Don’t you wish there was a list of headphones that were made well, sounded great, yet portable enough to take with you anywhere? This title seems like an oxymoron because a cheaper headphone typically means a lesser quality sound, so for me to include budget, great sound quality, and travel friendly all in one list is audacious to say the least. But I believe most budget audiophiles will be satisfied with these options.
I love high quality headphones that also sound great, but I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars either. Since I constantly come in contact with different headphones (I am a self-described audiophile), I will be updating this list to include or replace items as needed to keep it fresh and current!
This list of headphones will be under $150 as I think most budget minded audiophiles want the best quality sound for the cheapest price without sacrificing portability. It’s like taking your studio with you on the plane, bus, or wherever, but also fitting it in your suitcase or carryon…or your pocket if they’re in-ear headphones.
So here’s my top picks for the best headphones for the audiophile traveler on a budget.
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1. Klipsch Reference R6 On-Ear / In-Ear ($39-$79)
These happen to be some of my favorite headphones. You may have heard of Klipsch before, but if not, they have a very distinct and warm sound, signature to the brand. They are made very well and are very sturdy and should last you many trips. Their frequency range is not the most spectacular, but that’s not all headphones are about. The bass on both of these is some of the best I’ve heard for the price range. My choice for airplane travel is the in-ear model since they keep the pressure stabilized in your head. They have the best fit in my ears, better than any in-ear headphones I’ve used. Both models have great passive noise reduction and have a truly amazing sound once they have been burned in properly.
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2. Sennheiser HD 280 PRO ($100)
If you know the Sennheiser brand, you know you’ll get something you can trust for quality. This model is definitely not their highest end headphones by any means, but they are a great budget headphone with amazing sound quality and sound reproduction. If you look at the specifications in the pictures, this has a huge range for headphones in this price range. They have almost zero distortion at even the loudest volumes and bass tracks so you can throw whatever you want at these and they’ll keep singing proudly. These may not have the best soundstage as these are made more for accuracy and details, but the quality of these is where this comes in the list. They come with a longer cord than most headphones I’d recommend for travel, but it’s easy to coil. Unfortunately these do not come with any way to pack them like a carrying case or pouch, but just lay these on some clothes in your carryon or luggage and they’ll be fine. The Sennheiser HD 280 PRO also has amazing noise reduction up to -32dB which is insane. You won’t be bothered by much outside of you and your music.
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Monster iSport Freedom On-Ear Wireless Bluetooth / Wired
Photo from Amazon
3. Monster iSport Freedom On-Ear Bluetooth ($90)
Monster has some truly unique and incredible headphones out on the market today. These are from 2013 and are still among my favorite for workout and travel. They are bluetooth so there’s no need for wires, but what sets these apart is the ability to use them when they’re dead with the included cable with mic. The sound quality for these will not be the best in this list, but they have great bass, mids, and highs that will make you surprised for their price point. They will need to be burned in like all headphones to truly get to their best sounding quality, but once they have, they truly shine and drown out pretty much everything around you with their excellent noise cancelling ability. Even at loud volumes, they do not bleed much so that others right next to you get annoyed. Monster is coming out with an updated version of this headphone soon, but their expected release price is $199 so I would stick with these for now. Great durability and functionality, you cannot go wrong with these.