10 Best Headphones Under $300 of 2016

Whether you’re ready to upgrade from your budget headsets, or just have some extra wiggle room in your wallet we are here to help you find the best headphones under 300 dollars. We’ve gathered them into this quick guide to help you decide which pair you like the most.

Here, we’ll explain headphone characteristics, share our favorites, and review our top three in detail. With our help you’re sure to never miss a beat.

Top 10 Headphones Under $300 Overview Table

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1. Sennheiser HD 600 Open Dynamic Hi-Fi Professional Stereo HeadphonesOver-earOpen-back4.7
2. V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal HeadphoneOver-earSemi Open-back4.7
3. Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro Headphones (250 Ohm)Over-earOpen-back4.6
4. Bose QuietComfort 25 Headphones, BlackAround-earClosed-back4.5
5. Philips Fidelio X1/28 Premium Over-Ear HeadphonesOver-earOpen-back4.5
6. AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Signature Reference-Class Premium HeadphonesOver-earOpen-back4.4
7. Sennheiser Momentum Headphone - IvoryOver-earClosed-back4.4
8. Sennheiser IE80 HeadphoneIn-earClosed-back4.3
9. Sony MDR1RNC Premium Noise-Canceling HeadphonesOn-earClosed-back4.3
10. Sony MDREX310LP In-Ear HeadphonesIn-earClosed-back4.3

Categories of Headphones

Headphones come in three major styles. None of them is better than the others; rather, each has its own advantages and disadvantages based on how you plan to use them.

  • Over-ear. The cans on over-ear headphones have large cushions that fit around your whole ear. They rest against your head instead of your ear. That creates a seal that keeps out almost all ambient sound. It also keeps what you’re listening to inside the headphones.

You’ll want to use these in noisy environments where you want to make sure no outside sound interferes with your audio. Or in extremity quiet places when you’re afraid your audio could bother people nearby.

  • On-ear. The cans of on-ear headphones also have a thick cushion, but these sit atop your outer ear instead of around it. This makes it possible for some sound to leak.

We recommend using on-ear headphones when you need to be aware of your surroundings, like when walking outside alone. Or when it’s okay for some sound to leak.

  • In-ear. These are the smallest style and fit directly inside your ear canal. Like the over-ear style, these are excellent at keeping sounds separated. Several different sized tips are included in your purchase so that you can find the one that creates a good seal. Loose earbuds will fall out or alter your audio; tight earbuds will pinch and become painful.

Earbuds are the style of choice when portability is important such as traveling. And once you find the right size eartip they’re another option when you really need to keep noise outside.

Closed or Open Back Headphones

Headphones are characterized by how the housing of their cans are built. Open-back have slits on the outside of the housing. Closed-back are solid and do not have slits on the outside of the housing.

The slits on open-back headphones let sound and air travel easily through the cans. People nearby will be able to hear your audio, and you’ll be able to hear them. Using this type of headphone make the audio sound as if it’s in the same room as you; although audio surrounds you, you also hear everything else.

Closed-back headphones are perfect for most environments since there are no slits to allow the transfer of sound. Listening to these feels like audio is inside your head because these block outside noise. Closed-back headphones are like nothing exists except your audio.

3 Best Headphones Under 300 Dollars Reviews

1. Sennheiser HD 600

Sennheiser is one of the most reputable audio manufacturers in the world, catering to casual and professional listeners alike. It’s no surprise that their HD 600 earned our top spot for the best headphones under $300.

Sennheiser saved on production costs of the HD 600 by skipping the fancy titanium housing found in its higher-end models in favor of a grey and black plastic finish. But that doesn’t mean they’re cheap. The HD 600 is still masterfully crafted and sturdy. They’re well accented with luxurious padding that keeps you comfortable, and easily adjustable.

Internally, the HD 600 boasts reference-quality sound. Ideally these would be used on a home stereo system with lifier; but they’re acceptable to use with a mobile device as long as you don’t expect use a high volume. Their sound reproduction, especially live performances, is superb. The experience is completely immersive and spatial with each tone balancing perfectly on your eardrums.

Sennheiser’s HD 600 gives you a high-end pair of open-air headphones at a fair price. We recommend these for new music engineers or just music enthusiasts.

2. V-MODA Crossfade M-100

V-MODA packed everything we love about music into one magnificent set of headphones. They are easy to store, and offer throaty bass while remaining crystal clear.

Cliq Fold metal hinges make transporting these easy. Just click, fold, and stow away. The steel-reinforced headband designed and tested to withstand numerous falls, including being flattened. Additionally, almost all the components are replaceable, including the memory foam ear cushions.

Like most V-MODA headsets these provide punchy deep bass perfect for intense music. The midrange and vocals are well-balanced; neither forgotten nor overwhelming. The overall sound is well articulated but may not suit audiophiles interested in the finer details.

The Crossfade M-100 by V-MODA is a must-have for anyone who travels, or is just rough with their gear. Their strong bass and clarity are a winning combination.

3. Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro Headphones

The DT-800 by Beyerdynamic rounds out our Top Three best headphones under three hundred dollars because of how easily it combines the best of both open and closed headphones into one unit.

The DT-800 are considered semi-open. This means that their housing is only partially perforated. You’ll experience a smaller soundstage than open ones, but not as much sound will leak. Audio sounds closer, more intense than strictly open headphones.

Since these are professional-grade headphones you’ll get the best range and fidelity when you use them with an amp. But either way the sound produced is warm and well balanced. The tones trend on the treble side but that proves to be a good thing because vocals are accentuated.

Overall, these are extremely comfortable, superb sounding cans. Their semi-open design preserves the intensity of closed-back variety, and the clarity of the open-back kind.

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