Hifitrends Awards: The Best Affordable Audiophile Headphones Of 2023

At Hifitrends, we understand that high-quality audio should not be limited to those with deep pockets. We believe everyone deserves to experience the magic of audiophile headphones, regardless of their budget. That’s why we’re excited to announce our annual Hifitrends Awards for the Best Affordable Audiophile Headphones of 2023!

This year, we’ve tested several models across the market to identify five exceptional headphones that offer incredible value for money. These headphones deliver not only exceptional sound quality but also comfort, features, and style.

HFT Awards: Best Overall Affordable Audiophile Headphones 2023 – Sennheiser HD 660S2 ($599.95)

best audiophile headphones 2023

The Sennheiser HD 660S2 is our top pick for the best affordable audiophile headphones this year. They are a refined and updated version of the popular HD 660S, and they offer several improvements in design, culminating in a deeper, more powerful low-end, all while maintaining the clarity and detail the HD660 series was known for. The HD 660S2 is perfect for both critical listening and casual music enjoyment.

In our review, we said the Sennheiser HD 660S2 Open-Back Headphones offered an immediate sound with clarity, detail, and speed. While they weren’t the most natural-sounding, they excelled in most regards and were quite enjoyable to listen to. They provided an emotionally stimulating audio experience, although the neutrality HD 600 series headphones are known for was somewhat compromised. Also, if you prefer headphones with a super-wide soundstage, you may want to consider other options.

That said, at this price, it is really hard to beat a headphone that has the detail, intimacy, and transparency of the HD 660S combined with thrilling dynamics. By the way, the street price has come down a bit from the original list, which makes it an even better value.

HFT Awards: Best Affordable Wireless Audiophile Headphones 2023 – Edifier Stax Spirit S3 ($399.99)

The Edifier Stax Spirit S3 earns the title of Best Affordable Wireless Audiophile Headphone for its innovative planar magnetic drivers that deliver exceptionally clear and spacious audio. It is hard to overstate how well-balanced and musical these headphones are. That, combined with its comfortable fit, long battery life, and sleek design, the Spirit S3 is a must-have for wireless audiophiles.

There is no ANC, so you probably won’t use them for traveling, but if you want a pair of true audiophile headphones that gives you the convenience of a high-quality wireless signal, then you need to check these headphones. You also have the option of high-resolution on the wire, plus the price is amazing for what you get.

HFT Awards: Best Affordable Open-Back Audiophile Headphones – Sivga LUAN ($299)

best audiophile headphones 2023

For those seeking a premium open-backed listening experience at a slightly lower price point than the Sennheisers above, the $299 Sivga LUAN reigns supreme as the Best Affordable Open-Back Audiophile Headphones. They offer a wide and expansive soundstage and reveal subtle details in your music with remarkable clarity. Their comfortable design and stylish aesthetics further enhance their appeal.

In our review, we said: “Overall, the SIVGA Luan is a stunning set of open-back headphones that offers a rich and immersive audio experience. The headphones are crafted from high-quality materials, feature a comfortable over-ear design, and deliver a balanced and detailed sound. Whether you’re a music lover looking for headphones with above-average sound for the home or an audiophile looking for an affordable pair of cans to throw in your bag, the SIVGA Luan is worth considering.”

HFT Awards: Best Affordable Closed-Back Audiophile Headphones – Dekoni x HIFIMAN Cobalt ($399.99)

The $399 Dekoni x HIFIMAN Cobalt secures the Best Affordable Closed-Back Audiophile Headphones award for its exceptional noise isolation and rich, balanced sound signature. This collaboration between Dekoni Audio and HIFIMAN combines advanced planar magnetic drivers with two sets of premium Dekoni ear pads, making it a perfect choice for listening in noisy environments. While they may not be the best-looking headphones in the world, they are both lightweight and comfortable, especially with the velour pads.

During our listening tests, we marveled at the balanced tuning (clear mids, sweet highs) with and wide soundstage for closed-back headphones. While some may wish for a little more punch down low, we found that for most genres, they had more than enough bass to provide satisfying dynamics, and they did even better with a little EQ. With some heavy bass tracks, you do get a little bass bloom in the lower mids, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to find a perfect closed-back headphone, especially at this price. Overall, these may be the best sub-$500 closed-back headphones we have heard.

HFT Award: Best Affordable Audiophile IEMs – Final Audio ZE8000

best audiophile headphones 2023

Earning the new title of Best Affordable Audiophile True Wireless IEMs for 2023, the Final Audio ZE8000 is a sonic marvel in miniature. These IEMs boast their proprietary “8K SOUND” technology, delivering unprecedented detail and clarity that rivals wired options. With their comfortable fit, IPX4 water resistance, and active noise cancellation, the ZE8000 is a true revelation in the world of wireless audiophile IEMs.

In our review, we called them the “Future of wireless audio”, because they’re something of a game-changer in the industry, offering class-leading sound quality, innovative features, and top-notch noise canceling. They provide an unparalleled audio experience for audiophiles on the go. However, while the ZE8000 is an impressive product, Final isn’t resting on its laurels, as we already have the MK2 version in-house. It was just announced, and according to Final, it has even better comfort and sound. We can’t wait to bring you the review!


We believe these five headphones represent the absolute best value for affordable audiophile headphones released in 2023. Each offers a unique combination of features and performance, ensuring there’s something for every listener.

We encourage you to explore these award-winning headphones and discover the world of high-fidelity audio at an accessible price point.

Additional Notes:

  • This list is based on our own testing and research.
  • Your individual preferences may differ.
  • We encourage you to conduct your own research and read reviews before making a purchase.

We hope this article has helped you discover some fantastic audiophile headphones. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Hifitrends is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase through links on our site.


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