre. In addition, their lively tuning works well with every kind of music, so if you’re looking for one earphone that does it all, then the Beryllium V3 may be your endgame.

Specs:

  • Frequency Response: 12 Hz to 45 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms nominal
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB SPL at 1mW in ear
  • Power Handling: 200 mW continuous
  • Peak SPL: 123 dB
  • THD: Less than 1% THD at 1mW

What we love:

  • Warm, Natural Sound
  • Easy to Wear
  • Lightweight, Comfortable Fit

What to think about:

  • Non-Standard Cable
  • Somewhat Plasticky Build

Buy: Periodic Audio


Best Closed-Back Wired Headphones Under $500: Meze 99 Classics Walnut ($309.00)

wired headphones

The $309 Meze 99 Classics Headphones are more like a work of art than a pair of headphones. Pictures don’t do them justice. They have hand-finished wood cups, high-quality PU Leather, and beautiful gold or silver accents. Of course, that wouldn’t mean much if they didn’t sound right, and they do, especially if you like a bit of bass emphasis. These headphones have received more rewards than you can count for their warm yet refined sound. They make any music you play sound good!

Specs:

  • Transducer size: 40mm
  • Frequency response: 15Hz – 25KHz
  • Sensitivity: 103dB at 1KHz, 1mW
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Detachable Kevlar OFC cable
  • Plug: 3.5mm gold plated

What we love:

  • Beautiful Design
  • Comfortable Fit
  • Warm & Musical Sound

What to think about:

  • It might have just a little too much Bass for Jazz/Classical tunes

Buy: AMAZON


Best Value Wired Headphones Under $500: SIVGA SV023 Walnut Dynamic Driver Headphone ($449)

During our review, we enjoyed our time with the SIVGA SV023. This headphone has a remarkably comfortable and sturdy build, plus an open, accurate sound.

The Bass Dynamics are a little soft, which is surprising for a dynamic headphone, but we think SIVGA was going for a more neutral reference tuning here, which they achieved for the most part. We love these headphones’ delicate low-level detail and airy quality, which brings out the ambiance in a recording. They are pretty engaging. Additionally, they come with a balanced cable and hard case in the box, making them a great value.

If you’re looking for a sub-$500 with a flat reference style tuning and excellent resolution, then you need to check out the SIVGA SV023.

Specs:

  • Transducer size: φ 50mm
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 40KHz
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB ± 3dB
  • Impedance: 300 Ohm ± 15%
  • Connector: φ 4.4 mm balanced
  • Weight: 318 g

What we love:

  • Great Build Quality
  • Natural, Open, Detailed Sound
  • Excellent Comfort

What to think about:

  • Bass Dynamics Are A Little Soft

Read our full review

Buy: AMAZON


Best Sounding Headphones Under $300: HIFIMAN SUNDARA Planar Magnetic Headphone (2020 ver. with 3.5mm Connectors) ($299.00)

wired headphones

Until the Hifiman Edition XS (next on the list) came out, this was hands down the best headphone under $500. The $350 Hifiman SUNDARA has detail, soundstage, and separation that competes with headphones above $500, and the tuning is darn near perfect. It’s neutral through the midbass with a gentle lift in the bottom end to keep things interesting. This headphone, matched with the $129 EarMen Eagle USB Dac or $189 iFi Hip Dac 2, will make a great starter headphone rig and give any music lover tons of enjoyment.

This Planar Magnetic headphone has a relatively high sensitivity rating so that you can drive it with a wide variety of devices. It also has comfy earpads and a nice suspension headband for a stable fit and excellent comfort.

Specs:

  • Frequency Response: 6Hz – 75kHz
  • Impedance: 37 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 94dB
  • Weight: 372g

What we love:

  • Crisp, Detailed & Neutral Sound
  • Comfortable
  • Relatively easy to drive

What to think about:

  • Can be a little edgy with certain songs

Buy: Amazon


Best Sounding Headphones Under $500: HIFIMAN Edition XS Full-Size Over-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphones ($499.00)

Before these headphones came along, I almost exclusively recommended the Sundara to people looking for headphones under $500. But now there’s a new sheriff in town. The $499 Hifiman Edition XS‘ detail, dynamics, and imaging are off the charts for a $500 headphone. They have a more pronounced low end and more depth than the Sundara. This, combined with the exceptional soundstage and comfort, makes them class-leading for $500 and under headphones. These are excellent all-rounders. I still recommend the Sundara if you can’t find the extra cash.

Specs:

  • Impedance: 18Ω.
  • Frequency response range: 8Hz-50kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 92dB.
  • Weight: 405grams.
  • Cable termination: 3.5mm.

What we love:

  • Warm, Natural, Detailed Sound
  • Exquisite Soundstage
  • Comfortable Fit

What to think about:

  • Not A Neutral Headphone
  • May be too big for smaller heads

Read our full review

Buy: Amazon


Best Wired Headphones Under $1000: Meze Audio 109 PRO Open-Back Headphones ($799)

wired headphones

It’s hard for me to believe that Meze Audio is just coming out with their first Dynamic Open-Back cans, but here they are, and they’re excellent! Dubbed the Meze Audio 109 PRO ($799), these new headphones are crafted from a carefully curated combination of walnut wood, zinc, manganese steel, and vegan leather; plus, they have the alluring design language the company is well-known for.

Inside the walnut wood cups resides a newly developed 50mm Dual-Composite diaphragm with an outside ring (or torus) made up of a Beryllium-coated semicrystalline polymer and a cellulose-carbon fiber composite dome in the center.

This new driver provides a remarkably neutral, organic, and transparent performance with just enough life on the bottom end to make things exciting. In addition, the velvet-covered earpads and suspension headband make the 109 PRO amazingly comfortable to wear. If you’re looking for luxury end-game headphones for less than 1k, then these are the ones to buy!

Specs:

  • 9.8-foot extra-long cable with a gold-plated 3.5mm miniplug
  • 5-foot cable with a gold-plated 3.5mm miniplug
  • Comes With 1/4″ adapter
  • frequency response: 5-30,000 Hz
  • sensitivity: 112 dB
  • impedance: 40 ohms
  • weight: 13 oz.

What we love:

  • Warm, Natural, Detailed Sound
  • Luxury Build And Design
  • Comfortable Fit

What to think about:

  • The soundstage isn’t super wide for an open-back headphone

Buy: CRUTCHFIELD


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